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Portable Paint Booths – What You Must Know

Being a company that helps a variety of customers with paint booth needs we get asked a lot of questions related to paint booths. One of the more common questions is, is there such a thing as a portable paint booth. The purpose of this article is to cover all aspects related to portable paint booths. Common portable paint booths that people think of include curtain enclosed areas with a proper exhaust fan and paint booths that allow for recirculation of the paint booths air which would eliminate the need for a fixed duct. A related but slightly different question is whether a room  can become a paint booth, which we address in this article here.

Are there portable paint booths

It depends on the definition of portable. There are options that allow for ductless recirculating paint booths that are offered or other options that allow for curtains to be closed and opened that still use an exhaust fan. The recirculating paint booth may be considered a paint booth but it will have to meet certain requirements, the booth with curtain enclosures will be classified under a separate classification.  We will cover what this means from a practical standpoint.

Recirculating  Portable Paint Booths

For a paint booth to truly be considered a full paint booth it should meet all requirements suggested by NFPA 33.  NFPA 33 section 7.4 and 7.5 in the 2016 book specifically address exhaust ducts. 7.4 states duct shouldn’t penetrate a fire wall or fire barrier wall and has a variety of conditions as to clearing building exterior and similar codes. You can read the full NFPA 33 code online for free by registering on their site here. 7.5 suggests if you are to recirculate the paint booth exhaust you would require monitoring & prevention of the hazardous emissions which cannot exceed 25% of the lower flammable limit, additionally, your local authority would have to approve and you have to be able to address any concerns of toxicity. The monitoring is pretty in depth and even requires shut offs if the limit is exceeded. If these are not included when you purchase a recirculating booth you would want to consider the additional cost for this. In addition to NFPA 33 you have to consider OSHA and their regulations. Ultimately if you are considering a recirculating paint booth you will want to ensure that it meets NFPA 33, OSHA, and other pertinent safety organizations standards for spray applications. Failure to have the booth preapproved by these groups can cause challenges when you have a final inspection. You would also have to consider that the carbon filter that is used to remove VOC’s may need replaced frequently and could be costly.

Curtain Paint Booths

Paint booths that use curtains typically have a stationary fan or exhaust chamber in the rear and then use weighted specialty curtains to enclose overspray. Paint booths require walls made of rigid securely fastened material with a certain fire rating. In general, these curtain enclosed areas are more for preparation of a product and due to not being the proper fire resistance along with other challenges will be limited to only allowing a small volume of paint in a given time frame (a gallon in an 8 hour time frame). These limitations on spray volume do not allow these to be a very good spray booth for most applications but can make it ideal for sanding and preparation as well as occasional painting needs assuming it’s a small volume of paint.

It’s understandable to understand the desire for a portable paint booth. A fixed paint booth takes up space and is not movable. The desire for portability makes sense. The challenge is that it will often not meet or will not easily meet all the proper safety considerations of NFPA 33 for paint booths and spray applications.  If you are considering one verify they will meet NFPA 33 standards so that you can ensure they are a good solution for you. You would also want to verify with your local authority who is usually our fire marshal but could be someone else depending on your area. By doing this and evaluating the factors mentioned you will be better prepared to evaluate portable

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