Spray Paint Booths

Spray Paint Booths

Why a DIY Spray Paint Booth is a Bad Idea

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If you occasionally do painting projects, you might be considering a DIY spray paint booth. It seems to make economical sense: Professionally constructed spray paint booths could cost thousands of dollars, but DIY spray paint booths only cost around a hundred dollars or less to build. But the hazards of going "do it yourself" on a project like this far outweigh any cost savings.

Potential Hazards of DIY

Spray Gun Prep

If you make mistakes in the construction of your booth, you could open up users to serious hazards. Here are a few things you need to know:

1. Location. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other fire-protection agencies recommend that the paint booth be separated from other operations. Likewise, no flammable and combustible liquids and other materials should be found within 20 feet to prevent the risk of fire and explosions.

2. Materials. Many DIY spray paint cabins are made of light materials like wood, PVC pipes, plywood panels, hard cardboard and/or plastic sheets. These are highly flammable materials. While PVC pipes are not easily flammable because of their high chlorine content, their synthetic content can give rise to toxic smoke as they slowly burn. Moreover, paint, even the water-based varieties with uncontrolled organic content, are extremely flammable.

3. Lights and Electrical Switches. Electrical and lighting equipment are major sources of ignition and require extreme care in installation and maintenance. Switches that are installed on plastic walls are potential ignitors, hence the need to lodge switches on non-flammable surfaces. But no matter how cautious you are as the owner, accidents can still happen if people near you are not careful enough.

4. Ventilation and Airflow. DIY paint-booth builders place a box fan outside the rear wall of a plastic-cased booth for airflow and deflection of dust and other particles. The problem with this method is that air velocity cannot be properly measured and compliance with air velocity requirements is not assured. This system may not dispose of harmful fumes properly, making the booth a potential fireball.

5. Ductwork. Most homemade spray painting booths do not have a proper ductwork system where overspray, dust, and fumes can be collected. Overspray is unused paint that is still highly flammable. Spray mists are health hazards because they can be easily inhaled. Filters alone can't do a complete filtering job.

Spray painting is an excellent tool for aesthetic projects, but you'd have to apply extreme caution when building your own DIY spray paint booth, both for safety and compliance with government standards. Better still, consult the advice of a professional spray paint booth builder or have the builder construct your booth for you, in exchange for some additional dollars.

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