Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Graco Fine Finish Tips
The Graco FFLP tips (fine finish, low pressure) are what I use to spray all of my cabinets and trim with. These green tips are part of the RAC X series and fit only the blue RAC X tip guard. The FFLP and LP (low pressure) tips have replaced the original green ones, which didn't produce as fine of a finish at lower pressure. These are now the only fine finish tips available by Graco.
These come with an additional seal (yellow), meant for use when spraying lacquer. I'm usually only spraying paint, so I never use the yellow seal. If you're using an airless sprayer to spray cabinets, these tips are a must. You can use a regular RAC 5 tip (black) on cabinets too, but there will be more over-spray and a higher chance of sagging paint. I haven't sprayed with the Graco LP tips, but I'll share my experience with their newer FFLP option.
Do They Really Produce Less Over-spray?
I've tested the newer FFLP tips with the original ones and they do allow you to spray paint more evenly at a lower pressure, reducing over-spray. With the original green tips, turning the pressure down too low on the sprayer would result in tailing on the edges of your spray pattern.
If your sprayer includes a digital readout for its pressure setting, you can adjust and fine-tune the pressure to get the most out of these tips. You can turn the pressure down lower without affecting the spray pattern as much. Graco claims the over-spray is fifty percent less than the previous green tips, but I'm not sure if the difference is that high.
In my experience, these new tips do last longer than the previous ones. Being able to spray at a lower pressure causes less wear and tear on your sprayer and the tip itself. I've found that the RAC X tips, in general, seem to last longer than the RAC 5 series.
FFLP Tip Sizes for Cabinets
The two fine finish tip sizes I use the most for spray painting cabinets are 210 and 310. The 210 produces a four-inch spray fan, and the 310 a six-inch fan. The 310 is awesome for spraying cabinet doors, and I like using the 210 for spraying the framing on the fronts of wall boxes.
The sizes 212 and 312 work well too, but anything bigger than that really isn't necessary for spraying cabinets. The smaller orifice size of a 210 produces less material and over-spray, which is good for someone with little to no experience spraying. You can even jump down to a 110, but most paint stores don't stock this size, at least my local paint store doesn't.
Fresh out of the package, a 210 is perfect for spraying cabinets. In my experience, after spraying primer and paint through them over and over, they seem to hold up longer than the cheaper RAC 5 series. I can usually spray several sets of cabinets before having to replace the tip.
Green Fine Finish Tips vs HVLP Sprayer
I use my Graco 495 Ultra Max II airless sprayer and an FFLP tip for all of my cabinet painting projects. You can achieve awesome results using these tips on an airless sprayer, or an air-assisted airless, and these units are more productive than an HVLP sprayer.
These spray tips won't turn your airless into an HVLP sprayer. An HVLP (high volume, low pressure) produces a softer finish, but most latex paints are too thick to pass through them anyway, requiring thinning to make the two compatible. Thinning paint can alter the color and dilute the paint.
The paint itself plays an important role in how the finish turns out too. Using a leveling paint with an airless sprayer is key to getting that super smooth finish you get with an HVLP. I get the same finish using the green tips.
Are Graco Fine Finish Tips Worth It?
If you plan on using an airless sprayer to paint cabinets, doors, or trim, the Graco FFLP tips provide a softer finish with less over-spray. I use them any time I'm spraying cabinets and doors. I've also used them outside to spray stain on deck spindles. They do allow me to spray at a lower pressure than the previous version of these that I used for many years.
Regardless of the spray tip being used, spraying with an airless sprayer produces over-spray that requires masking in advance. If you're spraying in a kitchen, you still need to mask off everything not being painted.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have the Graco Magnum X7. Does the FFLP 210 and 310 fit on it?
Answer: Yes, you can use Graco FFLP spray tips with your Magnum X7. These spray tips are the RAC X series, so you need to use them with the blue RAC X tip guard. I've never sprayed with a Magnum X7, so I have no idea how much PSI the sprayer produces, or how it performs using these tips. I have only applied them with my Graco 495 airless sprayer.
Question: Have you tried Graco on regular doors? If so, how was it and what size tip did you use?
Answer: Yes. A good tip size for doors is 310, or 410. I usually use size 310 when spraying doors and trim. The FFLP tips work well with a quality leveling paint like Emerald urethane, or Proclassic.
Question: What paint products are you using for thinning? also what paint are you using?
Answer: I spray cabinets with Emerald urethane, using the FFLP spray tips with an airless sprayer. I don't thin the paint.
Question: I am spraying Emerald Urethane with a Graco airless sprayer. Using a 313 tip and psi up about 3/4 of the way on total 2800 psi. Cabinets look like orange peel. What do I need to adjust to make my Urethane spray have a finer finish?
Answer: The orifice of a 313 spray tip is too big for achieving a fine finish. This tip size allows too much material to pass through with less atomization. If you're using a 313 Graco brand tip, it's likely the RAC 5 series. These tips aren't meant for fine finish spraying. Use a 310, or a 308, Graco FFLP tip. These tips are the color green and require the use of the blue RAC X tip guard, not the orange one. Make sure you're using the right size mesh filter in your gun and manifold filters. You want 60 mesh with enamel, not 100, 200, or 30 mesh. Emerald is very thick. You have to make quick passes with the pressure cranked up, but 2,800 PSI is a little high. Reduce your PSI to the 2,000 to 2,400 range. The orange peel was likely due to overapplying the enamel with the 313 tip and high pressure. I recommend buying an inexpensive wet mil gauge and measuring the thickness of your coating. With enamel, you want 4 wet mils. Anything beyond 4 or 5 wet mils, you're more likely to get orange peel without the right spray tip. You can also run into problems with bubbles and cratering if you overapply.
