HVLP - Learning Curve!!
:thumbsup: HVLP was a HUGE learning curve!
But definitely worth it in the end!
We have read and appreciate all the input from the experts on this board! They have great answers! But for us amateurs, when sometimes it’s hard to even know what the question is, I have detailed our experience in case it could help someone who’s trying to figure out HVLP.
You must sift through all the information and how it applies to your individual situation through trial and error!
***A good starting point is to have a sample of how you want the finish to look when you’re done, to compare the look and feel til you get to that level.
We used a CapSpray 3 Stage turbine, with an American Turbine (non-bleeder) gun. It came with a 1.2 needle/air cap set. We also bought their “fine finish” air cap.
Due to extensive remodeling, all trim (previously painted) was removed. Wall repairs were done, ceilings painted, and then the cleaned, scuff sanded trim was re-installed, making adjustments to miters, coped corners, new trim, etc. where necessary. There are also two new bathrooms with all NEW wood trim (this is where it was the most difficult to get a good finish.)
Trim was caulked and nail holes filled. Then using painter’s tape and plastic, everything was completely masked off room by room. We didn’t have to worry about the floors, except for the bathrooms. ALMOST no worry with the ceilings, however we would recommend a paint shield of some kind if you’re spraying upward around a door casing, etc.
Our paint is Muralo Ultra Satin Waterbourne (Color – Benjamin Moore AF-35 Vapor) (*Muralo is “thinner” than “latex”, so the 3 stage turbine worked well.)
For primer, we tried:
1st, the Muralo 563 – thought that it raised the grain A LOT, so no go.
2nd, Zinnser 123 - had to thin it with 10 oz of water per gallon and 2-3 oz of XIM. We used the 1.2 needle/air cap set and also tried the 1.2 needle/FF air cap – both gave too much overspray, new wood needed a lot of sanding, and still not happy with the result. (We realize now that we weren’t getting enough product through, and it was all drying too fast, causing overspray and a “rough” finish.)
Also, trying the same two setup above with the paint, we thinned the Muralo with 3-4 oz of water per gallon and 3 oz of XIM.
Things “looked ok”, but we were not getting a satisfactory coat, plus still too much overspray.
At this point, our paint retailer suggested we contact Muralo directly for assistance. The Chicago office had NO information, but referred us to their lab in New Jersey. The person we spoke with did not even seem to know what HVLP technology was!
The most help we received was from the owner of American Turbine (Mpls/St.Paul). From the description of the problems we were having, we purchased the 1.6 mm needle/air cap set.
At this point, we also changed our primer to Insul-X STIX ($50 - $60 per gallon)! This stuff is amazing! We know this is expensive for primer, but the difference in how it lays out, filling and leveling of minor imperfections, and the ease and amount of sanding, along with the final look is worth it!
On the new wood, we are using two coats of the STIX – (tack coats – about 10 minutes or less between coats) and one coat on the previously painted trim (as a bonding coat). Directions say “DO NOT THIN”!! (But we did add 2 oz of XIM per gallon.)
Then, light sanding of primer. Vacuum using a soft brush. Wipe down with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. (Of course, we always strained the primer or paint into the HVLP sprayer cup.)
Then we thinned the Muralo with 2 oz of water and 2 oz XIM per gallon. Sprayed “3 tack “coats (about 7 – 20 minutes to tack up between coats.) This will vary with humidity, air movement, etc. (i.e., on a dry sunny 60 degree day, a bedroom with cross ventilation and a fan in one window, can be ready for a 2nd or 3rd coat in 7 minutes or so, whereas, an interior bath and hallway, with only indirect ventilation* on a cool, cloudy day gave us 15 minutes between coats. *Don’t use your bathroom venting fan as an exhaust for paint dust – it could clog it up.)
(We also tried using the 1.6 mm needle with the “fine finish” air tip. It worked, but we liked the regular air cap that came with the needle better.)
***NOW we are getting great results! The “glass” finish everyone talks about!
There were a few (very few) minor sags and runs. As recommended by BrushJockey in another thread, we removed the excess very carefully with a razor and then rubbed with denatured alcohol, and touched up with a WHIZZ roller or high quality brush.
Something else that has worked GREAT for us is to do a final “buffing” with a cut up brown paper bag! It really smooths the finish without dulling it at all. (We used a cut up grocery bag and/or a torn piece of 12” masking paper (softer than the paper bag). The grocery bag was stiffer – we used that on the baseboard where we could feel a little overspray. The softer paper, we used on window sills, etc.,
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