Everyone wants a nice smooth paint job but every once in a while the dreaded “orange peel” affects the quality of the finish, making for an unpleasant look to your project. Orange peel is a textured imperfection in a paint job that ends up resembling the peel of an orange with slight waves and dimples that reflect light in different directions.
What causes orange peel?
While orange peel is mainly caused by human error, not having the right equipment for the job is also a major contributor. A common mistake is simply using the wrong spray technology for the viscosity or thickness of the coating that you want to apply. In addition, an incorrect spray gun setup with low air pressure, the wrong nozzle or an incorrect coating flow rate can contribute to a coating not getting properly atomized thus resulting in the dreaded orange peel effect to the finish.
How do you prevent orange peel finish?
Preventing orange peel comes down to choosing the right spray equipment and coating for your application and also knowing how to properly use the equipment. For example, many people choose to use HVLP spray guns and Compliant (Reduced Pressure) Spray Guns that offer low overspray and good transfer efficiency. Both spray technologies have their pros and cons but understanding why and when to use them can help you get a better finish!
Once you have selected the right spray equipment and coating, the next step is picking a fluid nozzle or tip that is sized correctly for the coating’s viscosity. This will help ensure that you are getting the right amount of coating exiting the spray gun. Then, follow the manufacturer’s recommended air inlet pressure setting for the spray gun to allow it to atomize the coating properly. If you are using a pressure feed spray gun you will want to set your fluid pressure appropriately to ensure you have the desired flow rate for proper atomization as well. At the end of the day, understanding the different spray technologies and which to use for a given application can truly help you avoid orange peel.