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Do I Need Thin Paint For An Airless Sprayer?

An airless paint sprayer is a great tool to have at your disposal, and it can really help in speeding up the process of painting any large surfaces.

This is because these sprayers are designed to handle big paint jobs such as painting rooms, walls, and they can be used to apply glass-smooth finishes, making them a dream for any DIY-er out there.

And if you’re new to using these sprayers, you’ve probably been wondering if you need to thin your paint first before you get to spraying.

Do I Need Thin Paint For An Airless Sprayer?

Airless sprayers work best with thick paints, meaning you won’t have to thin it beforehand. These tools are designed to be able to handle thick latex primers and other paints without thinning. However, you will need to strain the paint beforehand to remove all the impurities such as dirt and dried paint flakes before you start the job. You will only need to thin your paint beforehand if you’re using an HVLP sprayer or a small airless sprayer that produces less that 3,000 PSI.

 In this article, we’ve laid out a quick guide to using an airless sprayer for the first time and also included a couple of tips for thinning paint for a sprayer.

Read on to learn more.



Why Use An Airless Sprayer?

As we mentioned earlier, this tool is best for those looking to do big paint jobs while requiring a smooth finish. This tool is designed to handle large jobs while applying a consistent and even coat of paint on your surfaces.

On top of that, these sprayers are designed to handle thick and unthinned paints, which can make your job much easier while also speeding things up. So if you’ve been looking to accomplish a heavy paint job quickly, this could be just the tool for you.

Getting Started With Your Airless Sprayer

Step One: Priming The Pump

For this task, you’ll be needing two buckets, one for waste and one for your strained paint.

To start, simply place the small prime tube of the sprayer into the waste bucket while placing the suction tube into the bucket full of paint. From there, you’ll have to turn the prime/spray valve to the “prime” setting, switch the sprayer on, and turn the pressure valve up until paint starts flowing out of the prime tube.

Once paint begins flowing out of the tube, place it into the paint bucket.

Step Two: Filling The Hose & Gun

After priming, your next step is to fill up the hose and gun. To do this, point the gun towards the waste bucket (with the guard and spray tip removed), switch the valve to the “spray” setting, then press down on the trigger until a steady stream of paint flows out from the gun.

Once that is done, simply let go of the trigger, lock it, and then release the pressure. To release the pressure, turn off the machine, turn the valve back to “prime”, aim the gun to the side of the waste bucket then press on the trigger to release the pressure, then engage the trigger lock.

After that, simply install the tip, and you should be ready to go.

Step Three: Adjusting The Pressure

Before you start spraying, you will have to make sure that you have the right pressure first. You can always test out the pressure on the surface you’re painting, but it’s best to do it on a scrap piece of cardboard.

Turn the sprayer on and set the valve to the “spray” setting, then press the trigger and spray a strip of paint onto the cardboard, then check the spray pattern. If the strip has drips on it, that means the pressure is too low, which means you have to turn it up.

Simply repeat this process until you have just the right pressure settings and the sprayer gives off a neat and even coat of paint, you’re ready to start your paint job!

Step Four: Get Spraying!

When you get to spraying, it’s recommended to keep the gun perpendicular to the surface, and make sure to start spraying before the gun reaches the edge of the surface you’re painting. From there, you simply have to move the sprayer until you’ve created a long and even strip of paint.

After that, overlap around half of the first strip when making the next pass on the surface, making sure to move quickly to avoid runs and keeping the gun steady and perpendicular to the painting surface.

How To Thin Paints For Spraying

Different types of paint will require different techniques, so in this section, we’ll be explaining how you can thin some of the most common paint types for your sprayer. This isn’t something that’s required if you’re using an airless sprayer, but if you’re using an HPLV model or a small airless sprayer without that much pressure, it might be beneficial to use thinned paint for your paint job.


Latex Paint

It’s always recommended to thin latex paint 10%, and you can simply use water for this task. The recommended ratio is using a half cup of water for a gallon of paint, but you might need to use a bit more water when using an HPLV sprayer. For these types of sprayers, it’s recommended to thin them by 20% or 30%.

To thin it, simply mix in the appropriate amount of water with the paint in a separate container (it’s not recommended to alter paints in the bucket), then use a stir stick to mix it until it becomes homogeneous.

Oil-Based Paint

For oil-based paints, you will need to read the labels of the specific paints you have to get the maximum thinning ratio. But for most small sprayers, you’ll only need to thin it by around 10% using a certain type of mineral spirit. Make sure to check what the manufacturer recommends when doing this to make sure you use the right materials.

Just like with latex paint, simply mix in the appropriate ratio of mineral spirit to paint in a separate container, then use a stir stick to mix it.


And with that, our quick guide to using airless sprayers has come to an end.

Remember, these tools are designed to be able to handle thick materials, so you probably won’t have to thin your paints before using them with an airless sprayer, but if you’re using an HPLV model or a small airless sprayer, you might want to thin them beforehand.

But once that is done and your sprayer is primed and ready to go, all that’s left for you to do is get spraying, and you’ll find that your big paint job will be finished in no time thanks to these handy and convenient tools!

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