Spray Paint Booth Purchasing Guide

Introduction to the Spray Paint Booth Buying Process

Table of Contents
- Introduction
- Trends
- Types
- Specs
- Booth Components
- Features
- Choosing a Dealer

Introduction

Spray paint booths represent one of the greatest strides made toward cost-effective productivity in modern manufacturing. They have been designed to accommodate almost any manufactured item, from the smallest plastic components and intricate furniture to the largest semi trucks and assembly lines.

In addition to streamlining production, they also provide critical safety for workers and the surrounding environment, controlling hazardous materials to prevent spills, contamination, and a variety of health-related issues.

There are three main configurations, each engineered to a specific range of applications:

Booth Type Description Related Industries Price Range
Open-faced booths Consisting of only three sides (two side walls and a back wall), open-faced spray booths also include a ceiling with some type of exhaust ventilation and may come with a built-in work bench. Popular among woodworking and furniture finishing applications and ideal for a variety of small components. $2,000 - $6,000
Non-pressurized booths Taking a step up, non-pressurized booths are completely enclosed and feature one or more doors of varying size to accommodate the goods that require finishing. Non-pressurized booths are available in a number of different ventilation options depending on their intended use. Used within an endless range of industries, from fiberglass and metalwork to auto manufacturing and refinishing. $6,000 - $40,000
Pressurized booths Identical to non-pressurized booths in shape and size, the pressurized variety adjusts the amount of air inside the booth, making it slightly more positive than the booth's exterior environment. The process is achieved through the use of an air makeup unit (AMU). Doing so prevents any dust or airborne particles from entering the work area as any gaps or leaks along joints expel air from the booth rather than draw it in. Popular among auto and truck manufacturing and refinishing, electronics manufacturing, and similar applications requiring a clean" environment." Basic costs are the same as non-pressurized booths, but expect the AMU to add an additional $15,000 to $22,000 to the total

Benefits
Spray booths protect workers while keeping costs low. They are highly effective for containing hazardous materials and fumes in particular. Drawing air into a series of filters then expelling it to an exterior vent or directly back into the work area, spray booths greatly minimize risks associated with exposure to thinners, primers, basecoats, biocides, solvent-based stains, varnishes, and adhesives. This same function also greatly reduces the possibility of explosion - a concern for processes that rely on chemicals in a variety of forms: dust, fumes, fibers, and powders as well as liquids, gases, and vapors.

This is all accomplished while preventing debris and airborne particles from entering the work area and ruining a pristine finish, thereby minimizing costly rework.

Buying considerations
This purchasing guide covers every aspect of spray paint booths, comparing trends, types, specs, and popular features. We've also complied a number of points to be aware of when talking with a dealer, helping you avoid hidden fees and ensuring you make the right choice on installation.

Here are a few points to keep in mind as you read through and begin comparing models:

  • Air quality: Which will be more cost-effective for you, an open-faced or enclosed booth?
  • Finish type: What features will help you achieve the best finish (one that can be replicated from batch to batch)?
  • Usage: Which airflow type is best suited to your intended use?
  • Sizing:How much space do you need to allow? Note: there's a big difference between work area and the total space required.
  • Price range: Know what you can plan on spending for each type and customization. Could you achieve a comparable finished product by spending less?

We'll start by taking a look at what other businesses are doing and how recent developments have impacted their purchase decision.

Trends

When adding up the costs for components, shipping, and installation, a spray paint booth is a sizable investment even on a small scale. This has led some business owners to explore the world of used spray booths. But unlike used machinery, there are some notable do-it-yourself hazards associated with buying a used spray paint booth. Let's start by quickly comparing a model to its used counterpart.

New vs. used booths
Most used spray paint booths are on the market because the previous owner either went out of business, shifted the focus of their business away from painting, or they've expanded their operation and need a larger size to accommodate the shift. In each of these three cases, the paint booth is likely to have been well used. And while the components themselves may still be acceptable, they are far from the only concern.

Whether you install it yourself or have it professionally assembled, a new spray paint booth will include the following:

  • Documentation: User manual as well as schematics for assembling all of the pieces and how they fit together.
  • Permit compliance: Many packages are custom tailored to a specific type of business and locality. So if you purchase a used spray booth from the other side of the country, there's a good chance the permit requirements will be different. Plus, most cities require documentation to issue permits on a spray booth. No documentation? No permit. Custom modifications further complicate the process as well.
  • Warranty:Guarantee against defects in manufacturing.

