The difference between paint spray guns...

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Asked By: 
Sylvia G.

How can I compare paint guns? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each kind?

Sincerely,

Answer: 

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Dear Sylvia,
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Thank you for your Ask Jane question - and welcome to the Be Jane community!
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We'll do the best we can in answering your question on the different types of paint spray guns, advantages and disadvantages. The problem we have is in not knowing what it is you plan on painting so we'll just have to give you information for all types of spray guns.
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First there are air guns that work on some form of compressed air or air compressor. This type of gun has a canister that on the bottom that holds the paint. In this category you'll find 3 different types:
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Siphon guns are good for low viscosity type paints such as lacquers and stains. This would be great to refinish a chair or two. You could find one of these for around $80 in your home improvement center.
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Pressure guns are good for a high viscosity, medium grade paint. This type is for a project that is not too extensive but you will use the painted item inside your house, such as baseboards. This will probably be around $80 to purchase as well.
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LVHP (low volume high pressure) guns are much more specific as they are primarily used for furniture refinishing or for someone who is looking to apply several light coats of urethane. These can be expensive.
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Then there's the airless sprayers. These are for more heavy bodied paint and are more to be used on the exterior of a house. The paint is shot out out at a higher velocity than the air compressors but many painters don't feel that they create a mechanical bond that will enable the paint to truly adhere. It is because of this fact many painters will paint with a roller for the second coat to guarantee that mechanical bond. These tend to be upwards of $300-$400 but can be rented on a daily basis for around $100.
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Due to the lack of this mechanical bond a new type of spray gun has been created that forcefully "throws" the paint on to the house, guaranteeing the adhesion. This is more of a professional house painter's gun and can be very expensive to purchase. If you would like to use one, we suggest that you rent one instead.
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In picking out which is right for you, it would have to depend on what you are doing and what type of paint or stain you are using. But if it is a question of whether or not to spray, you will find that if you are doing a large job, spraying will not only be faster, the end result will look better, more uniform and won't leave any brush strokes. The only thing that is time consuming about it is taping up any areas that might get paint on them and cleaning the spray gun afterwards. It is important to not only clean it but also to lube it so that it won't rust before you use it again.
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If you decide you are up for spraying, here's a few tips and tricks that you should know about before getting started.:
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You will need to thin and strain paints and stains before you get started to prevent clogs while spraying. Straining is the extra step stop it from clogging and/or spiting paint.
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While oil-based paints should be thinned with paint thinner, latex paints need to be thinned with water. The consistency you will want your paint to be will be just thicker than water.
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Most primers such as Kilz are thin enough that they don't need to be thinned.
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Oil-based paints tend to have a lower viscosity over that of latex.
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Due to the fact that the paint will need to be thinner in order to get it through the gun, expect to have to paint a second coat.
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Make sure to wear clothes that you don't care about, wear gloves, protective eyewear, a mask and cover your hair when you paint with a spray gun as it can be very messy.
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We also suggest that you paint outdoors whenever possible due to the amount of hazardous fumes it can create. If painting outside is not an option adequate ventilation of at least 2 doors being open to the outside is a minimum recommendation. Make sure you stop and step into a well ventilated area any time that you begin to feel light headed.
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Should you have any further questions, feel free to contact us at any time. We're here for you!
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Best of luck with all your Jane projects!

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