Painting continues. Friday morning I finished rolling the soffits in black. When it was all done, I wasn't satisfied. Admittedly, it was the first coat, but with my complex ceiling I did NOT look forward to the 4, 5, or even 7 coats of flat-black that some of the painting threads here refer to...
So, yesterday I pulled out the beast. I have a Graco Magnum XR9 airless sprayer, but I was hoping not to use it. My last experience with it (painting a bunch of doors at my previous house) was frustrating (I painted too thin and got a rough, dusty surface. I ended up giving up and getting pros to do it since there was time pressure to sell the house). "My name is Paul Meyer, and I'm afraid of my sprayer."
However, I realized I was being stupid. Time to learn how to use the sprayer well. You don't get a better opportunity to learn than a totally empty room with no carpet.
Saturday morning I masked all the walls and the ceiling cans (took all of 20 minutes) and cleared out the room. Out came the sprayer. I had 1.5 gallons of behr-mouse-ears-black left. I thinned it a bit and went to town.
Problem #1: Light! For light, I was depending on one big window, as all my cans were masked. It was acceptably bright, UNTIL I STARTED SPRAYING! I did a lousy job to start, created a lot of overspray, and the floor started getting much less reflective. It was like a thunder-cloud was moving quickly over the sun.
The problem was magnified because this was not the first coat. Because it was the second coat, the only way I could really tell where and how evenly I was applying paint was by 'gloss', the reflectivity of the wet paint. Unfortunately, as my sunlight dimmed, there was none!!!
Problem #2: I should have started with more than 1.5 gallons of paint. The sprayer can't suck up the last 1/8 gallon or so (it starts sucking air), and it is much less efficient than rolling (unless you like a black floor). It didn't take long to burn through the paint I had.
Problem #3: I don't think I did a good job of adjusting the flow and the spray pattern to be nice and even.
Overall, it would not have been pretty to watch me spray. Some spots I probably did ok, but then I started worrying about running out of paint, and I want to get everything a bit, so my spraying started getting more random.
Then I rushed around to get the sprayer downstairs and cleaned up before July 5th fireworks with the kids. Overall, it was not my best painting experience.
With all that, the result was better than the roller. A lot of that came from it being a second coat, but I'll take what I can get. The critical thing was that nowhere did I have a drip or run. Too thin or uneven you can always fix. A dried run or drip can ruin your day.
So today, I took a much more methodical approach. I downloaded the sprayer manual and read up one some details. Critical one: if you are going to let the sprayer sit less than 2 days, you don't need to flush it all out. Keep the inlet tube in the paint, dip the sprayer in water, and scrub the tip. That means I can apply coat after coat (if needed) without a full cleaning.
This time, I prepared:
- I bought two big work lights at HD, and two 200 watt bulbs. That took care of the light problem, especially since I could move them around to shine on the part I was currently painting.
- I bought 4 more gallons of paint. $5 rebate per gallon, fortuitously...
- I used the slightly smaller spray tip (1313 instead of 1515) that I already had. It delivers a narrower spray, although it can't handle paint as thick.
- I bought a gallon of floetrol latex paint additive. It extends the drying time and generally makes things flow better. Never used it before, but I've heard it strongly recommended.
This time, I was much more satisfied. I worked my way more slowly around the room, taking my time, doing all the horizontal surfaces first, then the soffit sides. I reposition lights and sprayed until I had even wetness as evidenced by the gloss. I was more consistently 12" or so from the surface and had less overspray.
In general, I got more paint on the walls, and got it on more evenly.
It's drying now, but my first take is that I could probably live with this as my final coat. I'll probably do one more in any areas I think need more help, since everything is set up.
I'll post pictures later...