Disassembly
Large used spray booths (14' x 9' x 23' for example) can easily be found online for $1,500 to $4,800. It may seem like a good value, and for good reason: odds are you'll receive the equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle with no instructions for reassembly.

Spray booths are constructed from thin metal paneling, not to mention exhaust vents and other mechanical components, electrical wiring, and glass in the windows and doors. Unless a qualified assembly team disassembles the used booth, marks each piece for reassembly, and packs it to ensure nothing gets bent, broken, or otherwise ruined during transport, there's a good chance the booth will be nearly impossible to reconstruct once it arrives at your location.

It's also worth noting that paint build-up on a used spray booth further complicates a reassembly, often requiring many of the core pieces to be stripped before reinstallation. Plus, ductwork and certain electronic components, like control panels, are often irreparably damaged during the disassembly process, requiring the new owner to locate replacement parts - a challenging task with older models.

Shipping
Whether new or used, even the smallest spray paint booth represents a major item for shipping. With new models, manufacturers have established a reliable way of packing the materials and transporting them across the country. This system ensures the booth will arrive undamaged and without excessive shipping costs. In fact, it is not unusual for a manufacturer to receive shipping discounts of up to 60% that are then passed on to their clients.

When considering used models, the “free shipping” offered on sites like eBay and Alibaba can be tempting. But given the complications mentioned above, the current owner is likely willing to take a loss on the shipping costs simply to be rid of the used booth.

Do-it-yourself hazards
There are some places you can cut costs, but spray booth assembly is not one of them. A wide range of laws and guidelines have been established to ensure safety for people and the surrounding environment. Much of this is due to the high level of toxicity and flammability related to the sprays, paints, adhesives, and finishing solutions used within a spray operation.

Proper assembly, ventilation, and wiring are necessary to prevent injury to workers resulting from airborne particles. In the same way, explosions can occur when fumes build up near an open flame. Woodworking shops, for example, routinely use lacquers for finishing cabinets and other furniture. If, on the off chance, an employee uses a space heater too close to the work space or within an enclosed area that isn't properly ventilated, there is a very real risk of explosion.

A professional installation will ensure the booth is situated properly within your shop and assembled correctly. Every location and application is unique. But, in general, things to be aware of include:

  • Proper ventilation and potential for inhalation (nervous system damage can occur with both short-term and long-term exposure)
  • Potential for the mixing of substances (including water)
  • Position of booth in relation to an ignition source (including open flames, sparks, cigarettes, and even static electricity)
  • Storage location of paint and other flammable materials

Safety resources
If you do opt for the do-it-yourself route, there are a couple of resources to familiarize yourself with. One is the guidelines in "Spray finishing using flammable and combustible materials," published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The other is the "Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials," published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
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Types

Within the three main configurations mentioned in the introduction (open-faced, pressurized, and non-pressurized), there are also six unique types:

  1. Large equipment/Industrial spray paint booths
  2. Small equipment/industrial spray paint booths
  3. Batch ovens
  4. Drying rooms
  5. Open-face booths
  6. Paint mixing rooms

Often engineered with a modular structural design, each of the six types will accommodate some form of retrofit, simplifying future expansion. In addition, the majority of spray paint booths are:

  • Constructed from galvanized 18-gauge steel panels
  • Reinforced by structural components that are manufactured from heavy gauge cold-formed steel
  • Galvanized to resist corrosion

But that’s usually where the similarities end. Varying greatly in size and functionality, each is engineered for a specific range of uses. Here’s how the six compare, including common applications and estimated costs.


1. Large equipment/industrial spray paint booths
Designed uniquely for outsized machinery, large equipment paint booths come in two styles: drive-in or conveyor. This option enables them to be customized to a range of manufacturing processes, a level of customization that is quite common among these models considering the size of the equipment they are meant to service.

Another commonality is the use of downdraft or semi-downdraft airflow design. Offering airflows of up to 60 feet per minute, this setup has been shown to provide the most efficient coverage on machines of this size.

