How to Thin Latex Enamel for a Spray Gun

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Things You'll Need

  • Waterborne paint conditioner

  • Latex enamel paint

  • Stir stick or mechanical mixer

  • Mixing container

  • Sprayer

Latex enamel paints are highly durable, easy to clean, eco-friendly paints that dry quickly, with a high gloss finish. Often used in areas of higher traffic once reserved for oil-based paints, latex enamel paints are applied using traditional painting methods. In some applications, the painter finds that "spraying" the paint is the best method. When spraying with latex enamel paints, the desire exists to thin the paint for sprayer application. An excellent method of protecting sprayers and conditioning the latex enamel paint is a product called a waterborne paint conditioner. A popular brand is Floetrol.


Step 1

Obtain latex enamel paint.

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Step 2

Obtain waterborne paint conditioner. Water will work, since all you are doing is watering down a water-based paint; however, waterborne paint conditioners such as Floetrol have benefits water cannot provide.

Step 3

Determine the type of sprayer apparatus to use for the project. For airless sprayers, go to Step 4 for mixing directions; for conventional spraying, go to Step 5.

Step 4

For airless sprayers, thin the latex enamel paint by adding approximately 10 percent by volume of the waterborne paint conditioner per liter of latex enamel paint.


Step 5

For conventional spraying with a cup and gun, use between 5 percent and 10 percent by volume of the paint conditioner per liter of latex enamel paint to reach the desired flow and consistency for the paint.

Step 6

Begin using the paint.


Floetrol is a well-known waterborne paint conditioner. The directions above are consistent with Floetrol usage. Other manufacturers may have differing mixing guidelines. Always read the direction of the waterborne paint conditioning product you use. Floetrol claims that a project will require 15 percent less paint when Floetrol is used, while allowing a 20 percent reduction in air pressure without interrupting the spaying pattern.


Mixing guidelines are only guidelines. Floetrol and other waterborne painting conditioners application amounts may need to be adjusted for conditions at the time of application and according to surface textures.


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