Guide to Paint Spraying by Robert Alexander

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Oct 4, 2017 | Professional insight, Business, Tool Insight | 0 comments

Hi, my name is Robert Alexander. I’ve been a professional decorator for 26 years and spraying for 17 years. I thought I’d sit down and write a quick guide to paint spraying; I hope you enjoy it.

I find as time moves on, so do products, tools and the way we work. As a self-taught sprayer, there is no better way than jumping in at the deep end!! In my years of spraying, I have sprayed all sorts of products from single pack pvc94 uPVC paint by Marcel Guest Paints, Cromadex Single Pack Paint and two-pac paints , Tikkurila helmi 30 and 80 , Caparol pu satin and paints from ceilcote for metal pan ceilings and cladding. I find all these good products.

The difference in the machines play a big part in spraying, as every one is used for different tasks and materials. I use hvlp on kitchens, metal, upvc windows and garage doors. I also use a compressor set up with a Hlvlp gun with 1.8 needle for primers and laytex paints as the paint doesn’t need to be thinned as much. I use 1.3 and 1.4 needle for topcoats, especially on two pac paints which have been thinned with thinners and hardener.


The Compressor System


The compresser spray system is also great when I spray Good Systems Projector Paint. This is a water-based product that has to be mixed with distilled water. It makes the clarity and resolution much better when watching a movie. Each coat must dry for 30 mins before next coat can be applied. This counts for primer and topcoat.

When using water-based products with the hvlp system or compressor set up , I always mix my paint with 20 percent water and allow 30 to 35 secs from the viscosity cup. I use an Air assisted airless for fine finishes. I use the flat tips on this machine as it produces a softer fan and leaves a finer finish. It’s a great machine, but you do have to find your way with setting up the correct pressures to get the right product coming through. Always prime with water to check for any blockages from the tips and then you are good to go with your material.


Airless Spraying System


An airless paint sprayer compresses the paint before forcing it through a tip. This results in atomising the paint, and is the perfect system for water-based satinwood, gloss, emulsion, or masonry paint. When I’m spraying with an airless paint sprayer, I mix my emulsion with 20 percent water to allow for better flow and coverage, especially on new plaster. Using 517 tips to cover larger areas quicker, using 210 tips for spraying doors and frames and 109 tips for skirting boards, depending on the size. Same goes when spraying masonry paint, be it water or oil-based. You still need to dilute the material in order for it to flow well.


The Sectret to Spraying


Knowing your machines is a very important thing in the spraying game. From cleaning them and knowing what filters to use for different products, to knowing how to take them apart and put them back again. Sometimes dried paint can stop the ball bearing from moving, so you need to know how to take it apart. Oh, and give your paint sprayer a service once in a while.

The key to spraying is don’t be afraid and keep trying different methods, from using extension poles, spraying at different pressures and feeling comfotrable when in charge of the gun. There are plenty of courses out there that can give you confidence to take on jobs that you would never dream of. Knowing your paints and using the right masking products.

Giving the substrate the right preparation also plays a big part. From sanding and cleaning what you are painting, preparation is decoration and without it the paint system will fail.


Without a shadow of a doubt, spraying has become more popular today in the UK and more decorators are getting involved. It is like a disease when you get the bug!! I can’t recommend it enough!! I can honestly say it will be every decorator’s tool of choice in the years to come.

Spraying will help you achieve a better finish, apply more material and cut down on labour costs. You offer your clients a better service which should in turn help you earn more money as a decorator.

check out my facebook page here Robert Alexander

Blog written by Robert Alexander – Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Oct 4, 2017 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


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