While many are custom-tailored to a specific application, standard components often include an air makeup unit (AMU) for pressurization of the work environment, a conveyor system, and built-in rails for the addition of a crane. And though each includes a number of product and personnel doors, the addition of actuated or roll-up doors is another option.

  • Common applications: Manufacture and finishing of aircraft, forklifts and other heavy equipment, semi trucks, trailers, and RVs.
  • Estimated cost: $19,000 to $40,000, not including freight shipping or assembly fees.


2. Small equipment/industrial spray paint booths
Available in both open-faced and enclosed configurations, industrial models are often considered the standard for many businesses. Unlike the expansive large equipment variety, industrial spray paint booths are designed to fit into smaller manufacturing spaces and shops. For this reason, this type is viewed as the most efficient when it comes to floor space, assembled without requiring the added construction of a pit.

Popular small equipment spray booths typically rely on either the cross draft or side-downdraft airflow design, though some can be found or customized to include a downdraft and semi-downdraft airflow as well. As with larger models, an AMU can be added to provide pressurization within the work area.

Many models can be customized with a variety of product doors, including standard end, actuated, side-load, bi-fold and roll-up. And a heated AMU can be added to improve drying times.

  • Common applications: Manufacture and finishing of circuit boards and electronic equipment, motorcycles, fine furniture, and automotive parts. This style is also popular with auto detailing and refinishing shops.
  • Estimated cost: $2,900 to $26,000, not including freight shipping, assembly fees, or the AMU.


3. Batch ovens
A batch oven typically represents the very end of a manufacturing line as it's where sealants and other finishes are cured. Frequently referred to as process ovens or batch curing ovens, this type is often paired with a larger spray booth or powder booth.

Available as either electric or gas-powered, popular models are designed for a manufacturing process that does not require constant product throughput as the majority of the air gets recirculated through the unit. These are known as walk-in batch processing ovens, requiring workers to manually place goods within the oven.

Their counterpart, a conveyor oven, is designed for high-volume operations and allows a continuous production run, making them popular among automotive and electronics manufacturers. Parts are fed through the oven on an assembly line. And the process can often be customized to provide specific heat-up and release rates from components as they pass through the system.

There are different subsets within this category, including calcining ovens that remove moisture from a finish or create phase change, standard curing ovens that seal coatings and adhesives, and an annealing oven that's used to soften materials such as glass, aluminum, copper and a variety of alloys.

In general, the controlled heating provided by a batch oven ranges between 400°F and 1,000°F making it well suited for everything from drying and baking to bonding, aging, and sterilization. Sizes range from 6' x 6' x 5' to 12' x 12' x 40' (L-W-H).

  • Common applications: Manufacture and finishing of equipment and components for industries that include pharmaceutical, ceramics, automotive, aerospace, sporting goods, and industrial food manufacturing.
  • Estimated cost: $18,000 to $74,000, not including freight shipping and assembly fees.


4. Drying rooms
Drying rooms are similar to a batch oven but they offer substantially less heat. They're used for flash curing and to reduce the drying time for paint, lacquer, and other finishes. Proven to cut chemical emissions up to 100%, they are incorporated into a spray paint booth's downdraft airflow, adding heat that ranges from 40°F to 215°F.

As mentioned above, most high-end spray booths feature a modular design that accommodates upgrades and add-ons after initial purchase. A drying room is one of the most popular examples of this compatibility. It can be easily paired with almost any type of spray booth to instantly boost the cost-effectiveness of the operation. But they do more than just cut time from the assembly line.

Drying rooms have been shown to provide the greatest consistency within a manufacturing line by providing a process that can easily be repeated from batch to batch. Plus, by cutting the drying time on a car, truck, or piece of furniture, a drying room prevents dust or airborne particles from ruining the finish, thereby improving quality overall.

Available upgrades include a recirculation heater unit that boosts the efficiency of the unit by controlling the internal temperature, a turbulence fan system that delivers a turbulent airflow to further reduce drying time, and infrared curing, a green technology that can power on or off in seconds and requires only about a third of the floor space when compared to conventional units.

  • Common applications: Manufacture and finishing of parts for cars, trucks, and airplanes, as well as paper, leather and textiles, and light bulbs.
  • Estimated cost: $6,000 to $12,000 when added on to an existing booth or $10,000 to $30,000 for a separate installation, not including freight shipping and assembly fees.


5. Open-face booths
One of the most basic designs, and often the choice among those who opt for a DIY installation, open faced booths are no less effective than their enclosed counterparts. Available in hundreds of different sizes and shapes, this type is one of the most versatile when it comes to finding the right combination of width, length, and work depth without the added cost of customization.

Also featuring a modular design, they can be added to or built out after their initial setup to easily expand the work depth by extending the back wall. In addition to making them cost-effective for business growth, they also expand the range of products a shop can accommodate by simply adding to the depth to allow for size variance. Standard sizes come as large as 20' x 12' x 5' (W-H-D) with extension kits that allow you to build the depth to your requirement.

There are two different styles within this type: bench and standard open-face. As the names implies, the inclusion of a bench into the design provides a built-in workspace and is ideal for hobbyists, artists, woodworkers, and those who craft individual parts or components.

In addition to custom sizes, many manufacturers offer upgrades that include filtered product doors, part openings with vestibules, a conveyor system, AMUs, and galvanized or steel floors.

  • Common applications: Manufacture and finishing for cabinetry and woodworking, car and truck manufacturing, and aftermarket services, including furniture and automotive refinishing.
  • Estimated cost: $2,300 to $10,500, not including freight shipping and assembly fees.


6. Paint mixing rooms
Sometimes referred to as a paint kitchen, the name is actually slightly misleading as they can be used for the mixing of paint as well as various chemicals. They're meant to be paired with a full-sized spray paint booth. Using an intake plenum, they blow filtered air over the mixing area, dispelling vapors and exhaust that gets vented through an exhaust port on or near the floor.

Their primary contribution is one of safety. Paint mixing rooms control toxic fumes while providing a safe place to mix substances. They free workers from having to worry about spills and dangerous chemical reactions. In fact, many models feature a built-in containment base up to 4 inches deep, raising the access level at the door to accommodate for the extra depth.

Like most other spray paint booths, a paint mixing room is available with a range of additional customizations and upgrades, including barrel ramps, grate-covered pits, fire protection, liquid level detection alarms, and custom door sizes.

  • Common applications: Manufacture and clean room production for industries that include paint, chemical, and pharmaceutical.
  • Estimated cost: $5,500 to $7,200, not including freight shipping and assembly fees.

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Specifications

One of the primary purchase considerations when comparing spray paint booths is the amount of space you require versus the total floor space you have available. With this in mind, there are three metrics used to determine the size of a spray booth: width, height, and depth.

Before you begin comparing the booths themselves, take a moment to determine the total work area you'll need to comfortably accommodate your products while allowing ample elbow room for workers. To determine the total amount of interior space required, use the following suggestions as a guide:

  • Width: Take the total width of your largest item and add 3 to 7 feet
  • Height: Take the total height of your largest item and add 2 to 5 feet
  • Depth: Take the depth of your largest item and add 3 to 6 feet (represents the total amount of clearance at the back of the booth)

Note: Don't forget to account for pallets, crates, lift equipment, and fixtures in your estimate.

The above recommendations provide the minimum amount of work space for employees. When estimating the size of a paint booth, it's usually best to err on the side of slightly too big than slightly too small. Unrestricted space tends to be more productive in general, also resulting in fewer accidents and injuries.

Required floor space
Now that you've determined how much space you need, you have to figure out where it fits into the logistics of your location. As mentioned in the Trends section above, spray booths require permits. And these permits will determine some of the booth's placement within your location.

One such example is personnel access. The egress code from the NFPA 101-Life Safety guidelines requires a clearance of at least 3 feet on every side of the booth that provides access to personnel.

Within these restrictions, there is also the question of available floor space. A spray paint booth takes up more room than its work area dimensions - and sometimes quite a bit more. Consider the following booth sizes and the total floor space they typically require.

Size Booth Dimensions Required Floor Space
Small 4' x 7' x 6' 19' x 19'
Medium 10' x 9' x 11' 25' x 30'
Large 10' x 9' x 22' 36' x 30'

Additional considerations
Here are a couple common situations that could further impact the total amount of space required within your booth:

  • Bucket or scissor lifts: Elevated lifts provide access for painters at elevated heights. But they also take up additional floor space. Add 3 to 6 feet onto your estimate for all sides the lifts will operate on. Also keep in mind the NFPA code mentioned above to ensure the lift does not block doorway access within 3 feet.
  • Crane rails: Widely used in a range of large scale paint booths, crane rails average 5 to 6 inches wide, with lengths (in the standard American profile) that are between 40 and 80 feet long. At minimum, this adds 3 or more feet to each side, plus the customized length.

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Booth Components

Spray paint booths have a number of primary components that determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the process. These include working chamber, exhaust filtration, exhaust chamber, intake plenum and intake filtration. When working with a dealer, he or she will be able to advise you on the best combination of components to achieve your particular process. But it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the differences related to each component to ensure nothing gets overlooked when you begin comparing models.

Here's a rundown on each of the major components.

Working chamber
Also known as "work area," this is the available space that accommodates all products, equipment, and workers. Similar to the difference between booth dimensions and total space required covered in the previous section of this guide, there is also a difference between the booth's dimensions and total work area available. Width and height are relatively similar. But the difference in depth is often 30% to 40% less.

Consider the following examples:

Type Overall Dimensions Work Area
Small 10' x 7'x 10' 10' x 7' x 7'
Medium 14' x 8' x 8' 14' x 8' x 5'
Large 21' x 12' x 9' 20' x 12' x 5'

Exhaust filtration
Exhaust filtration is one of the most important components as it provides a combination of safety and quality assurance. Greatly reducing the levels of particles and other contaminates in the air, this filtering system prevents the buildup of toxic or flammable materials while minimizing surface contamination on the finished product - minimizing costs related to touch up and rework.

Many modern units have integrated dry filter media into the system for its combination of simplicity and cost effectiveness. They come in three basic types:

  • Extraction pads/roll media - Crafted from polyester and usually about 1" thick, this version costs between $30 and $35 for a case of 2 to 6, with rolls that are 4 to 5 feet in length.
  • Bags - Designed for heavy-duty filtering, bags are also made from polyester and typically moisture-resistant. They often feature a cube shape that reportedly provides a greater capacity for holding paint and can cost $70 to $200 for a case of 2 to 6 filters.
  • Socks - This type features a drawstring enclosure to prevent leaks and is sometimes paired with a nylon backing for added strength. Costs range from $33 each to $230 for a pack of 10.

Exhaust filters are located on a spray booth in two different locations depending on the booth's airflow design. With cross draft airflow, the booth draws air horizontally through the work area and over the object being sprayed. After entering the booth on one side, this air is vented through the filters built into the opposing side wall. Downdraft booths draw air from a top-mounted intake plenum, propel it downward through the work area, and expel it through exhaust filters built into the floor.

Open-face booths are a combination of the two, with an exhaust stack typically built into the rear of the booth that pulls air from the work area and vents it outside. According to some estimates, these systems are almost as effective as an enclosed airflow design, with some manufacturers reporting more than 96% of overspray particles removed from the work area.

Exhaust chamber
A separate component from the paint booth itself, these chambers house the filter media and trap the airborne spray particles as the air is pulled from the work area. Most models include a solid back wall and are paired with tube-axial fans that feature non-spark blades. Typically crafted from 18-gauge galvanized steel, they are available in a wide range of sizes and two different configurations (standard chamber and bench style).

  • Sizes range from 4' wide x 7' high to 20' wide and 12' high. Prices run from $1,600 to $6,000 depending on the size of the chamber.

Intake plenum
Similar to an exhaust chamber, the intake plenum contains the filters that cleanse the incoming air before it enters the working chamber. Depending on the style of airflow, the intake plenum may be built into one side of the booth (for cross flow design) or within the ceiling (for downdraft airflow).

The system may actually contain a number of different filtering points depending on the style of the booth. Pre-filters are located externally and help prohibit dust and other airborne particles from entering the plenum where the diffusion filters are housed.

Intake filtration
Though not quite as critical to safety as an exhaust filter, intake filtration removes the airborne particles that would otherwise ruin a new finish. Designed for a range of different applications, filters are also geared to a specific type of airflow design - cross flow or downdraft.

