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Guide to Spray Painting Your Walls

Last Updated Dec 6, 2010 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Do you have a large number of walls to paint inside or outside your home?  You can save time while still getting a great finish by spray painting them instead of using a brush or a roller.  While you can always call in the professionals at any time, it is actually possible to spray paint your walls yourselves.  To help you out, we’ve put together this how-to guide.

Before You Start

Before you can even start thinking about painting your interior or exterior walls, there is a lot that you have to do.  The first is to hire the spray painting gun. Airless spray guns are recommended and these can be hired at very reasonable costs.  You will also need to buy your paint.

The next thing that you will have to do is to clean and prepare your walls.  This takes time and elbow grease but it is the most important part of the process.  Repair any cracks, dents or holes, and clean the walls using sugar soap or another similar solution.  Outside, you can have your walls pressure washed.  Make sure that the walls are completely dry after cleaning and that they are free of all dust.

Once this is done, you can begin to prepare the actual painting surface.  Spray painting creates a lot of overspray (paint going where you don’t want it to!) so be sure to protect all areas that you don’t want painted. Inside, do this by using drop sheets on the floor, protecting the ceiling with newspaper, covering windows and doors with newspaper and tape, and covering cornices or skirting boards with painting tape.  Outside, you’ll need to protect your windows, doors, eaves, and trim with newspaper and tape. Ensure that cars and other items are well out of the way – don’t underestimate how far paint can drift!  Plants, walkways, and other items should be covered with drop sheets.

The Spray Painting Process

Before you start painting, make sure that you are covered with full protective equipment – overalls or a long sleeved shirt and pants, old shoes, a hat to protect your hair, and a respirator so that you don’t inhale the fine droplets of paint.

Next, pour your paint through a strainer into a bin or bucket.  Straining the paint reduces the risk of any hardened paint or foreign materials from clogging the spray gun.  The spray gun will take the paint from the bin or bucket and send it through the hose so it comes out the nozzle.  It can be helpful to dilute the paint a little to make it spray on smoother.

To actually paint your wall, start at a corner and work from the top down.  Use short, smooth and steady strokes of paint.  Try to overlap each “spray” of paint by one third (this is because paint is centred in the middle).  Keep the gun exactly perpendicular to the wall as much as possible.  If you angle the gun, paint will go to one particular area.  It is also best to hold the gun about 12 inches away from the wall.  Too close and you’ll cause runs, and too far will and you’ll cause a sandpaper look finish.  Be aware that it is best to do several lighter coats than one heavy one as applying the paint too heavily can cause runs and drips.  To avoid a patchy look, do an entire wall in one go, doing small areas at a time.

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