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In a test to see which product can produce the best coat, paint sprayers beat brushes and rollers hands down.

But this doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods when it comes to common paint issues. And this is especially true if you’re new to painting, whether you’re painting your car or house.

To get the most out of your high-quality paint sprayer, it’s important to plan ahead to save money and avoid damage to your sprayer.

That’s why we created this essential guide to the top paint issues to expect and how to prevent them.

How to Prevent Paint Issues

How to Avoid Cracked Paint Issues


There’s nothing better than watching a completed paint job crack into a million pieces, right? Wrong.

A cracked or uneven paint job can cost you anywhere from a $100 to $1,000, depending on what you painted.

To prevent this mistake, avoid holding your sprayer too close to the surface. Spraying too close causes paint to drip and crack as it dries.

If you’re using an airless paint sprayer, keep your sprayer at a 12-14 inch distance from the surface. These spray out much more at once, which will cause aggravating paint issues if you’re not careful.

Now, if you’re using a conventional air paint sprayer, you can position your sprayer a little close to the surface, but keep it at least 8 to 10 inches away from the surface.

If you’re using an HVLP turbine sprayer, however, you can inch closer and keep a distance of 6-8 inches approximately.

Another reason for uneven surfaces could be over-spraying too.

Uneven surfaces from over-spraying are common paint issues if you’re new to the game, so we suggest doing a few test runs with your sprayer on leftover wood or other discarded objects.

How to Prevent Splattering


Prevent Splattering

Splattering problems are common paint issues for DIYers new to paint sprayers.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can prevent spattering.

Trapped air bubbles in your spray gun’s hose are the most common reason for splattering.

To prevent this, make sure to prime your sprayer enough before you start to paint. This way, you won’t run out of paint and sputter out at the end, leaving uneven splatter behind.

You should also avoid disconnecting your sprayer’s connection hose if your compressor is still in charge mode. Once loose, the pressure can cause your hose to lose control, spattering your project in the process.

Another good reason to consider is disuse over time.

If your paint sprayer has been sitting around collecting dust, then hardened leftover paint in your gun could cause splattering as well. Your sprayer could also be worn out from wear and tear over time, and you may be due for an upgrade.

If your sprayer just needs a good cleaning, take note of the following steps:

How to Clean Your Airless Paint Sprayer


The first thing you need to do when cleaning anything electrical is to power off your appliance.

Next, you’ll want to adjust your sprayer to the lowest setting and pull the trigger to release excess pressure in the gun. Then you’ll need to open your sprayer’s prime valve.

Remove your sprayer’s filter, siphon tube, tip, and guard and wash them in your spray gun cleaner or another flushing solution. Even soap and water works for sprayers that need minimal cleaning.

Now, close your prime valve and pull the trigger to release your flushing fluid, so it gets in all the nooks and crannies of your sprayer.

Keep spraying to remove any excess cleaning solution, reinstall any removed parts, and you’re good to go!

man-spraying-with-airless-sprayer

Spray Inside the Lines


If you’re spraying a bedroom with just one color, then coloring outside the lines won’t be a problem.

However, if you want to use your paint sprayer to create decorative wall motifs or borders for example, then it’s important to get your lines straight.

The best way to achieve this is to use painter’s tape.

Painter’s tape is a lifesaver but only if you use it correctly.

Painter’s tape is removable, so it won’t damage your surface. However, this can trap air bubbles underneath your tape if you’re not careful.

When applying your tape, keep smoothing it down, making sure it’s straight and flat against the surface. You may want to run your hand along the entire edge, making sure your tape is completely flattened down, before spraying.

Plan Ahead for Drying Issues


Not all paint brands are quick-drying.

Failing to schedule enough drying time can cause serious paint issues down the road. This is especially true if you’re rushed for time or painting right before an event.

Paint that’s still fresh is a magnet for dirt, dust, pet hair, and fingerprints.

That’s why you should give yourself, at a minimum, 1 to 2 full days to paint your project.

This also applies to external paint projects as well.

Weather is one way poor planning can come back to bite you.

Painting your house or car during humid seasons will slow down your drying time, especially if you’re using water-based paints.

We suggest waiting a few days for the weather to cool off before starting any large external painting projects.

How to Avoid Running Out Of Paint


Not having enough paint may seem like an easy problem to fix, but you’ll be surprised at how common these paint issues are.