Common intake panels are typically composed of polyester or fiberglass and made up of two separate layers. Heat sealed, they offer between 75% and 99% efficiency for filtering out particle sizes greater than 10 microns, with fiberglass reportedly offering higher levels of efficiency.

Though custom sizes are almost always available, standard cuts are often 20" x 20". Costs range from $32 to $100 for a case of 20 to 50, with pricier versions offering greater filtration efficiencies up to 99%.

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Features

From standard components to optional upgrades, these features support overall productivity while further enhancing safety. Review the functionality of these popular items before speaking to a dealer.

Lighting
Spray booth operations often require workers to differentiate between extremely subtle color variations or specific chemical compounds. Highly detailed, this makes ample lighting a necessity. Modern spray paint booths are typically equipped with 6 to 10 banks of 4-tube, T-8 color-corrected fluorescent fixtures.

Easily installed into any high bay light fixture, newer models rely on LED technology and therefore do not require special electronics or rewiring. The LED T-8 design also offers more sustainable operation than a standard fluorescent lighting package, reportedly saving up to 40% on electricity costs.

  • Estimated cost: $270 to $820 per bank of 4' to 8' lamps.

Stack head
Designed to protect the booth's ventilation system from rain and other airborne debris, a stack head caps off ventilation ductwork. Custom-fit, stack heads are provided in a range of diameters and often come with auto dampers to prevent back drafts.

  • Estimated cost: $400 to $500.

Sound blocking
Engineered to dampen the noise generated by the manufacturing process, sound blocking or noise barriers are available in a couple different weight classes: 1 lb and 2 lbs per square foot being highly common.

Extremely heavy, reinforced sound blocking is crated from vinyl material then reinforced with a fiberglass mesh to prevent tearing and wear. It's available in rolls or cut to specific dimensions and may be customized to include Velcro seams for sealing, grommets, and a range of others options used for hanging and installation.

  • Estimated cost: $1.70 to $3.50 per square foot for 1/8"-thick sections weighing 1 to 2 lbs per square foot.

Starter/Control Panel
Like so many of the operator controls included into modern machinery, the control panel for a spray paint booth typically features the latest insights and mechanical efficiencies. But not all are built the same. Engineered specifically to a three-phase or single-phase setup, standard controls often include exhaust fan, light operation, main disconnect, magnetic motor starter, and an auto shutdown that measures air flow and cuts power in the event of a problem. This feature is also typically linked to some type of fire suppression system (see below).

Deluxe panels offer a much wider range of control, in particular over the air makeup unit (AMU), if applicable. They also provide the ability to control the operation of multiple booths and offer insight into the performance of each through a full-color, touch-pad interface that provides stats on every aspect of operation.

  • Estimated cost: $650 to $900; deluxe models $800 to $1,500 (and up).

Air balance meter
As the filters of a spray booth get clogged with residue and debris, they begin to sabotage the efficiency of the unit's airflow. When this happens, the balance of pressure changes and the system is no longer able to effectively prevent outside contaminates from entering the work area. Most control panels feature some type of balance control that adjusts the interior pressure of the booth above that of the external environment.

Sometimes known as a manometer (handheld) or magnehelic differential pressure gauge (wall-mounted), these air balance meters measure internal pressure within about 2% of full scale. The housing on a wall-mounted unit is typically constructed from die-cast aluminum, with standard models capable of operating in temperatures from 20 to 140°F. Similarly, handheld models offer the same level of measurement, and are battery-powered with a digital read-out, making them easier for some users - not to mention the fact that they're portable.

  • Estimated cost: handheld units run between $100 and $500 with higher-range models in the $1,000 to $3,100 price range. Wall-mounted units cost $50 to $200.

Fire suppression system
Many localities now require the installation of a fire suppression system in order to obtain a permit for your spray paint booth. Designed to automatically detect and activate when the system registers specific conditions, standard fire suppression systems include detectors, cylinders, control heads, nozzles, audible alarm, and other necessary equipment based on your spray paint booth.

It's worth noting that prices are sometimes based on a setup that ventilates directly to the roof.

  • Estimated cost: $700 to $4,000 depending on the size of the booth and complexity of the suppression system.

