Is It Better to Paint or Spray Paint Wood?


Getting new paint onto your furniture is a great way to breathe new life into the pieces. It is also a good way to personalize the items to suit your personal preferences and decorating style. There are two main techniques used in the application of paint; Painting Vs. Spray Painting Furniture.

There is always one common question; is it better to paint or spray paint wood? Although you may have personal preferences, your choice of technique for paint application depends on the type of furniture. The finish and look you are trying to achieve also plays a big part in your choice of a painting technique.

(Need help with crafting unique and attractive woodworking projects? Check this out this amazing plans that you can build! Click here)

Spray Painting or Painting, Which One Should You Go For?

To better understand the difference between the two, it is important to understand the differences. 

Spray Painting

Although spray painting is popular, it can be defined as using paint in sprayable cans for those who don’t know. It is a popular option due to its convenience. Its ability to provide a satin or high gloss finish is also another reason for its popularity.

When painting furniture with the aim of getting even coverage without visible brush strokes, this is a great choice. It is also faster although the painting should be done in well lit and ventilated areas. Unlike brush painting, you can get good coverage with a single coat of spray paint. The train times are also much faster as compared to the counterpart. Spray painting is also a good way to bring access to the hard-to-reach parts of the furniture.

Here are some advantages of spray painting:

  • Even coverage with no traces of brush strokes
  • It is significantly faster as compared to brush painting
  • Lasts longer than latex paint since most spray paints are oil based
  • Spray paint is usable on almost every surface be it wood, wicker, plastic, resin, and metal.
  • The drying time for spray paint is much shorter than that of brush paint.
  • Spray paint has an easy application process especially on furniture with crannies and nooks, small pieces and pieces with spindles.
  • The clean-up process after painting is easier as there are no paint trays, buckets, brushes, or rollers that need washing.

Spray paint can be used on almost every material provided you have the right technique and kind of paint. Spray paint is more effective when used on the following materials:

  • Glass
  • Aluminium
  • Surfaces that already have paint on them
  • Vinyl
  • Plastic
  • Wood

If you are preparing for a quick facelift on any piece of furniture, spray painting is a great option. It can be used on any type of furniture whether it is a table, chair, or bench. However, it can cause you problems when working with larger furniture. Coverage becomes a huge challenge when spray painting on large surfaces. You will end up with a splotchy finish. Also wear a ventilation mask and spray in well ventilated areas.

The good news is that this does not have to be a problem. There are two ways it can be solved:

  1. In cases where the gloss or satin finish is needed, make sure to use an acrylic sealer and a quality sponge chip brush. The acrylic sealer you use should be water-based. It should be done in cold temperatures not lower than 60 degrees and not more than 75 degrees. 
  2. If you are trying to achieve a subtle sheen or matte finish, the furniture should be buffed out by applying wax. This can be done using a soft piece of cloth made from cotton.
  3. Test the nozzle of the can to make sure that it is working as needed.

Brush Painting

Brush painting requires more time as compared to spray painting. However, it guarantees a more intricate finish. Brush painting can be done by hand using a foam roller or a brush.

Brush painting comes with different advantages as seen below:

  •  There is a wider range of colour options to choose from. It is even possible to mix different colours to come up with a custom colour that suits your preferences.
  • It is more affordable as brushed on paint covers a larger surface area as compared to spray paint.
  • Brushed on paint is less toxic. It is possible to apply latex paint inside the house as it does not emit a lot of fumes. Spray painting on the other hand must be done in areas with good ventilation. It is also important to have a respirator mask when spray painting.

When brush painting furniture, it is important to get her good quality brush that is properly angled. Also make sure that the paint is applied in thin and even coats. If you are working with large flat surfaces, a foam roller that has rounded surfaces can help you get the work done faster. Special focus should be given to rounded edges to avoid roller marks. When working with intricate grooves or molding, an angled brush is more preferable. It is more effective in touching up the drips that may come about when using a roller.

Distressed Finishes

Spray paint open forms and extremely durable Bond on furniture pieces. This makes it unsuitable for achieving distressed finishes. Scratches caused by sandpaper damage the appearance of nature. More often than not, furniture refinishers working with distressed finishes prefer chalk paint. Although brushstrokes appear in the primary coat, they transform into a smooth finish after drying. Just like spray paint, chalk paint bonds effectively with any surface and dries quickly. 

Priming and Protecting

Many people tend to think that there is no need for primer. There is a common misconception that paint companies pedal lies whenever they say that the primer is vital for every surface. However, your dreams of having a great finish may be impossible to achieve if you do not use primer. Wood is one of the surfaces that absolutely needs a primer. Naturally, wood can be very porous. A primer gets rid of the porosity and smoothens the finish for a more enhanced look.

Similarly, you are going to need a primer if the paint previously used on the surface had a gloss finish. It is challenging for paint to adhere to a glossy surface so you may have to sand it before adding a primer coat. 

White primer can be used in cases where a dark colour is being painted with a light coat. This can save you from hours of painting. It also prevents the buildup of paint. When multiple surfaces of paint are added to a surface, they may result in various issues. Some of them include flaking, cracking and even bubbling.

Whether you choose to go with spray painting or brush painting depends on the kind of project you are working on. They will come with different advantages that are suitable in various instances. In the case of spray painting, you benefit from quicker drying speeds and easier work. Which is also more effective when working with smaller pieces or detailed crannies and nooks. Additionally, it is easier to clean up after the paint job. 

Brush painting on the other hand allows you to choose from a variety of colours. It is also more affordable as it covers the largest surface area. Reduced toxicity is another advantage associated with brush painting. It is also worth noting that the quality of the paint job depends on their skills of the painter and products used. Using a primer after the paint job should be a priority to improve the durability of the item and its appearance.

Recent Posts