Spray Paint Booths Overview
A spray paint booth is an enclosed, ventilated structure that allows you to spray coat all sized automobiles, cabinetry, boats, and fences using lacquer-based paints. Once a solution to paint only cars, a spray paint booth can be used for any job requiring painting or wood finishing of large machinery with enough room for the painter to move around freely inside.
The spray paint booth uses a paint gun - a pressurized paint container that uses compressed air and tubing. The booth collects paint particles in the air using a high-quality filtration process. It filters the debris using pads, water, or air to confine particles from the finish. Steady air streams move the particles to the booth's filtration unit - one of the key elements to determine overall finish quality.
Why spray paint booths?
Spray paint booths offer a very controlled environment. They are designed to reduce hazardous materials like paint fumes escaping into the atmosphere. Since the chemicals you use are very combustible, they need to be confined. Controlled air fuel can help control the explosive elements of the booths. They help keep the environment clean without sacrificing finish quality. Spray paint booths are also modular so you can start small and expand as your business requirements change.
Spray paint booth construction
Most spray paint booths are typically made from 18-gauge pre-coated and 14 to 16 gauge steel. The typical size of a booth is 10' x 8' x 6' and it can move more than 8,000 cubic feet of air per minute. With air replacement systems, the booths can minimize temperature changes and remove harmful debris that could decrease finish quality. You can also customize the insulation of your wall design. There are a variety of spray booths on the market including split, combo, curing oven, man lifts, and indoor/outdoor.
Spray paint booth size specifications
There are three size factors to consider when choosing a spray paint booth:
- Width: Measure the largest item that you will paint and add a few feet on all sides for clearance. You need several feet for each person in the booth. You also need to keep a minimum distance between you and the spray (at least two feet from the opening).
- Height: Know the height of the largest items you will paint, and then add a few feet for clearance. You want enough room to finish the top of the item as well as edges and undersides.
- Depth: You need at least three feet between the back of the item you are painting and the filters. In addition, you need another three feet between the front of the item and the filters and enough clearance to easily access the back.
Spray paint booth components
Working chamber: This is where the painting is done. You need a booth with plenty of space - typically five to six feet wider and deeper than the item being painted. If you will paint by hand, you need space to walk around, bend, reach, and move your arms freely. If the painting will be automated, the machine needs a lot of clearance to easily move from side to side.
Exhaust filtration: This system catches paint over spray. It uses replaceable filters, either pad filters if over spray covers less than half of the filter area or bulk media filters if the spray extends beyond the filter surface. Both types of filters use water for recirculation. This creates a sheet of water to help capture over spray before it reaches the air.
Exhaust chamber: A plenum located behind the filtration unit works to pull air out of the work area. Air flows freely as it enters the filters. The plenum sprays through underground filters using fans. If a water cascade is used, it helps trap harmful debris while keeping it separate from the recycling water.
Intake plenum: This is an optional feature of spray booths that brings fresh air into either end of the booth. Air can come in through the floor or overhead and trend downwards.
Intake filtration: Another optional feature that prevents harmful paint debris from ruining the quality of the paint job. Special filters help contain particles to prevent shoddy finishes.
In addition, a quality spray paint booth should also feature:
- Lighting: Safe outdoor and indoor lighting. Steer clear of combustible bulbs
- Stackhead: Dampers that prevent precipitation from entering the spray booth
- Sound blocking: Thick, double walls help confine the noise created by the exhaust and engine
- Starter: Controls motor inside the spray booth
- Meter: Displays the air pressure and filter status of the spray booth
- Auto shutdown: Stops air flow to spray devices if the collection of over spray fills up the filters
- Suppression system: Dry chemical package that helps prevent fires
Spray paint booth safety
There are strict regulations for safety and health concerns as spray paint booth operators need to be careful what chemicals get released into the air. The booths are filtered and include both heated air and temperature controls. In addition, all spray paint booths must be compliant with OSHA and NFPA regulations.
Local authorities will usually inspect your property and ensure it follows federal and state requirements for fire, electric, and public health safety. They will also gauge your insurance risk and let you know what acceptable equipment you need.
Spray paint booth pricing
The price of a spray paint booth varies widely according to size, filtration system, and electrical and mechanical makeup. For a motorcycle restoration shop or small business that routinely paints or constructs furniture or handheld goods, a basic open-faced spray booth will cost between $1,000 to $5,000, with larger models ranging between $7,000 and $10,000. For certain applications, smaller businesses with low-volume painting needs may be able to save money by buying used models. Read more about the specific pros and cons in "Used Spray Paint Booths Come with Hidden Costs."
Industrial-sized booths, with enhanced features for larger applications such as metalwork and painting large objects like cars or boats, start around $13,000 and go well past $60,000 depending on the customizations involved. It's worth noting that the type of airflow design you select - from cross flow to downdraft - will directly impact the final cost. A reliable average for these larger models falls within the $13,000 to $28,000 range, for which you can easily get a quality setup that features semi-downdraft with air make-up and a cure cycle.
You may also have to pay additional fees for delivery and maintenance. If the price tag is a bit hefty, many vendors offer lease-to-own options that allow you to make regular monthly payments of $100 to $300 for an agreed upon period of time.
Spray paint booth purchasing checklist
- What do you plan to paint in these booths?
- What filtration will you use and how much (if any) heat to get to the finish?
- How large are the items you wish to paint?
- How much space do you have to accommodate a spray paint booth?
- Is the finishing or refinishing clean and energy-efficient?
- Do you plan to use manual or automated spray paint methods?
- Do you have adequate space for your workers to move around in the booth?
- Is your spray paint booth up to OSHA and NFPA standards?
- Would you rather purchase a booth or lease it over time?