The Graco Paint Sprayer is a powerful machine that speeds up the process and provides a smooth finish painting up to four times faster than a conventional a roller and brush.

Spraying Steps

1) Prep and Protect Surfaces

Using painters tape, plastic and paper meticulously cover all surfaces not being painted to protect from over spray.

2) Set Up Sprayer

Lay down a small drop cloth with the sprayer, one (1) five gallon bucket, paint supply and extension cord.

3) Protect Yourself

Put on protective glasses, respirator and gloves.  On interior jobs you may want coveralls and boot covers.

4) Spray Surface & Back Roll

Begin spraying the surface using the proper tip and extension and safely use ladders to reach high areas. Back roll as you go.

5) Clean Sprayer

Fill the two five gallon buckets with clean water and run water through the sprayer until it comes out clear.

6) Clean Up 

Remove prep materials and clean up overspray.

Tools and Sundries Checklist:

  • Graco Paint Sprayer
  • 6" & 10" tips
  • 12" & 24" extension 
  • 3 - five gallon buckets
  • Cut Bucket
  • Spray Shield
  • Extension Cord
  • Drop Cloth & Tarps
  • 3M Handmasker
  • 3M plastic 
  • 12 paper
  • Tape (Interior/Exterior)
  • Pliers
  • Ladders (Step & Extension)
  • Rags
  • Protective Glasses
  • Respirator
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Coveralls & Boot Covers
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Water Supply

Prep and Protect Surfaces

Properly prepping and protecting surfaces is the most vital and time consuming part of the spraying process.  It's important to take your time and produce consistent, high quality results prior to spraying.  Follow the prepping steps in the Interior and Exterior Painting Instructions manual to make sure the surface is prepped and ready to be painted.  The Sprayer is less forgiving in terms of surface preparation so it is very important to spend the time to produce a quality prepared surface.  

Using the 3M Handmasker with plastic film cover all windows and doors to protect from spray. Replace the plastic with a paper roll to cover the foundation, concrete, deck or roof.  Use tarps and drop cloths to protect every surface.  Use tape and paper to cover electrical outlets, light fixtures, meters and other items attached to the house that are not getting painted.  Different types and widths of tape are rated for different uses.  The four main types we use are: 1 inch or 1.5 inch Frog Tape which is a high quality painter's tape that provides the sharpest cleanest lines once removed after painting, 1.5 inch 3M exterior tape which is resistant to weather, 1 inch 3M Scotch Hard to Stick to Surfaces Tape for roofs or concrete and 1 inch to 2 inch 3M blue painters tape which is a good general purpose painter's tape and also lower cost.  We avoid white masking tape whenever possible. For interior spraying make sure the floor, windows and doors are covered as well as all electrical outlets, furniture, appliances, cabinets and counter tops.  If you are painting a surface but need to avoid painting another surface use tape, paper and plastic to cover the area.  For example, if you are spraying the ceilings but the walls are remaining the same color, run plastic down the walls then use the 3M hand masker and 12" paper along the ceiling line.

Our main concern with spraying is that the surface is properly prepped before painting and that surfaces and objects are properly covered or removed from the area as to protect from overspray.  While spraying does increase productivity and produce an excellent finish it does increase risk of liability.  But by carefully following the steps involved in preparation spraying is ultimately one of the best tools for effective and efficient results.

Set Up Sprayer

Setting up the sprayer is simple.  First create a station with a drop cloth under you.  First, gather the paint, extra buckets and sprayer together.  Plug the sprayer in using an extension cord if necessary.  Check to make sure all parts of the sprayer are screwed together tightly.  Dip the suction tube into the paint bucket.  You can either dip directly into the gallon of paint or box together several gallons into a 5 gallon bucket.  Using a waste bucket, point the priming tube down into the bucket, turn the prime valve into the down position, turn on the sprayer and increase the pressure valve.  One note, the pressure valve does not have a clear limit in terms of how far you can turn it so be careful not to over torque the pressure valve.  The ideal pressure is a level where the spray finish is consistent and fingers aren't spraying off the sides of the spray path.  Prime the pump until the storage fluid has been replace with paint.  Then switch off the sprayer, turn the prime valve into the spray position pointing horizontal and point the spray gun into the waste bucket.  While squeezing the trigger turn the machine back on shooting storage fluid into the waste bucket until only paint begins to come through the gun. Put on the tip with the extension size you've selected and test your spray pattern on a piece of card board or drop cloth.  Make sure your paint level is filled back up.  Typically the pump and hose will hold about a quart of paint.

