SOT: Airless sprayer question

There was a thread here some months back about the Graco airless sprayers from the borg.
I've been working on my long-neglected deck. It really needs a backhoe, but i'm trying to buy a few more years. It's 700 sq ft of 2x6 pressure treated. It was in rough shape when we bought the place 3 years ago and it hasn't gotten any better.
I've replaced all the soft boards, rebuilt the steps, scraped any loose finish (not that there's much finish left to scrape), set all the protruding nail heads, and cleaned it well with oxi-bleach, which did a good job of removing all the grime and any mildew. The framing itself seems solid.
Plan is to coat with Olympic Max solid deck stain. I've done some of the cutting in, and I've realized it will take me forever using a brush and pad or roller. For one thing, the boards are nearly 1/2 inch apart, which is far enough that the edges have to be coated or it will look like crap, but not so far as to make them easy to stain. Second, the wood is rough enough and dry enough that it really sucks up the stain, and even with a good brush I get about 8" per brush load.
So, for those of you with airless sprayer experience: Will the X5 or X7 handle this job? I'm sure it will spray the stain; it's not that thick, but if I spray straight down, will I be able to get at least a light coat of stain on the sides of the planks without overspraying the tops? Should I make a first pass down the crack with the fan spray lined up with the crack, and then coat the tops in the normal fashion?
Any advice on this appreciated!
Paul F.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
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Paul,
Any of the Gracos with a metal gun are a good choice.
cm

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Thanks to all for good advice (especially Robert). Went with the Graco X5 and it worked like a champ. Not counting prep and cleanup it only took me about 3 hours to do railing and deck, and probably half of that was moving drop cloths around to cover the plantings. (I think drop cloths must be like clamps...every time you think you have enough, a project comes along that needs more)
I ended up using a 413 tip and shot straight down right along each gap between boards. This did a decent job of getting the edges of the boards and the overlap on the faces was just right. The 413 let me move a little slower than the 515 and that seemed to coat the edges better.
Huge improvement, the deck looks pretty good now.
Thanks again,
Paul F.
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wrote:

My pleasure, Paul. I like helping people that are trying to help themselves. And like most here, I really get a kick out of it when I hear things worked out well. Thanks for the follow up post.
(I think

Too true. For me, I have a about 5 large drop cloths, and have resigned myself to buying a large roll of plastic and a sleeve of tape for most jobs.

Excellent!
Now, just one more thing. Get back to the box store and by the airless equipment they should have something like "Pump Armor" or similar to put into the airless when not in use. Many of the internals are stainless and made from corrosive resistant materials, but storing your airless properly is an important part of its long life.
The internals will corrode and oxidize inside the pump while in storage. If I keep mine in storage for more than two weeks, I put in a pump protector. They sell one at Home Depot by Titan, and it's about $10.
Mix it according to instructions, suck it in until you shoot green liquid and turn the pump off. Let the siphon tube dribble out any liquids that are in it. I take a piece of plastic sheet or a plastic grocery bag and wrap the end of the siphon tube to keep dirt, dust, etc, out of it, and then tape it to hold it in place before use.
Shoot a little water through your machine when you bring it out of storage to get the liquid clear, then you are in business with a pump that works as good as new since it has been stored properly.
Now go paint the house!!
Robert.
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wrote:

Either machine will easily spray the stain.
You will have to practice though, to get an even coat on the upper edges and then the tops of the boards.
I would stack a few old 2X6s together to mimic the pattern of your deck and try shooting the edges and tops to see what works.
These machines come with 515 tip on the gun, so that puts out a 10" wide swath of material when held at the proper distance from the target. You could almost coat 2 of your boards at one time with a 10" patterned pass.
So shooting the edges only or controlling the overspray will be quite the challenge if you don't have a lot of experience with an air rig.
I think I would spray at about 45 degrees to the surface from one direction and figure that the top of the boards would get the overspray from the edge coating it at the same time. Then I would change directions and spray from the other side of the board to catch the other edge.
With a 10" fan you could cover two edges and one and half boards at one pass and clean your spray lines up when you make the pass from the other direction.
Another solution would be to get a smaller tip when you purchase the sprayer and use that instead of the stock tip.
Robert
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I would have a roller handy. Spray down the gaps at an angle to coat the edges. You will get excess stain on the edges of the top surfaces - use the roller to spread it over the middle of the tops. An extension pole on the roller will save your back.
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