Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Spray vs Brush?

This seems to be a common question from home owners and  I hope I can help clarify what exactly it is you want from your painter in regards to spraying or brushing trim and doors.


Lets ask a few questions:



 Why do I need to choose between one or the other?   There are so many reasons why a home owner would choose between the two, here is a list that could include a combination of the following:

  • Quality of appearance
  • Financial obligation
  • Time it takes to complete
  • Matching existing painted product
  • Product being used
  • Contractor service availability


Lets elaborate on the individual bullets from above:

  1. Quality appearance – Spraying will leave a smooth finish with absolutely no texture regardless of the product used.  Brushing in most cases leaves some form of brush lines and how visible they are also depends on the product being used.  Both finishes have a place for application and it really is dependent on the home or home owner for that finish.
  2. Financial obligation – Spraying tends to lean more on the costly side as there is typically more preparation involved and it leaves a much more desirable (quality) product.  From masking the floor and walls to protecting surfaces or personal items from overspray, and the amount of paint needed for the project, this process can be rather tedious.  Brushing on the other hand can be less costly as it takes less preparation time, sundries, less paint and can be in most cases less quality (if you find brush lines inferior to smooth surfaces) and this can be a reflection of the quality of product being used.
  3. Time it takes to complete – Spraying, depending on the size of job can take less or more time.  The smaller the job the more time it can take in the long run compared to a larger job where bulk (quantity) can take less time in the long run.  For example; comparing a house that needs trim to be painted in place (installed) with a home that has the trim painted before installation.
  4. Matching existing painted product – Lets say you have a living room that was remodeled and you want the new trim to match the texture of old existing trim through out the house.  You would then determine if it was sprayed or brushed and follow suite for the remodeled room.  Or, if you plan to remodel the WHOLE house one room at a time, then picking the painting process will be a bit easier as it would stay consistent with every new remodeled portion.
  5. Product being used – some paints lay out better than others.  Meaning, they don’t leave well defined brush lines when using a brush.  This has to do with the amount of leveling agent that is added to the paint to give it a smoother look after brush application.  Resort to your local paint dealer for a specific product that will give you outstanding results with a brush.  If it can lay out really nice with a brush, can you imagine what a spray finish will look like?  VERY good!
  6. Contractor Service Availability – Does your painting contractor offer the spray method?  Some don’t spray at all, while others only spray and do not brush.  Be sure your contractor can service you with your desired outcome before hiring them.


Do I have the space for my contractor to spray doors or trim on site?

  • Consider the situation, whether your remodeling your whole house or 1-2 rooms.  Sometimes the empty remodeled room is adequate or the garage can be turned into a painting booth.  A lot of thought can go into this based on the situation of the project.  Your contractor having the right tools and system can make the project enjoyable and fun.

Does my contractor have the facility to paint trim or doors off site?

  • Often times this is a great option if the painting company is large enough to have a separate painting facility.  Most of the time painters don’t have that facility and can paint the doors and trim on site, but having a facility helps with limited available space and so does having the right tools and creativity to make it all work.  For whatever reason either health, space, or simply convenience, be sure to ask your contractor up front before assuming the work can be taken offsite.


In most repaint situations there can be an option between brushing and spraying trim and doors.   Evaluating the situation with the perspective of a contractor can be a benefit and less time consuming.   Be sure to call your local house painter and ask as many questions as you need.


I may or may not have covered all the bases in regards to choosing sprayed or brushed trim and doors, but this should get you off to a good start.  Always ask the contractor as many questions as possible before you hire them, so  all the step that need to take place for your project can be executed with ease.   Refer to the list above to help prioritize your final outcome.


Jason Cox

Agape Painting Inc.

~Agape Painting Inc. (503) 891-6120.

6 thoughts on “Spray vs Brush?

  1. Last time I repainted my living room I used a brush and it turned out fine, but not great. Exactly as you said, there were lines along the walls – faint, but visible nonetheless. You just sit there watching TV and your eye can’t help but stray to the wall and it gets really irritating.

    Next time I’ll try spray!

  2. I have so many customers requesting the brush technique on many surfaces that require spray techniques because they think old fashion is just the way to go. I think the surface of what I am painting is what ultimately makes my decision on spray vs brush.

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