Is it better to spray or brush exterior paint?

Is it better to spray or brush exterior paint?

When it comes to professional house painting, there are so many aspects that come into play to achieve the finished look that you want. Everything from the paint colour to the type of paint you choose will affect the result. However, one of the most significant factors that come into play is the technique used when painting. There are two primary ways to get the job done: brushing and spraying. What’s the difference, though? Does one outweigh the other? What do the professionals prefer? You need to arm yourself with a little more information on the subject before talking to your painters. Looking for Melbourne Home Painting? Look no further

So, first things first. The most important aspect about getting your house painted is the overall look of the job once it’s done. Of course, other factors you might think about include the cost, the mess and clean-up involved, and the efficiency and lifespan of the paint. But the one thing that is of utmost importance is that you get a beautiful, flawless finish. This is where the biggest difference in the application shows up. You can get a smooth finish by spraying, but if the paint is uneven, then it doesn’t matter how smooth it is. Spraying does not typically have the best coverage. In the experienced hands of a professional, a paintbrush is hard to beat. He can achieve evenness and coverage at the same time.

Using a Brush vs. Sprayer For Painting a House Exterior


Using a paintbrush to paint your house lets you get started faster each day. You don’t have so many tools and materials that need to be brought out and set up. Often, you can break up the brushing into several smaller projects throughout the day.

Considerably less covering and masking of clean areas are required. Spraying requires a wide buffer of plastic sheeting or dropcloth. By contrast, brushing needs only a drop cloth for the area directly below the paint area.

When brushing, you’ll have the chance to pay more attention to the details. If there is a problem area that needs fixing, you’ll often see it better when brushing rather than when spraying.

Brushing, too, is a great way to conserve paint. The paint goes on thicker when brushing, yet it uses less paint.

Still, brushing is more physically demanding than spraying. You’ll need to be able to reach all areas of the house exterior, even the highest spots Check out Melbourne Home Painting page which has everything you might need near you.

Paint Sprayer

Using a paint sprayer for your home’s exterior means that you can cover more areas faster–but only after the prep work is done. Difficult architectural work and textures are easy to cover with a paint sprayer. Sprayers can extend your reach by another couple of feet when you have high or out-of-the-way areas.

With spraying, you’ll need to cover obstructions from utilities (wires, pipes, gas meters), architectural details, plants, driveways, sidewalks, and anything else that will not be painted. Once you have everything masked and taped-up, spraying is faster than brushing.

This can be a tough, multi-day job: a project all by itself. Also, the weather can interfere. You’ll need to be aware of upcoming rain since it can ruin your coverage work.

Pros And Cons

Brushing and spraying, why one over the other? Well here are some things to consider…


  • Smooth application
  • Quick and easy, but that’s where the pros stop
  • It takes about 2-3 times more paint to spray than it does to brush (this gets pretty costly)
  • You can’t paint on a windy day (your paint literally will blow away)
  • It is less adhesive to spray than to brush (the paint comes out of the sprayer as micro-droplets that are so tiny they don’t always stick to the surface of the house)
  • The set-up and clean-up are more extensive (windows, plants, walkways, everything has to be covered or risk getting sprayed with paint)
  • It may take several coats of paint to cover well.
  • It is difficult to spray evenly or even reach into corners and under places like the eaves.


  • The paint goes exactly where you want it to
  • It is easy to get a nice even coat, usually with only one or two coats.
  • Reaching into tricky areas is doable.
  • You use a lot less paint with a brush than with a sprayer.
  • The paint goes on thicker, resulting in a much longer lifespan of the paint.
  • A thicker application also causes the paint to adhere to the surface with no problem (this means less cracking and bubbling)
  • Clean-up is faster and easier.
  • The only downside to brushing is the fact that it takes a bit longer and is a bit more labour intensive (but, in reality, it doesn’t take that much longer, plus the professionals are experienced enough to know how to handle the extra work, it’s what they do)

Professionals Who Use Brushes

Any contractor who does a professional house painting in the Metrowest will tell you that it is worth the extra effort to use a brush as opposed to a sprayer because the pros far outweigh the cons. With a more even finish, using half the paint, and getting the fine details of the job right, why wouldn’t this be the obvious choice? Now, given there are special circumstances that require a sprayer to get the job done, these jobs don’t happen that often. When presented with the choice, however, a true professional will take the tried and true route and stick with a brush. 

With all the different professional house painting companies in the Metrowest, you need something that sets one apart from the rest. Here at No Risk Painting, we know that a brush is a painter’s most valuable tool. That’s why we always prefer to use a brush as our first option because we want you to have the most beautiful house possible. Suppose you want a flawless finish on your home call No Risk Painting today. Talk to one of our highly trained professionals and get a no-risk quote for your home.

Using a Paintbrush Conserves Paint

One gallon of exterior acrylic-latex on a clean, painted surface will easily hit or exceed the manufacturer’s estimates of one gallon per 400 square feet of painted space if it is applied using a paintbrush. Spraying, on the other hand, wastes an incredible amount of paint because much of it drifts away into the air. With top-quality house paints now selling for as much as $50 per gallon, conserving paint can be a decided advantage.

