Paint: Roll or Spray?

Greetings!
I'm about to paint a newly finished basement. I have zero experience painting interior surfaces and am not sure what the ideal method would be:
1. Automotive sprayer and compressor. I have these already and know how to use them. It is not an HVLP set up. The paint would have to be thinned.
2. Homeowner grade paint sprayer: I picked up one of those Wagner "Power Painter Pro" paint guns from HD last weekend. From looking around news archives, it doesn't seem like too many users are happy with these.
3. Roller and brush: Even most professional jobs I've seen show brush and roller marks, which I don't like. And then there's no excuse to buy a new tool.
All the rooms are empty, there's no flooring yet, and masking shouldn't be too difficult. I'll have to paint ceilings and several doors. I'm in no hurry, just want nice results.
Any opinions or advice?
Thanks!
-rev
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I'm actually a fan of rolling the paint. I usually go with an eggshell or flat finish to hide any irregularities in the wall, the roller and brush lines are much less obvious this way. I also have used a Wagner once. I can't say it was horrible, but I don't know that I'd buy another one. It worked well for painting the smooth metal surface of a door where brush and roller marks WOULD have shown up very badly. It's a royal pain to clean, and in order to clean it properly the unit has to be almost completely disassembled. Spraying works well if you're in a hurry and don't care about wasting paint with overspray.
Consider this, how many homes do you walk into and immediately think: "WOW, what a crapload of roller marks! And just look at those brush marks on the trim!"
A VERY bad paintjob might be noticeable, but most of the time people don't see it beyond "oh, what a nice color".
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Sounds like you're already conviced that spraying is the way to go, but I'll put in my 2 cents anyway. I've always done home improvement stuff in the houses I've owned. Painting is the home improvement with the greatest impact per dollar spent, IMHO. I've done it with sprayers and brushes and rollers, and each has its own issues, but I am typing right now in my office (which I just finished painting last night with a roller). I used a brush for cutting-in the edges. Perhaps your vision is more acute than my own, but I don't see any roller marks. There are some barely visible brush marks near the corners, but I can't imagine anybody complaining about something that minute. They would certainly complain just as loudly about the occasional drips that occur during spray painting.
I use a good quality roller with teflon and avoid the cheap ones that leave lint on the walls. I use a good quality paint and spot-prime areas where nail holes were patched or other repairs made.
In total cost, hassle and quality of the final paint job, experience has convinced me that rollers and brushes are still the way to go. There is also a danger factor with paint sprayers. There aren't a whole lot of alternative treatments if you accidentally point one of those spray guns at your skin at close range. If injection occurs, then you lose some flesh. It's just not worth it.
I leave the sprayers for the people who have to paint 20 apartments in a single day. For them, there is little choice. Professionals can make either choice work just fine. For my low-volume home projects, rollers and brushes do the job right.
Luc
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Natural Light says...

Like the others I'm a fan of cutting in with a brush and rolling the rest. Assuming your basement is finished with drywall or something like that. A good job with good paint does *not* show roller marks.
Don't forget to prime first.
If you're dealing with a surface other than drywall (concrete block?) post a description.
Banty
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

Good for auto bad for apartments.

Good for the manufacturers bad for the users. Generally junk.

Works well. There is a good reason most professionals and homeowners go this way.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Well, you did the hard part. Getting everything out of there and getting ready to paint.
Don't waste your money on one of the small airless sprayers. They don't work or don't last.
I bought a Graco XR7 airless. I have used it to paint a couple of houses, and a lot of block wall. Airless has its advantages, but no need to go spend a lot for one project. Perhaps you should rent. If it was me, I would use an airless to spray the walls and ceiling, and have someone with a sheepskin roller backroll right behind the guy spraying. Don't do too wide a swath at a time, and don't spray too heavily. When the sheepskin starts to load up, put on a fresh one. Wash out the full one and have it ready to put back on. Backrolling eliminates almost all roller marks if you have the right amount of paint on the surface.
I like the airless because it puts more paint on faster/easier, particularly on ceilings. And doubly especially on popcorn ceilings. Dolls them right up. And by masking, you can have the walls and ceilings different colors, a nice touch.
Finish after airless spraying with rollers and brushes to get the small areas that need to be exact.
The other alternative is to roll and brush it all. Both will be terribly messy doing the ceilings. If you do spray, mask everything, have air flow, and wear painters socks over your heads to keep from breathing in liquid paint. Keep a wet edge to avoid roller marks, something I have never been able to do. Use high pile rollers that will load up more paint, and that lessens roller marks.
Ain't no easy/bestest way to do it. Either way is work. I'd do it half and half, but then I own an airless, and have used them enough to know the ins and outs.
Steve
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On 21 Feb 2006 10:59:27 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"

The pros spray baseboards, casings and doors (assumning they're paint grade). Walls are roller and brush.
The key to a good paint job is prep.
Ken
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

1. Never used one
2. I have one...use it mostly for louvered doors. Or if I have a lot to do of whatever and can lay them flat. Doesn't get a lot of use but it has lasted for 20+ years,
You didn't mention them but an airless sprayer will spit out lots of paint in a hurry. I used one when I painted the interior of my house - 20 gallons an hour. Overspray everywhere but fast.
3. You didn't mention the sheen of your paint...if it is flat, it is next to impossible to get roller marks. Ditto on other sheens if you apply it properly...load up the proper roller for the wall/ceiling texture and paint a "W" maybe 30" square, then cross roll that in every direction. IMO, most bad roller jobs are due to uneven coverage, not roller marks.
My opinion - cut in with a brush and use a roller for the rest.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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On 21 Feb 2006 10:59:27 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"

