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Oil-based paint is a slow drying paint consisting of particles of pigment that is suspended in a drying oil. You can change the consistency of the pain by adding a solvent like turpentine, white spirit, and varnish. Oil paints were commonly used since the 12th century in Europe for decorations and were only adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century.
Oil-based paints have two different types. It is either made up of alkyd or linseed oils. Alkyd paints are more commonly used since it is cheaper and tougher. Oil-based paints are durable so they can withstand constant contact which makes them perfect for moldings and trim. The resin forms a hard coating that is not breathable which helps avoid stains and rust over time. However, oil-based paints have a stronger odor and take a long time to fully dry. For long term use, oil-based paint is the best option due to its durability. However, remember that this type of paint should not be used on untreated masonry or drywall without a primer. This also contains high volatile organic compound levels that can cause smog and air quality problems so it is extremely important to use it in a well-ventilated room or area. After selecting your paint, it is important and recommended to read and understand the label about the binders, pigments, and liquids.
Advantages and Uses of Oil-Based Paints
Before deciding on using oil-based paints, you should know when is the right time to use oil paints and when not to. There are multiple advantages when using oil-based paint. Like even though oil-based paints take a long time to dry, it produces a smoother and glossier finish compared to other types of paints which makes the waiting time worth it. This type of paint when fully dried provides a hard enamel that makes it resistant to scratches, fingerprints, staining, and rusting. Oil paints potentially use a lot less paint since it covers more thoroughly in a single coat. Oil-based paints provide great coverage and usually do not require a second coating. This paint may also be applied to stained, chalky, and or dirty surfaces. This also works better at painting over tiny imperfections or somewhat damaged areas. When comparing latex, water-based, and oil-based paints, some would claim that oil-based paints look better, smoother, and more solid. Making some experts argue that the finished products of oil-based paint are much richer and saturated than any type of paint in the market. Knowing all these capabilities, you can conclude that oil-based paints can be used in pretty much almost every situation. Some projects you might want to consider using oil-based paint is when painting an interior and exterior trim, doors, cabinetry, humid rooms such as the kitchen or the bathroom, a stucco ceiling, decking, and when using a faux finish. Oil-based paints are great for outdoor painting jobs as well.
Thinning an Oil-Based Paint
Knowing how to properly use paint thinners when using oil-based paint is extremely important in ensuring that you end up with a good result. Oil paints are slow-drying and give off extremely high amounts of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that are harmful to people in high concentration if exposed in a prolonged amount of time. So, when using oil-based paint, solvents are essential in cleaning the brushes and the pieces of equipment used. Solvents like paint thinners can help dissolve paint and lessen the viscosity of the paint when it is used in sprayer applications or when a thinner mixture is needed. They can dissolve paint and can be used as a general cleanup for the brushes, splatters, or any other materials that need cleaning. When the paint is left open it may begin to harden, dry, and become thicker making it harder to use when that happens, thinner can be used to counteract this. There are several solvents that can be used to remove paint as well like acetone, turpentine, naphtha, xylene, MEK, and denatured alcohol. But before using any of these solvents, make sure to check the product label and information in order to use it safely.
1. Choose an Appropriate Thinner
Choosing an appropriate thinner is the first and most important step when thinning paint. Make sure that the thinner used is appropriate for the paint, in this case, an oil-based paint. Solvents will dilute the oil paint and will be used to clean the brush. You can use this to thin the paint which will create a watery mixture. When you are planning to use the paint inside a room, keep in mind to look for options that are low-odor.
2. Use the right amount of Thinner
In order to avoid using too much, make sure to mix small amounts of thinner at a time. Check the container for information regarding the suggested ratio of paint to paint thinner. The general proportion of thinning is usually a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of paint to thinner. Keeping the amount of paint higher than the amount of paint thinner is extremely important. If this is not followed, it may result in having the paint too thin and can make the shade lighter than intended on the surface. In mixing paint and thinner, always follow the manufacturers’ direction and always measure out the amount of paint prescribed, and then pour it into a mixing bucket. Always start by adding the paint thinner a little bit at a time while stirring using a paint stirrer. Mix the mixture constantly for several minutes while checking them consistently. Take note that cold paint will always appear thicker than it is which can deceive you. Only add thinner to paint when it is at room temperature to avoid the mistake of using too much thinner.
