How to Prevent Overspray When Spray Painting

Paint sprayers are advanced tools that have made painting easier, quicker and flawless.From do-it-yourselfers to pros, everybody is using paint sprayers to deal with peeling walls and worn-out cabinets. Although paint sprayers are pretty efficient, there is a problem of overspray that can ruin the finishing look. Overspray doesn’t only affect the look of the final layer but also cause fluid waste and a lot of mess. Fortunately, this problem can be resolved by following a few tips and using the sprayers in an appropriate manner. This review will explain how you can avoid excessive overspray to enjoy smooth finishing and reduced material wastage.

What is Overspray?

When it comes to spray painting, overspray is a problem that you must address as early as possible. By overspray, we mean the excessive spray that doesn’t land onto the target surface but disperses into the air and creates mess. It results in material waste as well as affects the smoothness of the sprayed area. It’s extremely essential to take effective steps in order to minimize the overspray.

There are many obvious reasons that cause overspray. Wrong tip size, unclean condition of the tool, inappropriate distance between surface and the sprayer and pressure of the gun are some of the few common reasons that trigger overspray. Other than that, the presence and direction of wind and angle of spray gun also increase and reduce the overspray.

Controlling paint overspray is not impossible as there are two effective ways to deal with this problem. First tip is to adjust the pressure control and set it at lower.The higher the pressure, the more the overspray and the lower the pressure, the lesser the overspray. Second tip is to use the correct tip size according to the material viscosity.

Causes of Overspray

Air Pressure

Air PressureOne of the major reasons of increased overspray is the high pressure. Sprayers with low pressure strategy cause least overspray because it makes easy to handle and control the material. The problem is when the pressure is high, material bounces on the surface so hard and creates a cloud. The material gets out of control and continues bouncing. The only way to tackle this situation is to reduce the pressure by adjusting it. Prefer spray guns that has pressure adjustment options so you may enjoy reduced overspray and fine application.

Spray Pattern

Spray PatternAnother reason of higher overspray is the wrong spray pattern. Make sure you have set the spray pattern according to the width of the target surface. It the surface is narrow and the pattern is wide then there would be huge mess created by overspray. Use the wide spray pattern only when you are supposed to cover a larger area. When it comes to spraying a smaller portion, set the pattern to narrow so sprayed material won’t miss the substrate. Always prefer the sprayers that comes with a multiple pattern options to allow you adjust accordingly.

Angle of Spray

Angle of SprayIt’s obvious that ifthe surface is at left but your spray angle is aiming for right, there would be greater overspray. Experts suggest to keep the angle perpendicular as it allows 99% material to land onto the surface instead of spreading around. It might be a little difficult for beginners to keep the angle maintained but a little practice will make it easier. The angle of 90° is a preferable option whether you are covering narrow or wider surface. It will help reduce overspray to a greater extent.

Distance from Surface

Distance from SurfaceAnother factor that leads tospray paintoverspray issue is the distance between the sprayer and surface. Avoid getting too closer to the surface as it would cause overspray and result in uneven finish. On the other hand, if you will get too far then spray wouldn’t only cover the target area but also the surroundings and create a messy finish. The best option is to follow the instructions mentioned in the sprayer manual. However, distance of 6 to 10 inches is widely considered to be ideal.


The last but one of the most important reasons causing overspray is the direction and pressure of wind. It is strictly recommended to turn off the fan when spraying as it might disturb the paint mist to land onto the surface. If you are working on outdoor projects where wind cannot be avoided, wait for the right time when the wind is slow. The pressure of wind to one direction will cause the overspray by pushing the paint mist into the same direction. It is always best to work in the mild wind.

How to Prevent Overspray When Painting

Paint sprayer least overspray, airless paint sprayer no overspray

Preparation before Spraying Paint

Preparation is very much necessary to prevent overspray issue. Make sure you cover everything properly to reduce the mess. From furniture to wall accessories, cover every item with a newspaper or some cloth to keep them safe from overspray. If windows and doors are not included in your paint project, cover them as well. Painters tape and plastic sheets will help you much in covering everything properly. No matter how expert you are, you never know when and where the paint may land and create mess. So, things that you don’t want to paint should be either removed or covered. Coming to big projects such as wall and fence painting, make sure you cover the floor with a large piece plastic sheet so overspray will not ruin it.

Set the possible Pressure

Airless paint sprayers are quite efficient and impressive in paint application. They use pressure to release the paint in the form of fine mist through spray gun and nozzle tip. As the material passes through the small opening in the gun, it gets atomized. Airless spray guns work different than the guns that use air to atomize the fluid for a fine coating. The biggest benefit of airless spray guns is that paint comes out faster and covers the surface quickly but, it also has a drawback. Due to increased pressure, airless spray guns cause overspray considerably. For an airless paint sprayer least overspray, the best option is to aim for the lowest PSI possible by adjusting the pressure. Start with the low pressure but gradually you may increase the pressure to finish the final coating adequately. Low pressure enables users to handle the sprayer easily while high pressure makes it difficult to avoid overspray as well as uneven coatings.

