Let’s assume for a moment that you have a solid constructed pond like spray shields (USA) one made from concrete or concrete block. Maybe your water feature is more of a pondless waterfall. Either way, you want to water proof it but you’d rather spray the epoxy coating instead of rolling it on or applying it with a paint brush.
Excellent! I like to see someone who’s not afraid to roll his or her sleeves and get down to business. Ok, now that you’re all set, what kind of spray rig do you have? What? You don’t have one? Uh Oh! That means we’re going to have to get you out to the local rental shops to pick one up.
Grab that Yellow Pages book and look for tool and equipment rental facilities. You may need to reserve an airless spay rig so plan ahead. When you call them, you’ll have to tell them you need a spray rig that has the following specifications:
- Pumps at 3000 psi minimum
- If equipped with a 25 foot fluid hose, it should be at least 1/2 inch diameter
- If equipped with a 50 foot fluid hose, it should be at least 5/8 inch diameter
- Spray tip of at least .026
Ok, now that you have your airless spray rig let’s talk about some ways to make your spray job a lot easier. I would love to teach you all of the finer points of spraying an epoxy coating, but this is just an article and there won’t be enough room. Not to mention, if you learn the basics, it is practice that will help you spray successfully.
So, on to those tips, shall we?
1. Make sure you have everything you need on hand prior to spraying. Rags, solvents for cleaning, materials, mixing utensils, buckets, or whatever you think you’ll need in order to spray. You do not want to start spraying the pond and find out that your extension cord is not long enough. Make an inventory list of the things you need and use that to gather all of those items.
2. If at all possible have an assistant help you. If you have to stop spraying material so that you can go mix new material, it can be disastrous. There is nothing more unfulfilling than stopping to mix a new batch and the original coating hardening inside the fluid line. I shudder to even think about it.
3. Once you are spraying epoxy, if the spray pattern comes out lumpy or not at all, the mixture might be too thick. You may have to thin the epoxy some in order for it to dispense properly. I caution you here though. Make sure you know what solvents are acceptable for use in thinning the material you are using. You can easily thin the material with the wrong thinner and ruin everything.
4. Your spray pattern with an airless spray rig should be about 12 inches when you hold the spray gun nozzle about 12 to 18 inches from the pond. This can usually be adjusted at the tip on the gun. Play with the adjustment to fine tune, but remember that this is an epoxy and you are on the clock. Taking too much time can also result in the material curing up in the spray rig before it is dispensed. Again, I do not want to think about that happening. When you spray, you should overlap your spray pattern by about 50%. The ends of a spray pattern consist of material that is dispensed a lot lighter than in the center of the pattern. So by overlapping each stroke, you’ll get a more even coat. Take your time and apply the coating in a consistent manner.
5. Finally, do not stop spraying until you have finished everything! This is very important. Just because you stop spraying does not mean the spray rig is still not doing it’s job. An airless spray rig does not use air to push the materials, obviously, but it uses a device that constantly tries to pump material into the fluid line. This constant agitation only serves to heat the epoxy up, which will in turn shorten the pot life of the material. If you stop spraying, you can easily end up with epoxy hardened in the spray rig.
Well I hope those tips are something you can use. As I said, there’s now way to teach how to spray in a venue like this, but at least now you are better prepared for that time when you decide to learn how.