I notice that the high end interior painters I use always insist on either using a roller or a brush. They never want to use a spray gun.

I know cars are painted with a spray gun, so I really don't understand why they think a spray gun will produce a bad quality finish.

  • I'm guessing you aren't a chemist in a paint factory. Those types of paint as as different as things can be and still be called "paint", in fact, you'll find the automotive coatings people don't call it paint, and it's not by any definition you know. For one thing you must mix 2 parts of chemical simply to get something that will cure, + reducer + other modifiers, and then you get 30 minutes to paint it or it will cure in the pot. Breathing atomized spray will also make you very sick. Jan 17, 2021 at 17:16
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica often sprayed water based piants on ceiling and walls - solvents not needed but an 12” spray fan is really good for fast area coverage but takes skill and knowledge of product... and these are high pressure sprayers that will put paint into the skin so safety is important.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 17, 2021 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


It isn't the quality of the paint, though the different processing (cars: paint then bake it on, buildings: paint, let air dry for days) may be part of it.

It has to do with preparation and control.

A new car is NOT spray-painted after full assembly. To do that, you would have to mask the tires, windshield, windows, chrome, etc. Literally the entire metal shell of the car and nothing else is spray-painted. There is no harm (except wasted paint) by spraying where you shouldn't.

A house, even new, is not setup for spray-painting. You have electrical (though if you see paint inside junction boxes, that could explain it), plumbing, windows, etc. all of which are installed (to varying degrees) before the main paint job. Plus houses are routinely painted years later as a house may last 50 years or more - few cars last anywhere near that long.

Even over a relatively long car lifetime - e.g., 20 years - the original paint job will generally need only touch-ups as it is typically quite rugged, with multiple layers designed to hold up against years of use, UV radiation, weather, etc.

When repainting a car, typically after accident damage, spray-painting is used. The extra effort involved is significant, but brush marks on metal car body are a bit more of a problem than on house walls and it is the only practical way to match the original finish. But it is an ordeal - and most people never repaint their car unless it is seriously damaged.

  • 1
    This, I often see painters when exterior painting a house spray the main house color then brush the trim and details. Spray can put a lot of paint up quickly but requires more prep work. Jan 17, 2021 at 18:10

"they think a spray gun will produce a bad quality finish."

They don't think a spray gun will create a bad quality finish.

You can't paint a sharp edge with a spray gun.

Spray guns require a massive amount of setup time to ensure over-spray mist doesn't migrate and settle in other parts of the interior.


Because of the mess and the masking

When you spray, paint goes absolutely everywhere, because it is aerosolized. That might make sense in a brand new being-built house where nobody cares if there's paint and paint footprints underneath the carpet pad. However, in existing work, you must fastidiously tarp, tape off and room-seal everything - and God help you if some plastic sheeting parts without you realizing, and overspray wafts onto the customer's furniture and valuables. The HVAC system will fight you every inch of the way, constantly blowing your tarps around etc.

You still have to tarp with brush/roller, but it doesn't have to be anywhere near to the same degree. Just take the cover plates off and don't paint the receptacles, not that hard.

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