I'd like to paint the joist bays in my basement to brighten the basement up. No, putting up acoustic tile is out of range for the budget, but paint is in.

I've tried a small portion with a roller and brush, but I'd like an easier way.

I've considered renting an airless sprayer and doing all the bays in one shot; however, I'm not sure I can get it all done in one day, and I'm wondering about the home/handheld sprayers (like the Wagner line).

Can these sprayers paint overhead?

Am I in for more work than it's worth trying to tape and tarp everything I don't want paint on from the atomisation of the paint into the air?

  • 1
    How large is the space? If you do all the preparation in advance, I'd be surprised if the spraying takes longer than a day, even for multiple coats.
    – BMitch
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 11:42
  • It's abou 1200 sqft, but it is in active use and there is furnature to move/cover.
    – BIBD
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 13:07
  • Sure, but you can move the furniture the day before you spray. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 14:59
  • OK, I'll accept that spraying will be faster. Are the hand held sprayers able to paint the ceiling, or am going to have a problem with keeping enough paint in the reservoir to keep it from sucking air.
    – BIBD
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 15:35
  • After a brief discussion with a Home Depot person, they indicated that they can, but there is a tendency to clog in that mode. Does that hold water?
    – BIBD
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


A true paint sprayer (spray gun, air compressor, etc) is the fastest option in nearly any household painting project (aside from trim).

The airless systems that run via electricity like the wagner system isn't nearly the same thing. I used that system to paint our picket fence and while it was faster than brush alone, it wasn't THAT much faster and not nearly as fast as a true spray gun would have been.

So, I suggest that now is a perfect excuse to invest in a serious air compressor! ;)

  • Are you reffering to a true paint sprayer something like this: princessauto.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/… or something more like this homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/… ?
    – BIBD
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:03
  • And am I going to have problems with spraying up onto the underside of the sub floor between the joists?
    – BIBD
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:05
  • As far as I can tell, those are both pretty much the same thing (running off of compressed air) though the latter would seem to be a bit underpowered compared to a decent sized air compressor. And no, you shouldn't have much trouble sparing the sub floor (as your spray gun wouldn't have to be at 90 degrees...you could easily do it at 45 degrees or so)
    – DA01
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:55

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