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Best Paint Roller Techniques and Tips

Painting rooms inside of your home is a quick and affordable way to freshen up your space. However, if you don't have experience with painting, especially larger walls, it can present you with a variety of challenges.

Never fear. There are many paint roller techniques, tips, and tricks that you can utilize to become a master and painting. Your house will be transformed in no time at all.

This guide will go over our top paint roller tips and techniques so you can get to work as soon as possible.

Buy the Correct Paint Roller

This may seem like an obvious tip, but buying the right paint roller for the job is the best way to set yourself up for success. All of your paintbrushes should be high-quality. However, the length of the nap of the paint roller will depend on your painting needs and wall type.

Roller nap is made up of synthetic or natural fibres. They come in a variety of lengths and each size varies depending upon the surface. Keep in mind that the longer the nap of the roller, the more paint it'll hold.

Keep these rules in mind when evaluating your paint roller options:

  • 1/4-inch nap for fine and smooth surfaces, like wood doors or a new wall

  • 3/8-inch nap for light to smooth textured walls

  • 1/2-inch nap for most walls

  • 3/4-inch nap for textured ceilings and walls

  • 3/8 to 1/2-inch nap is good for all-purpose work

Once you've selected your paint roller, you'll want to remove any lint from it. Having lint on the roll could ruin your entire paint job. Use a vacuum or painter's tape to get the lint off the roller.

Roll the Paint on in a Pattern

Applying the paint to your walls in the correct pattern will make a difference in how the end result looks. It'll also make the process easier.

When you roll paint onto your wall, do so in an "N" or "W" pattern. This allows you to coat the surface of your wall in wide sections.

Make sure you work along an edge that's wet, like where you cut in. Get as close to the trim as you can. You don't want to leave a ribbon of paintbrush marks around your wall's perimeter.

Use Adequate Pressure

Using the correct amount of pressure when you're painting walls makes a huge difference. You should apply moderate pressure.

Too much pressure could cause a "rope" or "bead" around the perimeter of your paint job. Not enough pressure will just make your arm heavy and tired. As you come to the end of each stroke, light the paint roller lightly away from the wall so you don't create a distinct edge.

Paint in Small Sections

If you have a large wall, break it up into small sections that are manageable. It'll make painting with a paint roller easier and your results will improve. Make sure each section is two to three square feet big.

The roller should sound wet at all times when you're painting. If it doesn't sound moist or crinkly, you need to reload it with paint.

Hold Onto the Roller Properly

Holding paint rollers in the right way makes a difference to your end results. You should hold it in your dominant hand or the hand you typically write then. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.

Hold the paint roller directly in front of you. This will give you the right amount of control as you paint.

If you decided to use an extension pole for your paint roller, keep your dominant hand toward the bottom. Your non-dominant hand should be in the middle of the pole. This helps with pressure and leverage.

Purchase High-Quality Equipment

If you have poor-quality equipment, even the best techniques won't make a difference. Don't waste money on inexpensive paint rollers and brushes.

Purchase high-quality products that will last you for multiple products. One thing to keep in mind is avoiding paint trays. A five-gallon bucket with a paint screen works far better than a paint tray.

Some advantages include:

  • It's easier to move the bucket without spilling

  • You're not as likely to step in or trip over the bucket

  • A bucket holds far more paint than a paint tray

  • You can cover the bucket with a damp cloth during a break so it won't dry out

  • It's easier to reload your paint roller with paint from a bucket than a tray

All you need is an old or new bucket and a screen and you're ready to go.

Get Close to the Wall

Rollers are unable to get close to the edges of your walls or in the corners. Your first step is to cut in with a paintbrush. Unfortunately, this leaves brush marks that don't end up matching the texture from the roller on the remainder of the wall.

To have your wall looking clean and crisp, you'll want to cover up the paintbrush marks. Carefully roll as close to the corners and edges as you can. Don't use a roller that's loaded with paint.

Pick the Lumps Out

No matter how much you prep, you often end up with lumps in your paint. One thing you should do is keep your paint roller away from the floor so it doesn't pick up dirt or debris. Additionally, bits of dried paint on the bucket or screen can cause this problem.

Keep a damp cloth nearby and pick off any paint lumps during your project. Make sure all your tools are kept clean. You can also strain leftover paint through a mesh strainer to eliminate lumps.

Follow These Paint Roller Techniques for Best Results

Painting with a paint roller doesn't have to be intimidating. You can easily transform your home if you follow our paint roller techniques. Educate yourself and purchase the best painting project tools.

For more painting tips and tricks, check out one of our other articles.

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