Should I Thin Latex Paint Before Spraying

How To Thin Latex Paint For HVLP

If you have got a high volume low pressure (HVLP) paint spray gun, you will need to adequately thin your paints almost every time before feeding it into the spray container.

This is important if you want to conveniently complete your project without getting frequent clogging of the spray nozzle.

If you are looking on how to thin latex paint for HVLP sprayer, then we have got you covered.

Read Also: Best HVLP Sprayer for Latex Paints

Why You Need To Thin Latex Paint For HVLP

Understanding how the HVLP spray gun is made and how it operates will help you know why it is important to thin your paint.

HVLP sprayers are known as High-Volume/Low Pressure. This means that the mechanism is designed to use a higher volume of air at low pressure to atomize paint to a low-velocity pattern of particles.

With HVLP, there is less overspray when compared to its airless spray counterpart. They are used where fine finishes and more precision are needed. However, using an HVLP sprayer cannot achieve these if the paint is not well thinned.

The most important reason why you need to thin latex paint when using an HVLP spray gun is that they operate at low pressure. Clogging may be experienced as there won’t be sufficient pressure to spray out thick paint.

Should I Thin Latex Paint Before Spraying?

How To Thin Latex Paint For HVLP

Latex paint is water-based paint, and it is thicker and heavier than oil-based paint. If you want to achieve an even coat on the surface, you will need to thin the paint.

You may not need to get it too thin of you are going to be using brushes or rollers. But when using a sprayer and especially HVLP, it will require to be thinned to an ideal level that will work with the spray gun.

Read Also: Best HVLP Sprayers for Woodworking

Can You Use Latex Paint With HVLP?

Typically, HVLPs are not designed to work with heavy paints or mixture. Airless sprayers are the best for this purpose because they have sufficient pressure to push out the paint.

Unfortunately, latex paints are heavy-bodied paint. However, with some understanding like what we are going to be highlighting on this page, you will be able to use any HVLP spray gun to spray latex paint.

Of course, there is only one way to reduce the weight and thickness of latex paint, and that is by thinning.

Materials Needed for Latex Paint Thinning

To thin your paint, the following items will be required,

  • An empty and clean bucket
  • A stirring rod
  • Funnel
  • Some quantity of water
  • The latex paint

Latex paints are now being made with new synthetic resins that are compatible with water. So unlike oil-based paints that require special solvents like mineral spirit and turpentine, you only need water as the thinner for latex paints.

Read Also: Best Brushes for Latex Paints

How To Thin Latex Paint For HVLP

Should I Thin Latex Paint Before Spraying

Step 1

Pour the paint into the bucket to about midway. The quantity of paint you will pour in will be determined by the quantity you will need for the job.

You do not want to pour out more than what is required.

Step 2

Add the recommended quantity of water into the bucket containing the latex paint. For every gallon of paint, you will need at least half a cup of water.

Step 3

With a clean rod, stir properly and thoroughly so the water and paint and mix evenly.

You want to make sure that the stir rod is clean to avoid introducing dirt that can block up the nozzle of the HVLP.

Read Also: Best HVLP Sprayers for Lacquer

Step 4

Check if the viscosity is compatible with your HVLP brand. The old-fashioned way you can do this is to run the paint through the funnel. If it flows freely through the funnel, then you know that the viscosity is okay for the spray gun.

Some HVLP products come with a viscosity cup and a recommended way of testing the viscosity.

Dip the viscosity cup into the paint mixture and allow filling up. Pull out the viscosity cup and calculate the time it takes for the paint to elapse its continuous flow from underneath the viscosity cup.

The ideal average recommended time is usually stated in the manual of the HVLP.

Step 5

If the viscosity test passes, then you are set to feed the thinned paint into the sprayer for your project. You may need to add more water than usual if you feel that the paint is not thin enough. Also, if you still experience clogging or irregular spray patterns, then you will need more water.

Read Also: How To Thin Semi-Gloss Paint

What Size Nozzle To Spray Latex?

