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Spray Booths | The Essential Guide

We get asked about spray booths a lot, it’s a big topic and can be difficult to make a product recommendation without knowing a great deal about your business. I would encourage anyone thinking of buying a new booth to do their own research to ensure you get the most suitable option for your budget.

I put together this overview to spray booths with the hope that it will help prevent some of you from making costly mistakes when buying your next booth. Our team of refinishing specialists at DTC are always available to help via email or phone so just get in touch if you have any queries.


 Overview/History of the Modern Spray Booth

Spray booths have been around for a while, but they were once quite different from what we now know them as. These booths may seem quite simple, but they have changed a lot over the years. Learning more about the history of spray booths will make you appreciate what you have that much more.

Click here to find out more about the history of spray booths.

Early Spray Booths

The earliest spray booths were very primitive and even simpler than they are today. These booths consisted of a room with one or two windows and little else. People just used a regular brush to paint the cars and other objects that were brought into the room.

Sometimes early spray booths were moved to loading bays to get better ventilation. This made a big difference when it came to protecting workers from toxic fumes, and they no longer got dizzy.

Evolution of Spray Booths

Spray booths really started evolving into what they are today in the early 1900s. The atomizer was created around this time. While it was initially made for medical purposes, it would go on to play an important part in the finishing industry. Early spray booths were designed for updraft ventilation, and the system was only slightly different from exhaust hoods used to keep steam out of kitchens.

Those who made these rooms increased the size of the inlet so as to keep out potentially dangerous fumes as best they could. While this was a definite improvement on simply working with a door or window open, the advent of the atomizer made even this an outdated practice.


The updraft ventilation system couldn’t adequately address the overspray issue that became a problem with the implantation of the atomizer. Someone decided that the best thing to do was to use updraft ventilation, but with a fan in a front of window facing outside. When people started doing this, they realised that it could effectively pull out particulates. It was definitely a big improvement to say the least.spray booth timeline


The 1930s brought all sorts of technological innovations, including prefabricated spray booths. These booths were made up of three walls with a big fan on one of the sides. By this time arrestors had been somewhat refined. Some sort of material was stretched tight over the inlet, which handled a larger portion on the overspray. One of the downsides to this approach was that it came with a higher chance of fires.


A number of improvements were made to spray booths in the 1940s. These booths started being constructed from metal or cement to prevent fires, which used to be quite common. All lights inside these booths were enclosed further reduce the risk of fire. Fibreglass was put in the arrestors, which was yet another safety precaution.


In the 1950s, downdraft spray booths came into existence. This was a big innovation, as it resulted in less lingering overspray. Some improvements were made for the sake of safety, including sprinklers as well as grounding.


The technology behind spray booths didn’t change a whole lot, but certain regulations did affect how they were built. These booths were required to have a fire-resistant design. Some research into the dangers of operating in a spray booth also started.


Some major changes start occurring in the 1970s. A lot of businesses started investing in spray booth technology when they began realising the many benefits it had to offer. Around this time the very first robotic paint spray devices started being used.


The 80s was the beginning of the downdraft airflow’s standardisation. This type of spray booth resulted in faster drying paint, and there suddenly wasn’t as much dirt around. Around this time there was also an increase in prep stations, which cut debris down to a minimum.


The technology used to make downdraft spray booths underwent a lot of improvements in the 90s. Waterborne basecoats also became a thing around this time, and it had a pretty big impact on the industry as a whole.

Present Day

In the 21st century, just about every step of the spray booth building process has been automated. There have been many innovations over the years to get us to where we are now with these booths.

Spray booths can be an excellent investment for a lot of businesses, but it’s extremely important to properly maintain your spray booth. The more you learn about how to do this, the easier it is going to be.

Improve Your Spray Booths Efficiency

If you have a spray booth you use for your business, it is important to keep it clean. This will help with minimising overspray as well as particles that can affect the final finish on the object you are painting. Make sure to keep all light enclosures clean as well so that you can see what you’re doing at all times. There is no way that you can do your best work if you don’t have good visibility in your workspace.

You should use floor paper and wall coatings that can be peeled off as a means of protecting surfaces against overspray build-up. This will help you to cut down on the amount of cleaning you need to do on a regular basis. The more time you save with cleaning, the more efficiently you can work in your booth.spray booth efficiency infographic

Switch Out Your Filters as Needed

It’s also important that you change out the filters in your spray booth regularly. These filters are responsible for maintaining ideal airflow in the workspace. When the filters aren’t working properly, overspray becomes a big problem. The worse the airflow is in your spray booth, the harder it will be to maintain good quality work. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing your filters. There is usually a certain number of hours that an air filter can go before it needs to be changed.

Keep Your Workspace Sealed

In order to reduce the chances of contamination in your spray booth, you will need to make sure it is properly sealed. Check to make sure that this area is sealed properly and that each part is kept completely clean. Without proper sealing, your workspace can easily become contaminated with all sorts of things that can affect the finish on the objects you paint.

