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Home Improvement

Best Spray Paint

When small or intricate objects need to be painted, there’s nothing that works better than a can of spray paint. Spray allows you to apply an even coat of paint to an object, without leaving tell-tale brush strokes. Available in a wide range of colors, spray paints make it easy to match decorative items to home decor, repair scratches and nicks in car finishes and provide quick and easy protection from the weather for items intended to be left outdoors.

With spray paint, cleanup is minimal. There are no brushes or rollers to clean and no spray gun to take apart. The only actual cleaning needed is to turn the can upside-down for a moment and spray, allowing the propellant to clear out the nozzle, so that it doesn't clog. If that little step is forgotten, the can may not work the next time.

One does need to watch out for overspray when using spray paint, just as they would with a large spray gun. The process of atomizing the paint tends to cause droplets to float around in the air, landing in places you may not want. For that reason, one needs to be careful about where they are spray painting, selecting a location where the overspray can’t damage anything. For small objects, a makeshift “spray booth” can be made out of a cardboard box.

Due to the small nozzle size, spray paint is thinned considerably, making each coat extremely thin. If a thicker finish is needed, it is recommended to apply several coats. Most spray paints can be recoated within 30 minutes, making it easy to apply several coats. There are also a few high solids spray paints on the market, which build a thicker film per coat.

For the best possible finish, spray in a back and forth pattern which starts and ends past the ends of the object. This will help prevent runs caused by excessive paint buildup at the ends of the object. You should also try and always keep the surface “wetted” so that the new paint is being laid down overlapping existing wet paint. This will help to eliminate the striped effect that is typical of poorly applied spray paint.

Spray paint can also be buffed once dry, to help eliminate any sheen striping. Only buff it if several coats of paint have been applied, as buffing does remove some paint from the surface. Hand buffing is better, as you are less likely to buff though the paint film.

One nice thing that is being done with some of the newer spray paints is multi-colored and textured paints. Both Krylon and Rust-Oleum, the two largest producers of spray paints, offer several different types of multi-colored and textured spray paints. These are excellent for use on surfaces that are not perfectly smooth or that have imperfections, as they hide those imperfections quite well. Paints of this type are not high gloss, which also helps to hide imperfections.

When selecting spray paints, look at the price. Low cost spray paints are just that; low cost. They typically have lower solids, so will provide less coverage. This can be dealt with by applying more coats. A higher cost spray paint will generally be higher solids, providing a thicker film and better coverage. A few spray paints will actually cover in one coat.

Rust-Oleum Universal Gloss Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum probably makes more different types of spray paint than anyone else in the market. This is their specialty, as well as oil-based enamel paints for metals. While it is hard to say which of their spray paints are the best, I’m picking a simple gloss enamel for its universal application. If you could only have one spray paint, I think this would be the best to have. This paint is universal in that it can be used with pretty much all substrates, having excellent adhesion on all of them. It is an indoor/outdoor paint as well. The dried finish is flexible, so that it doesn’t chip and peel. Available in several colors, Rust-Oleum packages it with their patented trigger, which is much more comfortable to work with than a standard spray button.

Rust-Oleum Universal Forged Hammered Spray Paint

It’s rare that I give two spots on a list to the same manufacturer, but in this case, I think it’s justified. This “hammered” finish spray paint is truly amazing. As far as technical specifications, it’s essentially the same as the Universal Gloss, with the same adhesion and flexibility, with the ability of being used on all substrates. The great thing about this paint though is the finish that it provides. It looks like hammered metal, with the edges of the ping marks being darker than the cup of the ding. So, you’re actually getting a two tone finish out of one can. I don’t know how they do that, but it makes for a really great looking finish, which is great for hiding any imperfections in the substrate.

Valspar Terracotta Touch Spray Paint

Valspar Terracotta Touch Spray Paint

Valspar makes a variety of spray paints, although they aren’t as common in the stores as either Rust-Oleum or Krylon. However, they are excellent paints. This particular paint provides a textured finish, designed to look like terracotta, which is ceramic. The finish is perfect for imperfect substrates, where you don’t want the gloss of the paint to show off the imperfections. It adheres equally well to metal, wood, glass, stone, ceramic and plastic. Valspar also offers spray paint in gloss, semi-gloss and flat finishes.

Krylon ColorMaster Enamel Paint

Krylon is the other big manufacturer of spray paint on the market. This Enamel paint is fast drying, making it possible to touch the surface in as little as ten minutes. Like Rust-Oleum’s products, this paint will work on pretty much all substrates, including ceramic, plaster, metal, wood and fabric. Krylon’s paint comes in more colors than anyone else’s, making it extremely convenient for home d?cor and crafts projects. This is also an indoor/outdoor paint, so you don’t need to worry about that. The paint comes with an EZ Touch 360 degree Dial spray tip, which provides for precise application and less overspray.

Sherwin-Williams Now Spray Paint

Sherwin-Williams enamel spray paint is only available through their stores. This is a good, general-purpose enamel paint, for use on all substrates. It works for both interior and exterior applications, without the problems of fading. This is not a fast drying paint like the Krylon product, but requires 30 minutes to dry to the touch. It is available in the most commonly used colors.

Rust-Oleum Automotive High Heat Spray

Rust-Oleum produces more than one high heat paint, among which this one is their best. This enamel paint is designed to resist heat up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it will bond to bare metal, they recommend using their high heat primer spray with it for best results. The finished paint is gas and oil resistant. It is also a rust resistant formulation, designed to stop rust from spreading. The can comes with an any-angle comfort spray tip, which allows you to paint underneath manifolds without removing them.

