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Avoid These Common Spray Painting Mistakes

Posted by Kimball Midwest on March 26, 2019

Tags: Safety, Paint, Quality Products

Spray paint is an economical way to add a polished and professional look to your projects. It’s easy to use but just as easy to make mistakes if you skip any steps or rush through the process. With the right preparation and a little patience, you can avoid these common mistakes.

1. Skimping on prep work:
Preparation is incredibly important to ensure the paint adheres properly and goes on smoothly. Gather all the materials you need first. These may include:
Before you start your project, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. If possible, spray paint outdoors in a light breeze that will not affect the spray. If conditions are too cold or damp, the spray paint won’t adhere properly. Ideal conditions are sunny and warm with low humidity. Otherwise, paint in an open garage or other area with good ventilation.
If you need to protect the surrounding area from paint mist, secure the drop cloth or tarp first. Use painter’s tape to cover any part of your project that shouldn’t be painted, making sure the tape is completely sealed to prevent paint from leaking through. If possible, set the piece you’re painting on a sawhorse or other raised platform for easier access (and less stress on your back).
Clean the piece you’re painting to help the paint go on smoothly and adhere to the surface. A damp rag should be enough for this, but you may need to use cleaner to remove excessive grease or dirt. Scrape away any sticky residue and sand out any rough surfaces. Wait for the piece to dry completely before you start to paint.
Failure to properly clean and sand the piece may result in peeling or lifting of the paint.
Before you begin priming or painting, put on a respirator mask, safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from eye irritation and health hazards caused by the paint solvents.
2. Not reading the instructions:
If you want to do the job right, read the instructions on the can and follow them. The instructions contain important information, such as:
  • How long to shake the can to ensure the contents are properly mixed.
  • How far to hold the can away from the piece you’re spraying.
  • What the ideal temperature range is for spray painting.
  • How long the coat needs to dry before applying more.
3. Skipping the primer:
Applying primer helps the paint go on smoother and more evenly. You only need one coat, but it needs to be completely dry before you begin painting. Drying times vary by brand. Read the labeling on the can to determine how much time you need.
4. Using an expired can/clogged nozzle:
If the spray paint is old and/or the nozzle is clogged, you may get what’s called an “orange peel” effect – so named because the uneven surface resembles an orange peel. You can avoid this by making sure the paint is not expired and the nozzle is clear.
5. Spraying too lightly or too heavily:
Conduct a spot test before you start painting by spraying paint on scrap wood or cardboard. This, along with the instructions on the can, will help you determine how far to hold the can from your piece to get the ideal amount of coverage. Once you start painting, sweep the can back and forth slowly as you spray to get even coverage and prevent drips.
6. Not observing proper recoat times:
Even if the paint is dry on the surface, it may not be completely cured. Recoating too early may cause issues like smudging, wrinkling or shriveling.
7. Trying to fix wet paint:
You accidentally sprayed one area a little too heavily, and now you see drips. Resist the urge to fix them before the paint dries. You’ll make the problem worse. If you make a mistake, wait until the paint dries, then sand it out and carefully repaint.
8. Mixing different paint types (enamel/lacquer, etc.):
Be consistent. If you’re using more than one paint, make sure they have the same components. If one can is enamel, make sure any other paints you’re using are enamel and so forth. Spraying a clear lacquer over layers of enamel paint, for example, can lead to peeling and other issues.
Fortunately, most spray painting mistakes are easy fixes, though they cost you time and money. Using quality materials, especially paint, will help you get the job done right the first time. Our line of Ultra Pro-Max spray paints have three to four times the paint solids of standard paints, meaning you get better coverage with fewer coats. Plus, it has up to 70 percent fewer V.O.C.s, so it’s healthier for you and the environment.
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