Start and Stop When You Want

Painting by sprayer usually is done in one massive start-to-finish project entailing long days of work. Preparing spray equipment and cleaning it up at the end of each session is a big job, so long, continuous working sessions are the norm. But with a paintbrush, you can start and stop at your leisure, breaking the big job of painting a house into as many 1-hour or 2-hour segments as you want. If you’re using water-soluble latex paint, the simple job of cleaning a paintbrush doesn’t add much time to the overall work.

Brushing Requires Little Prep Work

Hate masking? Careful masking of windows and doors is mandatory if you are painting with a sprayer. There is no such thing as “cutting in” when using a sprayer. But if you have a steady hand, you can hand-paint around windows without even masking them off. As for preparing the landscape, all you need to do is lay a canvas drop cloth on the ground just below your work area. No draping bushes and outdoor furniture with plastic, as you must do with spraying. Paint-spraying requires maximum tarping, not just directly below the surface but well beyond.

Siding Problems Are Spotted and Fixed

One of the best things about painting your house exterior has nothing to do with the finish coat itself. House painting gives you the opportunity—actually, it forces you—to get up-close and personal with your house’s skin. Many homeowners would never undertake repairs to the house’s siding and trim if they didn’t spot these problems during the painting project. Painting by hand requires careful examination and preparation of the surfaces in a way that is often overlooked when spraying. House exteriors that are painted by brush tend to get more tender loving care.

Problem Areas Receive Better Paint Coverage

When dealing with small, complex areas of a house exterior, the paint sprayer isn’t much help. These areas often get very thin coats of paint, and show-through is common. But a paintbrush is perfect for those knots or cracks where you need an extra daub of paint.

Brush-Work Is Gratifying

Paint spraying is all about preparation. The house needs masking and tarps, and you need to get properly suited and masked up. But when painting a house by hand, you only need to put on your old pair of jeans and shirt, pop open the can, and start painting—preparation requires ten minutes, tops. If you’re the type who likes to get started ASAP, this method is for you. Paint coverage is better when brushing by hand, and most people find that they are more pleased with the final results.

How Much Paint to Use

Brushing the Paint

In general, you will use up to three times more paint by spraying than by brushing–plus, you risk getting a thinner coat.

One gallon of exterior acrylic-latex on a clean, painted or primed surface–a minimum of porosity–is estimated by manufacturers to cover about 400 square feet.

Dripping and laying on the paint too thick are factors that will lower this estimate.

Spraying the Paint

Spraying uses more paint because the sprayer atomizes the paint into tiny droplets. Most of the droplets end up on the surface, but many others drift away. This is inherent with paint spraying, and little can be done to control it. 

Also, paint left in the hose must be blown out. Some of the paint can be saved, but much of it goes to waste. 

One gallon of paint will cover about 150 to 200 square feet of wall. We would be more careful and even estimate more like a 1:3 ratio (1 gallon brushed on will require 3 gallons when sprayed on).

How to Conserve Paint When Spraying

Avoid the Wind

Even a mild, five mph wind is enough to blow away sprayed paint. Very windy days can increase your paint consumption by as much as 50-per cent. It’s difficult to block the paint, so wait until conditions are better before spraying again.

Pump the Paint Back

When you are finished, it might be tempting to spray out the rest of the paint into the air. Instead, pump the paint remaining in the hose back into the container instead of disposing of it. Paint remaining in even 25 feet of the hose can add up. Plus, conserving the paint is more eco-friendly.

Stand Closer to the Surface

The farther away from the surface you are, the more paint drifts away as a cloud. Standing closer to the surface reduces this paint-cloud. 

But be careful. Spraying closer means a greater chance of drips. Also, you get more blow-back from the sprayer, which means suiting up with a paint sock over your head, coveralls, respirator, and tight goggles. Also home painting Melbourne page which has everything

Tips for Making the Work Faster and Easier

  • Work in sections. Break up the project into smaller sections that you can tackle with ease. Some homeowners find it helpful to think of each large wall surface as an individual project. You can even each large wall surface in a separate season—tackling one face of the house each summer, for example. You can also mentally divide each “wall project” into smaller sections that can be completed in the course of two hours.
  • Hand-paint only the special sections. Some areas need more attention and a thicker coat of paint than others. Exterior corners and drain pipes are areas that tend to get battered by the weather and can benefit from hand-painting. If painting the entire house by hand seems more than you can tackle, at least address the special areas with the special attention that comes along with hand brushing.
  • Clean brushes carefully. Learn how to properly clean paintbrushes. A quality paintbrush is a fine tool; by treating your brushes better, you extend their lifespan. This allows you to buy higher-quality brushes, which in turn makes your painting go smoother.
  • Use bigger brushes. Buy at least one 4-inch brush. It just makes sense that if you’re going to be painting broad expanses, you need a broader brush.
  • Choose proper paint sheens. Using flat or matte paint finishes helps you pick up again on your painting without worrying about visible lap marks. Flat paint hides overlap marks better. However, be aware that surfaces coated with satin or semi-gloss paints will be easier to clean.
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