Protect Yourself

Safety is always important in all aspects of the job.  Spraying has its own precautions.  First wear a respirator.  The smaller disposable respirators are usually fine out doors or if you are not the one in direct contact with the sprayer.  If you are operating the sprayer indoors you may want to use a respirator with cartridge filters rated for paint spray.  We mostly use water based paint products so there is no need to fear the fumes from paint but its still important to cover your nose and mouth from the spray mist.  Wear eye protection when operating the sprayer and to help keep yourself clean wear nitrile gloves, coveralls, boot covers and a sock hat.  Wearing these items does get hot so keep hydrated or consider not wearing them when the temperature is hot or humid.  Keep your hands and extremities away from the spray area.  The spray mist can pierce skin with direct contact.  Overall, the sprayer is a safe and easy piece of equipment to operate.  It requires no certification but as part of Color Theory policy one must review and have a solid understanding of the training materials and be trained in its use before operating it.

Spray Surface

If you've done your preparation correctly you're probably thinking to yourself, it would have been quicker just to paint everything by hand.  That is the balance.  Finding the point to where the prep work and spraying is actually faster.  Usually this is determined by a supervisor or manager.  Sometimes the customer will request specifically that something is sprayed because they prefer the finish.  Whichever process has been decided upon, once the spraying begins it goes fast.  

Now that you've set up your sprayer and have tested the spray path to make sure its even and consistent you can now begin spraying the surface.  For exterior always start top to bottom.  This way when you are using a ladder you can lean the ladder up against the unpainted surface, spray everything above the ladder and move horizontally and then lower the ladder spraying the next section below until you are at ground level. Always aim the spray tip directly at the surface about 12 inches away.  Avoid fanning but instead curl your wrist so that the spray gun remains perpendicular to the surface.  

Use a spray shield to help avoid spraying things that were not easily masked and if you see something that should be masked and is not, stop spraying, mask it and then continue spraying. In our company, we do not use the sprayer to cut in. Instead, spray between 12 inches and 24 inches up to a surface not getting painted; like a window.  Then, back roll into and cut in with a brush those areas. If you notice some flaking paint that should have been chipped, stop spraying, chip the paint and then continue.  Keep a wet rag near by in a bucket of water incase you get over spray on something that shouldn't be painted.  Wipe it up quickly before it dries.  If you notice overspray has dried on an area, clean it up with a rag and cleaning solution or touch it up with its respective paint color.

Clean Sprayer

The sprayer is an expensive piece of equipment and maintaining it is very important.  Generally it should be cleaned at the end of everyday.  However, if it is certain that it will be used again the next day you may leave the pump in the paint, over the paint tightly with tape and plastic, put the spray gun in water and resume use the next day.  It cannot sit unused for longer than 2 days.  Before you clean up the sprayer make sure to go back around the house and see if you missed anything.  Always give yourself plenty of time to clean the sprayer at the end of the day.  Follow the video instructions and find a place outside and away from the house to clean it.  You'll be dumping murky paint water so find an inconspicuous place where the mess be less noticed.  

In this training we've included two videos.  The first includes an attachment for a hose to connect directly to the suction pump.  If there is no hose attachment in your equipment bin you can just use two five gallon buckets and follow the second video.  This process takes 30-45 minutes to complete so again, make sure you begin clean up with enough time before you need to leave for the day.

The key to cleaning the sprayer with the bucket system is to have get the water going through the tubes clear as fast as possible.  The first time you dip the suction pump into a bucket of water it'll make the water murky.  Clean of the pump and use the murky water to pump the paint that's still in the tubes back into the paint bucket first with the prime valve and then with through the paint gun.  Remember, the hose and pump hold about a quart of paint and we don't want that to go to waste.  Once the water starts to dilute the paint switch the prime valve or gun over to the waste bucket and pump a little bit of the murky water through the pump.  Then clean out the filters of the pump and spray gun.  The pump filter must be cleaned every time while the spray gun filters should be done periodically.  Use pliers to loosen and then retighten the filters.  Now put the suction pump in a clean bucket of clear water or attach the water hose.  With the spray guard and tip off run water through the gun into the waste basket.  You may need to go back and forth between the spray gun and the prime pump in order to make sure all the the paint is gone and the water is clean enough to drink.  

If you are going to be spraying again soon you can just leave the water in the sprayer, however if you are going to be storing it for a while finish your cleaning process by pumping storage fluid into the machine.  Finally, wrap up the hose and the power cord and store the sprayer in a secure location.

Clean Up

After the sprayer is secured, pull down all of the tape and prepping materials and put it in the trash.  Clean up the surrounding areas and put all of the painting tools and equipment in a secure location leaving the job site clean.  Sweep the tarps and clean up any paint chips that have fallen to the ground.

Additional Videos:

Using a 3M hand masker to make masking window fast and easy. 

How to spray paint the exterior of your house and get pro results. 

How to spray cottage lap siding with and airless sprayer. A good method spraying to give good coverage, eliminate flashing, and to help eliminate holidays. 

How to prepare interior of the house for spray painting. 

Video shots on spraying interior trim work. Techniques spraying door jambs, window trim, baseboards, and doors.

If you are new to using airless spray equipment, this video will help you solve any problems you come across while using your Graco Magnum Airless Paint Sprayer.