Why People Add A Little Water To Paint Before Spraying (& Is It A Good Idea?)

There are various reasons to use paint sprayers, especially if you want a flawless finish when painting. Some people add water to the paint used in paint sprayers, helping it to flow better during the application process. While this application offers a smooth surface without brushstrokes, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind if you want to try it for yourself. With the right paint and the right amount of water, this trick can make painting a lot easier and help you paint your home like a professional

While shopping for a paint sprayer, be careful not to confuse these tools with spray paint. The main difference between a paint sprayer and spray paint is that a can of spray paint comes with product already in it, whereas paint sprayers require you to add the paint of your choice. The type of paint you use also matters, as you'll get very different results when diluting oil paint in comparison to latex paint. Since water and oil don't mix, oil paint won't work for this trick. Latex paints, however, are water-based, so they're ideal for watering down. Acrylic paint is also water-based, making it another excellent choice for this project.

Potential drawbacks of watering down paint

You want your paint to easily flow through your sprayer's funnel, which is why adding water can be helpful. However, you only need half a cup of water per gallon of paint. Anything more than that and you're compromising the consistency of your paint. Too much water can make paint appear lighter or make pigment particles separate, although this latter problem can be prevented by stirring your paint while adding in the water. You'll also want to be mindful of potential bacterial growth and always use distilled water, as it's less likely to mold.

While there are drawbacks to watering down your paint, such as the potential for poor adhesion to whatever surfaces you spray and the paint having less UV resistance or a change in pigment as a result of the water, many people find that the tradeoff is worth it. Once you have your paint sufficiently thinned, you can tackle tons of projects, from fences to furniture and everything in between — just remember to test your thinned paint on a piece of wood to ensure you like how it looks. If it's too translucent, it's better to find out on a piece of disposable wood than on your walls. Overall, watering down your paint is advantageous when using a paint sprayer — just be mindful of how much water you're adding and use the correct type of paint.