Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

November, 2004

Do I need a Spray Booth?

Q. I own a small custom cabinet shop where we manufacture and finish cabinets. I have been at my present location for nearly 4 years and have had fire inspections and AQMD inspections. I have never been required to have a spray booth on account that we only use water based products. I recently had a visit from the Fire Dept. requiring a spray booth to continue doing business. We spray about 3 to 4 gallons a day of a product that claims to have close to 0 voc's. In your opinion, is a spray booth required? And if so, what type and what special features are needed? Thank you for your prompt response.

If you use 3-4 gallons of paint per day you definitely need to be painting inside a spray booth. Spray booths are not only for fire protection, but also to protect your workers and the folks who work outside the spray area. The paint overspray needs to be captured and you are not permitted to freely allow it to escape into the atmosphere. (What type of spray guns are you using?)

Since I don't know your operation, I can't advise you on the type of booth, size, etc. I would need to have many more details about your facility, the size and shapes of the cabinets you paint, number of cabinets per day, etc.

If you work in California, (which sounds possible, since you referred to the AQMD) I'm surprised that the AQMD inspectors have not fined you for operating without a spray booth. In any case, if you do decide to install a spray booth you will need to apply for a permit to operate from your local AQMD. If your local AQMD requires you to have a booth, you must be aware that they have the right to fine you retroactively for painting illegally for 4 years. I hope I'm wrong, and that for one reason or another you have fallen into an exemption category.

Best Wishes,

Ron Joseph

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