Painting Power: How We Like Our Paint Gun So Far

By | January 22, 2014

Note: This review is in no way associated with or sponsored by Graco. They have no idea we’re writing this blog post, we’re just trying to share our experiences with you all.

As promised in the post about refinishing our church pew, we’re back with a review on our new Graco paint sprayer.

New Graco Paint Sprayer

1. It’s fast.

2. It’s fun.

3. It’s a pain to clean.

Now, I’m guessing you already knew or assumed all of those things, so here’s a little bit of extra detail about those three topics:

1. It’s fast. The sprayer is pretty powerful, and practice makes perfect. We were lucky to have a nice day when we could do our spraying outside, which let us practice pretty easily. We set out some plastic tarps and started getting the hang of the gun by spraying it directly into the air. (Before doing this, make sure you are FAR away from your own house, as well as your neighbor’s house/fence/trees/dog/etc. Spraying into the air will allow some residue to fly around and possibly land on surfaces. Luckily, we have a huge yard, so this wasn’t an issue for us. Most of the paint just spread out and settled on the grass, not leaving any marks at all.)

Paint Gun Spray Practice 2

We started by painting some boards that were going to be hidden underneath the table, but that we wanted to paint white anyway. A win-win. You can see those boards in the post linked above.

It took a little getting used to, and every surface we tried it on was a little different in terms of how fast we needed to go to get a good, even coat of paint, but, after you get the hang of using the sprayer, you can really cover some ground, painting wise, in a short amount of time. To help demonstrate exactly how fast it goes, here’s a video we took of me painting the pew. This was right after we started using it, and I realize it’s boring, but it will give you an idea…

2. It’s fun. Part of the reason it’s so fun is that it’s fast. I mean, how else could you paint something so fast? We really sped through everything we had to paint that day, and if it had been better weather, we would have been able to do even more. As it was, it got dark and cold pretty early so we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked.

Not only is it fun to get a lot of work done quickly and easily, but the gun itself also just feels fun to use. I think it will help Hubs hold up his end of our painting projects. He’s not so fond of using brushes and rollers. Power tools make everything more fun, right?

3. It’s a pain to clean. I did most of the cleaning process all on my own as Hubs was working on more important things in the garage (like building our table) but he did come help me with a few steps of the process.

The sprayer does come with little bags for inside the paint cup, which helps keep that a little cleaner, but it still takes a bit of effort to clean.

Paint Sprayer Cup

Basically, from start to finish, I ended up cleaning this bad boy for about an hour…which depending on how big of a project you were doing, could have been more time than you actually spent painting. Since we were painting several coats on several different projects, we got a lot done in one day, which made all this extra cleaning work worthwhile, but I’d definitely recommend having more than one small thing to paint each time you use this to make it worth the effort.

Also, follow the directions for cleaning carefully! There are pretty specific things the instructions say to do and not to do, and if you don’t do them, you could break your new spray gun!

Graco Paint Sprayer

Additional thoughts:

4. It’s messy!

We knew this ahead of time that mess would be a factor with this. Even though it says it has little overspray, there will be overspray. I can’t imagine anyone using this to paint the walls inside their house unless they were going to come back and repaint all the trim as well. (That means, that no matter how much Frog Tape you use, you’ll still have speckles all over the floor and the ceiling and your hands and basically all over anything nearby.)

We wore masks to prevent breathing in any paint that was in the air, although since we were outside, I don’t think that was really necessary. However, we would for sure(!!) need to wear them in we ever use this sprayer inside, or in a makeshift spray booth in the garage.

Paint Gun Spray Practice

Again, since we were working outside, overspray wasn’t an issue, but I was a little disappointed we ended up with some white speckles on the back of our pew…which we were trying to avoid painting in favor of leaving it rustic and original.

Pew Back 3

Still, the slightly speckled back (makes it sound like I’m talking about a poisonous frog or something) was worth the really smooth, even finish the sprayer gave us on the front of the pew. It would have been a lot harder to have such a nice coat (with no brush strokes) if we’d done this all by hand.

5. It uses a lot of paint.

Now, the coverage is great, so this isn’t really a negative feature.

Finished Pew

Just make sure you have plenty of paint on hand. We used about half a gallon in one afternoon, which is a lot considering we didn’t paint anything that big. The paint just goes on thicker, which means you get good coverage, but that you use a lot of paint quickly. I’m not saying it’s wasteful, just be prepared so you don’t have to run out and get more halfway through or something.

All that being said, we really liked using this sprayer! It was a bit of a splurge since we’ve only used it once so far, but we knew we’d want to use this for the chairs (which we still have to finish sanding before we spray primer and then paint on them) so we went for it. I wasn’t at all interested in using a brush to get in and around all the arms and legs and spindles of 8 dining room chairs, so we decided to spring for the sprayer.

Refinishing Chairs

I’ll be back for another review after that process is over, because I’m sure we’ll have more to learn. (Spraying all those angles will be a challenge compared to the flat surface of the pew and the boards for the table base. Plus, we plan to try and paint those in the garage (if it doesn’t get any warmer soon) so we might have more tips on spraying indoors without making a giant, awful mess.

(And it will be the proof of whether all that cleaning effort was worth it! If it’s clogged when we open it to use again, I’ll have words with the manufacturer, for sure!)

Oh, one more thought, storing it is a bit of a pain, at least until we get a better place for it, because it has to be stored sitting straight up, and not on its side. You can see it in its temporary home in the garage in this pic:

Poly on Table Top

Anyway, have you ever used a paint sprayer? I think this one worked really well and I’m happy, so far, with our purchase. But I know there are tons of brands and models out there, so I’d love to hear your experiences, too!

Join in with a comment! (Let's all agree to be constructive here, okay? Thanks!)