Many DIY painters opt for rollers in the belief that painting with rollers is easier – allowing them to beat the learning curve. All rollers are not created equal, however, nor do they magically endow you with the necessary skills to use them properly.
There are a few common pitfalls you can expect to encounter if you don’t have the right tools or use them incorrectly. Streaks may be the least of your problems, as the incorrect use of rollers can result in drips, splatters, and dreaded roller lines. All of these errors can be avoided with the right tools and techniques at your disposal.
Gather your Tools
Your best efforts will come to nothing if you do not have the right tools for the job. When it comes to painting, improvising is never a good idea unless it is on the advice of an expert. As painters, we use the correct tools because they are designed to get the job done.
There are four tools that you need as the bare minimum when painting with rollers. These four tools will allow you to mix, apply and roll on paint with ease. Having the right tools is half the battle won before you begin.
- Purchase a five-gallon bucket, bucket screen or a painting tray so you have the means to properly apply paint to your rollers.
- You will need one or more paint roller covers.
- A paint roller frame is obviously essential as you will need it to attach the roller cover.
- Painting with a roller can be hard on the arms and back, so make sure you purchase an extended handle.
When it comes time to purchase your essential tools, we do not recommend going the cheap route. Cheap painting tools are notoriously unreliable and can cause all kinds of problems. The last thing you want is your roller frame breaking mid-job, resulting in either you or your furniture getting covered in paint.
For drywall jobs, use a roller nap size that is between 1/4 and 5/16 inches. We also recommend that you purchase a shed-resistant roller cover. This type of roller cover provides a much smoother, professional finish.
Avoid purchasing roller covers that use a cheap cardboard core; they do not last very long and are a poor value. Instead, look for roller covers that contain a plastic core. The roller cover will last much longer and is worth the investment.
Now that you have your tools, it’s time to get the job started. Although choosing the right tools will significantly reduce dripping and splatter, you will still need to cover any furniture and carpets in the job area.
Shed-resistant rollers are meant to prevent fibers from becoming painted onto your surface. However, no tool is 100% guaranteed. It is better to err on the side of caution by making sure there are no loose fibers on your covers. To remove fibers, we gently apply painters tape to the roller cover. Any loose fibers will stick to the tape and leave you with a ready to use roller cover.
You will want to ensure that your roller picks up the right amount of paint before you start applying it to the surface. To do this, roll the cover in your chosen paint container a number of times. The desired result is when the roller obtains an even load of paint all the way around.
It is important that paint is not dripping when you begin to apply the roller to the surface. However, it is equally important that when you apply the roller to the wall, it is not necessary to press down heavily to transfer paint to the surface.
There is a tried and tested technique for applying paint using rollers, known as the “W” pattern. The W pattern should span three feet across the surface in sections. You will then repeat this pattern, moving into the unpainted spaces. Each new application should also overlap the edge of the application before it. Eventually, you will cover the entire surface, resulting in an even and seamless coat.
For additional coats, make sure you do not let your first can of paint run out. You will want to mix the remainder with the next can to ensure the paint you apply remains a nice, even shade. We also recommend that when painting walls, you work from the top down. Finally, make sure you always have a sufficiently loaded roller. If you find yourself needing to use pressure, it means there isn’t enough paint on the roller cover.
As always, The Painting Company is here to help with all your home painting projects. If you have any questions about our products and services, speak to one of our friendly customer service team members today in our Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado offices.