Questions about paint spraying...

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Forum topic by Vrtigo1 posted 05-09-2011 06:20 PM 1398 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 3227 days

05-09-2011 06:20 PM

I know this has been covered extensively in other threads, but I am totally new to spraying finishes so figured it would be easier to start a new thread rather than confusing myself even more by reading other people’s questions. So the other day I built my wife a pine adirondack chair, everyone else in the family saw it and now I think my next 5 weekends are going to be spent building more. I was originally planning on brushing on primer and then some sort of outdoor paint/enamel.

I got to thinking that if I have to paint a bunch of these things, that it’s going to take a really long time, and I’m not really as thrilled about the painting part as I am about the building part, which led me to wonder about the feasibility of spraying them.

I am looking for some info on both what type of gun I would need and what type of paint I should use. As I said I have exactly zero experience with any type of spray finished, so I would like to keep the initial investment small until I can determine if this will work for what I am trying to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

EDIT: Also – any advice about other setup considerations would be welcome. I.E. is this something I can do in my garage or would I need to do it outdoors? If I do it in my driveway, am I likely to get overspray on my car? If I have to do it outdoors, how long does the paint take to dry? If I did it on a small table in my back yard, would I have to leave the pieces out for an extended amount of time (and thus protect them from the elements) or do they dry quickly enough where that isn’t a problem?

7 replies so far

View Phil_B's profile


3 posts in 2815 days

#1 posted 05-09-2011 06:57 PM

There are a lot of options and it depends upon the finish you are using. Since this sounds like something that will sit outside you need to use an exterior and wood rated finish. If it were me, I would go with oil based.

For latex and heavy oil finishes I use a contractor grade airless sprayer because that’s what I have. You can use an turbine spray rig to do the same and it will also be good for interior finishes as well. All I’ve seen are HVLP so that helps cut overspray down.

Overspray is a real problem with all sprayers, some more so than others. The type of finish used matters as well. For latex, water based and oils like poly you are basically shooting glue. That is, the overspray can do a fine job of sticking whatever it lands on nearby together. For lacquer this isn’t much of a problem because it’s pretty dry when it hits, most everything else isn’t.

Spraying outdoors is fine weather permitting, you can spray in the sun but don’t let it cure in direct sunlight.

Drying time is generally less with spraying, the caveat being that you can put more on in a given amount of time so it might take longer – just because you put more on.

Spray finishing is definitely an art to master and well worth the effort – it does take some experience to get a feel of what can and cannot be done though.


View Vrtigo1's profile


434 posts in 3227 days

#2 posted 05-09-2011 07:10 PM

Phil – yes, I was also thinking oil based since it is an outdoor project. I guess I should back up a bit further and explain that I am also pretty clueless when it comes to paint in general. I guess what I would like someone to chime in with is “Use XXX paint in XXX type of sprayer for that project”. I’m sure there are differing opinions, but I am just trying to get some suggestions so I can do a bit more research on each one. I’m sure I could go to the store and get recommendations from the guys there, but sometimes I wonder if those guys really know what they’re talking about or if they just assume they do since they work at a paint store.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2840 days

#3 posted 05-10-2011 02:54 AM

Generally speaking you are going to want to thin whatever you decide to spray. I do old machine restorations and use a 30 dollar HVLP sprayer I bought from grizzly. It works quite well for what I am doing and my 20 gallon compressor has no problems keeping up. If I were to buy a new sprayer tomorrow though I would buy the critter gun because it is both simple, easy to clean up, cheap, and can be run on just about any compressor out there including pancake compressors.

You are definitely going to want to spray outside unless you have a 16 foot by 16 foot space indoors free of anything you don’t want sprayed (estimating on that size, but it feels about right from my experience. If the wind blows at all you can defnitely get spray on other stuff like your car so if you do it in your driveway make sure you car is not nearby. When I spray machines I put down a plastic painters drop cloth on the pavement (hold it down with sticks usually so it doesn’t blow away) then put my machines on pallets, spray them, then while they are still wet use a pallet jack to take them back inside my shop so bugs and whatnot does not get stuck to the machines. Assuming you do not have a pallet jack you can replicate this process by using a dolly and a piece of plywood ontop of the dolly. That way once you are done spraying you just wheel the whole chair back inside your garage.

I have seen other folk paint their Adirondack chairs various colors. I don’t know much about outdoor paints for that purpose. If you are not using pressure treated wood I would personally want to preserve the wood grain and would use polyurethane (thinned about 5 to 10% for use in a sprayer). If you want to use some form of pigmented paint I would suggest you go to your local Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams store and tell the person there what you are doing and ask their advice on which paint. Do not attempt this at a lowes or a homedepot because there is at least a 80% chance you already know more then the person behind the counter.

Hope that helps.

View alan coon's profile

alan coon

115 posts in 3948 days

#4 posted 05-10-2011 04:45 AM

You may want to consider a wood stain( exterior) solid or trans. Much more forgiving than paint, if you get it on to heavy rag it off,start over.

-- Al, South E. Az., But it's a dry heat.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21953 posts in 3341 days

#5 posted 05-10-2011 05:33 AM

I would vote for an opaque stain for outdoor furniture like Alan said. You can spray it, but a brush would do fine . In tight area, you can flood it in and then wipe off the excess. You can also stain right next to your car in a wind free place and have no over-spray

If you spray anything, the type of material will determine the type of gun, but for outdoor furniture, you would probably want an oil based paint or stain. I have sprayed a lot of clear lacquer on furniture, enamel on outdoor shutters and tables and acrylic enamel and lacquer on cars with the same gun- it is a Speedy Sprayer pressure gun I bought in the 70’s for $20 at Farm and Fleet. If you thin the product to get the right spraying consistency, it will spray just about anything except latex paint.

If you have tight areas that need outdoor protection, a spray cannot always get in there and you will create runs by dwelling in one area too long.

Good luck!!!!!!..............JIm

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2911 days

#6 posted 05-11-2011 05:31 AM

A car is like a magnet for spryaed paint. It travels for blocks in cities just to get on a car. I have a friend that stained a roof (not intentionly) while cleaning a spray guy and pot. only took about 2 squares of shingles to clean that up. Hide the car.

View gko's profile


83 posts in 3480 days

#7 posted 05-11-2011 09:20 AM

I would use an HVLP sprayer and thin about 10%. I also used Flotrol that slowed down drying otherwise overspray and other problems won’t smooth out. Don’t forget to prime especially if its going to be used out in the weather. I tend not to spray anymore because the clean up can be enormous and tiresome but it has to be weighed against trying to paint something with a lot of slats and stuff. I also sprayed when I did stuff that I wanted an absolutely perfect finish.

If its stain and some kind of finish make sure the stain is pigment and not dye. Dyes will fade quickly if its exposed to sunlight. I really like the look of dyes but one project faded in three months in the sunlight. If you are going with polyurethane use spar or marine and make sure it has UV blockers. Spar varnish is more flexible to deal with the changes in humidity outdoor furniture would be exposed to.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

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