If you have a large area to paint and want to get the job done quickly and professionally, consider using a sprayer to apply the paint. These devices can be purchased or rented from your local home improvement store, and are fairly easy to use. Sprayers can be broken down into high or low-pressure categories, with each offering distinct benefits and drawbacks.
High-pressure sprayers are designed for outside use. Those that operate using a piston pump are the most versatile option, and can handle both thick paints and thinner lacquers and varnishes. High-pressure sprayers with diaphragm pumps produce a finer finish and aren't designed for use with thick paints and primers [source: Crowder]. The power of these sprayers is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) or liters per minute (LPM). Units rated for .5 GPM (1.89 LPM) or lower should be used with stains and lacquers. Those rated between .5 and 1 GPM (1.89 and 3.79 LPM) are designed for most exterior paints and epoxies, while sprayers rated above 1 GPM (3.79 LPM) should be used with thin, light coatings and paints [source: Simpson].
If you'd like to spray the interior of your home, look for a low-pressure sprayer. These units produce a super smooth, even finish, which will look best on interior walls, ceilings, and doors. They also use less paint, which means reduced overspray and easier cleanup. Finally, they're fairly light and easy to control, making them a great way to get familiar with paint spraying technology [source: This Old House]. These units are generally powered by air compressors, which can be rented by the day at most hardware stores.
When working with paint sprayers, you'll have a number of options when it comes to choosing hoses and spray tips. Most manufacturers will recommend a range of acceptable sizes that work with specific sprayers. The thicker the paint or coating you plan to use, the bigger the spray tip should be. This doesn't mean you should use the largest tips available however. Start at the small end of the size range for your sprayer and work your way up until you find the perfect balance of volume and control.
Now that you've learned the various ways to apply paint, read on to the next section to learn how to protect your home from spills and splatters while you work.