Paint Rollers

Good paint rollers make a painting job quick and easy. Some are designed for covering big surfaces, others for making an enamel highgloss surface. For some jobs a brush is better, but rollers give quick and easy covering. Further down, you'll find info and product-links.

Woman using paint rollers

What jobs are they good for?

All jobs that involve big, flat surfaces, and need quick and even coverage - walls, doors and floors. For these jobs, paint rollers are inexpandable. Still, the edges and corners can't really be rolled - when you touch the side of another wall, it gets an uneven smear. When using small paint rollers (for wood trim), you can more or less cover masking tape and corners by using the roller tip as a sponge brush (dragging it, instead of rolling). But for that, a smaller brush gives better covering. The quickest way to go about it:

  • put on masking tape
  • Paint edges and corners with a 1" or 2" brush
  • Fill the surface with a paint roller

The technique of rolling

A matching tray helps to soak the roller, using all the paint. Roll it back and forth a bit in the tray, to soak the roller evenly. Then roll the paint over the surface you want to cover (making a big, rough W), and after that you roll over the W back and forth, evenly spreading the paint. When the roller is loaded, it will give paint to the surface, and if it runs empty, it will take excess paint back.

Woman using a paint roller

The difference with brushes is: a brush can go into corners and over masking tape, and paintrollers can't (that is - a big roller is clumsy over masking tape). With a roller however, it's easier to create a smooth, even surface.

If the paint doesn't hide too well, there are two options: try to make a thicker coat, or let it dry and do another coat. Doing another coat creates the best paint film (and the most durable result). This issue can be prevented by using a primer. But a partial hide can also be seen as a faux finishing effect, especially when you paint a warm darker color over white, it usually looks good.

Paint-rollers for walls

Wall surfaces are big, and paint rollers can make the job quick and easy. Instead of taking a longer roller, take one with thicker fur (fibres) on it, then it will hold more paint, and it will still be easy to move around. Here's the best pick I could find:
9" microfiber paintroller. For doing walls, take the 3/4" version, it can hold the most paint. Here's also a matching tray. These are an economy pick that will perform well.

Reaching high places

For reaching high places, you can use either a ladder, or a paint roller on a stick. For putting on masking tape, you'll need to go up yourself anyway, so you'll need something to climb on - preffarably something safe. When you don't own a ladder you might borrow or hire one. But if you don't feel comfortable on a ladder, you can use a roller on a stick to cover the higher sections. This can also be handy when working with 2 or more people: only one can use the ladder.

Enamel finish paint rollers

High-gloss, but also semi-gloss paints look best when done with a mohair roller. The fine little hairs divide the paint to their best, enabling it to create the smooth enamel surface. They won't make bubbles like a sponge roller might do. Here's an economy-pick for mohair paintrollers

Cleaning paint rollers

When you used good paint rollers for waterbased paint, cleaning the roller can be worth the effort. For taking out the first bulk of paint, you might use a scraping tool (or plastic gloves). Even waterbased paints are toxic waste, so try to collect the cleaning water (at least the first few washes) in a jerrycan or so. A bucket, or an extra (clean) painting tray can be used for cleaning - fill it with water, and roll the paint roller like on a washboard. You'll be surprised how much color will keep coming out. Soap will clean the rest of it.

Paint rollers that were used for shellac or poly-urethane paint are probably better just disposed of - you won't save money (or the environment) by cleaning them.


Related pages:



Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas

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