It’s so easy to underestimate how much paint you will need to paint all four walls, so here are a few rules of thumb to go by:

  • If you’re painting a room, you’ll first need to find out the length of the walls.
  • Then, add those walls lengths together to make one total sum.
  • Multiply the sum of your lengths by the total height of the room. This will give you the square footage of your room.
run out paint

The general consensus is that you need 1 gallon of paint for every 350 feet of square footage.

You also need to consider your wall material, as surfaces like drywall or other porous materials will absorb more paint.

If you want to paint your doors a different color, you will need to follow a similar formula as above, but with a little tweaking.

  • If you’re painting multiple doors, you’ll want to find the square footage of each door by multiplying its length by height.
  • Let’s assume the square footage of each door is 20 square feet each, so that means each door is 2x10 feet.
  • To find the total square footage you need to estimate your paint amount, multiply 20 square feet by the total number of doors you want to paint.
  • If you want to paint both sides of your doors, then you would multiply the number of doors by 40.

You may want to paint your ceiling with another paint color. That’s okay! All you have to do is follow this easy formula to prevent further paint issues.

  • First, you will need to measure to find our your ceiling’s length and width.
  • Multiply your length and width to find your square footage number.
  • For example, if the length of your ceiling is 16 feet and its width is 24 feet, you will have a square footage of 384 square feet.
  • Next, you will need to divide your square footage number by 350 which is how much 1 gallon of paint will cover with one coat.
  • Therefore, in the end, you will need just a little over 1 gallon of paint to complete your room.

Replace Your Paint As Needed

When calculating how much paint to buy, you should also consider the age of any leftover paint you’re planning to use.

The shelf life of an unopened can of paint can range anywhere from 10 to 15 years, depending on the type.

But this isn’t always the case.

Some unopened cans of paint can go bad well before their expiration date. If you suspect that your unopened can of latex paint has gone bad, look for the following signs:

  • First, pry open the lid and take a whiff. Good paint will have that familiar chemical smell of fresh paint, whereas bad paint will smell rancid.
  • Unopened paint will begin to separate over time, but you should be able to mix it right back up if the paint is still good. You may have to discard a thick concealed layer of paint from the top before you mix.
  • If the paint is hardened at the bottom of the can, then your paint is past its prime and will need to be replaced.
  • You should be able to mix your paint back into one solid color. If you’re still seeing swirls of color after substantial mixing, then your paint has god bad.
store paint

How to Store Your Paint Properly

One way to prevent your paint from going bad is to store it the right way. This will save you significant paint issues in the future.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always store paint in a cool dry place like an old dry basement or garage. Never leave your paint out in the sun or outside for long periods of time.

If you live in an apartment, for example, a cold and dark closet will do just fine as long as it’s dry.

So why is moisture so bad for storing paint?

Moisture can cause your cans to rust, making them difficult or near impossible to open. Furthermore, rust debris will fall into your paint right before you start your project.

If you’re wondering if you can store used paint, the answer is “YES!”

If you want to store a half-used can of paint for example, it’s extremely important to prevent air from seeping inside your can.

To do this, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the seal of your paint can lid.

Next, tightly cover the top of your paint can with plastic wrap before you put your lid back on.

Finally, put your lid back on and store your used paint cans upside-down in a cool, dry place. As the paint settles down, it will create stronger air-tight protection.

How to Deal With Peeling Paint


Peeling paint is one of the most pervasive paint issues you can deal with.

Paint sprayers make it easier to apply nice, even coats, but peeling can still be a problem if you make the following mistakes:

peeling wall
  • Applying your second coat too soon after your initial one will cause significant peeling. Wait at least a day or two to apply.
  • If you’re repainting your bathroom, make sure to remove all peeling paint before priming and repainting. Bathrooms are moisture magnets and moisture loves to hide in those peeling paint pockets.
  • After scraping off peeled paint with a scraper, you need to smooth out your surface with a sander or piece of sandpaper.
  • Unventilated rooms are a recipe for peeling paint, so make sure your rooms have plenty of air flow.
  • If you’re taking a shower or a bath, remember to open the window or turn on a fan to create air flow.

Good planning is behind all the best paint jobs.

Paint sprayers make it possible to achieve the look and shelf life of a professional paint job.

To make sure your paint job stands the test of time, bookmark and review this guide before you begin to paint.

How to Prevent and Avoid Spray Painting Problems

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 17 min
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