Can You Use A Sprayer For Oil-Based Paint?

Oil-based paints are great for exterior work and add extra protective layers to the surface. Typically, a paintbrush or a roller is used for oil-based paint. Nevertheless, it requires great effort, and time and may not result as good as done by professionals if you choose DIY.

Because of these inconveniences that are related to the traditional painting method, many people prefer to select a paint sprayer. However, oil-based paints often exhibit problems when applied with a spray gun. In this circumstance, you can choose either oil-based paint or a spray gun. Even so, if you do not want to make a choice between these two, continue reading the full article.


Can You Use A Sprayer For Oil-Based Paint?

Even though we have said that the ideal way to use oil-based paint is to apply the traditional methods, you can definitely use a sprayer for oil-based paint. For this, the paint needs to be thinned. Use the best paint sprayer for oil based paint and make sure that you have prepared the paint properly to achieve a smooth and flawless finish.


Can You Use A Sprayer For Oil-Based Paint?


How To Thin Oil-Based Paints For A Sprayer

Oil-based paints are generally highly viscous. So you need to reduce the viscosity of oil-based paint unless you want the paint to clog the sprayer. This will avoid the unnecessary trouble of opening the clogging from the sprayer nozzle again and again. Reducing the viscosity of oil-based paint not only avoids clogging but also results in a smooth finish.

Step 1: Check Your Spray Gun

We always recommend checking the paint and the spray gun before doing anything. All spray guns are not capable enough to utilize oil-based paints no matter how thin they are. So read the instructions of your sprayer or visit the manufacturer’s website to make certain that your sprayer is able to use oil paints.

Step 2: Gather The Necessary Equipment

Now, gather all the required equipment suitable for spraying paint. Luckily, you can use these items multiple times.

  • A strainer
  • Clean stirring sticks
  • A funnel
  • Turpentine or mineral spirits
  • A bucket or a clean tin

Step 3: Prepare The Paint

When you open the can of the paint, you will see a layer of oil floating above the paint. Use a stick and stir the paint well. Sometimes, you may find hard chunks in the paint. Do not worry, it is completely normal. Use a strainer and pour the paint into a bucket through a strainer. The strainer will remove any sort of hard chunks and impurities.

Step 4: Mix With Turpentine Or Mineral Spirits

Once you have strained the paint into a clean container, you should add the thinning agent. The correct thinning ratio for an oil-based paint is 1 part thinner for every 3 parts of paint. The ratio is vitally important for gaining perfect consistency.

If you are doing this for the first time or are afraid of not doing this perfectly, you can add a thinning agent little by little. In this way, you will be able to check the consistency of the paint and avoid the risk of adding too much thinner. When you add a mineral spirit or thinner, stir the paint with a stick until they are mixed well.

Step 5: Check The Consistency And Repeat If Necessary

In this step, you should check whether the paint is thin enough to be used in a sprayer. Let the paint run through the funnel and check how it runs. If the paint flows freely, then it is in the right consistency. On the contrary, if the paint looks thick or does not go through the funnel freely, you will need to repeat step 4. After repeating step 4, you should repeat step 5 and continue doing so till you achieve the right consistency.

Tips For Using Oil-Based Paint

Can You Use A Sprayer For Oil-Based Paint?


Now you know how you can thin oil-based paint for use on a spray gun. To help you further, we shared with you some tips for using oil-based paint.

Prepare The Surface

For a smooth finish paint, you need to prepare the surface beforehand. Whether the surface has old paint or not, using a primer can make the paint adhere well, cover any stains, and smoothen the surface. So, you should always apply primer first on the surface.

Wear Protective Gear

Everybody knows that paint is made with many harmful chemicals. These chemicals can emit toxic fumes. When you are using a spray gun for painting, the probability of these chemicals emitting fumes and polluting your surrounding air increases more. Inhaling paint fumes can cause lung irritation and damage your nervous system.

Just as inhaling paint fumes can be detrimental to your health, paint spills can damage your skin. So, it is strongly advised you wear a painter’s mask, apron and gloves whenever you paint.

Use Clean Equipment And Containers

For ensuring a great painting experience, you should use clean equipment and containers. Dirty containers can lead to damaging the quality of the paint. Sometimes dirty containers and equipment react with the chemicals of the paint and can cause discoloration.

Most people mix the old paint of the same color with the new can of paint. Even if the old paint has not gone rotten, mixing old paint with new paint can result in building chunks, damaging the quality of the paint and discoloration. Therefore, you should make sure that every tool you are using is clean and do not mix old paint with new paint.

Final Thought

When painting with oil-based paint, a paint sprayer may present a better result than you expect. You just need to follow our guide to thin oil-based paint so that the paint does not clog the gun. While thinning, you should remember that oil-based paint seems thick at a cool temperature. Hence, if you are thinning paint at a cool temperature, you may not achieve the right consistency. Therefore, it is best that you thin oil-based paint at room temperature.

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