How to Paint Trim With an Airless Sprayer


Painting with an airless sprayer can provide a beautiful finish to trim work such as baseboards, chair rails and crown molding. Professionals use this tool to spread the most paint in the least amount of time, and to provide a smoother finish to the trim surface. Airless sprayers come in different sizes and can be rented at most home improvement retailers. The rental should include an extension cord, spray hose and spray gun.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Utility knife
  • Shop vacuum
  • Wood primer
  • Airless paint sprayer
  • Spray hose
  • Spray gun
  • .015-inch spray tip
  • 2 empty 5-gallon buckets
  • Garden hose

Prepping the Trim Work

  • Fill nail holes in finish with wood putty using your fingers and a stiff putty knife.

  • Sand rough wood areas with 100- or 120-grit sandpaper.

  • Caulk seams with a caulking gun.

  • Cut off wood fibers with a utility knife.

  • Vacuum dust and wood particles along the edge of the baseboard, window sills and door trim headers.

Preparing the Airless Sprayer for Priming and Painting

  • Remove the lid from the primer and submerge the airless sprayer's siphon tube into the paint.

  • Place the return hose into an empty 5-gallon bucket.

  • Set the pressure control knob to its lowest setting.

  • Set the prime/spray valve to "Prime."

  • Set the on/off switch to "On" to engage the primer pump. Watch the end of the return hose in the 5-gallon bucket. When primer paint flows out of it, switch the prime/spray valve to the "Spray" setting.

Priming and Painting the Trim

  • Hold the spray gun inside the bottom of the 5-gallon bucket, pointing the tip toward the side. Pull the trigger to release the pressure on the gun to allow the cleaning agents stored in the hose and sprayer to drain out. Spray until you see primer paint coming out.

  • Stand at one end of any given section of trim, holding the gun perpendicular to its surface. Turn the spray pressure up using the pressure control knob.

  • Position the gun between 14 and 18 inches away from the trim and begin moving your hand in the direction you'll be spraying before pulling the trigger. This practice of moving before pulling the trigger will help you avoid piling up too much paint in one given area.

  • Walk parallel to the wall, keeping the gun at an even distance from the trim throughout the entire length of the section.

  • Allow all primed trim to dry, then sand with 120-grit sandpaper. Repeat steps 2 through 4 of the third section for finish-coat application.

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