3. Test the Mix
Before you start painting on the walls or on the surface you are planning to paint, always make sure to test the mixture first. Apply a minimum of two coats of your paint and thinner mixture using your desired method on your walls or surface, then step back and evaluate the results. Make sure that the paint has completely covered the surface where you cannot see the surface underneath. Ensure that the mixture isn’t running or dripping overly. If you see that the paint is not thin enough, add a tiny amount of thinner to the paint and thinner mixture and redo the test.
Thinning Procedure for Spray Gun
When purchasing an oil-based paint for spraying, always take note that not all paints can be thinned down. So it is essential when shopping to always check the label and make sure that you are purchasing an oil-based paint that can be used directly in the spray or can be thinned. Not only does the paint matter but the type of spray gun you use a matter a lot as well. Some are incompatible to use together even when the paint has been thinned already. So, it is always good to consult with a paint expert at the store just to make sure that everything you are about to purchase is compatible and will work well together. After you have done that, here are the important steps you must take note of when doing the thinning procedure for a spray gun. Not to worry though, you can always check the label of the paint for thinning instructions.
Make sure to pour the paint into the bucket through a strainer. This will ensure that the paint you are using does not have any clumps and if there are, the strainer will be there to catch them. But if you do not have a strainer though, you can just simply go through the paint and search for any clumps. You can throw out the hard chunks you may find.
Look at the paint label and use it as a reference for your paint-to-thinner ratio. The usual rule of thumb when mixing is 1 part thinner to 3 parts of paint. Always remember to keep the paint’s amount higher than that of the thinner. Add a tiny amount of thinner at a time when mixing to avoid adding too much thinner to the mixture which will result in a lighter shade than what you intended.
Stir the thinner thoroughly using a clean stick or a stirrer to make sure it is well combined.
A good way to know when the paint is ready and is thin enough for the spray gun is when it flows through easily so observe how the paint behaves when inserted into the funnel. If it does not do that, then you probably did not add enough thinner. But if it does flow easily, then it should be good to work for most spray guns.
If the paint does not go through the funnel easily as it should be, slowly add one more part of the thinner. One thing to note about when using a thinner is it will thin out the paint and you may need to apply several coats than usual to get the color and protective coating you want to achieve. It may also cause the paint to take a longer time to dry so you may have to wait a little longer between each coat as well. So, make sure that you have plenty enough time to wait between coats since it is essential for each coat to dry for you to have a good finished product.
Nevertheless, the time and effort you have to spend when using a spray gun compared to using a brush are still very much worth the wait.
Precautions Before and During you start Thinning and Spraying
Before you start spraying your thinned paint, there are certain things you have to make sure to ensure that you will have a successful painting job. If the surface you are planning to paint has been painted before already, it is better to start with a primer first. This is especially important if the old paint used is not oil-based like latex. Remember that oil does not work well with water. Now if you skip the primer and begin spraying on top of the old paint, the oil-based paint may not properly stick and apply on the surface well. Thinning primers have a similar procedure with thinning paint itself. It is best to refer to the suggestion and direction on the can label before you begin. If the can does not mention any thinning ratios, it is best not to thin it out since it does not probably work well with thinners. There are also certain types of primers that only work with certain types of thinners so make sure to ask the experts in the store so that you can make sure you get the right combination and end up with good results. During spraying, there may be instances where the sprayer tip will keep on getting clogged and making erratic patterns. This may not be an issue if you were able to properly thin the paint, at least not frequently. However, if you are certain that you were able to thin the pain properly and you still get the clogs and erratic patterns, then the previously dried paint on the spray gun that was not adequately cleaned or washed off may be the main cause and problem. One way to get rid of those is loosening the spray gun and remove the dried up paint from the nozzle tip may solve the problem. But if you do not want to do that, you may operate the spray gun at a higher pressure which can be useful in forcing the clumps that are clogging the nozzle out.
