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Converting a Trailer to a Spray Booth

      Finishers warn of the code and safety issues involved in providing lighting, egress, and other necessities to make a spray booth out of a metal trailer. February 15, 2009

My question deals with the ideal location for lighting in the spray booth. I have a booth that measures 8'x12'x7'. It is fully enclosed with no windows so there is a need for artificial lighting. I have some 2'x4' florescent fixtures that I want to use. Where is the ideal location for these lights ?the wall, ceiling, or both?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
Both the ceiling and walls will work. Code requires they be recessed with explosion proof glass covering them flush with walls. Use color correct lighting tubes with a full spectrum color rendition index of at least 92 for best results.

From the original questioner:
The booth is a steel trailer so flush mounting will be an issue. What do you mean by "explosion proof glass"? Do you mean that the unit has to have the ballast and wiring sealed off from the booth? Would my regular electrical supply house carry the 92 index tubes?

From contributor R:
The way most lights are mounted in a booth is from the outside. Wire type glass with gaskets is between the fixture and the inside of the booth. A hole cut the size of the fixture reflector is needed. Then from the outside gasket the perimeter of the hole, mount the glass then mount the fixture. The glass makes this explosion proof.

From contributor S:
Your supply house probably has or can get them but you can buy them at Home Depot too.

From contributor R:
Those are some good questions to ask the permit bureau. You could be sitting upon a fire bomb waiting to happen if things are not wired correctly or if the equipment used doesnít meet code.

Iím not trying to pull any scared tactics on you - I would like to see you grow to a ripe old age, so do yourself and your family a favor and ask the proper authorities if this steel container your wanting to turn into a spray booth is even possible.

When I designed my last booth I invited the fire marshal down and got the if's and's and buts's squared away first. That made permits and licenses easier to btain.

From contributor S:
I hadn't even picked up on that trailer part. Are you moving this inside or what? Do what contributor R suggested before spending a dime on this.

From contributor R:
I was about to drop $700.00 on a paint cabinet from Grainger until the fire marshal told me to hold off on buying it. He said he had a set of plans back at the station for a paint cabinet that met all codes and he would fax me a copy when he got back to the station.

An hour later I got a fax for the paint cabinet - made from 3/4 " plywood with self closing hinges on the doors. I made that cabinet out of scrap ply and saved a bunch of money which I surely needed at the time. Long story made short treat inspectors and "suits" with respect and honesty and they'll do you the same way. Had I tried to slip and slide my way through the system I would have been busted and would have had to start over from scratch.

From the original questioner:
Those are some good points about the safety issues related with spraying. I may not know a lot about booth setup but I do realize the potential for serious damage if the proper steps are not taken and thatís why Iím here. This gives me a lot to consider before I start spraying.

The booth is a steel trailer with a wood floor that is located outside the shop. I have a booth fan that I will cut into the side wall, some wooden and plastic horses with a Lazy Susan top and shelving and a mixing table all made from scrap plywood. Outside the booth we built a 12'x16' deck with a tarped roof and sides to act as a sanding room and some drying racks.

Up till now I was spraying outside the shop door with a tarp cover. That was ok for the occasional small piece with a simple finish but now I am learning more and want to do custom furniture quality finishes and special finishes. Thatís where setting up the booth to be able to handle this type of work is important. I appreciate and invite all suggestions and ideas.

From contributor S:
Do you have an overhead dock door?

From the original questioner:
There was one on the trailer but it is long since gone and now replaced with 2 plywood doors.

From contributor R:
Ok, Iíll ask the obvious question - what are you spraying? If you are spraying WB coatings the explosion proof fixtures can be eliminated.

From contributor R:
How large of a space do you need for spraying? You might be better off selling the trailer and buying a pre manufactured spray booth. The sizes and configurations are endless and some are quite reasonable. I would at least research that route before I spent another dime on trying to Rube Golberg something. Costwise it may even be more reasonable and they are made to meet code requirements have the proper lighting and ventilation. Then you can focus on what you do best which is make cabinets and furniture.

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