Spray Painting House Exteriors

Quick advice on equipment options and methods for painting houses. December 6, 2011

I bought and old house which I am renovating and I want to spray paint all its exterior surfaces (walls, trim, columns, porch, metal roof, etc.). Since it is a job that I will have to do every few years, I thought I might use a sprayer to ease and speed up the task. From my research on this forum, it looks as if an airless (air assisted) sprayer is the way to go for that kind of job? I will be spraying an alkide based primer (Benjamin Moore) and a white latex (Benjamin Moore) on top of it (wood surfaces).

I will also get to use the rig on two or three yearly contracts, interior and exterior. What equipment would you suggest for my needs? I handle clears and lacquer in the woodshop with HVLP, so I want a separate unit which I can easily move around in through the scaffolding.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor F:
I would buy a small airless either Graco or a 440 Titan (little workhorse) with multiple tips including some double atomizing fine finish tips and 100 feet of hose. Itís lightweight and portable with multiple use options or you can buy an airless/AAA combo that lets you either choose the airless or AAA function with flipping on or off the compressor. However, if you use the airless function get a separate airless hose and gun. Using your AAA gun and lines in airless mode is comparable to painting in a tux.

From contributor A:
From what you've written it sounds like you'd be fine with a little Graco 390. It'll pump all kinds of acrylics and alkyds. You don't need an AAA for exterior work. I have one and use it strictly for cabinets and railings (clears and pigmented lacquers). So if you bought one you'd basically be throwing $1500 away for nothing - and you don't want to be using one for acrylics and lacquers, you'll gum up your lines and end up with junk in your clear finishes. The 390 is a good little machine that runs anywhere from about $900 to $1100 depending where you buy it from.

From contributor F:
I have an older Graco 390 I use for spraying oil primers and exterior stains. I have a bigger Titan for both interior and exterior latex. I also run a 390 AAA and I use it for full interior painted trim packages and I also have another set of hoses to use for just waterborne clears. I have used my 390 AAA to spray all the exterior trim on some detailed/expensive homes because an airless with a ff tip was still too much overspray. Sprayers are tools we can use to push all the envelopes and are not meant to be wrapped up and tucked away with the fine china. $1500 needs a reference point to have any meaning. It depends on how valuable your time is and what kind of quality you are shooting for.

From contributor A:
Spraying is fine; however, you should really brush the primer onto bare wood to work it into the nooks and crannies. The top coat paint will be heavy in some places and light in others when you spray it. The brushed on 100% coverage primer will keep it all on the house. We've had really good luck with the newer really thick acrylics like Sherwin Williams Duration and Muralo Endure.

From contributor F:
Spraying is necessary if you want to step up your game from handyman to competitive professional. There are tons of products out there depending on what you do. There are products which are an Alkyd, acrylic/urethane blend such as flood stains that are self priming and penetrate the wood. They can be thinned and sprayed and perhaps backrolled/backbrushed if you like. The days where my grandpa brushed a whole exterior house is just old technology.

Your comment "The top coat paint will be heavy in some places and light in others" shows perhaps you have little experience spraying. Why would the finish be uneven? If I was painting a new cedar house and paint was chosen by the builder I would choose an alkyd primer (since it is still available here) and thin it 25% and spray without any brush use since the primer would fully penetrate the substrate.