Choosing the proper airless sprayer tips is the key to successful spray painting. The right size spray tip will allow you to have more controlled spraying, reducing overspray and preventing excessive paint build-up. Using too large of a spray tip does not only waste paint but can result in paint runs, puckered paint, and an overall unattractive finish. Then again, airless spray tips that are too small will not permit the paint to smoothly pass through the tip’s orifice resulting in an uneven spray pattern.
Identifying Spray Tip Sizes
Airless sprayer tips are available in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate most spray painting applications. An airless spray tip is measured two ways:
These measurements are displayed on spray tips with three numbers (four numbers for extra wide spray fans). For example, a 515 spray tip should be interpreted as follows:
The fan widths for airless sprayer tips should be selected based upon the surfaces to be sprayed. As a general rule, wide spray fans work best for large areas such as walls and ceilings while narrower fan widths are better suited for cabinets, doors, trim, and railings.
The optimum orifice size for an airless spray tip is determined by the viscosity of the paint material and the type of surface to be sprayed.
Smaller orifices work well for thinner materials such as lacquers and fine enamels. They also afford the user more control for irregular surfaces that are difficult to spray. Cabinet interiors and railings are good examples of this. Limiting the paint output can prevent excessive amounts of paint from collecting in the corners.
Fine finish spray tips offer the most control for spray painting low viscosity paint materials. The small orifice size along with the double orifice design better atomizes the paint than traditional airless sprayer tips do.
Larger orifice size tips are best for heavier bodied paints. It is important that the airless sprayer being used can provide enough output to support the selected tip. Some of the smaller airless sprayers cannot handle spray tips larger than 0.015-0.017 inches.
The following table is a list of coatings paired with suggested spray tip orifice sizes.
|Alkyd Enamel||.009, .010, & .011|
|Varnish||.009, .010, & .011|
|Polyurethane||.009, .010, & .011|
|Fine Latex/Acrylic Paint||.010, .011, .012, .013, .014|
|Heavy Body Latex Paint||.015, .017, .019|
|Elastomeric Paint||.023, .025, .027|
Choosing spray tip sizes presents choices. To maximize control it is best to select the smallest orifice size possible for a particular coating. For instance, spraying a heavy bodied exterior latex paint with a .015 tip uses less paint and offers more control than a .019 tip does. It is possible that a .015 spray tip is inadequate for some viscous exterior paints. Slightly thinning the paint or preparing it with the proper conditioner enables the paint to more easily pass through a smaller orifice.
Spray Tip Size Guide
The following tables display several paint applications with suggested corresponding spray tips. These spray tip sizes are merely recommendations. Other size tips may suffice.
|Painting Applications||Spray Tips|
|Walls and Ceilings||515, 517|
|Gutters and Fascia Boards||413, 415, 515|
|Wood Siding||515, 615, 517, 617|
|Stucco Walls||515, 615, 517, 617|
|Exterior Brick||515, 615, 517, 617|
|Exterior Doors and Windows||413, 415|
|Exterior Trim||413, 415, 515|
|Elastomeric Paint||523, 623, 525, 625, 527, 627|
|Painting Applications||Tip Sizes|
|Walls and Ceilings||515, 615, 517, 617|
|Doors||310, 410, 311, 411, 412|
|Windows||210, 310, 211, 311, 212, 312|
|Trim||310, 311, 312|
|Cabinets||310, 410, 311|
Spray Tip Wear and Tear
Airless sprayer tips will wear under normal use. Greater viscosity paint coatings and higher pressures will shorten the life of spray tips more quickly. Eventually the orifice size increases allowing more paint to pass through the tip. The result is an uneven spray pattern. A spray tip should be replaced at first signs of wear.
Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.