High Quantity Low Pressure, or HVLP, paint guns are widespread for applying paint indoors. The low pressure used to draw the paint out of the gun significantly reduces the amount of over-spray produced by traditional compressed air paint guns. This decrease pressure works well with oil-based paints and finishes but presents some obstacles when using thicker, heavier latex paint. These obstacles may be overcome with a bit of extra equipment and paint preparation.

Paint Preparation

Quality latex paint is significantly thicker than traditional finishes and have to be thinned earlier than it’s helpful as a spray finish. Insufficient thinning ends in the paint coming out of the spray gun in ugly blobs or not at all. Thin the paint with water and mix well before spraying. The amount of water required varies with the model and quality of the paint. Start by thinning the paint by adding 10 % water and mixing thoroughly. If the paint is still too thick, add a small amount of water and mix again. Do not use more than 25 percent water in any paint. Excessive thinning reduces the paint’s ability to adhere to and cover a surface.


When thinning alone doesn’t work, use a latex paint conditioner to decrease the viscosity. Latex paint conditioners are designed to improved the paint’s ability to flow with out thinning the paint and impairing its ability to stick to and cover a surface.


Use a standard cone paint strainer when filling the paint gun cup. The opening on a typical HVLP nozzle is 1.4 millimeters and may be clogged with very small bits of debris. Once the nozzle is plugged, you’ll have to take the gun apart and clear the obstruction. This is a messy procedure that can be prevented by utilizing a strainer. If you can not locate a paint strainer, pantyhose make a great substitute.

Hose Length

The turbine blower on an HVLP paint gun produces heat that is fed directly to the paint when using a short hose. Heating the paint reduces the drying time which affects its ability to stream and stage out. Adding a six-foot section of air hose between the gun and the turbine reduces the working temperature of the air atomizing the paint and alleviates this problem.


Hold the gun no more than eight inches away from the surface you might be painting. Begin on the prime on vertical surfaces. For horizontal surfaces, begin alongside both edge and work your way toward the opposite edge. Totally wet the surface of a bit earlier than moving to the next.

Test and Practice

A number of factors are concerned in getting the paint to the precise viscosity. Temperature, humidity, turbine output and the physical characteristics of the paint all affect the paint’s ability to circulate smoothly. Getting the right combination to your scenario is a matter of trial and error. One of the best approach is to test spray the paint on a bit of cardboard or scrap each time you thin it. After you have a mix that flows smoothly, follow your spraying approach on the testing surface till you achieve a constant finish. Losing a small amount of paint practising is less expensive and time-consuming than removing a bad paint job and ranging from scratch.

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