7 common spray gun problems and how to fix them

By Clive Wilden

7 common spray gun problems and how to fix them

Your spray gun is arguably the most important tool you have in your arsenal. If you have a long day of painting and finishing ahead and your spray gun isn’t working then you’re probably not going to achieve very much. From a blocked spray nozzle to an orange peel paint finish – many of the most common spray gun issues are easily fixed and don’t need external tools or pricey engineer call outs. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common spray gun issues and how to fix them. But first…

Why do spray guns clog?

Spray guns merge pressurised air with liquid paint to achieve a mist. This resultant spray has the potential to save users huge amounts of time and create a smoother and more professional finish. But, as we all know, when paint dries out it changes from a liquid to a solid. It’s this solid matter, along with certain adhesives, that mean spray gun tips are prone to clogging.

Prevention is better than cure so here are three quick tips to prevent your sprayer from clogging:

  • Wipe the air cap between uses
  • If your paints harden quickly or you’re using solvents, soak the air cap in cleaning solution after use
  • Consider increasing hose diameter if you’re working with thicker paints or adhesives that can get stuck in the liquid supply path
7 quick fixes for blocked spray guns

Know you could do better but need a quick fix solution for how to get your spray nozzle to work right now? Take a look at our 7 common spray gun issues and their quick fixes.

1. Why is my spray gun leaking from fluid nozzle?

You’re not alone, a leaking spray gun is a common problem amongst professional and amateur sprayers alike. It’s often caused by the fluid nozzle becoming loose or dried paint blocking the needle.

Solution: Remove your spray gun nozzle, clean it and then adjust. We told you it was simple!

2. Why is my spray gun leaking from the needle sealing area?

If your spray gun is leaking from the needle sealing area, it’s highly likely that your needle packing has become damaged. There’s an easy enough fix though, thankfully.

Solution: Replace the Teflon packing on your spray gun with a new needle kit. See gun kits here  or book in your gun for a service 

3. Why is my spray gun spraying to the left or right?

If your spray gun is spraying to either side and creating a sickle shape as it sprays then it’s likely that your air holes on the air cap are damaged. Thankfully, it should be easy to fix if the obstruction is on the air cap.

Solution: Clean the air holes on the cap.

If this doesn’t work then you may need to replace your air cap. See aircaps here  or book in your gun for a service 

4. Why is my spray gun painting in a teardrop spray pattern?

A spray pattern should be an even oval shape so if you’re noticing a teardrop effect with your spray, it’s likely that one or more holes on the spray cap are clogged.

Solution: Remove and clean your air cap.

5. Why is paint sputtering from my spray gun?

This is a common problem and will usually mean that your nozzle simply isn’t on tight enough.

Solution: Tighten nozzle on spray gun. Easy.

If this doesn’t work then check your air cap is properly matched and that your packings are still intact.

6. Why is my spray gun painting unevenly?

If you find that you’re getting uneven cover or even a paint splatter effect from your spray gun then it’s likely that the air pressure isn’t correct for the viscosity of the liquid you’re using i.e. air pressure is too low for thicker paint

Solution: Readjust the air pressure or the product viscosity until the gun sprays evenly.

7. Why is there an “orange peel” effect on my paint job?

Another fairly common scenario here and one that has a few different possibilities:

  • Gun is too close to surface being painted

Solution: Adjust distance between gun and surface.

  • Air pressure too low

Solution: increase air pressure or reduce fluid pressure

  • Incorrect thinner being used

Solution: Check paint manufacturer’s data sheets and remix quantities if needed.

  • Surface is rough, dirty or oily

Solution: Properly prepare the surface you’re working on, go back and clean or sand again if necessary.

Do I need a new spray gun?

If you’ve tried every method above and your spray gun still isn’t working properly then we’re sorry to have to say it but it could be time for either a full service or a new gun. If you’re looking for a spray gun service, need advice on whether or not it’s time for a new gun or simply want to shop the best spray guns on the market, please have a browse through our website and get in touch with a member of the Elmbridge team today.

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