Stay Organised

If you want to maintain a truly efficient spray booth, you need to keep it organised. This means keeping similar tools and supplies together in the same places. You won’t be able to work efficiently if you don’t have easy access to whatever you may need at any given time. Getting organised can go a long way towards maximising your progress in this workspace.

Establish a Service Plan

It’s always a good idea to have a service plan in place for your spray booth. You need to make a list of everything that needs to be inspected and cleaned at least once a year. This will help you to keep all of the components that make up your work space functioning properly for at least another year.

Check Your Ducts and Fan Blades Regularly

The ducts and fan blades in your spray booth are both very important, so you will need to routinely check them. If you need to constantly clean your fan blades and ducts, it could be a sign that you are experiencing issues with your filters. The last thing you want to do is go cheap on your filters, because they won’t last as long or work as well.

Cleaning Solvents

You should never use any cleaning solvents that have a flashpoint of less than 37 degrees Ceslius. Make sure that you do not keep more than one day’s worth of these solvents anywhere close to the spray booth.

Check Your Compressor

The best way to avoid moisture from becoming a problem in your spray booth is to make sure your compressor is clean and properly maintained. Moisture can cause a lot of serious problems, so you will need to keep this in mind.

Invest in the Latest Technology

These days there is a lot of technology that can help you work more efficiently in your spray booth. The better your tech is, the more efficiently you will be able to work. Take the time to look into some of these tech options so you can get exactly what you need, it could save you a great deal in the long run.

Focus on Your Lighting

It can be quite a challenge to work efficiently in your spray booth if you don’t have good lighting. You might want to think about changing your setup so it is more conducive to doing quality work. The brightness of the light bulbs you use in this workspace can make a big difference.

How to Clean a Spray Booth

It is imperative that you keep your spray booth clean. The cleaner your workspace is, the fewer problems you will have. You can also save yourself a lot of time and effort by taking certain steps to ensure cleanliness from the start.

Minimise Dust in Your Spray Booth

Dust can quickly become a real problem when it gets into a spray booth, so you will therefore want to make a point of keeping it out as much as possible. Keep anything you don’t absolutely need out of the booth. You should also avoid doing any sanding inside of the booth, as it can create a lot of dust. Do all of the prep work on the object you are going to paint before you bring it into the booth.

Inspect the Booth

Take a thorough look at your spray booth so you know how much work you need to do. Don’t forget to check all of the corners and crevices for paint deposits. By doing this you will know which specific areas you will have to focus on before getting started.

Seal Off the Area

Once you have inspected your paint booth, you should make a point of sealing it off completely. Close any grates and vents in the room before you start cleaning. If you have an automated spray booth, you will need to turn off the power supply. You also need to turn off any fans that may be in your booth in order to clean it as efficiently as possible.

Clean the Surfaces

If you want to prevent overspray from getting into the air and affecting the quality of your work, you will need to clean all of the surfaces in the booth regularly. There are numerous methods that you can use to clean your spray booth, and it’s important that you consider each one.

You can use a vacuum to get all of the dust and other particles in your booth, but you will need to be careful when using this method. The heat from the motor of the vacuum could spark with the combustible materials that you are vacuuming up.

Another method of cleaning up your spray booth involves using a simple sponge mop to break up the paint that has collected on the walls and floor. Make sure that you are using an effective solvent to clean your booth, because otherwise you are just making more work for yourself.

If there are any areas of your spray booth that require deep cleaning, make sure to use a pressure washer.

Clean Your Equipment

It is unlikely that paint overspray, dust and other debris will be limited to just the walls and floor of your spray booth. You will need to make a point of cleaning your equipment and other things as well. The exhaust is often affected by overspray as well, so you need to clean it regularly. If your exhaust isn’t clean, there’s no way that you can maintain your booth efficiently.

Preventing Moisture

Moisture can be a very real problem in a spray booth, so you need to stay on top of it at all times. Spray guns and other equipment that use air can produce moisture, which in turn can lead to various issues. A build-up of moisture can ruin your expensive equipment, so make sure that you do everything you can to limit its presence in this workspace.

The type of spray booth you choose is very important, so you will need to explore your options before you make a final decision. You should consider your specific requirements when trying to make the right choice.

Crossdraft Spray Booths

These spray booths are designed to have air flowing across the object that you are spraying, which can be a good and bad thing. The best thing about these booths is that they are an economical choice, but they can take a lot more effort to clean. It can also be hard to keep the finish on the objects you are painting flawless due to the presence of contaminants.

Semi Downdraft Spray Booths

Semi downdraft booths have air flowing through at a diagonal angle instead of right across, but there is still a good chance that the painter will encounter a significant amount of overspray. The fronts of these booths have issues with proper exhaustion.