I've used all of the above and then some. No for the air atomized spray equipment or HVLP. No for the consumer grade airless.
Yes for the roller and brush. Buy very good roller covers and trim brushes (read Purdy or Wooster's best) clean them up and the brushes while expensive can be used for many years.
Frank
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Like anything, painting is a skill you will learn with practice. I would suggest learning to use a roller and brush. Do some research on proper technique to avoid many of the basic pitfalls. Roller and brush marks are definitely avoidable with proper technique and tools. Buy yourself quality paint, rollers and brushes and you won't be sorry. You mentioned in your post that you have seen professional paint jobs with brush and roller marks. I would say that either the painter was not experienced enough because an experienced painter does not leave marks or the marks were already on the wall and the painter did not prep properly to get rid of them before the new paint went on. Either way, a professional would not do that. Don't judge the high quality work that a good roller, brush and technique can do because you have seen what you though was professional results.
I learned how to paint many moons ago from a real professional and I remember my first day. I didn't know a brush from a roller. My boss had me spending my first several months painting insides of closets. I would suggest the same for you.
After you do some reading and learn the basics, start with the insides of closets and other non visible areas. You'll need this to learn how much paint to put on the rollers and brushers, how to properly roll paint on the wall and how and when to use the brush.
Don' be afraid of painting, there's not much to it.
One last bit of advice. 90% of a good paint job is prep. The remaining 10% is actually getting the paint on the wall. Every little imperfection on the wall is transmitted thru paint and can make or break a paint job. As you do some reading you will learn how and what prepping is all about. Too many people skip preping and go right to painting and then wonder why the paint doesn't look good when their done. They blame everything from the paint to the roller but not their technique.
Have fun and lots of luck.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net says...

Prep and patience, prep and patience. The better the job, the uglier the surface looked just before painting it (from prep). OK - that's not *strictly* true, but that's the jist of it.
Banty
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On 21 Feb 2006 10:59:27 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"

Wrong tool for the job (large). Thinning (latex) will alter the color, so I'm told.

Tried it, took it back the same day.

It's plan A&B.

I've recently sprayed two (empty) homes with a Craco airless sprayer, both were two-toned. Ceilings, baseboards, doors and casings one color, walls another. You can put alot of paint on in short order. There is some touch up necessary as with many paint projects. If you decide to use an airless it's important to strain the buckets of paint. The local stores have them in 5 gallon size.
My current house was brushed and rolled, but my wife and her friend did it - ceilings and all (hehehe).
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

If a brush was good enough for Michelangelo...
Bear in mind we're STILL admiring his stuff.
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Yeah, but it took him years to finish a job.
Steve
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On Tue, 21 Feb 2006 15:38:21 -0800, "Steve B"

On his back...
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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Oren wrote:

Reminds me of a joke. A starving artist is at a party with his ticked-off wife. A guy comes up and says "I hear you're a painter, will you paint the inside of my house for $600? "Sir, you don't understand. I'm a painter like Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel" Guy (confused): "What exactly does that mean?" Wife: "That means for an even $1000, he'll do your ceilings too!"
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snipped-for-privacy@fourthgen.org says...

Unless you decide to buy a power roller ;-)
--
snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/
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is Joshua Putnam

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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

I agree with the comments made by others especially Steve B. Auomotive spayers (cup gun) and low-end airless spayers are innapropriate. It will be hard to do a nice job if you are really inexperienced regardless of technique but you might learn from the mistakes and advice of others. Roller and brush are the way to go if you are short on money and long on time. It is a time honored way to get the job done. Brush and roller marks may be hard to avoid though. I have come to hate rolling and brushing because of my arthritis. If the room is big it can be a lot of work and it is quite repetetive.
I also have a contractor grade airless sprayer (Graco) and these can be rented from a real paint store. These get the job done faster, obviously. They also can potentially produce a super nice finish that is free of any brush or roller marks. There is less room for error with a sprayer though. You can easily screw it up. A beginner might make the common mistake of applying too much paint, which can really suck. The trick is to move really fast with the gun and apply several thin coats which will dry quickly. A sprayer can also leave lines on the walls and you may still need a brush and roller to even out the lines and high spots. This type of gun sprays upside down by the way making it great for ceilings!
Always protect your eyes and face when painting especially when spraying. A dust mask will keep the big drops out of your mouth, nose, and lungs but a respirator is reccomended to keep out the fine particles. Eye protection is a must especially when painting the ceiling. You will find that painting is a common job that you will encounter again in the future. Keep this in mind when choosing tools and techniques. It is far more efficient to make the extra effort to do a nice job than it is to do the job over sooner than necessary.What makes the most difference is prep.
I use a primer on new walls. It is best to get the entire room really clean before painting especially the walls. Your surfaces need to be clean. I like to lightly sand the surfaces with sandpaper between coats. After sanding, i use a whisk broom to brush any particles off of the walls and then sweep the floor and shop vac the corners. Use a strong work light. This gives yu the chance to find and correct any imperfections. Clean the room again before each coat if you can. Then yu are truly ready to paint. Prep can be really time consuming but, if you are into it, can make for a truly superior finish. Few contractors will go to this much trouble but it is worth it on your own place.
Lawrence
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On 21 Feb 2006 10:59:27 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"

Airless sprayers are great for new construction, but even there they leave a mess if you aren't carefully and it is a good idea to back roll the walls and ceilings so that you can touch them up with a roller once the finished floor and fixtures are in.
My painters generally spray wall primers and the ceilings using an airless. They spray the trim with an HVLP which puts out very little overspray. But the walls are always rolled.
We follow a meticulous paint schedule that greatly reduces any need for touch up. Save the airless gun for the next time you want to paint your fence.
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