Achieving a Level 5 finish with Graco and Mirka

So you’ve bought or built a new house but it requires some work, or just a few finishing touches… and you’ve decided you really want to take it to the next level. When it comes to painting walls, we often think about colour and even physical layout (where the walls are) before we think about the quality of walls’ surface. But a higher-quality finish can increase the life of your paint, make cleaning easier, and provide an amazing surface for hanging art or painting a feature wall. 


In Australia, achieving a Level 5 finish has often been considered unnecessary. Many residential builders and painters balance quality with the time required to achieve a Level 5 finish. In Europe, achieving a Level 5 finish has almost become a minimum standard (wow!) because smaller homes (on average) require less preparation time and older underlying framing has often settled over decades (or centuries) so frame alignment isn’t a significant issue.


But as construction trends make their way to Australia from Europe and the United States, DIY and commercial painters are starting to ask - should my next paint job have a Level 5 finish? At PaintAccess we get questions from DIY painters and professionals, and we’ve noticed a lot more interest in finish quality and the tools and products needed to get to that next level. So PaintAccess CEO, Dan, and paint industry influencer, Harriet, have produced a series of videos with step-by-step instructions for achieving that amazing Level 5 finish.

What is a Level 5 finish?

World-renowned Australian producer of plasterboard products, Gyprock, is so well known that its name has become synonymous with “plasterboard”. Tradies “hang Gyprock” and products are sold for “use on Gyprock”. Being a leader in plasterboard products, it’s no surprise that the Gyprock website gives a great explanation of the different levels of finish for plasterboard walls:

“The Australian Standard AS/NZS 2589:2017 'Gypsum linings - Application and finishing' defines three levels of finish for plasterboard walls and ceilings and provides minimum specifications for the installation process, from framing preparation to finishing, to achieve each of the finishes.”


There are three levels - 3, 4 and 5 - with 3 being the most basic and achieved quickly and easily using hand tools. 4 is the generally accepted level for residential construction and is typical of what you would see in most newly-built houses in Australia today. Level 5 is the highest level of finish on the established scale and requires a number of additional steps, including the application of a “skim coating”. 

So how do you get a Level 5 finish? 

Achieving a Level 5 finish is equal parts preparation and painting. Before you start painting there are some important steps and some of them might not be immediately obvious. So Dan and Harriet have prepared a series of 3 videos detailing each of the steps - from spraying plaster to sanding and priming and then painting with an airless paint sprayer. Along the way they’ve used a range of customer favourites from the PaintAccess product range, from brands like Graco and Mirka. Each of the products in each of the videos is available to DIY and professional painters.


So, let’s get started:

Video 1 - Spraying plaster… putting the Graco Mark V to the test!

Starting with a pre-prepared Gyprock plasterboard wall panel - with gaps filled and sanded - Dan prepares Gyprock plaster top coat to a sprayable consistency. The Graco Mark V is positioned over the bucket of plaster and the inlet is lowered into the plaster. With a few adjustments, Dan primes the sprayer and applies TSL oil. Once the pressure is set (at around 2300 psi), it’s time to start spraying. 



Dan applies the plaster smoothly and evenly, moving the sprayer up and down at a consistent pace.Once the first layer of plaster has been applied, it is smoothed out with the Smoothing Blade from Graco. As the video shows, it can help to work together to apply even pressure to the surface and make sure you produce a smooth finish.


Then it’s time to spray on a second coat. Again, Dan uses a smooth up-and-down spraying motion to ensure consistent coverage. Meanwhile, Harriet follows with the Graco Smoothing Blade to smooth the applied plaster immediately. Then a quick swap and Harriet puts the Graco Mark V through its paces. What teamwork!


Of course, excess plaster removed with the Graco Smoothing Blade can go straight back into the feeder bucket to be sprayed on in the next layer. This process reduces waste and ensures a smooth and even finish across the whole surface of the wall panel. And it goes to show just how efficient and cost-effective spraying plaster can be. 


And with that the wall panel is done and ready for paint. 

Video 2 - Sanding and priming… effortless, Mirka dustless sanding!

Now it’s time for a coat of primer. First Dan, and Harriet sand the plaster wall panel surface with the latest Mirka dustless sanding system. Using a square-edge sander, Dan is able to get very close to the skirting board, ensuring a smooth and even finish across the whole wall. Harriet continues across the top edge of the wall, near the cornices. 



Using the Mirka LEROS S Wall Sander, Dan and Harriet lightly sand the rest of the wall without applying too much pressure. 


Then it’s time to bust out the Graco Airless Fine Finish Low Pressure (FFLP) RAC X sprayer attached to the Graco Contractor PC Compact Airless Spray Gun via the Graco Tip Extension with RAC X Guard, which allows Harriet to apply an even coat of primer across the whole wall. 


More great teamwork and a great result; a wall panel ready for paint and finishing touches. 

Video 3 - Finishing touches… Mirka sanding and Graco spraying!

Now it’s time for a top coat. Again, the first step is to lightly sand the primed wall panel using the Mirka LEROS S Wall Sander with the Mirka Dust Extractor 1230 M AFC to keep the workspace free of dust.



Once that is done, Harriet applies two coats of the gloss acrylic 514 Beige Royale using the Graco Ultra 390PC Lo-Boy Cart Electric Airless Sprayer. Using a smooth and even motion, Harriet applies the gloss acrylic as evenly as possible. To make things even easier, Harriet uses the Graco Tip Extension with RAC X Guard again. 


An amazing Level 5 finish that Dan shows us is as smooth as a sheet of printer paper. Incredible! Just imagine being able to produce the same results, or offer that sort of finish to your customers for their painting projects. You can!

Get the products you need…

If you want to buy any of the great products in these videos, you can order them online from PaintAccess. We have a wide range of products for preparation and painting including power tools, hand tools, safety gear, and - of course - paint!

And if you’re in Sydney and want to check out our Testing Bar (with the wall panel featured in these videos) where you can try before you buy, come and visit our Matraville store.


BorisDoes is here to help!

As always, if you need some help with your painting project, or you’d like the result without doing the work yourself, you can start a task or request a quote at BorisDoes

BorisDoes is an Australian task marketplace that connects Customers throughout Australia with Taskers and Businesses near them. Find the right tradie, expert or professional to help you with your task on BorisDoes.