It stands for High Volume, Low Pressure. HVLPs are one of the two main kinds of paint sprayers. The HVLP sprayer takes the place of a brush. It’s useful for fine finishes and situations where a contractor wants more precision, such as handrails, doors, cabinetwork, and window jambs. In contrast, an Airless paint sprayer takes the job of a paint roller: big, flat projects such as walls, oil tanks, garbage bins, and siding.
In an HVLP, air pumped from an air compressor or turbine atomizes paint. Unlike airless spray guns, HVLP guns have a second control knob that regulates airflow, giving the user more control over the fan size. There is less overspray, making HVLPs a good choice when working with expensive paint. HVLPs are more for fine production, not high production.
An airless sprayer can get as high as 1,700 psi at the nozzle, compared to just 10 psi from HVLP units. With an airless, the paint sprays out of an orifice smaller than that found on an HVLP nozzle. The high pressure and tight squeeze shear the paint into particles. A good deal of the paint is also scattered off-target in the process.
An HVLP finish simply looks better. Atomized particles from an HVLP unit are smaller and more uniform than particles propelled from an airless sprayer. With latex wall paint on drywall, the difference won’t matter. But when working with varnishes, stains or enamels, the finer, smoother finish is noticeable. Otherwise, painters may contend with the dreaded “orange peel,” a surface with a mottled, textured look instead of a satiny finish.
Just like a roller and a brush, there are jobs for both kinds of sprayers. Make sure to give your customers the best product possible with your supplies from KM Coating!