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Thread: Airless vs Air Compressor Questions

  1. #1

    Airless vs Air Compressor Questions

    Hi All,

    A bit off topic from wood working, but I know you all probably have some good thoughts on my dilemma:

    I am going to paint the exterior of my house. I was going to buy a Wagner airless sprayer (stationary reservoir unit, not the totally hand held type). The I got to thinking about using that money and adding a bit more to the pot and buying a large air compressor and spraying the house with a conventional spray gun. The upshot would be having the big air compressor into the future and not the airless sprayer which I wont use much after the project is over.

    Any thoughts on this? Can I spray latex exterior paint with the conventional sprayer (thinned down, I suspect)?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Since nobody else has answered, I'll give you my 2 cents. I faced the same situation about 5 years ago, and decided on the airless sprayer, a re-branded Wagner bought at Lowe's. I've used it exactly twice, once to paint a fence and once to paint my house. It works fine, no issues with that. But the set-up and clean-up time make it impractical (IMO) for smaller, quicker jobs. If you want to paint your house in a day, it's great. If you want to spread it out over a few weekends, a couple hours here, a couple there, not so much. I just finished painting my house again, with a brush this time. But I've had a lot of time this summer to do it.
    So, again, just my humble opinion, looking back I would go with your other choice. I don't for sure know about latex through a conventional spray gun, but I'll bet it's no problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Porter,TX
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    920

    Sprayer

    If you are going to spray your house once,then rent a unit.And take the money and invest into a good upright 80gal compressor that will deliver 12-23cfm's.That will cover any air tools and any type of HVLP sprayer that you will purchase.The airless is a specialty tool and the HVLP is also a specialty tool,both has the same job to do but does it in a different manner.I have the Ultra 395(airless) and a Devilbiss 670I(HVLP)I have use the airless to spray the outside of the house and doorcasing,crown and cabinets using the FF tips(latex) and I use the hvlp to spray oil base,lacquers.Take care of the sprayer's,exercise the airless once a yr and do a good cleaning and both will last as long as you own your house and consider woodworking a hobby.----Carroll

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Southern Minnesota
    Posts
    1,442
    I have a sprayer the older type with the cup that hangs under the gun. It works great for spraying finishes. I tried to paint the celing of my boys room with it a few years back and the latex was too thick for it to spray decent. It would have needed to be thined. I think that maybe a problem for exterior paint that is expected to hold up for 15-25 years. Larger tip sizes may solve that problem though. The other thing would be filling the paint cup. When I spray my deck I have to fiill the cup at least 10 times. It gets old in a hurry. Spraying a house would even be worse the cup goes empty awefull quickly when you are going strong. My advice would be to check out the price of renting an airless too. I had a friend that sprays the inside of prespec houses and he has a comercial air less sprayer. Just stick it in a 5 gallon bucket and go to town. He sprayed my addition for real cheap I would rent something like that if I had a big job to do.

    The best advice is to invest in some type of maitenance free siding so you never have to paint agian.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hill, NC
    Posts
    1,773
    Quote Originally Posted by Carroll Courtney View Post
    If you are going to spray your house once,then rent a unit.And take the money and invest into a good upright 80gal compressor that will deliver 12-23cfm's.That will cover any air tools and any type of HVLP sprayer that you will purchase.The airless is a specialty tool and the HVLP is also a specialty tool,both has the same job to do but does it in a different manner.I have the Ultra 395(airless) and a Devilbiss 670I(HVLP)I have use the airless to spray the outside of the house and doorcasing,crown and cabinets using the FF tips(latex) and I use the hvlp to spray oil base,lacquers.Take care of the sprayer's,exercise the airless once a yr and do a good cleaning and both will last as long as you own your house and consider woodworking a hobby.----Carroll

    +1. The commercial airless units are the best way to paint the exterior of a house. For the typical $500.00 + price tag, it's probably better to rent one and invest in a better compressor for your shop.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
    Posts
    912
    My brother and I did what you wanted to do. We got a Wagner Power painter, rented some scaffolding, and went to it, painting my parents house with Thompsons Waterseal stain about 15 years ago.

    It made the house brown. And us. And everything anywhere near the house, including the sidewalks, shrubs, whatever. I would never recommend one of them for anything. The tips clogged, a lot, and the long hose you are supposed to use with a gallon bucket never did work well.

    We thinned the stain with Mineral Spirits as they wanted, and we used the little cup to make sure it was thin as they recommended, but it was still a horrible job. I would use a standard sprayer, whether you buy one or rent it.

    Doc
    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate. ~Anonymous.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chandler, Arizona
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    203
    The conventional cup gun is not practical in any way for house painting. The airless will do a great job on your house. We own a home repair and painting company.

    Craig

  8. #8
    I just went thrug the same exercise this week. I looked at renting an airless but they wanted 75 bucks for every 4 hours.

    So I looked on Craigslist and found a used commercial HERO airless for 50 bucks. There seems to be a lot of them on Craigslist.

    The regualr paint sprayer won't hold or deliver enough paint.

    Fred Mc.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,493
    A real commercial unit is going to be $2500 or more when new. Big box stores don't sell commercial units. Don't believe the marketing folks.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    547
    I've painted my houses with both a conventional spray gun and an airless. The airless is significantly faster.

    The deciding factor for me was that the airless has significantly less overspray, meaning significantly less time masking and protecting nearby plants. A simple cardboard shield is sufficient for most areas.

    Another significant benefit of airless is that you can use a "tip extension" (12 inches to 6 feet, straight or angled) to paint well beyond your arm's reach, which you can't do with a conventional spray gun. This means more time spent painting and less time moving ladders/scaffolds.

    I'd love the justification for a bigger compressor, but wouldn't sacrifice the convenience of an airless for house painting.

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