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Latex Paint Spraying Guide

Why spray latex with an HVLP spray gun

Most of the time when you are spraying latex you will be painting interiors of homes It is often very common to use airless sprayers for this purpose. However, airless sprayers do not provide the same quality of finish that you can achieve with an HVLP Spray Gun. Additionally, an HVLP spray gun is more efficient at applying coating to a product’s surface. The downside to an HVLP spray gun is that it will be slower than an airless at finishing a given project. Ultimately, if your main goal is achieving a high quality finish an HVLP spray gun is what you’ll most likely want to use.

Challenges of using HVLP spray gun with latex paint

HVLP spray guns use a high volume of air at low pressure to atomize (break up) coating. The low pressure allows them to use less paint and be more efficient at applying a coating to a product surface. However, the low pressure that HLP spray gun uses can make it harder to break up thicker coatings, including latex paints. To be able to effectively spray latex paint with an HVLP spray gun, a few things will need to be considered.

  1. You will need to use a high volume air cap (high CFM) – high quality HVLP spray guns will come with a variety of setups for the air cap as well as the fluid nozzle. The higher the volume of air and air cap uses, the better it will be at being able to atomize heavier bodied coatings like latex paint.
  2. If you will be using a turbine driven HVLP spray gun you will want to use a multistage turbine. The more stages that you can afford for your turbine unit, the greater ability the unit will have in being able to spray latex paint. If you are considering between an HVLP spray gun and a turbine unit for latex painting projects, you can learn about the differences between the two here.
  3. Use a large fluid nozzle- For a pressure fed HVLP Spray Gun you will usually want to use at least a 1.8 MM Fluid Nozzle. For a Gravity Fed HVLP Spray Gun you will typically need at least a 2.0 or higher to be able to get the Latex Paint to flow. The large fluid nozzle will allow for the latex paint to flow, smaller fluid nozzles will typically be hard to get Latex paint to flow adequately.
  4. Thinning-you’ll most likely have to thin the latex paint to be able to get it to adequately atomize. This is especially true if your using a gravity fed HVLP Spray gun. You want to make sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended thinner and only thin it the minimal amount needed to get it to adequately spray.
  5. If you do not want to use thinner, you’ll want to consider using a pressure fed HVLP spray gun – pressure fed guns are available for HVLP spray guns that are fed by an air compressor. They will allow thicker coatings to be able to be supplied to the gun effectively and give better control of the amount of coating you are supplying at a given time which can help in achieving better atomization despite the heavy bodied latex paint. You can learn more about pressure vs gravity vs suction fed spray guns here.

When an HVLP spray gun is ideal for spraying latex paint

  • When your primary goal is achieving a quality finish like when painting cabinets or trim
  • When you have smaller areas to be painted that will not require a large volume of paint to cover the surface
  • When you need to keep Overspray to a Minimum

Alternatives to using an HVLP spray gun with latex paint

If you want to be able to maintain high production but still achieve a finer finish, you could potentially use an airless paint sprayer with a fine finish tip. A Fine finish tip allows for higher atomization than a standard airless tip though will not yield the same finish that an HVLP spray gun will.


if you’re looking at a project will require a fine finish and requires the application of latex paint and HVLP spray gun may be the ideal solution for you. To achieve the best result possible, you want to use a high volume CFM air cap, thin the material an appropriate amount, consider using a pressure fed system especially if you will be using a compressor fed HVLP spray can, and if you will be using a turbine driven HvLP spray gun you will want to use a multistage system. By following these tips, you will be able to achieve a quality finish with your latex paint project. For options on compressed air spray guns that might be ideal for your project you can contact us today

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