Side Draft Spray Booths

Side draft booths have a superior airflow, which helps keep overspray and all kinds of contaminants off the objects you are painting. These booths tend to be fairly expensive though, so you will need to keep that in mind. There is a fairly significant exposure to overspray that comes with these booths, and it is mostly unavoidable.

Downdraft Paint Booths

Downdraft booths are easy to keep clean because the air is drawn around the object that is being painted, and the exhaust comes from underneath. You will keep to keep in mind that these booths can be expensive, as they do require either a tunnel or concrete pit.

There are a few key things that you will need to keep in mind before settling on a certain spray booth, including what your budget is like. Some of these booths are more expensive than others, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get one that works well. You will need to set aside an adequate amount of space around the booth so you can put in a heat source. Consider how much space you have available so you can select the right booth to match your needs.

Paint Mixing Room Requirements

A paint mixing room can be very helpful for those who do commercial painting work on a regular basis. This room will provide you with a safe and clean area to mix the paint while staying organised. If you want to have one of these rooms for your operation, it is important to know what some of the requirements are.

Some of the basic requirements for paint mixing rooms include:

  • Paint mixing rooms should be built in the same way as spray booths.
  • The total size of the mixing room cannot be any larger than 14 m2 or 150 ft2.
  • The mixing room has to be designed in such a way to effectively contain any spills that might occur.
  • Continuous mechanical ventilation is an absolute requirement for all mixing rooms. The ventilation must be active at all times at a rate that is in accordance with the overall size of the room.
  • All mixing rooms must have properly classified areas to indicate where electrical fixtures can and cannot be placed.
  • There has to be an adequate fire protection system in place. Paint mixing rooms need to have a system in place for fire suppression just like a spray booth.
  • There also needs to be fire extinguishers in the mixing room in case a fire breaks out.

Paint Mixing Room Safety Precautions

The main reason that it’s so important for paint mixing rooms to be up to code is for the overall safety of the painters. These codes also ensure that contaminants do not become an issue. The cleaner the room is, the less work you will need to do and the safer you’ll be.

Relevant Codes

There will be certain codes that your new paint mixing room will have to meet, so you will need to know what they are. These rooms must be able to house and ventilate any flammable liquids that are kept inside.

You will have limitations on the amount of paint and flammable liquids that you can store in your mixing room. If your mixing room is located within six feet of the painting area, you can only have 120 gallons of flammable substances. If the mixing room is located more than six feet away, you can have as much as 360 gallons of these liquids.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) are responsible for many of the codes that paint mixing rooms must be up to. There are some other codes that could be relevant, depending on the specifics of your mixing room. It is very important that you know about these codes so you are not unknowingly in violation of any.

Anyone who is interested in getting a paint mixing room will need to know what all of the requirements are. You will need to find a manufacturer whose work meets all of the relevant codes and regulations. These requirements are in place for your own safety and well-being.

Learning about these codes and requirements will help you to determine whether or not you really need a paint mixing room for your business. Many businesses have started investing in these rooms because of how useful they can be. It is important that your mixing room is in compliance with these requirements, because otherwise you are putting yourself and others at unnecessary risk.

Maintaining the Correct Temperature in Your Paint Booth

Temperature control is a very important factor to consider with any paint booth. Not all of these booths have the same temperature requirements, as there are many different things that should be taken into consideration.

Most spray booths that are used to paint vehicles should be kept at around 55 degrees, but only if your paint includes a catalyst. This makes the paint dry faster so you can work more efficiently. Companies that do this sort of commercial painting give customers time estimates that are based on how long it takes them to go through the entire process with a temperature of 70 degrees.

Every 15 degrees that you go above 70 degrees, you can expect the paint to dry twice as quickly. For every 15 degrees you below 70 degrees, the paint will dry twice as slowly. This rule only works until you reach 55 degrees. If you go below 55 degrees, the catalyst in the paint will not crosslink correctly.

The amount of heat that you have in your spray booth will ultimately determine how productive you are. You can get spray booths for automotive applications that are heated or not heated.

Anyone who gets a spray booth that isn’t heated will need to make sure it is before they start working in it. You should factor in the amount of hot air that is sent out of the room through the exhaust system. If you want your building to keep a consistent temperature, you’ll need to make sure that your booth doesn’t displace a disproportionate amount of air.

The average temperature that is needed to cure paint is anywhere from 65 to 70 degrees, but determining what the exact temperature for your room should be can be tricky.

When you are trying to figure out what the temperature of your spray booth needs to be, you will have to factor in whatever you are painting. Both the size and type of the objects you paint will affect how you heat your booth. You also need to consider the humidity that you are going to keep the room at. Higher relative humidity always means that the objects in the room will take longer to dry.

The more you spend considering how to heat your spray booth, the more productive you are going to be in it. The last thing you want to do is rush into a final decision when it comes to this particular issue.

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