Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

November, 2002

Airless Spray Guns for House Painting

Q. I have a paint job coming up and am considering using an airless in order to speed up the process. I was wondering if I can spray paint the walls and ceiling. Consulting with other profesionals produced confusion--some said using an airless will require additional rolling in order to achieve finished surface while other swore the finish will be better if airless is used. Do you have an opinion? If so, how can I make the airless work for me?

A. Airless spray guns are great for speed. You can apply lots of paint quickly, BUT you need to have some experience in doing this. If you hesitate while applying the paint to a wall or ceiling, you are likely to have uneven finishes. Professional painters can get the entire exterior of a house painted in one day using airless spray guns, but if you are a novice, you might spend lots of time making good those areas where you lost control.

In summary, both of the opinions you gave me are correct. A pro can get a great looking finish in a short period of time. A novice might need to use a roller to smooth out the finish after first applying the paint with the airless gun.

What neither of your friends told you is that in all probability you will use lots and lots more paint using the airless spray gun, especially if you have not learned how to control your speed.

I used an airless gun to paint my wooden fence with an oil stain. Much to my horror, I kept opening more paint cans until the job was done. Since I didn't think it would be fun painting a long wooden fence with a brush or roller, and since nobody was ever going to look at my fence close-up, I didn't really care about the appearance. I did the job quickly but paid the price in paint.

In your case you might not want to open so many cans, nor deal with an uneven finish. My suggestion is that you experiment for yourself before making a decision.

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