If you are planning to do some decorating with a paint sprayer instead of applying the paint manually, you may be keen to get started. However, there are things you need to do before opening paint. Like, cleaning walls for painting as smooth layers as possible.
It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various paint sprayer accessories available. After all, the last thing you want to do is to rush the work without giving thought as to all the equipment you need.
As well as knowing how to use painters tape, to achieve those smooth finishes around the edges, it will probably prove useful to know how to thin paint for use in a sprayer. Something we are going to discuss in this post.
Why Do You Need to Thin Emulsion Paint Anyway?
Before we go any further, it’s worth discussing why you would want to thin emulsion paint or why you need to. Basically, because it is so thick, it needs to be thinned down before it will work in a paint sprayer.
This is all related to its viscosity. That is, how easy it flows or not. Emulsion benefits from being thick because it makes it durable. But if it is too thick it won’t flow through the spray gun nozzle. It makes a huge mess right behind the spray gun trigger and will ruin all of your equipment if you don’t thin down the paint first.
Even if you have a high-quality emulsion paint sprayer, you may still need to thin down the paint. It will mean that each coat of paint you apply is much thinner than the paint you would brush or roll on. When you thinned down emulsion paint before spraying though, you need to remember it will need around 3 to 4 coats to completely cover and produce the finish you are looking to achieve.
That is compared to the 1 to 2 coats of standard emulsion.
What You Need and The Thinning Process
Now to the actual process of thinning your emulsion paint. The materials you need include:
- 5-gallon bucket
- Large funnel
- Paint-stirring sticks
- Access to a sufficient volume of water
- Take all the paint you are going to use in that day and pour it into a large enough bucket
- Mix in 1/2 a cupful of water to each gallon of paint you use. Mix the water with the paint thoroughly with a clean stick to stir it.
- Check the paint consistency by pouring it into a funnel.
- If the emulsion paint once it has been thinned can flow easily through that funnel, you know you have the desired consistency.
What if the paint is clogged up in the funnel? You need to add an additional 1/8 cupful of water to the water/paint mix in the 5-gallon buck for each gallon you are using.
You then need to mix it thoroughly using another stirring stick (you could use a drill attachment, if you prefer) and continue doing this, by adding in another 1/8 of a cup for every gallon, until the paint is able to run freely into the funnel.
When you have added water to the emulsion paint, the paint’s characteristics change. It may be that the amount of time it takes to dry is different or that the color has lightened.
What if The Paint is Too Thin?
As we’ve already discussed, when thinning emulsion and other water-based paints, you need to add ½ a cup of water and then stir it thoroughly. What can you do if you add too much water accidentally at the same time? The paint will be far too thin. You will essentially be painting or spraying with just water. That won’t help you get the professional result you are after.
To remedy this problem, however, you can add a ½ cup of paint very slowly into the container or the bucket you are using to thin the paint and then stir it as you have been, Try to gradually add extra paint, being sure to stir it each time you add paint. Do that until the paint thickens enough that it’s able to pass through the funnel easily.
Using Floetrol with Emulsion Paint When Spraying
You may have come across or heard of people using a chemical called Floetrol when spraying with emulsion. It is worth noting that Floetrol is not a paint thinner, but a paint conditioner
The principle behind using Floetrol it to assist you in painting in conditions that are less ideal than you’d like. Where there is low levels of humidity or high temperatures. These conditions can make emulsion dry too fast, which is obviously something you’d want to avoid when spraying using a gun.
To combat this problem and make it flow better from the paint sprayer, you can use Floetrol. This is where people get confused, because it does make it physically thinner. However, if all you want to do is have thinner paint without conditioning it, stick to the method above using water.