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When it comes to spraying water-based paints, you can use HVLP sprayers, airless paint sprayers and aerosol cans. However, if you still find that your water-based paint is too thick and needs to be thinned. Read on to learn how to thin water-based paint for a spray gun. Thus, If you know how to determine the right viscosity, you can easily thin the paint for your DIY projects.

Oil-based paints were once only sprayable and did not clog sprayers. In contrast, today, latex paints are made from synthetic resins that are water-soluble, have a thin consistency, and can be applied easily.

Can You Spray Water Based Paint?

spraying water based paint at home

Yes, for spraying water-based paint, you can use a compressed air spray gun, a HVLP sprayer, and an airless sprayer. Most people use HVLP sprayers for furniture and wood finishing projects.

How to thin water-based paint for spraying?

It is easy to thin water-based paint for your sprayer, which will ensure a smooth flow of paint. The following materials are required for thinning water-based paint for HVLP sprayer.

  • A funnel.
  • Five-gallon bucket.
  • You will also need your favorite water-based paint.

To get started, follow these steps:

How to thin latex paint for HVLP sprayer
How to thin latex paint for HVLP sprayer
  • You should wear a respirator mask and cover anything around you that might come into contact with paint droplets.
  • A clean and sanded surface will be required to yield the best results.
  • Put the paint in the bucket.
  • Each gallon of paint requires 1/2 cup of water.
  • Stir the paint well with a stirrer stick.
  • Next, Use a funnel to check the paint’s thickness.

When water-based paint (latex paint) is thin enough to flow freely through the funnel, you have the right consistency. On the other hand, If the paint is too thick and clogs the funnel, add an additional 1/8 cups of water to the bucket mixture per gallon of paint and mix well.

dilute paint for sprayer

Keep in mind that water changes the color of the paint and affects the drying time. In Addition, water will require more paint to get the desired result.

So, it may be worthwhile to invest a little more and get a quality airless paint sprayer, which does not require thinning water based paint.

Thinning latex paint with floetrol

A sprayer works best with water to thin water-based paint. Most people make mistakes when thinning the paint with products such as floetrol. 

Floetrol is a paint conditioner so it is not recommended to use floetrol for thinning the paint for spray guns. By doing so, it makes your paint look more like oil paint.   

However, Floetrol makes it possible to paint evenly when conditions (such as high temperatures and low humidity) are not suitable for painting. These conditions can accelerate the drying process of paint.

Be sure not to let your paint dry inside your paint gun. So, If you are only trying to thin your paint, you can use water, but don’t use floetrol for thinning purposes.

Pro Tips for Using Floetrol

  • Floetrol should not be used with oil-based paints.
  • It can make paint more runny, so you have to be more precise when spraying.
  • The paint will take longer to dry.
  • Removes brush marks and roller marks.

Paint viscosity for spraying

Spraying, brushing, or rolling can be done with a paint viscosity of approximately 100 cps (1 P, 0.1 Pa•s).

When does the paint sprayer paint become thin enough to apply?

A viscosity cup can be useful for measuring viscosity accurately. It should be equipped with good quality paint spraying systems. Cups serve as funnels and can be used to test paint viscosity. When you pour some paint into the cup, it should flow evenly and smoothly. 

 If your paint runs out too fast, you’ve thinned too much, and if there are thick blobs and your paint is coming out erratically, you need to thin it even more. 

Is paint thinner effective for thinning water-based paint?

Using paint thinner is generally not effective for thinning water-based paint. Instead, you should use water or a specific water-based paint thinner designed for the type of paint you’re working with. Water is the preferred choice for thinning water-based paints as it maintains the paint’s chemical composition and properties, ensuring proper consistency and adhesion. Using traditional paint thinner, which is designed for oil-based paints, can result in undesirable outcomes when working with water-based paints.

Which water based paint is best for spray guns?

Yes, you can use water-based paint in a spray gun. Water-based acrylic paints are a popular choice for spray guns across different applications, such as automotive painting, furniture refinishing, and crafts. It’s essential to ensure that your spray gun is compatible with water-based paints, and you may need to thin the paint slightly with water for the best spraying results. Here you can find information about the benefits of water-based paint.

Conclusion: ( How do you thin water based paint for a spray gun)

Our provided simple instructions will teach you how to thin water-based paint for your spray gun. Spraying water-based paint will ensure the best protection and outcome on your project. However, Spraying latex paint requires thinning it out before using a paint sprayer.

Hence, this painting guide will help you to paint like a pro and ensure a project that lasts for years to come.

FAQs On Spraying with Water Based Paint

Is it possible to spray water-based paint (Latex) without thinning it?

Water-based, latex paint is thicker than oil-based paint. Therefore, spray paint in a fine mist requires thin latex paint. 

It is possible for spraying water based paint at home?

Yes, you can use water as a water based paint thinner. To spray the paint, mix the paint and water together until they are thin enough to spray.

Can you recommend a spray gun that is good for water based paint?

  • Graco TrueCoat 360 DS Paint Sprayer
  • Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Paint Sprayer
  • Wagner Control Spray Max HVLP Sprayer

What is the easiest way to clean latex paint? 

The best thing about latex paint is that it can be washed once it dries. Using soap and water will take care of stains and blemishes. 

Is thinning water-based paint with alcohol a good idea?

You can thin water based acrylic paint with 20% rubbing alcohol. Since alcohol accelerates drying, it results in uneven application. For this reason, alcohol should not be used to thin water-based paint.

In addition, it would be a good idea to stick to what the manufacturer recommends for thinning paint.  However, It is advisable to thin latex paint with water to achieve great results.

How to thin water-based primer?

You can mix clean water with a water-based primer, while mineral spirits can be added to an oil-based primer to get the best result. Next, stir it well and spray it again. Also, keep track of your usage.

What is the water based paint thinning ratio?

If you use any other painting model other than the airless sprayer, then you should add 10% of water to thin latex paint. On the other hand, It may be necessary to increase your water percentage to 20-30% if you are using an HVLP sprayer or handheld system.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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