Over the weekend, I was spray painting...as you can see from the yard. I used both my paint sprayer and cans of spray paint, and thought I'd give you a little info on both and when and why I use each.
A couple years ago, Cheryl and I each bought ourselves Wagner Power Painters. We were tired of the overhead costs of paying someone to paint pieces of furniture, when we were still expected to do all the prep work, sanding etc. Unfortunately, in Minnesota, there's only so many months we can use them outside in the yard. We still mainly brush paint furniture, but this weekend I had some pieces that were crying out for the paint sprayer, so I psyched myself up.
When I have larger pieces of furniture, usually wood or wicker that have a lot of legs, cubbys, or weave-type patterns, brush painting is just not an option. And using spray paint in a can at $3-4 a can would be cost prohibitive. I also prefer the flexibility of latex paint on these type of surfaces.
Luckily, our former painter man gave me the tip to use Floetrol in the paint as an additive. It thins the paint a little, which is better for the sprayer, and just maximizes how the paint functions and dries.
I am not very mechanical, so getting all the parts on the sprayer in the right order is a little stressful. Luckily, there's great pictures in the manual. The beast can be a little touchy, so I usually pray over it when I get everything ready to go. It's quite noisy to run, and the jiggling motion can loosen some of the parts which results in sputtering, blotching paint. Several thin coats are far better than a thick application, resulting in drips. It's also quite heavy to hold in my hand. I usually have one hand on the trigger, and the other supporting the paint resevoir.
It worked great on the cubbys, above. I had started brush priming them, and quickly realized I could spend my whole life doing that. Spraying them with a paint+primer paint with the Floetral additive proved to be much more efficient. A couple years ago I had several large pieces of wicker furniture that I painted black. The paint sprayer worked perfectly to get them all painted with good coverage for a low cost.
I like to finish off the piece with a light coating of poly that I apply with another type of sprayer from Wagner. It gives the flat paint a slight sheen, and will help the wearability.
Spray paint has come a long way in recent years. It comes in a myriad of colors and textures, and has much better nozzles than in years past. My current favorite is Rust-oleums 2X Ultracover. I like to use a handle that attaches to the top to save my finger from extreme arthritis.
Spray paint in a can is my choice for anything metal, anything with small cubbys, or thin and curvy. This weekend I used it on some small, wood display shelves.
I used many cans of it to paint all my outside furniture to get ready for the grad party.
I love the vibrant pop of color that spray paint provides. It's more of a modern touch.
So...here are some items that could use paint. Which one would I use?
My swinging bench needs a paint job. I would love to use the paint sprayer, but unfortunately you are not supposed to use exterior paint in the sprayer. So I either have to brush paint all these slats, or use a bunch of cans of spray paint. I would prefer the texture of real paint on the wood, but don't know if I have the patience to prime and paint it with a brush. We'll see...
Old ladders look really cute painted. My first choice, since it's wood, would be to use the paint sprayer. But I would only want to hook it up if I had a whole bunch of wood items to paint. If I have a pile of wood spindly chairs, some magazine racks, some leggy side tables that can all be the same latex color, I'd add the ladder to the pile. Couple years ago, I painted a whole pile a deep red...looked like I'd killed someone in the back yard:(
Metal tables and scrolly metal yard furniture: definitely spray paint in a can.
Wicker: For small baskets it's probably easier to just use a can. Even for a small chair, easier with a can. If you have a whole set of wicker...getting out the paint sprayer would be better.
Hope that helps you decide what version of paint to use on your project? Last bit of advice...pick a non-windy day...and don't be near your car or any buildings.