How Do Inflatable Paint Booths Work? (Explained for Beginners)

Having an interest in painting your car in an inflatable paint booth is one thing.

Executing the actual work for it, however, is an entirely different matter.

Inflatable paint booths work by providing an eco-friendly, dust free, clean environment to contain fumes while painting your car. If used correctly, it will dramatically improve the quality of the paint finish and reduce the number of paint particles and gases released into the air.

Painting your car in an inflatable paint booth comes with many added benefits.

However, you have to understand how it fully works to get an impeccable paint job done. So, allow us to explain!

How to Use the Paint Booth Efficiently

The purpose of an inflatable paint booth is to provide a controlled environment when applying paint to a surface.

It does this by carefully controlling the air pressure within the boot which can be either negative or positive.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to having a successful paint job. These include:

  • An Exhaust fan
  • A replenishing fan
  • The right filter
  • Volume changes

To provide a better understanding of how each factor works individually, we will break it down by one at a time.

Utilizing the Exhausting and Replenishing Fans

To produce an effective environment, these two fans work with one another to eliminate and remove air at equivalent rates.

With a marginally positive air pressure booth, you can keep debris out even as the entryway of the booth is opened.

Using the two fans at the same time helps keep the negative particles out and is effective when keeping the rooms clean. 

Choosing the Right Filter for Your Project

Having an effective working filter for your project is necessary in order to execute a successful paint job. One way that a filter may not function properly is by it getting filled with overspray. 

This will cause the exhaust fan to struggle to pull air through it, and the booth can become over pressurized if there isn’t an exit point.

To prevent this from happening, it is imperative to know which filter will be suitable for your paint job. Take a look at the list of filters that are recommended if you are painting your car:

  • Air makeup filters-Allows the correct amount of flow and volume to fill a paint booth; extracts huge particles of contaminants through a blend of polyester and nylon fibers. 
  • Intake filters-recommended for straining air that flows into the paint booth, eradicating the contamination that permeates the air).
  • Exhaust filters-similar to intake filters; works to cleanse the air and eliminates all negative particles out of the air).
  • Arrestor pads-holds the overspray to protect the fans and the environment from getting polluted with negative particles).

Having the right filter will guarantee a good paint job that will come out with a clean finish.

Keep an Eye Out on the Volume Change

When it comes to the volume change, it is important to keep an eye out on the amount of items you have stored in your paint booth.

Having too many items in the booth can reduce the amount of space that needs to be pressurized. 

You don’t want to over pressurize your paint booth because it will be greatly out of balance. Not only this, but both the paint and particles would soil your car, creating an unappealing finish. 

All of these factors are what play a key role in doing the paint job for your car. 

The Different Inflatable Paint Booths

There are two different paint booths that are used for specific kinds of painting projects for your car. These two booths are:

  • Cross Draft paint booths
  • Downdraft paint booths

Even though it may seem like it doesn’t matter which one you use to get the job done, these factors count towards painting your car.

Each booth works differently in distributing air over the car to be painted, which is why it is important to know the difference.

How Do Cross Draft Paint Booths Work?

The purpose of a cross draft paint booth is to remove paint overspray and give a well-polished finish for your car by creating a clean environment. 

According to Booth Filter Store, “The cross draft spray booth works by drawing air horizontally over the object to be painted.  Typically, air is drawn directly from the shop environment through filters located within the doors of the spray booth.” This can be accomplished by using intake panel filters.

One thing to keep in mind is that some cross draft spray booths assimilate air makeup systems.

This means that air will be drawn from an air makeup unit from the spray booth’s top to execute a more refined finish on your car.

If you want a booth that will work in giving you a perfect finish for your car, a cross draft booth would be recommended.

How Do Downdraft Paint Booths Work?

Downdraft booths work a little differently when it comes to the airflow it produces. According to Garmats Spray Booth, the air in the booth will create an envelope around the object you are painting. From this point, the air will be drawn down over the car while the overspray is carried into the pits. 

This will be done through a combination of different filters before they are released into the atmosphere.

The pits can be created by either cutting through concrete or having the booth set up over a raised basement whose floor level is much higher than usual. 

The only significant difference between these booths is the way that the air is distributed inside of them. Either way, they both work to create a healthier atmosphere to complete your project.

Which Inflatable Paint Booth Should You Use?

The paint booth you should use depends on four different variables that come into play with your project. We will elaborate on how each variable will contribute to giving your car a sleek finish for your project. 

Know the Right Size for Your Booth

The size of your booth has an effect on the amount of air that it needs to intake for the airflow to be consistent. To get the correct size needed, you have to do calculations that are based on the CFM (cubic feet per minute).

According to Spray Systems, “The CFM (“cubic feet per minute”) value of a crossdraft booth design is calculated by taking the cross section of the booth times 100 FPM (“feet per minute”). However, the CFM calculation for a downdraft version with the same booth dimensions, will be calculated by the horizontal cross section times 100 FPM.” 

Simply put, the formula for this goes as follows: The number of feet high X The number of feet wide X 100 FPM

Following this formula will give you the correct size of the inflatable paint booth that you need. Depending on the measurements that will be calculated from using this formula, it will determine whether you should use a cross draft booth or a downdraft booth.

Booth for High Quality Paint Jobs

The recommended booth you want to use to give a clean and beautiful finish is a downdraft booth. Even though cross draft booths can still give a nice finish, downdraft booths allow the airflow to be pushed to the floor away from the object you are painting. It will create an excellent look.

Operational Costs for Both Booths

There are two contributing factors that need to be considered when deciding which booth you should go with:

  • The airflow option
  • The airflow option’s requirements

This is determined based on the CFM that you calculated to get the amount of energy that is required. This will help determine which booth will require more air, as well as managing your budget when you prepare to purchase your booth.

The Limitations for Installing Your Booth

The recommended booth to use that is not complicated to install is the cross draft booth. Unlike the cross draft, the downdraft is limited on how to set it up to get the right amount of air intake.

Most inflatable paint booths require to be raised off the floor or into a concrete pit. You will also need extra space to install your filters so they can clean the exhaust air.

To get a better idea of how to install the booths, you can also view this tutorial from Samcrac.

Time to Start Your Project!

Never again will you have to worry about polluting the air with contaminants that are dangerous to the planet when working on your project.

The best takeaway from investing in this project is thinking about how you can paint anything you want in an eco-friendly environment! 

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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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