When it comes to spray painting services, there are a variety of paints to choose from. Primer, alkyd, lacquer, enamel, acrylic, vinyl and latex, epoxy, Plasti Dip and chalk paint are all options. But what medium should you select? How many coats should you apply? Should you use a thick or light paint? Do you need to dilute it? Is a primer necessary? Will it work with your sprayer?Available in water-based or oil-based formats, primer is often the starting point for many DIY and home improvement projects. It provides an adequate base, reveals any imperfections and covers old layers of paint.
Primer gives you a base to work on, ensuring a perfect coat. For example, water-based paints can penetrate fresh wood and leave a thin and uneven finish. Primer also increases adhesion, preventing metal surfaces from chipping. Additionally, many painters use a diluted primer to identify any defects on the surface. Painting does not hide these issues; it emphasizes them.
By quickly covering the material with primer, you can spot any unevenness, chips or scratches and fix them with sandpaper and filler. Primer acts as a clean slate that covers old paint and allows for an even coverage without the aged medium being reflected in the new layer. For spray painting enthusiasts, one key factor to consider is that primer is highly viscous. This means you need a unit with plenty of power such as the Iwata LPH440-181 pneumatic, the Control Pro 190 airless or the Wagner MotoCoat HVLP. For more information on using primer and examples of the best sprayers in this category, check out my Priming Guide.
Alkydis an older painting format that has gone out of fashion due to the introduction of modern vinyls and enamels.
However, it still has a loyal following among DIYers who appreciate tradition. Alkyd uses resin or polyester as a binding ingredient which makes it capable of withstanding some serious abuse and repelling water. It is often used on high-traffic wood surfaces such as hallways, kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, thanks to its powerful binder, you can apply alkyd materials to existing latex paint or fresh wood without using a primer. For alkyd paints, you need a powerful unit such as an airless machine like the Graco Project Painter Plus.
The high-pressure output of these hydraulic sprayers not only allows for dense alkyd substances but also prevents splashes and coughing due to its continuous and non-fluctuating power. There are four main lacquer formats: acrylic, water-based, catalyzed and cellulose which all have a similar fine consistency. Lacquer is used to provide a solid, waterproof and transparent layer which is often applied to metal and wood surfaces such as fine furniture. It is durable yet breathable allowing the base material to flex. Lacquer has become a generic term for varnishes and lacquers but strictly speaking it dries by evaporating mineral alcohol instead of oils.
To get a mirror-like shine you need to spray it on then let it dry before sanding and repeating this process for a stunning French-Polish finish.
Enamelpaint dries to a durable, hard and water resistant finish which makes it ideal for areas exposed to high traffic or finger contact such as window frames, kitchen cabinets, railings and patio furniture. Paint sprayers are particularly useful when applying enamel paint as you need a fairly powerful unit along with a fine tip for best results or at least buy it in an aerosol can. Do not confuse spray paint with vitreous enamel which is cooked in an oven such as porcelain crockery. It is not enamel but made from powdered glass.
Epoxyis possibly the densest paint on the market which presents a precise combination of polymers bonded to a latex or acrylic composite making it surprisingly durable. Epoxy is used in areas exposed to extreme use or abuse such as floors, marine applications, industrial machinery and wind turbines.
It comes in two parts: resin and hardener which must be mixed before use or as one-part formula which can be used straight from the can. When diluting epoxy care must be taken as the base compound can be made up of various solvents such as hexane, naphtha, acetone or xylene so make sure the dilution medium matches the main component of the paint. Also bear in mind that when diluting the color tone will be attenuated so you may need to add an additional Plasti Dip dye. Once applied DIYers often finish with wax or lacquer to protect the scaly surface. Epoxy can be applied directly to wood without priming or sanding giving it an aged worn look like chalk paint although on drywall or gypsum it is prone to chipping so multiple layers are needed for an adequate thickness.