Spraying Latex Paints

Finishers trade tips on spraying latex paint. August 14, 2007

I am trying to spray latex paint with a Binks mach1 HVLP gun and a pressure pot, with air pressure at 50lb at the gun and the pot reading at the end of its gauge at 16lbs. I thinned the paint 10% with water but am still getting orange peel. I don't know how much you can thin latex. Anyone else able to spray latex successfully? And yes, I normally spray ML Campbell resistant with great results. For this project, the owner wants latex.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
A lot depends on the specific brand you are using. You can probably push the thinning of it a little more but not much. There are flow-out additives you can try, and play with your pressure and needle air cap size if you have any others. I have often found that with latex, a cheap hardware store gun works better than the same Mach 1 you have or even a 2001 which usually will lay out anything beautifully. If you still have an option of switching product, Muralo brand lays out as smooth as silk.

From contributor R:
Rent an airless.

From contributor L:
I run a cheap Husky pressure pot gun. I set it at 50 PSI and it sprays good. For my thinning I add 2oz of water to 32oz of paint.

From contributor H:
Cut it ten percent and a flow agent. I believe in the past I have used Flotrol.

From contributor O:
I've had problems applying a latex coating until I tried this stuff called Floetrol. Once I found that, the latex ended up looking like a solvent coating once it dried itself.

From contributor U:
There is more than one kind of Floetrol. They sell it for oil based and acrylic. The other tip that helps a tremendous amount is putting the can of paint in a sink full of hot water. Thins the consistency without actually thinning the solids out.

From contributor J:
There also is a much less known product called Thin-X Latex Thinner. First heard about it on this forum. It's manufactured by The Savogran Company (SCL Sterling). I got my hands on a quart of the Thin-X Latex Thinner and first tried it with some Behr Interior Semigloss very thick stuff (takes about 4 minutes to go through a #4 Ford cup). Thinned it 35% with the Thin-X Latex only, and that got the viscosity down to 25 seconds in that same Ford cup. The Behr sprayed really well through my Walcom SLIM HVLP gun.

In an earlier experiment, I tried various dilutions of Floetrol and water with the Behr, and the results were quite disappointing when compared with the Thin-X Latex. Then I tried thinning some Break-Through white satin with the Thin-X Latex, and oh my goodness, does it ever work well there. Thinned 10% with the Thin-X Latex, the Break-Through sprays beautifully. I'm going to guess that other 100% acrylic paints would behave just as well, such as waterbased Ben Moore Satin Impervo.

I'm only an amateur, so exactly how the cured finish will behave over time is still the big question for me. I would be curious to know if any other real professionals have had experience with this product.

Finally, my local Ace Hardware store here near Sacramento was able to special order a case of quarts (six of them in a case). I understand that Sherwin Williams and True Value Hardware can do the same thing.

From contributor P:
This Thin-x stuff is the real deal. Try it with a better quality paint than Behr, please! Ben Moore latex semi or ICI will do.

This is one of the best new products that I have tried. We thin all our latex interior as well as exterior paints with this product. When spraying interiors, this product actually gives the paint a sheen that can not be had without Thin-x. One other new product we are using is Crawford's lightweight spackle. This is great stuff for small cracks on doors, windows, and walls.

From contributor E:
Benjamin Moore makes a water based Satin Imprevo that sprays pretty nice. It has to be thinned.