Home » HVLP Guides & Tips » Latex & Primer Paints with HVLP

Many existing and potential owners of HVLP paint spray guns wonder if they can use their equipment to paint with latex paints or if they will need to buy a dedicated latex spray gun for this purpose. In short, most HVLP sprayers will work for this purpose, but it is important to follow the viscosity recommendations provided by the manufacturer of your paint gun.

Latex Paint Sprayed Outdoor Designs

What is a HVLP latex spray gun?

A HVLP latex spray gun uses high volume, low pressure technology, which means it does have a few advantages over more conventional spray guns like the airless ones. The low pressure enables the paint to be evenly applied and does not over-spray like a conventional spray gun.

A HVLP spray gun for latex paint also uses less air than more conventional spray guns and up to 50% less over-spray, a hazard with airless spray guns. In order to use a HVLP latex spray gun you must thin the latex paint out using water or flurotol, a popular thinning agent for latex paints. Latex paints are notoriously heavy and thick so when you use a HVLP latex paint sprayer, you will need to dilute it first.

How much do you need to dilute it?

In general, the best practice is to thin your paint and mix it with 10% water. Stir the water in thoroughly until it has an even consistency. If the paint is still too thick, mix another 10% of water in. Do not mix more than 25% of water to the paint.

Much of this process comes down to the quality of the latex paint and the general thickness of the paint. If you are using flurotol, a thinning agent, then follow the directions listed on the label. Spraying latex paint without using a thinner can cause all sorts of problems with both the spray gun and the actual finish on the surface. Often the finish can be blotchy and blobby.

Ultimately, consult the owners manual of your sprayer to find out the recommended viscosity to dilute latex paints.

What can you spray with a paint gun?

Virtually anything! Especially objects found indoors, like kitchen cabinets, doors, furniture and ornaments. But do not let that stop you. A HVLP latex spray gun can also spray certain things outdoors.

Once you have found the right paint consistency and have set up the spray gun according to the instructions, you can see how finely the paint sprays on, giving it a quality finish that a brush would not be able to achieve. A HVLP latex spray gun sprays paint finely and evenly so it’s perfect for projects that need a polished finish and that’s a bonus when you have a particular job to do at home. If you are planning on using a HVLP latex spray gun regularly, it is best that you invest in one that uses a larger compressor.

It does not matter what kind of surface you want to paint, spraying latex paint on metals or wood is a breeze and it is really good for masonry too.

What is a HVLP primer spray gun?

A HVLP primer spray gun is used for exactly that. A primer. You can specifically choose to buy a separate primer spray gun for your projects. These spray guns use a few nozzles or tips depending on the consistency of the primer. For most primers a 1.7mm tip will be fine. Others may opt for a 1.8mm tip which is great for siphon spray guns. And for high-build primers a 2.2mm tip would be used. Because the primer is generally a thick substance you will need a much larger nozzle than ones used for latex paint. Otherwise the primer will not go through the nozzle hole and you will not be able to spray.

Is it necessary to purchase separate spray guns?

No it is not provided you clean the spray guns thoroughly from the last time you used it and you use the appropriate nozzle. It is all in the set up of the spray gun.

What percentage of HVLP spray guns use compressors?

All professional HVLP spray guns use compressors and this is necessary if the person who owns the spray gun works with it regularly. If your line of work requires a more heavy duty one or your project is large than you will have to use an airless based spray gun. Many spray guns that use compressors operate between 9 and 15 cfm (cubic feet per minute) which tells you how much air that tool needs to operate.

How fine is the finish with a HVLP spray gun?

The finish is super fine, glossy and perfectly painted. HVLP spray guns are great for painting smaller surfaces like cabinetry as well as when you need to focus on a more polished look for instance, various pieces of furniture. Any project that needs attention to detail would be perfect for the latest HVLP spray gun. HVLP spray guns are also perfect for touch ups as the nozzle is so fine, that spraying the gun is far easier to handle and less problematic than using an airless spray gun.

Summary: Can a HVLP Primer Spray Gun be Used With Latex Paints?

Yes absolutely! As we mentioned earlier, it all depends on the nozzle you use for the spray gun. Specifically the 1.7, 1.8 and 2.2mm nozzles for high-build primers. It is really important to clean the spray gun of the materials that was used the last time. Obviously, you need to clean the spray gun at the end of each job. That is the downfall for using a spray gun. And depending if you have cleaned it thoroughly will make all the difference to whether you are successful at using both a latex paint and a primer. Some professionals do choose to use different nozzles for all three components of painting which is primer, clear coat and paint. So yes, it is not necessary to purchase separate HVLP spray guns.