How to Thin Latex Paint for Wagner Spray Gun(Reduce in 5 Steps)

Updated On — 6th Mar, 2021

Painting with a Wagner sprayer gun is as easy and effortless as you may get. However, things may get tricky when you have thick latex paint material and you don’t know how to thin latex paint for a Wagner spray gun.

It is a common issue faced by DIY and beginner painters. Since they lack knowledge on thinning the latex paint, they end up getting poor quality on their paint projects. They will, in most cases, blame the paint sprayer for hiding their imperfections.

We don’t want you to face the same problem. Therefore, we will today discuss the most convenient way to thin latex paint material to use with Wagner spray gun. You have to use a proper thinning agent to mix with the latex paint and measure the thickness with a viscosity cup.

However, the process being said isn’t as simple as it appears. Particularly, DIYers and beginners may make a mess out of the entire process.

If you don’t face such annoying and messy moments with the Wagner sprayer gun, make sure you read through the article.

How to Thin Latex Paint for Wagner Spray Gun: 5 Easy Steps

Wagner is a legendary manufacturer of both HVLP and airless paint sprayers for professionals and hobbyists alike. Although you may use both thin and un-thin paint material with it, ideally, you should thin the latex paint.

It will leave a smooth and extraordinary paint finish on the paint surface. Moreover, thin latex paint is less likely to clog the sprayer gun nozzle. So, you won’t have to change the nozzle in the middle of your paintwork. Lastly, it makes the sprayer gun cleaning much easier. So, you will love the hassle-free use of the Wagner sprayer gun.

Luckily, you can thin the latex paint material with five easy steps. These steps are-

  1. Measuring the paint thickness
  2. Adding thinner agent with some latex paint
  3. Stirring and whisking the mixture to thin it
  4. Checking the thickness after whisking and filtering
  5. Pour in the paint material on the Wagner sprayer for a test run  

However, you have to prepare your items to reduce the latex paint viscosity to be used with the sprayer gun.

  • Latex paint
  • Two buckets
  • Viscosity cup
  • A stirring stick
  • Thinner agent (You may use water)

Once you are ready with the thinning items, it’s time to see the process to reduce the paint thickness and prepare it for further paintwork.

Step 1: Measure the Latex Paint Material Viscosity

The paint will come in a can with a locked lid. Before you prepare it for painting, you should mix the material properly. It is essential to get the actual viscosity reading as well.

Shake the paint container for 30 to 50 seconds to mix the latex paint adequately. Alternatively, you can hold the container handle and move it until the materials mix properly. In either way, the aim is to blend them accurately.

Also, it allows the paint at the bottom to blend well with the upper paints. Now, open the can lid and insert a stick inside the paint container to stir it. Give the latex paint a thorough stirring for around 60 to 90 seconds.

You should stir following a circular motion. It allows both the bottom and upper paint material to blend properly. Now, remove the stirring stick from the paint and observe how the paint drips off from the stick.

At first, the paint will drip following a long stream. Then, it will constantly drip at regular intervals. It is a sign that the paint is still thick and can’t be used with the Wagner sprayer gun.

Alternatively, you can pour some paint through a funnel and see how the material drips off from it. When the paint is properly thinned and ready for painting, it will drip with a continuous flow without intervals. Also, you may use the viscosity cup to get the thickness reading.

Step 2: Add Latex Paint to A Bucket

You can’t thin the latex paint straight in the paint container. You have to use a bucket. Also, there’s no need to use a new bucket for the purpose. You may use an old one from your home.

Pour the amount of paint you will need for the project inside the bucket.  Check if the Wagner sprayer gun hose can soak the material or not. If it can pull the latex paint, adding strainer in the bucket will work fine for the spryer gun.

Step 3: Start Thinning the Latex Paint

While acetone works fine with thin oil-based paints, you should never use it for latex paint material. Instead, you may consider using water to thin the latex paint with a quick process. Ideally, you should pour in ½ cup of clean water for each gallon of latex paint material.

If you feel that the suggested amount of water isn’t working sufficiently to thin the paint, you can add some water later. But be aware of pouring too much water inside the paint bucket at a time. It may destroy the paint altogether.

While water works fine to thin the paint material, it may also reduce its quality. Thereby, professionals at times suggest using paint conditioner for the purpose. We recommend you use Floetrol as the paint conditioner with the latex paint.

Floetrol also comes in handy to allow the paint to flow consistently through the sprayer gun. Moreover, latex paint dries up quickly in humid conditions. Adding the Floetrol or paint conditioner stops the paint from drying up quickly. So, your painting becomes easier.

Whether you use Floetrol or water to thin the latex paint, you should start by pouring in an optimal amount. If you put too much thinner agent, it may destroy the entire latex paint asking you to invest in a second container.

Now, stir the thinner mixed latex paint with a stick.

Step 4: Continue Pouring in The Thinner and Stir

After you have poured in the first batch of thinner with the latex paint, stir it for around one minute. It permits the water or Floetrol to blend with the latex paint properly. Stir the stick in a circular motion from up to down direction.

While stirring the latex paint plus thinner, pull out the stirring stick every 10 to 20 seconds. Then, observe how the paint drips off from the stick. If the paint drips with consistency, you have achieved the desired thinness of the paint.

However, it is less likely to happen that you get the desired thinness with a few stirring. Thus, you should be prepared to stir the mixture several times until you get the thinness required for your paint project.

The proper thinness of the latex paint ensures that it will provide a smooth and even finish on the surface. Also, it makes painting effortless and easy since the sprayer gun is less likely to get clogged. Thick paint will clog the sprayer nozzle frequently. Thus, you need to change the nozzle more than the essential requirements.

But, hey, wait….

You should never use the latex paint directly to the Wagner sprayer gun even after thinning it. You should filter it firstly.

Step 5: Filter And Pour in The Latex Paint in The Sprayer Gun

While many people actually use the latex paint directly after thin with their sprayer gun, we don’t recommend it. Instead, you should always use a strainer or filter to screen out any debris or anything unwanted from the paint material.

Set a filter at the sprayer gun cup. Now, slowly pour in some thinned paint through the filter to the cup. Once you have accumulated an optimal amount of latex paint inside the cup, you should attach it with the sprayer gun.

Now, it’s time for a test run of the filtered paint material. Find a surface and spray the paint in a vertical direction using the Wagner sprayer gun. You will see an ‘orange peel’ like texture on the surface of the paint that is too thick.

Then, you may need to add a few drops of Floetrol with the latex paint and stir it. Once you have achieved the perfect thinness of the latex paint, filter the entire material and pour it inside the sprayer cup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the ratio of latex paint and thinner?

Ideally, the ratio of thinner and latex paint should be 1:4 or 1:3. It is a standard rule to follow for regular paint projects. However, you may need to slightly increase or decrease the thinner and latex paint proportion depending on your paint project necessity. If you apply too much thinner, the paint may lose its stickiness and become unusable.

  • Is it essential to thin latex paint?

Although the Wagner spray gun is made to spray both thin and un-thin materials of all kinds, you should still thin the latex paints. It enables the gun to spray the paint with a consistent flow rate. It yields in smooth and even paints finish.


So, here we end our discussion on how to thin latex paint for Wagner spray gun. The best part of the entire paint thinning process is that it is straightforward.  You only have to invest a few minutes in the process.

Once you are satisfied with the results of the test spray, you can confidently spray over the entire surface. You will love the paint finish and easiness of cleaning the sprayer gun. Rejoice!

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