How to Build an Inexpensive, Functional Spray Booth from the Ground Up

How To Build A Spray Booth For Spraying Cars

Painting your car or another passion project can be a fun and rewarding experience to have at home. However, there are always safety precautions and tips that you should keep in mind, and one of these involves building a spray booth to keep things clean. A spray booth makes sure your painting project proceeds more quickly, cleanly, and safely than it would otherwise.

Businesses in the US are required to use spray booths if they’re painting their products, but that doesn’t mean you’re held to the same standards. However, using a spray booth just makes a lot of sense. Fortunately, you can make one yourself at home relatively inexpensively by following the steps in this guide for how to build a spray booth for spraying cars.

Value of a Paint Job

Truth be told, you don’t actually need a spray booth for your car or any other painting project. However, using one provides a myriad of safety and quality benefits, not the least of which being that your paint job will just plain look nicer. That’s a strong reason on its own to invest in a spray booth.

Used car values and truck prices can go up by a surprising amount if they’re graced with a beautiful paint job, but only if it’s done well. The website AutoTrader is an excellent place to find both new and used cars, and if you’re tired of your current ride, you can sell that here, too. It’s an excellent resource for all things buying-and-selling for cars.

New car prices can be influenced by paint jobs, too. For example, cars with a limited edition paint color or unique pattern might go for more than other vehicles with simpler designs. This is true whether the car’s a Ford or any other make, but it tends to be most common for luxury brands.

Getting Started

Before you can build your paint booth, you’ll need to shop for a shortlist of materials. All told, they’ll set you back about $200-$300, with a little room in either direction depending on the quality of the products you buy. You will need:

  • PVC pipe to build the structure
  • Plastic sheeting to create the booth itself
  • A large explosion-proof fan (not a box fan) to circulate air
  • Flooring protection, such as paper, canvas, or a drop cloth
  • Masking tape

Remember that, whenever you’re spraying paint on anything, including automobiles, you should be wearing proper protective gear. This includes a respirator, clothing protectors, gloves, and protective eyewear. Although these pieces of equipment aren’t directly involved with building the spray booth itself, they should always be worn when putting the spray booth to use.

If you have a garage handy, you may not need much, or any, PVC pipe, as you can hang the plastic sheeting from the walls or ceiling in your garage. If you don’t want to do this or you don’t have access to a garage, PVC pipe is excellent for creating your structure, and it’s inexpensive, too.

Flooring protection comes first, especially if your spray booth will be built outside. Your structure should be built on top of that, and then plastic sheeting should be wrapped around and secured to the structure. The plastic sheeting, floor protection, and construction should all be taped together and sealed against air intrusion on three sides.

An essential part of a functional spray booth is the ventilation aspect of it. An attractive paint job is mainly dependent on clean air. Box fans, while inexpensive and popular, are not powerful or large enough to ventilate enough space to paint a car. However, if you’re looking to paint smaller objects, box fans may be sufficient. Just be careful about mixing non-explosion-proof fans with flammable paint.

Instead of box fans, look into renting or buying a sizeable explosion-proof fan. A utility blower is an excellent choice for this purpose, but these will set you back an extra $100-$150. If you only plan to use your spray booth once, you can save some money by borrowing a friend’s fan instead. You will want to attach a filter to the inside of the fan, too, to prevent dust and debris from clogging the fan.

Your fan should be attached to the plastic sheeting surrounding the paint booth with the air blowing outwards. Once everything is taped together and secure, you’re ready to start using your paint booth!

Notable Tips

Be aware that adding custom paint to a car will change the way that it’s insured. If you give yourself a custom paint job that’s worth hundreds of dollars, your car insurance company may not be prepared or even willing to pay for it. When you make any aftermarket modifications to your vehicle, make sure to report them to a car insurance company, like Geico, and adjust your coverage to include those modifications.

 When purchasing a used vehicle, it’s always important to check its accident history, too. A past accident can change the way a used car accepts paint, or it can create weak spots that might cause problems later. Before purchasing a used vehicle, be sure to check its history with Autocheck to make sure it checks out.

If you plan to use your paint booth consistently, it may be worth the investment to purchase a professionally-designed and built booth instead of building your own. As painting is a delicate process, especially for cars, you might find that a professional booth is simply better at mitigating some of the risks that come with painting from home.

After all, something as simple as a change in the humidity can completely change the way a custom paint job turns out. A professional paint booth is designed to create a stable, optimal environment for painting automobiles and other objects, and if you paint things for a living or plan to use your paint booth for several months, you may find that the extra money spent pays for itself in the end.