Decorating with Power Tools and Attachments

Power tools or attachments can take much of the tedium from the preparation of surfaces, as well as enabling one to produce a high-grade finish. Power sprays for larger areas, and aerosols for small surfaces, also give a finish of high quality, provided they are used correctly and in the right conditions.

A spray gun provides an excellent way of covering large surface areas with paint quickly and well. It can be used both externally and internally. Before painting, it is necessary to mask all areas not to be covered.

Small objects are usually sprayed with newspaper behind them to protect the background.

When masking for interior or exterior work, take care to protect window and door areas.


The range of spray guns extends from the simple electric gun to more sophisticated units using compressors. The latter are fairly expensive and may be hired unless you plan extended considerable use of a spray unit.

Another type of gun is electrically powered, working on an airless principle. A compressor is not needed as the gun is operated by means of a self-contained pump. When using an airless pump the bounce and overspray found with some types of pump are reduced to a minimum.

The operating pressure of a spray gun should be at least 28kg/cm2. Accessories include differing types of nozzle and a flexible extension nozzle which is useful for painting ceilings and doors.

For most home decorating jobs you will need two types of nozzle: the fishtail or fan-shaped, and the plain, round nozzle.

The fish-tail nozzle gives a wide spray and is used to spray large areas. The plain, round type gives a narrower trajectory and is used to cover narrow or restricted areas.

Never turn a spray gun upside down in use. Or it will cease to operate.


The first task before starting to decorate is to mask, thoroughly, all areas that are not to be painted. Masking can be done quite effectively using newspaper and masking tape.

Use a tape with a low-impact adhesive backing as this can be peeled off quite easily afterwards. Anatomized paint will penetrate everywhere and it is essential to make sure that the masked areas are completely sealed.

Once the finish coat is applied, the masking tape should be left in place overnight.

When spraying large areas, such as walls and ceilings, ideally the room should be completely cleared. If this is not possible, stack furniture in the centre of the area and cover with dust sheets or sheet polythene. For extra protection, polythene sheeting can be stapled to floorboards. The area should also be well ventilated. Wear old clothes and a protective mask. Never smoke when working, or spray paint near an open fire or an appliance with a pilot light.

Externally it is not necessary to mask woodwork or rainwater goods that are to be painted at a latter stage. Stone, brickwork, tiles and any paths, patios or areas of decorative concrete will need covering as they are very difficult to clean afterwards.

Type of paint

Almost any type of paint can be sprayed provided a good-quality gun is used. Spray application is not recommended for the primer coat, as a brush will ‘tease’ and produce a better bond than sprayed paint, which is inclined to ‘lie’ on the surface.

Emulsion, oil-based, polyurethane, wood preservatives and bituminous paints can be sprayed. They should be thinned to a suitable consistency. Thinning is important as the paint has to be atomized as it is ejected.

The correct thinner will bring the paint to the consistency of thick cream. Use the type of thinner recommended by the paint manufacturer. It may need a little practice to find the right consistency. If it is too thick it will clog the nozzle; too thin and the surface coverage will be thin and inadequate.

Generally, water or oil-based paints will need thinning by a third to a half, while other paints, such as lacquer, may need equal quantities of paint and thinners.

If the nozzle of the gun becomes clogged it can usually be freed, using a thin piece of wire.


Spraying should be carried out in clean, dry and relatively warm and still conditions. A temperature of 21°C is ideal. In colder conditions, paint takes relatively longer to dry. All surfaces should be suitably prepared and primed before being sprayed.

First, test the spray application on a spare piece of hardboard or other surface. Start at the top of the area and work, keeping the spray nozzle about 200mm from and at right angles to, the surface.

Apply using wide, horizontal strokes parallel with the surface, in a steady continuous motion. If you stop, even for a moment, the paint will run in that position. With the gun used in an arcing motion, paint will be deposited unevenly.

At the end of each stroke, release the trigger to prevent heavy overspray; overlap slightly at the end of each stroke to obtain even coverage. At least three coats will have to be applied, but this is no problem as application is quick.

Paint, such as gloss, applied too thickly, will run and look unsightly. Evenness of application is particularly important on decorative interior paint surfaces; on exterior work, such as covering stonework, slight runs will not matter.

Always allow any spray coat to dry thoroughly, or the paint may ‘curtain’ or run. A pimply orange-peel effect may also occur.

After use, thoroughly clean the container and mechanism with water (in the case of water-based paints) or thinners or white spirit for other paints. Remove the spray heads and clean these individually.

For spraying small areas or objects, it may be more convenient to use an aerosol can. The techniques are similar to those for spray guns. In average conditions, allow seven minutes between application of coats; longer in colder conditions.

Powered stirring

A power paint stirrer is an attachment to use in conjunction with a power drill. It provides an effective method of mixing paint, particularly large amounts, thoroughly.

Stand the can on a sheet of newspaper. Immerse the paint stirrer right into the paint, then start the drill. A high drill speed can be used. Switch off before removing the attachment, or you will distribute paint widely around the tin; clean the stirrer thoroughly after use.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Decorating with Power Tools and Attachments


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: