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The Joys of a Used Spray Booth

In today’s economy, there seems to be an excess of used spray booths available due to the number of shops that have closed.  We have all seen these used spray booths on E-Bay and web-based clearing houses.  It seems like buying a used spray booth would be a smart and conservative decision.  A spray booth purchase and installation is likely an infrequent occurrence for most companies.

Standard Tools lives in this industry every day and offers the following thoughts:
• The owner of the spray booth likely went out of business, possibly due in part to having a wrong or bad spray booth that was poorly  designed and/or improperly installed.  This costs the owner significant money in delayed production and poor quality every day that it is used.
• A used spray booth may not be complete with installation and maintenance manuals or other items that were omitted during the installation.
• Many spray booth manufacturers have either gone out of business or have significantly changed their designs over the years.  Obtaining replacement  parts or information on the spray booth may be difficult, if not impossible.
• Older paint booths may be obsolete and may not meet current building and fire codes.
• A used spray booth may have been altered or repaired by an owner that was not experienced in spray booth design and codes.
• Electrical items may not meet your available power.
• Taking a spray booth down and re-installing it is more than twice the effort required to install a new booth.  This is due to tracking of parts, repackaging for transport, and replacing/repairing damaged or missing parts.
• There is no warranty.  Buying a used spray booth is a gamble; buying new provides a guarantee from the manufacturer.

Most auto body shops charge $100-$200 per hour for painting, and many industrial shops charge more.  The initial savings made by buying a used spray booth can quickly vanish if days or weeks are required to solve any of the problems listed above.  Worse yet, there are instances in our experience where the buyer ended up throwing out the used booth and purchasing a new one.

Standard Tools recommendation is to buy a new spray booth built to your specifications and current codes.  Installing an auto shop sized spray booth usually takes 2-3 men a few days to install, plus electrical and ducting work.  Installing a new booth is the best way to ensure quality and throughput in your shop.

Call Standard Tools at 800-451-2425 for more information on spray booths, powder coating, and auto body equipment.

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Your inspectors (building, electrical, fire, environmental, worker safety, etc.) are responsible for making sure that your spray booth and processes are up to code.  They are generally very interested in seeing your company prosper, but they are charged with making sure that the spray booth does not negatively impact the chance of a fire, worker injury or environmental issues.

This can seem complex and overwhelming when building a new spray booth.  Here are some notes to make this easier.

Know your building:
-Total volume of building (floor space X height of ceilings)
-Building and floor materials
-Distance to nearby walls (should be at least 36”)
-Distance to electrical wiring and controls
-Proximity to property lines and other buildings
-Distance to spark-producing processes, like welding or grinding
-Escape routes for fires and other emergencies (aka egress)

Know your project:
-Obtain drawings and specifications from the spray booth manufacturer
-Have contractor information for electrical/fire/ducting
-Be prepared to give information about building the spray booth and subcontracting  specific processes

Know your process:
-Obtain MSDS sheets for materials to be sprayed
-Be prepared to provide a plan for storage/mixing/waste management/training.

Know your plan:
-talk to your local inspectors before buying the spray booth (Do you need ETL  certification?  Are your inspectors influenced by other local spray booth incidents)
-submit a simple site plan (This goes a long way with letting your inspectors feel  that you are open with them and wish to meet all code requirements.)

Know your support:
-Standard Tools can help you by providing information about the product and  general code information.
-More information is available on the Tools USA blog by searching ‘permit’ or by  contacting us at 800-451-2425.

For more information on paint booths please visit us at

Free Freight Fallacy

The old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, supports the concept that you cannot get “something for nothing.”  Many internet businesses advertise “free freight” so consumers will believe they are getting a great deal.  Merchants are actually just hiding freight and shipping costs by marking up the price of the product.  Freight and shipping providers expect to be paid for their services which include packing, palletizing, loading, documentation, transporting, unloading, and insurance.  These services can account for up to 50% of a product’s cost and it is you, the consumer, who pays for this whether it is included in the product price or added separately.

Tools USA chooses to itemize these charges to be upfront with our customers.  We will do everything we can to offer the best freight pricing without lowering our standards.  Our shipping department makes every effort to ship your paint booth or frame machine in a manner that allows for easy offloading, which includes arranging a carrier and extending the discounts provided to us by our shipping partners.  When possible, a flatbed is used to transport larger automotive body shop equipment.

At Tools USA our product knowledge is superior because we manufacture many of our products. This enables us to provide “great customer service” which includes accessibility, support, and innovation.  So, when you are shopping for a spray booth, frame rack, powdercoat system, or other auto body tools and equipment, make sure you do your research.  Free freight may seem like a bargain at first, but in the end products with free freight may not provide the value anticipated by consumers.

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Paint Mixing Room

A Paint Mixing Room is a self-contained area for mixing spraying materials, storing a small volume of materials and servicing spray booth equipment.  The NFPA-33 code recognizes mixing paints and solvents as a hazardous process that requires special attention to prevent fires and control hazardous fumes.  Paint mixing rooms are very similar to spray booths in construction design, fire suppression and ventilation of fumes.  The size of a mixing room cannot exceed 150 square feet; this room is for working and limited storage.  A mixing room contains spills with barriers and by limiting the amount of materials stored within them.  This code is available on line for under $50 from Techstreet.

The benefits of a paint mixing room include increased safety and increased efficiency.  Items used for mixing and cleaning are kept in one location and not spread through the shop.  Changeovers of paint or spray equipment can be performed quicker and cleaner.

Shop Paint Mixing Rooms and Paint Booths.

What is really involved with installing a Spray Booth?

A spray booth is a system made of several components.  There is the paint booth structure with exhaust fans and possibly an air make-up unit.  The spray booth will need electrical controls, compressed air supply and exhaust ducting.  Most locations require automatic fire suppression protection.  Permitting and insurance are also required for most paint booths.

There are 2 main options for getting a spray booth in your shop. You can spend a large amount of money to have all of this done for you. Alternatively, you can save a good deal of money by doing the installation yourself.

The least expensive method of getting a spray booth installed includes:

  • completing the permit application yourself with the help of your local inspector & fire marshall
  • assembling the paint booth yourself (This takes 2-3 men, 2-3 days with most automotive-sized booths assuming limited equipment)
  • building the exhaust ductwork yourself from a pre-designed kit (if allowed in your location)
  • contracting certified installers for fire protection & electrical work
  • installing the compressed air system (compressor, dryer, lines, connections) yourself

Doing some of this work yourself can save thousands of dollars and get the paint booth in operation based on your schedule, not that of someone else. Please visit our website,  or call us (1-800-451-2425) to get more information about building your spray booth.

For industrial paint booths and woodworking spray booths, visit us at our sister site


Canada – Waterborne Conversion

As of June 18, 2010, autobody shops, manufacturers, and distributers in Canada will be required to use waterborne compliant auto refinish coatings or a similar solution to limit VOC emissions into the environment.  Automotive body shops that have remaining inventory of non-compliant coatings will be able to use up their inventory as long as it was purchased prior to the implementation date.  These new regulations will impact products in Canada as well as products being shipped to Canadian shops.

Paint Booth Fire Protection

NFPA-33 Spray Application for Flammable and Combustible Materials requires an automatic fire protection system for all spray booths.  Here are some frequent questions about this paint booth issue.  This information is offered as a guide; your local inspector and fire marshal will be experienced in their interpretation and local codes.

  1. Who do I buy this system from? – These systems are made by only a few certified manufacturers like Amerex, Pyrochem, Anzul and Badger.  They can often be purchased through the spray booth seller.
  2. Can I do the installation myself? – No.  Installation should be done by a licensed installer.
  3. What if I have a wet sprinkler system in the building? – A self-contained system is designed to extinguish a fire in the paint booth, plenums or ductwork, all areas that the building’s system will rarely reach.  Some smaller, limited-use open-face paint booths may be approved by your local authorities as being adequately protected with the building’s wet sprinkler system.  Consult your local inspector and fire marshal for that specific application.
  4. Are there size limitations to the booth? – Yes.  Open-face spray booths should be no more than 12’ high due to the design limits of these systems.  Higher open-face booths can be protected but at a significant cost.  The larger the spray booth, the more ductwork and the greater number of fans all add to the cost of the fire protection system.
  5. What are the maintenance requirements? – After the initial installation, most system providers can be contracted for annual inspections.   This annual inspection will include checking the pressure of the chemical tanks, the mechanics of the system, the fusible links (the automatic part of the system) and the control panel.  They will apply an inspection tag much like a portable fire extinguisher’s.  This contractor should be notified after any trigger event of the system or when any question arises about the system.
  6. What is the major difference in wet versus dry systems? – NFPA-33 allows either system.  The dry system is designed using the same technology as restaurant fire protection system made to work on oil/grease fires, mush like the solvents found in most paints.  A wet system simply works with water and may not stop a solvent-laden fire as quickly as the dry system.  The dry system should work better in corners, ductwork and plenums.  The dry system should be easier to clean up after a suppression event.

Fire protection is one of the main reasons to have a spray booth, along with providing a clean spraying environment, fume/overspray controls and safe lighting.  A paint booth owner must complete the process of building a spray booth by making sure that a certified installer completes a pre-designed fire protection system and that the system is maintained.

Shop Paint Booths: Industrial Paint Booth, Woodfinishing Spray Booth, Automotive Paint Booth 


System for Cleaning Paint Booth Air

Tools USA responded to a question on a Collision Hub Blog that we wanted to share on our blog.

The paint booth user needed to replace their system for cleaning air used in their spray booth.  One company suggested they would need a refrigerated dryer.

Air refrigerators and air conditioners are equipment used for extreme environment conditions or super-sensitive spray applications. Some of these conditions may be very long periods of super-high humidity, very dirty air supplies, and nano-technology paint materials.

There are spray booths in all parts of the USA, spraying the vast majority of paints and powders, without using this expensive high-end equipment.

We recommend our most popular dryer “THE EVAPORATOR 10 LB DESICCANT AIR DRYER“. We sell a lot of these to shops for use on their paint booth just for cleaning the air prior to going into their paint gun.

Here are some of the benefits of this dryer.

• Oil-free air
• Super low relative humidity – 1.5%
• Can be mounted on wall or floor
• No electrical parts or motors to explode
• 95 times dryer than a MOTO GUARD filter
• 81 times dryer than a LAMANS Filter/Dryer
• 81 times dryer than a DeVILBLISS Filter/Dryer
• 26 times dryer than a REFRIGERATED Dryer based on 70 F entering air 100PSI

Fire Prevention in Spray Booths

Top 10 Really Bad Ideas for Spray Booths (or What a great way to have a fire!!)

  1. Using any electrical device in a paint booth.
  2. Thinking how cool it would be to have an electrical outlet in the spray booth wall.
  3. Smoking in a spray paint booth.
  4. Grinding or welding in a paint booth.
  5. Not using a licensed electrical contractor to wire the booth lights and fan.
  6. Not performing routine maintenance of cleaning the walls/ceilings/floor or changing filters.
  7. Not installing an automatic fire suppression system.
  8. Not assembling the spray booth as shown in the manual.
  9. Using your spray booth to store excessive paint or other combustible materials.
  10. Not training your booth operators about fire safety.

The NFPA-33 standard defines the safety requirements for spray booths.  This standard is available through Techstreet.  This is a good investment that will save you money, but you might not have that great fire story to tell your friends.

Shop Paint Booths at Tools USA.

Spray Booth and Paint Booth Filters

Spray Booth Filters need to be changed regularly to maintain operational efficiencies for your Paint Booth.

The following are the different type of paint booth filters:

1. Exhaust Filters – Trap any leftover pollutants prior to the air entering the atmosphere.  These spray booth filters are typically changed after 50-100 working hours.

2. Intake Filters – Cleans the air coming into the spray booth.

Shop Paint Booth Filters at Tools USA.

For further questions, contact or call 1-800-451-2425.

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