How To Prevent Orange Peel Texture When Using a Paint Sprayer
Ever spend hours laying down several coats of good paint, only to find an ugly finish that resembles that of an “orange peel” texture all over your handiwork? You’re not alone. “Orange peel texture” is a well-known malady, affecting many professional contractors on the job and DIYers at home. And if you’ve never had to deal with the dreaded finish, consider yourself lucky!
So, what exactly is orange peel texture and what causes it to happen?
Orange peel texture is an undesirable rough, bumpy finish on paint. Sometimes, it’s exactly what people want in a painted finish but most of the time, folks using a paint sprayer want a smooth, glossy finish. And this is why orange peel texture can be so frustrating. You spend good money on an airless paint sprayer and high quality paint, only to get a texture you’re just not happy with. So, what gives?
Photo credit: LunarSeaArt
First things first; you should know that orange peel texture isn’t caused by a faulty paint sprayer. Your paint sprayer is fine, and the problem has several possible causes and solutions. The most common cause is air bubbles in your paint or sprayer hose, but there are many ways it can end up in your final product.
First, carefully strain your paint. You can use a regular paint strainer cone or filter for this, but make sure it holds together through the process. You want all your paint to go through the material in order to get all the air bubbles out. Air bubbles get trapped in paint during manufacturing, prep work, and mixing. Straining eliminates them, so if that’s the cause of your orange peel, it should be mitigated immediately.
Alternatively, your paint may be a little too heavy or thick for your paint sprayer. Some airless paint sprayers can handle unthinned paint, but most need paint to be thinned, especially the thicker varieties. Experiment by adding small amounts of paint thinner until you get the right consistency and you’ll see that orange peel vanish. Thinning incorrectly can also cause the sprayer to incorrectly coat whatever it is you’re painting.
When it comes to mixing or thinning, you’ll want to work with opposite Bond rules. Unlike the spy’s iconic martinis, paint is never to be shaken, only stirred. Use a stir stick for best results and you’ll avoid introducing air bubbles into the paint in the process.
How you store your paint can also make a big difference in the paint consistency. Paint should be stored in a dry, cool place. Very humid or warm conditions can negatively impact paint which will affect the spraying process. The net result is an uneven finish, often with the telltale orange peel texture to boot. Try to avoid storing and spraying paint in very warm or humid places. These types of conditions create a disaster for finished products.
Another possible culprit of your orange peel texture is overspray. Overspray can happen when you’re outputting too much paint at once. Try to turn down the regulator knob on your paint sprayer a smidge or two, and see if that works.
Photo credit: Pittaya/wall painting
Finally, make sure you’re giving your coats sufficient time to dry before slathering on another coat. Sticking wet paint on top of wet paint can cause orange peel texture and air bubbles. If all else fails, check your paint sprayer manual and clean it thoroughly following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
I hope these tips help eliminate or reduce the risk of a poor paint spray finish. Why waste hard earned dollars and time when you have the tips and tools that give you a professional quality finishes.