Best Paint Roller for Walls – Techniques and Tips

When we paint our walls, the last things we want to see our roller marks. We wait in anticipation for the paint to dry so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor only to see marks in multiple directions on our wall. Here are the best paint roller for walls – techniques and tips that you can follow.

Frustration sets in as we silently wonder what went wrong. To obtain a professional paint job, all you require are some basic tools. The painting is fast, you will get superior results, and the cleanup becomes effortless.

It Starts with Quality Tools

Begin by choosing a roller frame that is easy to grip. The roller frame is the plastic handle connecting to the roller cage.

Handles should be:

  • Ergonomic – This will reduce wrist strain.
  • Ball bearings will provide a smooth rolling movement. The paint finish will be perfect.
  • Threaded handle – It will allow you to attach an extension pole for hard-to-reach areas.

Roller lengths need to match the roller frame. Nine-inch rollers are advisable for DIY painters. They easily fit into five-gallon buckets. They also cover a larger wall area and are easy to control. Twelve-inch rollers are heavy and hard to control. These are used by professionals. Use rollers that are six to seven inches long for small furnishings or baseboard molding. Mini rolls are for touchups or tight spaces.

The roller cover should be selected based on the project and paint. Mohair and wool covers are used for oil-based paints. However, they will work with any finish. They cover surfaces easily and smoothly. Wool coverings will pick up a great deal of paint. Synthetic covers are best for latex, water-based paint. This is because they will not mat.

They can be used with any surface. The drawback is they won’t hold paint as well as wool, but they are quite durable. Wool and polyester blends can be used with many paints and finishes. They are ideal when switching between water- and oil-based paints. They hold a great deal of paint and are durable.

For latex and oil-based paints, use a microfiber roller cover. It works best for an eggshell, satin, or matte finish. The microfiber paint roller will give a smooth finish to a wall and work well for walls without texture.

The downside is it releases more paint than other rollers. Therefore, homeowners must practice beforehand. Foam rollers are not durable and are classified as single-use items. They can be used for high-gloss or semi-gloss paints.

They are best for touchups on baseboards, trims, or small projects. Naps describe the length of the roller fibers. Each type of roller nap needs to be considered depending on what the surface is. Use a short nap roller for a smooth surface. If you use a long nap on a smooth surface, it will be bumpy.

  • ¼” naps are for smooth walls/metal/ceilings.
  • 3/8” naps are designed for slightly textured surfaces.
  • ½” nap is for a wall with moderate texturing, painted brick, paneling, or concrete.
  • ¾” naps work well in heavily textured walls like natural brick, popcorn ceilings, or concrete.
  • 1” naps paint stucco, rough bricks, and cinder blocks.

How Do You Paint Without Roller Marks?

Paint using roller paint

Most people select paint rollers and have had a variety of successes. Everyone has their own method of using a roller. Some will load up their paint tray with color and paint in a “W” pattern. Then, they will begin to roll out the color. Others just place paint on the roller and do the room. But which method is best?

Let’s Try Unconventional …

This is a simple approach, yet very unconventional. However, it will spread an even coat of paint to a wall and get the task completed in a short time. Plus, it will not leave behind issues like roller marks, light areas, or built-up “ridges.” This method will not work with equipment that is of poor quality. Don’t invest in throwaway rollers. It is money wasted.

Instead, invest in a professional setup that will last for many years. Begin with a good roller frame. By screwing in a 48” wood handle to the end of the paint roller, you can cover higher areas easily. It additionally provides better control. Threaded broom handles work as well. To paint, you will require a container. Most homeowners will use paint trays. However, professionals don’t. Five-gallon buckets with a bucket screen placed over the edge are more efficient.

Why do This Method?

  • The bucket can be moved without spilling
  • It holds more paint – you will not have to refill as quickly
  • Less likely to fall over it or step in a paint bucket
  • Easier and quicker to load a paint roller with bucket paint
  • Buckets are easier to cover to prevent paint from evaporating or drying. All you need is a damp cloth

Load The Paint Cover

Dip the paint roller cover into the paint. It should be ½”. Then, roll it along with the screen. Next, fill the dry roller cover with paint. You will need to do this five to six times before it is done properly. When loading it up again, all you will need is to dip it once or twice. The roller should be dripping with paint.

Properly Painting the Wall

Use a sweeping stroke to paint the wall. Begin approximately one foot from the bottom and six inches in from the corner. Roll the paint up at a slight angle. Make sure you use light pressure. End two inches below the ceiling. Roll upward and downward in the direction of the corner. This action spreads the paint.

A buildup of paint and roller marks can be left during this step. Continue doing this from ceiling to floor. When the corner is reached, paint as close to the other wall as possible with the roller. Be sure you do not touch the adjacent wall.

Which Paint Roller is Best for Walls?

The roller cover (also known as the sleeve) is the most important part of the painting. Resist the urge to buy a cheap roller cover. It won’t hold substantial enough paint to do the job properly. Painting will take homeowners four times longer using these rollers, and the paint will be inconsistent.  You will see ridges and lap marks. Buy a ½” nap-wool-blend roller cover. If you care for it, this roller may be the only one you will invest in.

While you will get a superior paint job, the drawback is that these rollers shed fibers when first used. To minimize this effect, wrap them with masking tape. Then, remove the tape to get rid of loose fibers. Repeat this method two times. Additionally, the covers are matted when too much pressure is applied.

Homeowners require a soft touch. Let the paint do the work- not the muscle! The roller should be filled with paint. Utilize enough pressure to release the paint and spread it over the walls. Refrain from pushing on the roller. Emptying out the final amount of paint will create issues.

Avoiding Roller Marks and Fat Edges

Fat edges are raised areas of paint left behind by the edge of the roller. Left to dry, the only way you can get rid of them is to sand and patch the area. To avoid this, use the following tips:

  • Avoid sinking the entire roller in paint. Paint will get inside the roller, then leak out while painting. Only dip the nap to load it. Spin it along the screen, then place it in paint again until its loaded.
  • Use a soft touch when smoothing paint.
  • Refrain from beginning against the edge (molding or corners) with the roller full of paint. A heavy buildup will be left behind that will not spread out. Begin six inches away from an edge. Unload the paint, then work backward to the edge.
  • Get rid of excess paint from the roller’s open end before smoothing out. This can be accomplished by tilting the roller, then applying a bit of extra pressure to the open side while rolling.

When painting the walls, consider what your tools should be. The type of paint roller you need depends on the handle, the project, the roller length, cover, and nap. Different covers are made for various types of paints. Roller covers were not all designed the same. Homeowners need to pay attention to the type of paint they are using and select the cover accordingly.

The nap also has a strong factor in what type of roller to use. The length of the nap depends on the texture of the walls. A more textured wall will require a long nap to cover it properly. Also, you will not want to use a long nap on a smooth wall or vice versa. The paint job will not be well-done. Naps are not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. If you pay special attention to the roller material, length, and nap, then align it to your project, things will progress effortlessly.

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