Choose the Proper Tip

Choose the Proper TipAirless paint sprayer no overspray is also possible if you choose a right tip size compatible with the fluid viscosity and the project. This tool comes with multiple options of tip sizes and patterns from which you may select the most suitable ones. A larger tip size is best to cover an extensive surface as it allows greater material to release faster. On the other hand, larger pattern also allows the quick coverage of larger area. On the other hand, smaller tip sizes are effective for delicate projects that include narrow surfaces. However, tip size and pattern depends on the nature of the project. Wide spray pattern and larger tip is perfect for big scale projects such as exterior wall painting and fence retouching. But if you will use the same size and pattern for a smaller project like painting the cabinets, there will be huge overspray and mess. You just have to determine the type of the project to choose the right tip size and pattern for reduced overspray.

Pick Right Application Equipment

Another way to prevent overspray is to go with effective tool options. Although airless sprayers are quite efficient, you can find some more impressive equipment in the market that offer reduced overspray and faster application. For instance, HVLP paint sprayer are way better in application and coatings than airless sprayers and also offer minimum overspray. On the other hand, you also have an option of converting your airless paint sprayer into an air assist airless paint sprayer. It will help you enjoy same efficiency as HVLP sprayer with least overspray. All you need to remember is that equipment with high pressure always trigger increased overspray while low pressure tools are quite effective to reduce overspray. Sometimes you will just need to buy right sprayer accessories such as tips, spray guns and pressure pots to reduce the overspray. But if you go with HVLP tools then no need for additional accessories because its low pressure strategy deals with overspray pretty impressively.

Watching the Spray Technique

Spraying is a technical task that must be done in an appropriate way to avoid problems. Watch and learn effective spraying techniques to avoid overspray. From keeping the fan pattern at a stable level to adopting perpendicular angle for spraying, here are certain techniques to follow while paint spraying. You may take help for some expert in this matter and learn the techniques properly to make applications more flawless and perfect. There are also some techniques for maintaining a proper distance while spraying to avoid over-coating and uneven finish. It is also necessary to keep moving the spray gun in a constant speed to avoid missing spots of over-spraying certain areas. Adopting right techniques of spray painting reduce the overspray considerably and result in fine and even coating. You can also take help from instruction manual to learn some effective spraying techniques.

Create the Spray Booth

It might seem an arduous task but will result in reduced overspray mess. Like car paint booths, you can make your own spray paint booth for DIY projects. Use cardboards and assemble them together to create a big booth. Having this booth will save other items from getting sprayed. As far you have a cardboard booth for spraying, you don’t need to mess up your garage or cover things. Just bring whatever you need to paint in the booth and start spraying. It allows you to be free with your hand movements while spraying because you are not restricted by the surroundings. Even if the angle is wrong, nothing is going to get damaged because cardboards has got it all covered well. You may also cover the cardboard booth will a plastic sheet that will be easy for you to wash. This way you won’t need to build a booth again and again.

Increase Electrostatic Charge

Here comes a pro tip to prevent the overspray. Increase the electrostatic charge on paint particles. This way the paint mist will be more attracted to the target surface resulting in reduced overspray. Overspray has many disadvantages but the more devastating ones are material wastage and increased time consumption. Due to overspray, it takes more time to cover a certain area because released mist gets scattered and misses the target surface. But if you will increase the electrostatic charge in the paint particles, the fluid mist will be strongly attracted to the surface and will land onto it, creating a smooth layer. This technique is widely used by automobile manufacturers for spraying the vehicles and accessories. It’s the universal law working here, negative charge is attracted to positive and positive charge is attracted to negative. So surface with lower electrostatic charge will attract the paint with higher electrostatic charge.

Safety When Painting

Safety When PaintingSafety is very much necessary when using a paint sprayer especially airless paintsprayer models. Airless sprayers have high pressure that makes this technology difficult as well as dangerous for users. Avoid pointing sprayers at anybody when they are plugged in. The pressurized mist of fluid may enter the skin and cause serious infection requiring immediate medical assistance. Other than that, paint sprayers are also harmful for eyes, lungs and hair. Always wear a high quality mask to cover your mouth so you must not inhale or swallow paint mistakenly. It might affect your respiratory system and make breathing difficult. It is highly recommended to wear proper uniform including the face masks, gloves and hair caps during spray projects. Also keep the nozzle of spray gun away from you skin because it’s slight touch can result in severe skin problems. Never compromise on your safety during spray paint projects.


Paint sprayers have become the number one choice of amateur do-it-yourselfers and professionals. No doubt, these advanced tools have made painting easier and quicker but there is also some drawbacks of spraying among which comes a biggest problem of overspray. It doesn’t only affect the coatings but also cause material wastage and increased time consumption. Fortunately, overspray can be controlled by following a few tips.You just have to be careful about the tip size and pattern, spray angle and right equipment and then you will be able to reduce the overspray of an airless sprayer as well. Some prepping and safety are also necessary to avoid excessive overspray.