What Is a Waterfall Paint Booth?

water wash spray booth

Guide To Buying A Waterwash Spray Booth (Water Curtain Spray Booth)

The waterwash spray booth, also known as a water curtain spray booth, is specifically designed for high-production finishers in industries such as joinery, steel & plant fabrication, rail, marine, aerospace and power coating. This booth type is durable and efficient and offers advantages over more commonly used dry filter systems when operated and maintained correctly. The system eliminates paint, dust and fumes from the air, creating a clean and safe working environment.

This article provides the answers to some of the most common questions people have when they are considering purchasing a water wash booth.


What Is A Water Wash Spray Booth?

A water wash booth is similar to a standard spray booth, except it uses a curtain of recirculating water to trap and remove paint particulate from the air instead of filters. The trapped spray particles drop into a water trough, making them easy to remove. This system reduces downtime and clean-up, making it ideal for high-volume sprayers with high production rates.

How Does A Water Wash Spray Booth Work?

A water wash booth uses water to collect and filtrate overspray. It comprises a series of baffles and a reservoir on the back wall of the unit. Air forces the paint spray particles through the multiple water curtains that trap and collect them.

The water is chemically treated to:

i) bond with the spray particles and ionise them.

ii) kill harmful bacteria and ensure the paint 'sludge' is ready for emptying – no need for routine filter swap-outs.

 The ionised particles then pass through to a collection tank. They will either float to the surface or sink and become sludge. Floating compounds are skimmed off, and sludge is shovelled out. The waste products are then ready to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Typically, water wash booths are made from stainless or galvanised steel components, making them resistant to corrosion. They often run a centrifuge or sludge removal system, allowing waste to be removed continuously.

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Who Should Use A Water Wash Paint Booth

Water wash spray booths are typically suited to industrial painting applications where large quantities of paint need to be applied quickly and efficiently. They are also excellent for facilities with stringent environmental regulations, as they help control emissions and keep the workspace clean.

Benefits Of Using A Water Curtain Spray Booth

For manufacturers and paint shops that work with high-volume runs, water wash spray booths offer notable advantages over dry filtration systems:

  • A significant increase in paint spraying time
  • Lower operational costs — no filter purchase costs or production downtime while changing filters
  • Clean and efficient collection — ideal for high production rates.
  • Maintains a constant and uniform airflow, whereas dry filters load with paint
  • Can handle higher volumes
  • Compatible with a larger variety of coatings, with a wider range of viscosities and drying speeds
  • Removes the risks associated with flammable coatings
  • Drastically improves working conditions – water captures and neutralises more paint particulate than dry filter systems
  • Favoured by all health, fire and building codes.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

As with any type of paint booth, there are some disadvantages to weigh up before committing to buying a water spray booth. These include:

  • Higher purchase, installation and maintenance costs compared to dry systems
  • The need for a suitable manual or automatic sludge removal system
  • The water must be routinely treated with chemicals, which adds to operating costs.

Points To Consider When Buying A Benchtop Booth

With a huge selection of specifications and customisations available, it's important to think carefully about what you need from a waterwash paint booth. Cost, floor space, production volume, maintenance requirements and purchase options are often at the top of a paint shop manager's mind.


Prices range from approximately £8,500.00 (excl. VAT) for self-installation of a small 2000mm booth to just under £20,000 (excl. VAT) for a large 6000mm unit.

Buy a waterwash spray booth online >>

Space and location

How much floor space do you have available? Where should your booth be located in relation to the other operations in your work area? Make sure that wherever you decide to position your booth, it will satisfy health and safety requirements.

Production volume

There is no doubt that a water wash booth is an excellent investment if you run high-volume production lines. If you think you're borderline high-volume, chat with your supplier about the pros and cons of using a waterwash booth in your specific situation.

Maintenance requirements

A wash spray booth requires a strict maintenance plan due to the biohazards associated with the damp environment and to maintain its performance. It's only worth investing in a water curtain paint booth if you can commit to consistently meeting the maintenance requirements. For peace of mind, ask your supplier to provide you with a maintenance plan and schedule when you purchase your booth.

Purchase options

Different suppliers offer various solutions, but you can usually expect to buy a booth as a:

  • Standard booth supply in a range of budget and finance options
  • Customised booth supply
  • Standard or customised package that includes fit-out.

How To Look After A Water Wash Paint Booth

Keep it clean and bacteria-free

Both wet and dry systems require regular maintenance to sustain booth performance, prevent costly downtime, and maximise lifespan. However, the water in wet booths must also be chemically treated and well-maintained to comply with health and safety regulations. Employers must operate a maintenance plan to ensure that this happens.

The hazards of untreated water

If left untreated, paint sludge will build up in the system, creating the potential for serious contamination and severe hygiene risks. A poorly maintained booth is an ideal breeding ground for bacterial and fungal growth that can cause:


  • Legionnaires' disease bacterial pneumonia contracted by inhaling contaminated water droplets
  • Biological odours — contribute to poor working conditions, low productivity, worker dissatisfaction and health concerns.
  • Component failure and deficient performance — compromises the booth's effectiveness in maintaining a clean environment and reducing fumes and dust.

What should a maintenance plan include?

Bacterial and fungal growth can be prevented with a programme of chemical treatment, equipment maintenance and biocide application. Routine clean-up of hard-to-reach areas and locations where solids are prone to accumulating is essential.

Water treatment options

A water treatment programme has three components: denaturants, floatation additives and biocide additives.

Denaturants (detackifiers)

These are solutions that quickly reduce the tackiness of paint overspray, causing it to float or sink for easy removal with minimal stick.

We recommend the Gramos TAK Kill FM Denaturant Additive – D4704 >>

Flotation additives

Flotation additives raise the denatured paint to the surface, helping to reduce waste disposal time and costs. Use in conjunction with denaturants for optimal results.

We recommend Gramos TAK Kill Booth Additive PEL - D4702>>

Biocide additives

Biocides provide complete microbiological protection of the water and eliminate odour-producing bacteria.

We recommend Gramos TAK Kill Biocide Additive BC1 - C8705 >>


Learn more about water treatments >>

How often do you need to clean a water wash booth?

In addition to an annual 14-month service, stipulated by LEV testing requirements, a water wash spray booth ideally needs to undergo a daily clean and check.


The daily check procedure is broken down as follows:

  • After use, check the unit filter using the manometer on the side panel
  • Give the spray area a thorough clean
  • Check the water level and adjust if too low.

How to remove the waste product the water wash booth creates?

There are two options for waste removal from a water wash spray booth:

  1. By hand – using protective gloves, the spray technician hand spades the sludge into waste bags and disposes of it appropriately.
  2. Mechanically – contract a professional company who can use a lorry with suction pump attachment to remove the waste, allowing you clean down with water.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep the Ph level at a neutral number and also treat the spray booth with denaturants to ward of Legionnaires’ and other bacteria that can be harmful to humans.


Buying a waterwash spray booth is a sound investment for businesses concerned with high-production finishing. This booth type comes with a significant pricetag, but an even greater return on investment compared to dry fiter systems. Provided you are able to commit to the rigorous maintenance plan, a water wash paint booth provides the spray booth solution on the market.

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