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Spray gun Vs brush for eggshell

I’m looking for tips on how to obtain a really crisp finish with farrow and ball eggshell paint on a decorative timber cornice.

The first attempt by brush has resulted in a rather rough finish (it didn’t respond well to brushing out) and looks a bit flat and dull.

In comparison the sections which have so far only been undercoated (dulux oil based) look far crisper and given really good definition to the lines and detail of the timber, which has been sanded down and filled to the nth degree.

To achieve the same kind of super slick result with the eggshell, I’ve been advised that applying with a spraygun will achieve pretty much flawless results.

The other option suggested has been the addition of Floetrol to the eggshell and application with a really high quality brush (Wooster).

Can anyone share their experiences of either method, or what you’d recommend I try?

Any input would be appreciated,



For me the only way to get a good finish on ornate coving is by spraying it.

I take it you will be using the new F&B Estate Eggshell? This is a hybrid paint that uses oil in the acrylic, for durability I guess, and this will not spray well through lower powered HVLP spray systems. This type of product doesn’t atomise well with HVLP and you will end up with a spotty finish, with dull and shiny areas. You most definitly won’t get any sort of finish with systems under a 4 stage turbine, but I wouldn’t recommend this route even if you have access to a 5 stage.

Best way to spray it would be with an airless, spraying at between 2200 and 2400 psi. Be aware that because of the hybrid nature of the paint the overspray will be sticky and stay wet for much longer than a pure acrylic or emulsion. Mask anything you don’t want overspray on. Spray it fast, and leave it. Don’t keep going over the same area or you will get massive build-ups and runs. Budget the paint for 2 coats.

F&B eggshell does have a lower sheen than other mainstream acrylic eggshells, so the flatter look may be normal.

If you do intend to paint with a brush add Floetrol or Zamix Latex Extender (my personal favourite) until lt applies well and leaves a good wet edge time. Bare in mind though that adding a lot of these additives will dull the paint, no matter what it says on the container.

Hi Ron
which acrylic eggshell would you recommend for spraying trim - I have Graco 9.5 HVLP
and any tips on settings please?
I’m with you using only acrylic for trim and exterior too. I bought the Graco primarily for staircase woodwork - good results with Zinsser BIN to prime just haven’t been successful with acrylic egg
many thanks

Hi Dave

The TurboForce 9.5, is that the one with the Edge Gun? Did you buy the air/fluid adjusters separately?

If you did, don’t use the fluid adjuster as the range is small and it seems to do nothing, but connect the Artisan Air Valve. Set this just over half way and just pull the trigger back further to increase the fluid flow. Increasing the air will help the paint spray but increase overspray. If you don’t have the air valve it’s worth getting, though you’ll be in for a shock when you see the price.

Don’t go below a #4 fluid set with acrylic eggshell as you will need to thin the paint to much. I find a #5 is better in truth, but that didn’t come with the unit.

What acrylic eggshell are you spraying, because some won’t have hvlp. Many hybrids will separate as the paint atomizes and leave a patchy, spotty finish. The only hybrid I’ve got a very good finish with is Mylands, though I only sprayed the primer.

Mythic is more suited to airless and can be problematic with hvlp as it dries to fast.

Most pure acrylic will spray well once it’s thinned correctly. Just add enough water and flow additive until the paint disipates into itself when you hold the stir stick above it. Thicker than this you may get orange peel and/or spattering. To thin and it will spray, but may not cover and will run.

I have no problem if you want to give me a ring sometime regarding setup.

many thanks Ron
yes its the edge gun and as ex demo from Graco rep it came with air valve and fluid adjuster also a #5 needle

I’ve tried F&B,Johnstones acrylic Satin and Dulux Diamond Satinwood with Xim added to all.

reading your last para I think I need to be more precise about getting the consistency right first as I have experienced both ends of the spectrum - orange peel/spattering and also poor opacity and a very matt finish!

Best result for me has been priming with BIN - flows out so well!
many thanks Ron. I will dig out the unit again and try the stick trick, also will try Sikkens Rubbol which I,ve started using this year applied by brush

As I mentioned the fluid adjuster has no range at all and seems to be on or off to me.

Graco’s older gun that was supplied with the 3800 and 4900 was much better as you could adjust everything. The Edge initially seems simple but the lack of fine tuning makes it a poorer gun for it.

Loss of sheen is the biggest problem when spraying with hvlp I’ve found due, mainly, to the thinning I guess.

Cover Stain is brilliant through hvlp. I thin with white spirit and Owatrol. As you say BIN is also very good and much easier to spray than brush

Hi Ron

I dug out my Graco 9.5 today (I’d mothballed it!)but ran into major problem, you may know the answer?

I powered up and filled it with clean water to run through a few times before paint. Glad I did as when i pulled trigger back it sprayed , but when i released the trigger back to ‘off’, water poured out for several seconds. and it really did pour out at quite a rate.

so I checked needle and trigger latch was correct,I then tried the fluid adjuster and air valve in a number of different settings, but no success.
I had the gun serviced by Fluid Technologies earlier this year and have only used it three times since. It’s clean!

This is a new one on me…any advice??

Hi Dave

Could be a few things, is water running from the back, by the trigger, or the tip?

If it’s the tip there could be dried paint on the needle or inside the tip. Drop in hot water and use a toothbrush, or similar, to dislodge anything.

If that fails there are two nuts above the trigger. Remove the needle and gently tighten the smaller one as it may be loose. The needle runs through this so don’t overtighten or the trigger will get stiff and you will damage the packings.

If it’s leaking from the rear continuously, and gently tightening the nut doesn’t cure it, then the packings are damaged and will need replacing. It is critical that the 2 front packings are inserted correctly the first time as you can’t remove and reinsert them without damaging them.

It is possible to damage the packings when removing or inserting the needle if it is forced in at an angle. I always put vaseline on the needles before putting them through the housing. I much prefered the older gun where the needle was inserted from the rear.

many thanks Ron

leaking from the tip. as I released the trigger after spraying, the unit continued to release water (glad there was no paint!) through the front tip.
The rear was fine.
I’ll clean and tighten
many thanks