Home interior spray-painting techniques

Updated November 21, 2016

Spray-painting will speed any paint job. An airless sprayer can be used to paint walls, ceilings and trim. Sprayers will provide a quick, even coat, but they can also leave heavy runs and sags in the paint if used incorrectly. Paint sprayers also create paint dust that will settle on everything that is not covered.


Set up your area before beginning. You need to remove all furniture and wall hangings from the room that you are working in. Use plastic or paper protection to cover the entire floor. Light fixtures can be wrapped with plastic and taped. Remove outlet covers and cover the outlets with tape. Your windows will need to be covered with plastic and all trim completely covered.


Practice using a sprayer on a scrap piece of wood or plasterboard. Paint comes out of a sprayer at a high speed and at high volume. If you discover that too much paint is coming out, adjust the volume -- most sprayers have a control. Spray tips also come in different sizes. It is the size of the hole in the tip that determines how much paint will flow through.

Spray pattern

You can either spray left to right or up and down. Before pulling the trigger on the spray gun, your hand must be in motion. Hold the gun with the tip pointing directly at the wall or ceiling. Hold your arm out straight and start moving your arm in the direction that you are going to paint. As you start to move your arm, pull the trigger. Make sure that you keep the spray tip at least 25 cm (10 inches) from the surface. After each pass, overlap the edge with the next pass. By overlapping your paint, you will be less likely to have streaks or missed areas.

Ceilings and walls

If you intend on painting your ceilings and walls, spray the ceilings first. If you paint the walls before you paint the ceilings, it will be impossible to spray the ceiling without a lot work to cover the walls. Use a spray shield to avoid hitting the ceiling when you paint the walls. Hold the edge of the shield at a slight angle to the wall. Spray underneath the shield and do not spray beyond the end of it. Spray no higher than 10 cm (4 inches) from the ceiling. Use a brush and small roller to cut in around your ceiling.

Remove tape and reinstall outlet covers

Remove tape from trim within two hours after spraying. Leaving tape on too long will create jagged edges or tears in your new paint. Wait until the next day before replacing your outlet covers. This will allow enough time for the paint to dry. If you install the covers too soon, they will stick to the paint.

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About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).