Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

January, 2007

Starving a Paint Spray Booth of Air

Q: Mr. Joseph, I recently started working as a Finishing dept supervisor at a wonderful company in Arizona. They have a spray booth with no doors on the front. The company was told by an architect that they had to cut airflow windows on top of the roof of our shop and filter them, so, airfow would come in from outside and move through the shop into the spray booth and out through the filters on the back wall into the exhuast system. Now as you could imagine when it rains, water drips onto our newly built Furniture. What I would like to do is to eliminate these windows on the roof put some doors on my booth with filters in them. The architects argument is where will the airflow come from? our shop is inclosed just like every other shop that i have ever worked in but he insists that when I turn on my booth everything will be sucked into it. This isn't a jet engine were talking about, its simply a spray booth. I,m not sure of the designs of spraybooths but I've never worked in a shop where we had to cut holes in the roof? Our shop is approxmitaly 3000 sq.ft. and two stories tall if that helps you determine how much air is in the room. I think even another sheet metal cylinder coming down on top of my booth at the front to draw in air from outside would be a better idea than what we have, but, do I need to do that or can I simply close up the roof and slap some doors with filters on the front?

A: Your architect is correct in saying that when you take air out of the building you need to add the same amount of air into the building, otherwise you will starve the building of air. However, there are numerous ways of doing this without cutting holes into the roof and allowing rain to drip into the building. You can install ducting through one of the walls of the building and draw your air from there. If the roof has an overhang, you can insure that the end of the duct is covered by the roof. You can install an air supply house (large sheet metal enclosure) either on the side of the building or on the roof. The air supply house should be fitted with air intake filters to keep water and dust out.

If you spend a few minutes on the internet you will find several designs from spray booth manufacturers or suppliers. By chance I went to the web site of Protectaire Finishing Systems I found a typical roof mounted air supply house.

If the weather is very cold in winter you can even heat the incoming air by means of a gas-fired heating unit which is located inside the air supply house. Clearly, you only turn the heater on when the outside temperature warrants it.

Your suggestion of slapping some filtered doors on the front of the building will also work. When you look at the designs of spray booths you will see typical designs of filtered doors. However, select low pressure differential filters so that you freely allow air to enter the building. Spray booth filter suppliers can assist you in your selection.

I hope this gives you some ideas.


Ron Joseph

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