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Spray paint or brush? What your painter should use

Posted by Wall Treats on June 27, 2019

Whether your painting project should be done with a spray machine or with a paint brush is a question often asked of Auckland Master Painters such as Wall Treats.

It would seem like spray painting is a great option, it is faster and there are no brush marks, so you may be surprised to know that at Wall Treats we still use traditional brush and roller application techniques. And that our clients choose this when they trust us to paint their multi-million homes.

So, is spray or brush the best way to paint your home?

Spraying paint

This is a fast way of applying paint. Often, surfaces can be coated in minutes using an airless spray machine, whereas the same surfaces would take hours to paint using the traditional brush and roller. And with airless spraying there are no brush and roller marks to worry about.

So if spraying works so well, why are paint brushes and rollers still being sold? If spray painting is superior, wouldn’t brushes and rollers become superfluous?

Limitations with spray painting:


Applying paint with an airless sprayer can be challenging for novices. Beginners will get overspray, drips and runs. They’ll often have an uneven coat, with patches of heavy paint build up and places where the paint is too thin.

If the painting contractor you are talking to is applying paint with an airless sprayer, make sure they have enough experience to do this well.


When assessing a spray painting finish it can be difficult to determine the number of coats that have been applied and the finish may not be what you are expecting.

We had a client who had paint sprayed on the exterior of their bungalow. Even though the paint was semi-gloss, the finish was matt - to the point where dirt and grime was evident on the weatherboards shortly after painting. Semi-gloss paint is chosen for exterior painting as the sheen finish stays clean for longer; dirt and grime stick to matt surfaces because there is no ‘slippery slope’ for them to run off.

Paint usage

Paint spraying also uses two to three times more paint than brushing or rolling. While you may think this would work to remedy the risk of a patchy finish, not all the extra paint goes onto the surfaces.  Most of it ends up wasted in the hose line or as over spray.


Brushing paint

No one can deny that brushing paint onto surfaces is slow and tedious. However, the control it offers the painter is second to none. You can cut in tight corners and create straight lines that are difficult to achieve with spraying. For detail paintwork, using a brush is the only acceptable method.

In our experience, a surface that has had paint brushed onto it looks much better than those that have been spray painted.  Yes, it is a laborious process however, the depth of coverage is second to none.

Quality oozes from expertly brushed on paint finishes, and that finish is likely to last longer than that from spraying.  This is because it is virtually impossible to achieve an even, uniform coverage with less than two coats of paint. Two even coats of paint will provide better protection for surfaces than uneven paint coverage.

Limitations with brushing on paint:

Brush marks

It is impossible to eliminate brush marks, so the challenge for the expert painter is to minimise them. A good painter will know the optimal climate to work in and will use the best tools and techniques to reduce the appearance of brush marks.


Brushing on paint is a laborious process. Therefore, this technique will usually result in a higher quote than a spray job. As always, we believe that you get what you pay for with house painting, and while painting can carry a significant upfront cost, it is critical to look at the cost over the life of your paint finish.

If there is a significant difference between painting quotes, ask each painter to confirm if they are planning to spray or brush on paint. What may seem like the more cost-efficient option in the short term may end up being more expensive long term.


If you want your home painted by award winning Auckland Master Painters who consistently provide excellent workmanship and superior customer service, get in touch for a quote.


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We are very happy with the quality of the paint result we have received from Wall Treats and also with the level of service we received. The team from Wall Treats produced an excellent paint finish and nothing was too much trouble.
Wall Treats’ work was of the highest quality, showing particular attention to detail in all areas. This small business represents both itself and the association very well by being meticulous in all areas from documentation to finished work. They have laid down a challenge for others to follow.
I had dealt with Wall Treats on a professional basis and was impressed with their level of finishing. I engaged Wall Treats for this project because I trusted that they would do a good job. My instincts were right. The Wall Treats team is a delight to deal with and I received efficient service from friendly professionals.
They are totally efficient and they are my number one … they would be my higher end, reliable painters … to refer on, absolutely, I’d think of them first! They’re going to be a little bit more expensive but I think you get what you pay for…
Many thanks for the work you've done on our house. You've done a very good quality job and we also appreciated your reliability, sticking to schedule and the fact you've been totally upfront about the costs.
We received excellent communication from the very moment we contacted Ashley for a quote to the final invoice being paid. Their processes were excellent and ensured that our job was managed in a professional way. We feel that Ashley and Daniel went out of their way to ensure everything went smoothly. Anyone who values ‘peace of mind’ the way we do should ring Wall Treats.
(Wall Treats) stand out by themselves… They’re the only ones who bother to communicate back about how things are going, how the quote’s going … all those sort of things. They’re the only ones who actually go that extra mile.
I was most impressed with the attention to detail and the communication throughout the whole process. The workmen were very considerate throughout the whole time they were at my property. What impressed me the most was that Ashley made sure every single detail was covered and checked in with me regularly. She also came and personally inspected all the work with me... Her standards are very high (as are mine!) and I highly recommend Wall Treats to anyone.