How To Thin Oil Based Paint For A Spray Gun?




How to Thin Oil Based Paint for a Spray Gun


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Many people ask how to thin oil based paint for a spray gun when they are completing home painting projects.

DIYers desire to achieve the same results at the same time as professional painters.

You need to choose the best paint sprayer for oil-based paint for your job in order to achieve these amazing results. Oil-based paints offer advantages over latex paints, especially for high-traffic areas and exterior painting projects.

Oil paint is a superior sealant against dirt, grime, and stains, as well as the elements. Let’s start thinning!

What is Oil Based Paint?

Two types of oil-based paint are available. Alkyd (also known as synthetic oil or linseed oil) is natural oil. Alkyd paint tends to be more popular because it is cheaper and tougher.

Oil-based paints are more durable making them the best for exterior work, doors, bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, or trim. Oil paints take longer to dry and clean-up requires to paint thinner/turpentine/mineral spirits.

Is Acrylic Paint Oil Based?

No. Acrylic paint is water-based. You may find paint labeled either latex OR acrylic. Both are the same thing, and they can be used in the exact same way. Keep your skin hydrated and hydrated.

How is Oil Paint Different than Latex Paint?

Oil-based paints, unlike latex which is water-based, are made from a combination of mineral spirits and petroleum solvents. They are less popular than latex because of this.

Oil based products are the best choice if you want to withstand extreme weather and high wear.

Oil PaintLatex Paint
Oil basedWater based
Richer ColorDries fast
More DurableBudget Friendly
Dries slowlyGood for Walls/Ceilings
Longer Clean upEasy Clean up
Stands up to low/high heatNot as durable
Covers stains: no bleed throughStains may bleed through
Oil Paint Vs Latex Paint

How to Use Oil Paints: Painting with Oil Based Paint

There are just some things that only oil-based paints can do such as:

  • Protect against outside weather, and low/high temps with oil-based house paint
  • Protects against mold and mildew when used in high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Special oil-based paints are recommended.
  • Oil-based interior and wall paints are able to block stains and keep them from leaking through the paint.

Oil-based paints can cause a little more fumes when you are painting. They even make oil paints with low VOCs.

The drying time can be longer but it is worth it for better coverage and richer colors.

The hardest part is cleaning up. You have to use mineral spirits or turpentine to clean your paint sprayer and brushes instead of just water.

Should Oil Based Paint Thinned So It Can Be Sprayed?

The paint manufacturer will determine if a primer can or cannot be thinned to allow it to be applied with a sprayer. It is true that oil-based paint must be thinned for most DIY spray guns, if not all of them.

The paint can show you how much to thin old-based paint using a sprayer. Oil-based paints cannot be thinned, so read the can before starting.

For oil-based paints, the general rule of thumb is to take 1.5 cups of primer out of a 1-gallon container and add a 1.5 cups thinning agent.

The primer label should not contain a thinning rate. To determine its thickness, run the primer undiluted through your sprayer.

It will usually spray as a thin mist, so you should be fine.

Attempting to thin a primer that is not intended to be thinned can change how it applies, how it dries, or how it supports a layer of paint in the future.

Thinning Oil Based Paint

Do your research to ensure you buy paint that can be thinned with a spray gun. Paints that can easily be thinned will have this information on the can.

You can even find out the ratio of paint to thinner, which will make it much easier and quicker to start painting.

Things You Need To Require To Thin Oil Based Paint For a Spray Gun

How to Thin Oil Based Paint for a Spray Gun

Water is not allowed to be used to thin oil-based primers or paints. Water and oil do not mix. Mineral spirits are required to accomplish the task. A large can of mineral spirits, or paint thinner, is about $10-20 for oil-based paint. You’ll still have some!

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to thin oil-based primers.

Steps for Thinning Oil Based Paint for Your Spray Gun

  1. Use a strainer to transfer the paint into a clean container
  2. For every 3 parts paint, add 1 part mineral spirits/turpentine
  3. Use a clean stir stick to mix the paint until it is fully combined with the thinner.
  4. Use a funnel to pour the thinned paint. The paint should flow freely if it is finished. If it doesn’t,
  5. Paint! Add 1 more drop of thinner to ensure that the paint flows freely through the funnel.

Pro Tip when Thinning Oil Based Paint for a Spray Gun

To remove impurities and clumps from oil-based paints before they are mixed, strain them.

This is one step the Pros rely on to get those killer results you are working hard for.

Thin Oil Based Paint Right the First Time

If the paint is able to flow freely through the funnel, then you have the correct consistency.

If the paint gets stuck in the funnel, you can add 1 part of mineral spirits to the paint container.

