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Getting the best painting results with a roller

Rollers make painting large surfaces a quick and easy process and give a smooth, even finish.

Choosing the right type of roller is vital to getting the best end result. You need to consider the size of the surface, its texture, and the type of paint you want to apply.

Choose the right roller

Don't go for the cheapest option ' choose a roller with good movement and a sturdy build. A roller that will cover large areas quickly is best; generally around 270mm wide.

Don't forget the nap!

Take into account the nap - the length of the pile of the roller. Generally, the smoother the surface, the shorter the nap should be. Lambskin covers work well on smooth surfaces, using solvent-based paints. Mohair sleeves are good for undercoats, and for gloss and enamels on smooth surfaces.

roller tips

Rolling out the best results

  1. Pre-wet the roller with a solvent or water and spin out excess liquid.
  2. Dip the roller into the paint and roll back and forth on the ridged tray surface, coating the entire roller and squeezing out excess paint.
  3. Begin with a diagonal application. When the roller is almost dry, paint the area again with long, vertical strokes - called "laying off". For solvent based paints, lay off from floor to ceiling; for water based paints, lay ceiling to floor. If painting the ceiling, lay off towards the light source.
  4. To avoid lines, paint the surface in overlapping blocks, and work fairly quickly to blend the edges together. Never roll in parallel strokes or you'll get an uneven finish.

Which way to roll?

If you're right handed, paint left to right; the opposite rule for left handed painters. Use an extension pole to reach high parts of walls or ceilings.

Clean the roller when you've finished. Stand it on its end to dry, then store in a plastic bag so the roller fibres don't flatten.

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