A paint sprayer allows you to paint a wall much faster and get an even more professional-looking finish compared to a paint roller or paintbrushes. Despite these benefits, many DIYers are put off the idea of using a paint sprayer due to the additional preparation needed and potential cleanup required if something goes wrong.
Here is a guide on how to paint a wall with a spray painter, all the way from preparation to touching up a wall once it has been sprayed. By following these steps, you can turn a paint job that can take a whole day into one that shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
Table of Contents
6 Steps To Spray Paint An Interior Wall
Wear Safety & Protective Gear
When you use a paint sprayer, there is a good chance you might get paint in your hair and clothes. Therefore, you should wear clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on and wear waterproof covering for your hair. I prefer to use a shower cap as you can be quite confident that no paint will permeate this.
Since paint sprayers break the paint up into a fine powder, you should wear a mask to avoid breathing the dust in. A specialized paint respirator is best for this, but a regular face mask or a scarf around your nose and mouth will suffice for smaller paint jobs.
Prepare The Room
Again, because spray painting inevitably involves mess, you will want to protect the floor and any furniture in the room you’re painting.
Ideally, you should move furniture out of the room entirely. If that’s not possible, try to move as much of the furniture as possible into the center of the room. The more space you have between the wall and objects, the easier everything will be.
You then want to cover all the furniture and the floors in the room in a drop cloth or plastic sheet. This will protect the floor and furniture from any stray paint. It might be worth also covering the floor on the edges of the room adjacent to the one you’re in for added protection.
If you're painting the ceiling, you will also want to do the same.
Prepare the wall
Before you start spray painting the wall, cover its edges with painter’s tape and a two-inch width of paint. This is to give you a clear outline of where the paint should be sprayed onto. The painter’s tape should ensure that the outer lines of the wall are evenly painted when you’ve finished the job.
Painters tape should be applied so the inner edge of the tape lines up exactly where you want the outer edge of the paint to be. This usually means the body of the tape goes on the wall adjacent to the one you’re painting, so the edge of the tape lines up with the edge of the wall. You should also apply paint and painter’s tape to the edges of switches and plug sockets if you don’t want to pain them.
Once you’ve laid down the painter’s tape, paint around the edge of the tape with a two-inch-wide paintbrush. You want to paint slightly over the tape, so the straight edge of the tape becomes the border of the painted wall. Only remove the tape when all the paint, including the color you spray on later has dried.
Select The Right Paint & Sprayer
When using a spray gun, you want to work with paint on the thinner side so that it can be sprayed without clogging up the nozzles of the sprayer. I’d recommend using a thinner latex-based paint. Latex-based paint works best when spray painting, as you can thin it down with water if it’s too thick for the paint sprayer.
Just as when painting a deck or painting a roof, choosing the right paint is an important step. Try to find a paint that has primer already mixed in it, often referred to as paint and primer in one. This will allow you to paint a wall to a professional finish with just one layer of paint and drastically reduce the time needed to paint a wall. You also want to decide between choosing satin paint or semi-gloss.
The most crucial factor to consider when selecting a paint sprayer is the diameter of the nozzle. You will typically need a sprayer with a nozzle diameter between 0.015-0.023 of an inch for painting a wall. The diameter that you need depends on the thickness of the paint you’re working with.
Remember that paint sprayers are electric and are typically wired rather than battery-powered. Therefore if you do not have many outlets in the room, you may need an extension cable for the sprayer.
Spray Paint The Wall
The actual spraying of the wall is relatively easy if you have selected the correct type of paint and paint sprayer. When spray painting the wall, you want to stand with the nozzle of your sprayer about 12 inches away from the wall. The further away you stand, the less defined lines of paint you will get.
If you can, try to paint in vertical lines from the left to the right of the wall. Painting in vertical lines means that any paint that drips will not drip down onto unpainted parts of the wall. Paint in lines that overlap each other by 1-2 inches.
Spray painting walls tend to use around 33% more paint than painting with a brush. Therefore a gallon of paint should be enough to paint about 250 square feet of wall.
Touch Up The Painted Wall
Wait 3-4 hours until the sprayed paint has dried until you add any more paint to the wall. While the paint is drying, it will look streaky, but it should settle into an even coating.
Any small streaks or blemishes should be painted over with a brush. If there are even streaks, you may want to add a second layer of paint with the paint sprayer.
Before removing the painter’s tape, score along the end with a knife or razor blade. This will stop the painter’s tape from taking off any of the paint along with it when you remove it. Pull the tape off at a 45-degree angle to ensure that it comes off in one piece. This again should minimize the amount of paint that is peeled off when removing the tape.
For a guide on how to paint over silicone caulk, check out this guide.