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Choosing a Quality Dealer

A spray booth dealer can be an enormous help with selecting the best model, working out the logistics of installation, and keeping shipping costs as low as possible. But there are a few things to be aware of before your select "the one."

Keep these items in mind to ensure you don't end up with surprises on the bill or, worse yet, fines resulting from improper installation.

Additional (hidden) fees
A lot of the extra fees associated with the purchase of a spray paint booth are the result of middle-men - companies responsible for transporting the booth from the manufacturer or a third-party seller to your location. Two of the most common fees include:

  • Handling charge - This charge is often associated with parts that are returned for credit or refund. When assessed, it can cost up to 30% of the value of the item. Handling charges may also be assessed by freight transport companies. Usually a flat fee between $20 and $100 (or more), the charge is meant to compensate for costs associated with palletizing and shrink-wrapping components for transport.
  • Packing charge - Another way to refer to the palletizing of spray paint booth components, the packing charge is usually a flat fee that commonly ranges between $20 and $100 and is often charged by re-sellers or those selling a used spray paint booth. It's worth noting that most major manufacturers are willing to ship directly to you and many advertise 'no hidden fees' or 'additional charges for crating'.

Installation options
You have two options for installation: do-it-yourself or pro install. Self-installation can take two days or more depending on the size of the booth. Each kit typically includes assembly instructions and labeled panels for quick and accurate identification.

Again, depending on the size and complexity of your spray booth, you'll need a licensed electrician for wiring the booth to a power source. Given the complexities involved, not to mention the safety risks if installed incorrectly, DIY installation is only recommended for smaller, open-front booths. Enclosed booths and all larger models require the help of a professional, and usually more than one.

Professional installations guarantee a quick setup that will be in full compliance with all codes and safety requirements specific to your area. It's an option that is so commonplace, many top manufacturers calculate the cost as a standard feature of the total package, including installation by a mechanical contractor or similar licensed installer they sub-contract with in your area.

NFPA and OSHA safety requirements
This is another aspect that will almost certainly result in a "hidden fee." Most municipalities require annual inspection for spray paint booths for painting or dipping operations as well as any automotive or commercial applications. In general, the inspection ensures proper ventilation, placement of the booth and construction stability, and the proper storage of chemicals and other flammable items. Expect to pay around $100 per inspection, with permit issuance dependent upon compliance.

Paint booths and related installations have to comply with a range of standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Electrical Code (NEC), and others depending on your locality. For this reason, most major manufacturers guarantee their booths will meet or exceed any codes applicable to your area. As many offer installation, this covers both the product itself and the installation.

Leading brands
The above-mentioned concerns are based on aspects of service and quality from leading manufacturers. With an established track record, these brands often set the bar and continuously provide reliable products and support.

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A few of the most popular include:

  • Col-Met - With a company history that dates back 20 years, Col-Met products have established their proven reliability through custom-engineered spray booths that are crafted unique to each application. They are noted for their commitment to advancements in safety features, including sprinkler head protection, extensive filter maintenance, and a floor that's designed to be waterproof as well as non-combustible.
  • Global Finishing Solutions - Dating back to the mid-70s, Global Finishing Solutions has built their business on large-scale, intricate spray booths customized to a range of industries, from military and transit to aviation and manufacturing. Supported by a staff of in-house engineers, software developers, and airflow specialists, among others, their broad competence enables them to tailor projects to a specific niche. This further enables them to cut unnecessary expenditures while building in cost-saving features for each industry.
  • Eagle Equipment - Eagle Equipment largely specializes in spray paint booths designed for the automotive industry - also manufacturing an extensive line of automotive service equipment. They offer booths of every size and shape that are designed to be self-installed and ship complete with instructions and permit information. Notably, each kit can be customized to a specific application - from assembly line to aftermarket refinishing - with booths engineered for a wide range of cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
  • Spray Systems Inc. - Spray Systems is noted for their specialization in the manufacture of large equipment spray paint booths engineered for earth moving equipment, RVs, and semi trucks. They also continue to stay on top of the latest best practices by incorporating energy-efficient, industrial-rated lighting into all of their products. Their uniform 4-tube lighting fixtures save up to 20% on electricity costs, according to information provided by the manufacturer, and also cut down on service time through a hinged panel that provides easy replacement.

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