Question: Having custom cabinets made and plan on spraying them, what paint do you recommend?
Answer: Emerald urethane by Sherwin Williams.
Question: I sprayed my kitchen cabinets using the Graco X5 airless sprayer and the 517 tip. The paint I used was the Emerald Urethane Trim. I'm really pleased with the results, however, now I am spraying Minwax Polycrylic and the tip they sugegsted leaves bubbles. Can I use that FFLP tip with my X5? WHat pressure do you recommend?
Answer: The larger orifice and 10-inch spray fan of the 517 tip you used is way too big for polycrylic and cabinets. Bubbles formed in the finish because the polycrylic was over-applied. The recommended spray tip sizing and pressure on the product label is often inflated. The reality of those specs is you almost always have to use a smaller size than what's recommended on the label to get the right results. A good size to use is a 308, or a 310, using the green FFLP tips explained in my article. You need to use the blue RAC-X tip guard with the green FFLP tips. I have no idea if the nozzle threading on your particular spray gun is compatible with the blue RAC-X guard, but you can call Graco customer service and ask. For spraying pressure, start low and test your spray pattern on a piece of cardboard. You want just enough pressure so there's no tailing (fingering) on the outer edges of your spray fan but atomized enough to lay down on the surface. Too much pressure will waste more material and over-apply if you don't move the spray gun fast enough.
Question: Bulls Eye 123 Primer suggests using a .17 tip. Can I use the FFLP 310 without thinning?
Answer: I've never sprayed that product so I'm not totally sure, but a 310 tip will probably be fine without thinning based on similar products I've sprayed. The .17 tip size is big. It's going to put out too much material.
Question: I’ll be spraying some oak cabinets tomorrow using the same process as you. Do you recall what pressure you were using for the BIN and Emerald urethane?
Answer: My Graco 495 is older and doesn't have the digital readout for PSI like the newer ones do, but I turn my pressure control up less than halfway if that helps. The FFLP tips allow you to spray at a lower pressure. Test your spray fan on a piece of cardboard to make sure it's not tailing, or fingering, on the sides. You want to set the pressure right to where the spray fan stops fingering.
Question: I used my 310 tip for water-based polyurethane and went through a quart way too quickly. Would you recommend a 308 tip for polyurethane?
Answer: Yes, the smaller orifice of the 308 tip will help atomize the poly better and reduce material consumption. You should also check that your pressure isn't too high. High pressure depletes material faster.
Question: How many gallons sprayed before I have to replace an FFLP tip?
Answer: The FFLP tips start to become worn and blown out around 20 to 25 gallons.
Question: I will be using a Graco Project Painter Plus, which will go to 2800psi with adjustable pressure. Am I still OK with a 210 or 310 FFLP tip? They aren't on Graco's size chart for this model.
Answer: I'm not familiar with the sprayer you're using, but the FFLP tips should be fine with a max of 2,800 PSI. You'll be spraying between 1,500 and 2,000 PSI for things like cabinets and trim.
Question: I have a Graco GX 19 airless sprayer and I am using the fflp tip. I am spraying Styx primer as well and I cannot get an even finish without tailing. I am new to spraying and I cannot solve the issue. How can I prevent my airless sprayer from tailing?
Answer: I recently bought the GX 19 sprayer and started using it to spray enamel on cabinets. The enamel I use is thick and sprays fine through this sprayer, even when dialed down to 1,000 PSI. I've never used Styx primer, but the primer might be too thick for your setup. There are a few things to check. It's possible you're spraying with the pressure too low or using an FFLP tip that's too small. You didn't mention the tip size you're spraying it through, but you might have to use an FFLP tip with a larger orifice if the primer's really thick. Make sure the gun filter isn't clogged. You might also have to use a different size mesh filter in your spray gun. The GX 19 comes with a 100 mesh filter, but you might have to use a 30 mesh filter. That could be the reason the primer's tailing, or the primer's too thick, which you could try thinning or use different primer.
Question: What primer do you use?
Answer: I use BIN shellac primer for cabinets. The primer sprays really nice and dries hard. You can use an oil primer too. Both are great primer-sealers for cabinet painting.
Question: I have a Titan 440, do you think Graco tips will fit in the gun?
Answer: Yes, you can use FFLP spray tips with your Titan 440 spray gun, but only with the matching Graco RAC-X tip guard (blue), not a Titan tip guard. If you try to insert an FFLP tip into the Titan tip guard, it won't fit. Most airless tip guards are interchangeable, allowing you to use Graco spray tips with Titan sprayers, or Titan tips with Graco sprayers, using the matching tip guard.
© 2018 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on May 08, 2020:
Thanks Jim, that's awesome. Great to hear my advice helped you with your project. The right sprayer and proper tip size makes a huge difference with cabinet painting.
Jim schafer on May 08, 2020:
Matt I just want to give feedback, no questions. I followed everything you said here. Bought a Graco sprayer, ff lp 210 and 312 tips (couldn’t find the 310), extreme bond S &W primer and Emerald paint. The project was very tedious and time consuming, but in the end, the results are fantastic. Everything you said worked great and was dead on. I’ve used Graco sprayers in the past to paint walls but never cabinets. Thank you for posting this, it seemed so easy to follow and realistic so we did it, and are very happy with results.