What Size Nozzle To Spray Latex

If you are using a turbine-driven HVLP spray gun, then you will need one that has multiple stages to be able to spray latex paint. The more stages the sprayer has got, the better the ability to spray latex paint. You may not care much about the nozzle.

If you are using a gravity-fed HVLP spray gun or a pressure fed HVLP Spray Gun, then we recommend using the following nozzle size.

For a pressure fed HVLP spray gun, you will need at least a fluid nozzle size of least a 1.8mm. For a gravity-fed HVLP spray gun, you will need a size of at least 2.0 mm to be able to get out a latex base paint.

The larger the nozzle, the better the flow of the latex paint. Smaller nozzles will undoubtedly be harder to get a smooth flow.

Read Also: Best HVLP Sprayer for Cabinets

Can I use latex paint with a HVLP spray gun?

HVLP systems are not designed to spray heavier bodied latex paint. The pressurized cup allows the paint to be pushed to the fluid nozzle because of the added pressure behind the paint. If you look at most professional airless paint sprayers designed for latex paint, they are actually pumps, and use no air.

What can I use to thin latex paint for spraying?

In general, thinning latex paint should be done at a minimum of 10% or 1 gallon of paint to quarter cup water. This is done if you are using anything besides the airless sprayer. However, if you are using an HVLP sprayer or handheld system, you might have to increase your water percentage to 20-30%.

What is the best way to thin latex paint?

Pour the latex paint and 1/2 gallon of water. Then, add another half a gallon of water and pour the paint mixed with some water, in a back and forth manner. If you wish, you may also add some water to a few gallons of tinted type of paint. This way, you can obtain the similar consistency and color in the can of paint.

Can you use latex paint in paint sprayer?

The fastest way to get the smoothest finish with latex paint is to use an airless paint sprayer, which you can rent for less than $100 a day. (Other sprayers are less expensive but require you to thin the paint to a precise consistency.)

How do you thin oil-based paint for a HVLP spray gun?

Steps for Thinning Oil Based Paint for Your Sprayer

  • Pour the paint through a strainer into a clean container.
  • Add 1 part mineral spirits or turpentine for every 3 parts paint.
  • Stir paint with a clean stir stick until the thinner and the paint are fully mixed.
  • Run the thinned paint through a funnel.

Can you use paint thinner in latex paint?

Helpful Tips. Paint thinner can remove oil-based paint from brushes and other equipment but only while the paint it still wet. Acetone is often the only solvent that is strong enough to dissolve paint after it has dried. Paint thinners should not be used with latex paints, shellac or lacquers.

Can you use paint thinner in latex paint

What paint to use on HVLP?

HVLP paint sprayers work with oil-based paint, but thicker paints such as water-based latex can clog the sprayer. Combine a half cup of water for every gallon of latex paint in a bucket and stir thoroughly to thin its consistency before using latex paint an HVLP gun.

How do you fix paint that is too thick?

Paint wrinkles happen when applying paint too heavily, there isn’t enough drying time between coats, or the painting was done in extreme temperatures. You can fix this by sanding the area down, then cleaning, priming, and repainting it.

Why is my Wagner paint sprayer spitting paint?

Spray guns spit when air is being introduced into the fluid outside of at the air cap. Fluid Nozzle – The first area to check if your spray gun is spitting is the fluid nozzle. A loose fluid nozzle does not properly seat in the tip of the spray gun and causes air to enter the fluid supply resulting in spitting.

Is it OK to thin latex paint with water?

How Does Water Thin Latex Paint? Paint is divided into two categories: oil-based (or alkyds) or water-based paints. Oil-based paints should be thinned or cleaned up only with petroleum or mineral-based products. In contrast, latex paint is water-based and should be cleaned up and thinned only with water.


So you do not need to buy an expensive airless sprayer that can spray latex paints when you already have an HVLP sprayer.

With this knowledge on how to thin latex paint for HVLP, you can achieve almost the same result as those using an airless sprayer.

Latex paints are available in different thicknesses, so sometimes, the stated ratio of water to paint may not be effective.

Also, make sure to clean the spray gun thoroughly after each use to avoid clogging of the spray nozzle, which may permanently damage it over time.

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