Setting up the Machine
When operating a spray gun for your oil-based paints, it is important to carry out proper setting up of equipment and maintenance procedures to avoid issues and problems when spraying. Using the spray method to apply your coating helps you finish and cover the surface area faster, a uniform application, quality control, and less costing on having to purchase a lot of brushes that can be ruined and unusable for the next paint job project. Using this technique is also useful in creating a smooth and coordinated layer of paint when painting intricate shapes and irregular surfaces. There are two most commonly used methods of spray painting, air atomized spray, and or airless spray. Air atomized spray is using compressed air to turn the coating into tiny particles or droplets as it leaves the spray gun. While an airless spray pressurizes the protective coating at a high level through a pump and then forces it to exit through a small elliptical opening causing the paint to atomize through pressure. There are several pieces of equipment needed in setting up an air spray. Components that are needed to apply the coatings are as follows:
An air compressor should supply clean, dry air that has sufficient volume and pressure needed for all the components in the system.
Compressed air filter
A compressed air filter is needed in between the compressor and the pot to constantly drain moisture away from the filtration unit.
Air supply hose for the compressor to paint tank or pump
It is extremely important to check the air hose and air compressor fittings to the tank and make sure all are in good condition and does not have any leak.
Air regulators with gauges
This controls the flow of air passing through.
A container for the coating
Gravity guns usually use a cup attached to the gun that delivers the coating. Bigger jobs that need more paint usually require a pressure pot.
Paint agitator, if needed
This is for mixing purposes. An agitator can help blend the new colors and the main color properly.
Fluid hose to supply the coating
Used for coating purpose.
Air hose to supply the atomizing air to the gun
When choosing both fluid and air hose, always refer to the manufacturer of the paint since there are different viscosities of paints.
Air spray paint gun
A spray gun operates by atomizing a stream of fluid with compressed air.
There may be multiple components needed to supply the air spray gun, the person operating is the most important part of the operation since he/she is responsible for the application, technique, and keeping the equipment in its best shape.
Operating and Procedure
Setting up the equipment begins by connecting the air hose and paint hose to the spray gun and pressure gun first. When all are connected, turn the tank and gun air regulator on to get rid of the pressure when the main air supply is connected. Then pull the safety ring on the tank to make sure it operates. Close the main air supply valve then tighten the lid clamps. After doing so, connect the main air supply to the tank. Make sure that the air supply hose is connected securely to the pressure tank, when done, open the main air supply valve slowly. Observe the regulator air gauge and if it is showing pressure, turn the handle to lessen the pressure to zero. Before you load the paint into the tank, make sure to check the operation and fittings. Prior to attaching the spray gun to the fluid and air, adjust the fluid until the trigger can be pulled toward the back of the gun. Hold the trigger to its maximum level and turn the fluid adjustment knob. Adjust the regulator and check for leaks. Prepare the paint mixture or coating. Hold the spray gun and then press the trigger fully. No air or paint should be flowing out. Then fill the hose while holding the trigger fully depressed by increasing the pressure. Remember to keep the gun open since the hose is full air in order to remove the air. Let the paint flow from the gun until all air bubbles are rid of and a solid stream in its place. But before you start spraying, remember to have an apron, an overall, a face mask, special containers, a bucket of warm water, and a stick for stirring. Having protective equipment when painting is extremely important, especially when you are doing the spraying method, since there may be potential accidents that can happen like the spray gun could malfunction and the paint may splatter all over you and your clothes.
Disposal or Storage of Solvents
After thoroughly cleaning the applicators and pieces of equipment used, checks and see if the thinner in the sealed container is clear and the paint pigments and particles in the container you used have settled in the bottom. Pour out the clear thinner into another clean and sealable container and make sure to label it as used thinner with a permanent marker for future reuse. After sealing the used thinner, collect the paint that has settled in the bottom of the container in another separate sealable container so that you can dispose of it later properly at your local hazardous waste disposal location. Remember to never pour the used thinner or your oil-based paints into your drains or onto the ground because this can pollute the soil and water. It can also clog your drain. Find a place in your house or storage where there is sufficient ventilation. This may be outside your house like a shed as well. This is because vapors may escape from the container that can build up in a non-ventilated space and may cause harmful effects. When storing, do not fill the container with the solvent all the way to the top. The vapors need room to expand and an overfilled container may burst. Once your containers reach halfway-full, make sure to properly seal them and dispose of them in a proper way and location.
Want to learn about the know-how of handling a spray gun when oil painting? It’s fairly simple and easy to understand. Go over the important details quickly before you decide on using spray guns on your oil painting!