Exteriors. Should you Spray or Brush.

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“Exteriors.  Should I Spray or Brush?”

This is a question we get frequently.  Let me first say, spraying tools were developed to save the customer money and not to increase contractor profits. 

The first spray pump was designed in 1887 by a maintenance manager at a large department store in Chicago.  I think his name was Smith.  The project was a 300ft by 24ft cinder block wall which was in need of painting.  As a rule everything had been hand painted until that time using a 4 in brush.   Can you imagine what a job that size looked like to a painter holding a brush and the time required to complete? Even though wages at that time were around 10 cents per hour, Mr. Smith wanted to find a more cost effective way to produce the project, and so the paint spray pump was invented.  

Through the years the spray pump has evolved into a tool used by painters to produce projects quicker and more cost effectively.  Over the last 20 years the spray tip became the primary focus to improve the quality of the finished product.  Different paints require different tips and the one size fits all began to go away.  

Today with the wage of a journeyman painter ranging from $15 to $30 in the South, spraying, where applicable saves the customer between 40% to 60% of the cost of a 2 coat brush and roll. The important issue is to use quality equipment, specified tip size for the product and an experienced painter to perform the application.

“Doesn’t spraying use less paint since the painter only makes one trip around my house?” 

The answer to this question is not if applied correctly.  Millage, which is the thickness of paint applied, plus the use of quality products, is the key to a quality finished product.  Most of the newer, high quality products have a specified minimum millage.  They are made to be sprayable, with specific tip sizes, or be brushed or rolled.  A painter with a brush can apply approximately 4 Mils of paint per coat.  A thicker application, when brushing, can cause runs depending on the product.  Because of the way the paint is applied with a spray gun, it dries faster, a painter can apply 8 to 10 Mils in one application without runs and no brush marks.  This not only puts more paint thickness to your surface, but allows it to be done much quicker which allows for savings to customer. 

The key to a good finish is finding a quality paint contractor.

Spray pumps are for sale everywhere.  You can pay $200, in the box stores, to $7500 for a high quality specialty pump.  Any DIYer can get there hands on one.  But, for a professional finish, the education curve can be steep. Unfortunately many painters are just DIYers with painters pants on.

Your house is your most valuable asset, don’t let someone paint your house just based on price.  More than often, there is a reason for price disparity.  Make sure who you chose is licensed, with liability and workman’s comp insurance and make them show it to you.  Don’t be afraid to call the provider to verify it’s still active.

2 final questions.

1. Do you think Ferrari automobiles are brushed or do you think they are sprayed by a high quality, professional painter?

2. Do you think your house is more valuable than a sports car?

Author: William Caldwell, Caldwell Painting ,   Memphis Tennessee




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