Every time that I have hired someone to paint the exterior of my house in the past, they've done it the slow, hard way: with brushes. They have all been professional painters with legitimate painting businesses, and they've done very nice jobs.

This year, because I have been feeling poor, I decided to buy a fairly nice $300 paint sprayer and try painting the house myself, instead of paying the professionals $10k to do it. When I used the sprayer for the first time the other day, I was amazed at how fast it went. I did about a fifth of the house in four hours (and it's a large, 4000-square foot, double-family house).

That left me wondering why professionals would ever not use sprayers. I know that sprayers waste a fair bit of paint, and that it can be harder to get an even finish when you're spraying. But the wasted paint seems worth it if you can do ten jobs in the time it would take to do one by brushing. And I assume that professionals would learn how to spray paint evenly.

I know some professionals use sprayers. But the guys I have hired don't, and again, they were very good, professional painters.

So can anyone enlighten me as to why you would not use a sprayer if it was your job to paint houses, and the amount of money you could make with a sprayer is much higher?

  • 2
    Would you say your work is of professional quality? Do you have clean lines around windows and doors, and do you have overspray anywhere you shouldn't? How was the weather when you painted? Could you spray if there was a moderate breeze?
    – isherwood
    Apr 27, 2018 at 1:45
  • 1
    Liability for overspray is the big reason I rarely spray outside. When a professional sprays paint outdoors people will be filing claims within minutes for real or imagined overspray damage to cars homes plants etc.
    – Kris
    Apr 27, 2018 at 3:24
  • Did you use quality paint, or the big-box home improvement store special? Did you paint two coats? How much time did you spend masking? Apr 27, 2018 at 14:14
  • Do you know which Air Quality Management District you are in? This is a zone smaller than a whole state, which has local environmental regs which may be tougher than Federal. If there's no smog check inspection for cars there, you may not be in one. Apr 27, 2018 at 16:35

1 Answer 1

  1. The paint needs to be of appropriate consistency. If the paint deviates too much it could clog the sprayer.

  2. overspray (paint landing where you don't want it to) is a big issue, avoiding that means spending a lot of time masking stuff off and/or building a tent around what is being painted. Depending on the job this can take longer than breaking out your brushes/rollers and doing it the old fashioned way while only masking the edges.

  3. Sprayers need an air compressor, which needs power and can be quite loud. You also need to run the hose from the compressor to the spray gun.

  4. The amount of paint in the spray gun is limited and fairly likely not enough to last as long as a tray of paint or a small bucket that you can take up a ladder. Leading to more up and down movement making the tiring painter.

  5. When people hire a professional painter they expect a minimal quality; uneven finish looks like very shoddy work and can lead to a lot of clients refusing to pay.

  • Professionals tend to use airless sprayers which have their own built in compressors, and they also usually draw right from the paint buckets rather than having a hopper on the gun. Sep 23, 2022 at 18:03

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