Mix the product thoroughly with a clean stirring stick.

Continue to do this until the paint flows freely from the funnel.

If your oil based paint is still not thin enough for your spray gun, add small amounts of the thinning agent and test until you reach the right consistency for spraying.

What Happens to Oil Based Paint when I add Mineral Spirits? 

The characteristics of oil-based paints will change once mineral spirits or Turpentine are added to them to thin them for spray guns.

The color may be lighter or darker and the drying time may be different.

For a perfect finish and complete coverage, thinner paints will require more coats. This is in addition to the longer drying time required for your project.

Why Should I use an Oil Based Paint?

An oil-based primer is better for a long-term job. Oil-based primers dry slower and require more thinning before being applied with a spray gun.

The results last longer than other types of primer or paint.

Certain paint types may not be compatible with certain primer types. When using primer or paint, be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Oil-based paint offers many benefits over latex paint and can be the best paint for your project.

Advantages of Using Oil Based Paints

  1. Oil based paints are better in low-temperature climates
  2. More durable, best for trim and walls that see tons of use
  3. Better coverage than latex, especially on imperfections and damaged areas
  4. Great stain coverage, great for cupboards, high traffic areas
  5. Richer or deeper colors than water-based paints.

Painting with Oil Based Paint

You need to use a different method when painting with oil-based paints than water-based. You can simply apply latex over the existing coat.

You can’t use oil-based paint. To ensure that you don’t use oil-based paint on latex paint, it is important to carefully test your old paint coats.

Oil Based Paint Over Latex Paint

Oil-based paints can be applied over latex. The base coat of latex can be affected by moisture and temperature changes. This could cause the entire paint job to bubble up and lift the oil paint.

It is okay to paint latex over oil, but not oil over latex.

Pro Tip: Always use a primer!

You will need to lift, bubble, and chip the paint.

According to Glidden, testing if the base coat is latex or oil is as simple as dipping a cotton ball in some alcohol and rubbing it over a small area. Oil-based paint is defined as paint that has been washed with alcohol.

Can you use a Roller with Oil Based Paint?

Yes. All of the tools you can use with oil-based paint are possible to use with latex paint.

To apply your paint, however, you will need to buy better products.

Because you’ll be cleaning them with the mineral spirit or turpentine, you want the brushes, rollers, and trays to be strong enough to withstand this cleaning process.

Safety and Working with Oil Based Paints and Primers 

Oil Based Paint Fumes

Paints can contain dangerous vapors that can get into your lungs. Inhaling certain vapors can cause asthma-like symptoms. It may take several weeks for symptoms to improve once they appear.

Paint sprayers can release atomized molecules into your airway.

If you don’t wear a respirator, those chemicals will enter your air passageways when you tackle your next painting project.

The goal of a paint respirator or mask is to make sure you can still keep breathing easily. Even if you are near paint molecules or vapors, you can still breathe easily.

Protect your environment from the harmful substances that may be present with a paint mask. You can protect yourself against pollen, dust, and other non-toxic particles.

To protect against harmful chemicals and vapors, paint respirators are required. Some models can even protect against mold spores or other small contaminants.

You most likely need a specific type of respirator, such as a vapor-resistant model, for specific results.

When using a paint sprayer, a pair of painting overalls with a hood is a good investment. Protect your hair and clothes from any damage.

DuPoint offers a Tyvek Coverall Suit that is very affordable and also includes shoe protection. Available on Amazon.

Oil Based Paint Drying Time

Oil-based paint is thicker and more durable than latex, so it takes longer for it to dry. It should dry in 6-8 hours, and be ready for the next coat in 24 hours.

It is likely that drying times will be longer if the climate is humid.

Cleaning Your Paint Sprayer After Using Oil Based Paint

This video will show you how to clean your sprayer using oil-based paints. The cleaning kit in the video does a great job and is available here.

Best Oil Based Paint: Editor’s Choice 

Rust-Oleum Oil Based Paint

Living in high-moisture environments (e.g. the Pacific Northwest) is a good idea. The top priorities are mold, mildew, and rust.

This quick-drying formula will be dry to the touch in 2-4 hours versus other brands that can take 6-8 hours.

This oil-based paint is resistant to rust so your projects won’t get rusty. This oil-based paint is great for metal and exterior projects.

This oil-based paint is extremely versatile and can be used on any surface, including metal roofs and trailers.

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Thinning oil based paint for a spray gun is a process that takes some time to get used to but is worth it in the end for the beautiful finish it produces. Be sure to keep these tips in mind when thinning your paint, and you will be able to achieve the perfect spray finish every time.

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