VHT SP102 FlameProof Coating

This high temperature paint is designed to handle 2000 degrees Fahrenheit without problems. It is a ceramic and silicone base, making it extremely durable, even in those high temperature applications. They recommend using a high temperature primer and clear coat with the paint as well. There is a specific curing process which needs to be followed exactly, in order for the paint to be able to survive temperatures as high as 2000 degrees. This involves heating the paint and allowing it to cool, while it is drying. That can be done either on the vehicle or off, although it is easier to do so on the vehicle. It is available in several colors.

Dupli-Color Engine Paint

Dupli-Color specializes in providing automotive paints to exactly match the manufacturer’s original color. This engine enamel contains ceramic resins for maximum heat dissipation and gloss retention. It has excellent resistance to oil and other automotive fluids. It is designed to resist temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will not work well for exhaust manifolds. However, it will work fine for all other engine parts. IT is recommended to use a primer under the paint for maximum life. Comes in a wide variety of colors to match your car’s original engine color.

Krylon High Heat Max

This paint from Krylon is actually designed for use on grilles and fire pits, rather than for automotive applications. As such, it isn’t formulated for 2000 degrees, but 1200 degrees Fahrenheit maximum temperature on an intermittent basis. It can withstand up to 600 degrees continually, which is sufficient for its intended purpose, although not sufficient for vehicle exhaust systems. This paint should not be used for kitchen stoves or for any application where it will be exposed directly to flames. The paint’s quick dry formulation dries to the touch in only ten minutes.

Valspar High Heat Spray Paint

Like the Krylon product, this paint is also designed for use on barbecue grilles, wood burning stoves and fire pits. It can withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. This product can be used both indoors and outdoors, helping to resist rust on these surfaces. It provides a durable, abrasion resistant finish, which will last. Like all these paints, it is necessary to follow the correct curing process for this paint, or it will not last.

PlastiKote Chassis & Grille Guard Paint

PlastiKote makes an actual epoxy spray paint for vehicles; specifically designed for use on chassis parts and grilles. As epoxies are the most durable paints available, this paint will outlast and outperform anything else on the market. Unfortunately, the color selection is limited, but you can’t beat this paint for the quality. It is impervious to all sorts of ordinary stains and moisture, making it an excellent rust preventative. It resists cracking, chipping and peeling, providing a long-lasting finish for whatever it is used on.

Z-Line High Solids Enamels

One of the biggest problems with spray paints is that they typically are low-solids paints. That means that they provide a very thin film when applied and may have spots where the paint doesn’t fully cover the substrate. Z-Line has solved this problem, by making a high solids enamel paint. While not created only as a rust preventative paint, it works excellently in that application, due to the more durable paint film that it creates. It can be applied directly to the metal, without the use of a primer; although the metal needs to be clean and oil-free before applying. It will dry to the touch within 10 minutes and can be handled in 30.

Krylon Rust Protector Multicolor Textured Finish

Krylon produces the nicest looking rust preventative paint on the market, with their Rust Protector line. These paints are actually multi-colored, with three different colors in each spray application. It provides a thick, textured film, which is durable and protects from rust. Although a rust preventative paint, it can be used with other substrates as well. The paint dries to the touch in a fast eight minutes, and can be handled in 30 minutes.

Rust-Oleum V2100 System Enamel Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum probably produces more lines and varieties of spray paints than anyone. They specialize in rust prevention. Even so, this is a specialty paint, designed just for use in rust prevention. The advanced formula provides the best possible corrosion protection, with one-coat coverage (something that is very rare in spray paint). The high output tip puts on a heavier coat than you can with most spray paints, building film thickness 50 percent faster than normal. Of all the rust preventative paints I’ve seen, this one is available in more colors than any other line.

Seymour Stainless Steel Rust Protective Spray Paint

Okay, this paint really isn’t stainless steel in a can, it’s just stainless steel tinted. Nevertheless, in calling it that, Seymour has invoked the greatest name in rust prevention, stainless steel. The paint lives up to the name, providing superior protection against moisture, along with heat resistance up to 250 degrees. Apparently, the 316L stainless steel pigment is an excellent rust inhibitor. This paint uses a high-solids resin, making it a VOC compliant paint product.

Rich the Tool Man

Before embarking on the current stage of my life, I spent 15 years as a Manufacturing Engineer in both the medical equipment field (medical electronics) and automotive engineering (city transit buses). After that, I owned a small construction company, mostly doing residential remodeling and commercial tenant finishes. I am no longer in either of these fields, but still get my hands plenty dirty as a consummate do-it-yourselfer; working on everything from remodeling my own home to rebuilding my car’s engines. My hobby (when I can find the time) is woodworking; making everything from toilet paper holders, to shelves, to music stands for my own home. My wife long ago gave up the idea that a two car garage is for parking two cars; it is my workshop.

While I cannot claim to having worked professionally with all types of tools, I have worked professionally with some. This comes from my previous careers, where I had to specify, buy and at times live with those decisions. Additionally, I would have to say that my engineering background has given me a thorough understanding of the construction of such tools. So, while I may not have used a particular type of tool personally, I have the knowledge to cut through all the advertising hype and statistics; in order to get at the truth of how well a tool will operate and last.

In my current career as a writer, I've written over 90 books. This includes my own titles and those I've written on contract. I've also written a complete website on how to build your own home.

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