A man using a Wagner FLEXiO HVLP paint & stain sprayer to stain a deck

How to Use a Paint Sprayer

How to use a paint sprayer to get professional results and finish in less time than a roller and brush.



Before you break out your Wagner paint sprayer and start painting, it's important to be prepared. This includes having all the right items to make your DIY paint spraying project go smoother and learning how to use a paint sprayer before climbing ladders and figuring it out in the air.

It doesn’t matter if you’re painting a room inside, or paint spraying the exterior of your home, we highly suggest covering anything you don’t want to get paint on. This is easy with painters plastic found at most hardware or paint stores. Use the painters plastic and painters tape to mask off the windows, doors, floors and woodwork – basically anything you don’t want to get paint on.

To reach high areas, you’re going to need a ladder. We suggest for you to use a ladder where you can reach the highest spot without having to go higher than then 2nd or 3rd highest rung. If you’re unsure on how to use your ladder, make sure to read those safety instructions too. Also, if you’re a commercial or professional painter and on the job site, you’ll want to make sure you’re using all equipment in accordance with OSHA guidelines. Another pro tip, when using your Wagner paint sprayer, wear a face mask to avoid inhaling overspray, especially on a windy day.

Before using a paint sprayer be sure to mask off your painting space


After you’ve gotten everything masked off, you’re ready to start using your paint sprayer. But before you start climbing ladders and paint spraying your house or interior walls, we highly suggest learning how to use a paint sprayer first. Also, it’s much easier to learn how to do this while you’re on the ground versus up on a ladder. To familiarize yourself with your sprayer, we suggest practice spraying using the included Wagner spray poster, and if you need additional practice to get comfortable painting with a sprayer, large flattened out cardboard boxes work great too. Before you begin spraying paint make sure you’re comfortable spraying in both a horizontal and vertical spray path.

practice spraying using the included Wagner spray poster


One of the most convenient things about Wagner FLEXiO Paint Sprayers is your ability to spray any latex or oil-based paint or stain without having to thin the material. This makes FLEXiO HVLP Paint Sprayers a popular choice for home and professional use. After filling the paint reservoir, you'll want to learn how to adjust your sprayer. The adjustable spray nozzle makes painting with a sprayer easy.

Adjust your paint sprayer for the best spray pattern


If you’re paint spraying side-to-side (left to right, right to left) select a vertical spray pattern. This will produce a tall, thin oval of paint from your paint sprayer. Spray laterally while moving the gun from side to side at a consistent pace, and keeping the tip of the sprayer a uniform 6 to 12 inches from the surface as you spray. Make sure to avoid arcing at the end of your stroke. Adjust the distance and speed of your movement to get full, even coverage from your paint sprayer.

Vertical spray pattern for spraying up and down


Change the spray pattern to horizontal, this produces a wide oval-shaped spray pattern. Practice spraying with an up-and-down stroke, using the same technique you just practiced for lateral paint spraying. Now that you have a feel for how the spray pattern behaves, you're ready to start your paint spraying project.

Horizontal Spray pattern for spraying side to side


To ensure the color you selected stays accurate to what you saw in the store, we suggest spraying a coat of primer first, especially if you’re painting over a darker color with a lighter one. Depending how closely you have masked out windows, doors, frames, fixtures, etc., it might be easier to edge these areas out, with a brush or Wagner Edge Roller. Here are our other tips for wall paint spraying efficiency:

  • Shine a work light at an angle on the surface you're painting to help you spot areas that need more paint. If you’re painting outside in bright daylight, you may not need to do this
  • Start in a corner and spray in a back-and-forth motion, overlapping each stroke by about half the spray pattern on the next stroke
  • Keep the gun moving at a consistent speed to avoid drips
  • Brush out drips as soon as you see them and immediately spray lightly over the brush marks to cover up the brush strokes
  • Have a wet towel or rag handy just in case you get paint on a surface that shouldn’t be painted
  • • A paint sprayer spraying a wall pastel blue with a Wagner HVLP FLEXiO paint sprayer
    Products Used
    Download project steps & shopping list

    We'll never share your email with anyone else.

    suggested other projects

    How to Paint a Room with an Airless Paint Sprayer
    How to Paint a Room with an Airless Paint Sprayer

    Learn how to easily paint spray interior walls using a Wagner High Efficiency Airless sprayer....

    Learn More
    How to Use a Paint Sprayer
    How to Use a Paint Sprayer

    How to use a paint sprayer to get professional results and finish in less time than a roller and brush....

    Learn More
    The Best Way to Paint a Wooden Fence
    The Best Way to Paint a Wooden Fence

    Learn how to paint a wooden fence with a wagner paint sprayer, which can cut painting time in half over using a brush....

    Learn More
    Stay Connected

    Find out what’s new from Wagner including product news, exclusive email offers, promotions and more.