how to choose the best paint roller

How to Choose a Paint Roller

The paint roller consists of a handle and a rotating cylinder. There are different types, depending on the product to be painted with: dyes, enamels, varnishes, paint for walls and ceilings, plaster… The roller can be made of synthetic or natural fiber. We advise you how to choose it.

Important characteristics

A paint roller is a tool for painting large smooth surfaces. It is composed of a handle (the grip) and a cylinder (the roller itself). The latter element can be replaced independently of the handle.

The paint roller is chosen according to:

  • The type of support or surface on which you want to apply the paint (smooth, uneven);
  • the type of product applied (paint, lasur, varnish, plaster);
  • the desired result.

The paint roller can be used alone but is often part of a paint kit. It is usually accompanied by at least one brush that will allow reaching the corners.

A roller for every use

The cylinders of the paint rollers adapt to the surface on which they apply the product. Depending on the result you are looking for, they can be made of different materials or have specific characteristics.

Foam roller

The foam roller is useful for multipurpose uses. It leaves a very smooth finish and is not very resistant to several uses. You can use it for example to apply a primer on which to spread a decorative paint or simply to paint a tile with a specific paint.

Roller for a decorative protector or lasure

As its name indicates, this roller is specifically for use with products for treating wood that allows it to breathe, staining it, and protecting it from UV rays.

Roller for lacquer (flocking or velour)

This roller refill is specially designed for surfaces where you want to varnish or lacquer and get a very smooth finish. The application of lacquers provides a glossy finish.

Facade roller

The facade roller refill has long fibers in order to better cover the irregularities present on the surface to be painted (usually with plaster). You can use it with the help of a telescopic handle or on scaffolding. 

Long nap or wool roller

The long nap roller is suitable for irregular and textured walls. It can be used to paint a brick wall, stippled or even to apply on the coating of a wall or facade. Attention, because these rollers tend to drip…

Short nap roller

This type of roller is recommended for smooth walls, it achieves a uniform effect. Its composition and the length of the strands make it known as “anti-drip” because it hardly drips.

Spiked roller

The spiked or beehive type roller gives the plaster a particular structure. This roller has holes all over its surface, and when it is rolled over the surface, it generates irregularities and small points, as if imitating stippling.

Effect roller

There are rollers with rough surfaces and of various materials, such as leather or polypropylene, arranged in various shapes with which you can achieve decorative finishes, creating relief effects.

Material of the roller and its handles

The roller cylinder can be made of synthetic fibers, natural fibers, or a mixture of both.

Synthetic fibers

Synthetic fibers are particularly suitable for the application of acrylic or synthetic paints. Today they are the most developed and adapted to the performance and results of most paints.

Mixed fibers

Mixed fibers are suitable for oil or solvent-based paints.

Natural fibers

Natural fibers are recommended for all types of paints and offer a good result in terms of performance, although they require more skill in their handling.

Handle and frame

The choice of the handle is above all a question of common sense. Here are two elements that can guide you in your choice:

  • A long handle is best for reaching ceilings, but you can also equip yourself with an extension pole (even a telescopic one) to fix the handle. You can also use a ladder or a stool;
  • For cleaning, the handle can be made of wood, plastic or bi-material. The cleaning of the latter is easier, using water for acrylic paint or turpentine for solvent paint.

Paint rollers for every use

The vast majority of paint rollers are designed for a specific use usually indicated as: paint roller for walls and ceilings, a paint roller for lacquering wood, etc. Here are some criteria to select them quickly.

Paint for doors and furniture

Furniture and doors should be painted with a lacquer roller (flocked or velour) with synthetic fibers, about 5 mm thick, to achieve a smooth, well-spread effect.

If you are considering a project to paint wooden doors or furniture, we recommend that you choose your wood paint carefully and that you prepare the surface to be painted properly, a necessary condition for an optimal finish.

Roller for painting walls and ceilings

A lightly textured ceiling or wall is painted with a non-drip roller, with fibers of about 12 mm thick. 

Combine your roller with special paint for walls and ceilings, with good protection of windows, furniture and floor. For ease of application, use a paint bucket and/or squeegee. If you are planning such a job, be sure to equip yourself with an extension cord.

Smooth walls

A smooth wall should be painted with a wall roller with 10 mm thick fibers. If you are going to repaint your kitchen or bathroom, we advise you to use special paint for bathrooms and kitchens to protect them against the effects of humidity and to prevent premature aging of your coating.

Facades and exterior cladding

Facades and exterior cladding are painted with approximately 18 mm fiber rollers. Choose a special roller for facades or wool to resist without losing the fibers.

If you plan to apply your paint on wood, for example on a façade with a wooden cladding or siding, we advise you to read our recommendations on the choice of paint for exterior wood, so that you can choose the best protection.

Plastering: cement, concrete, plaster

Plasters are applied with a beehive roller or beehive roller. The roller replacement has the particularity to present a structure that allows generating points and that serves to provide texture to the plaster or the façade.

Indispensable accessories to use with the rollers

To repaint walls and ceilings in good conditions and to improve the final result, you must pay attention to the preparation of the supports. There are essential painting tools to protect, prepare and clean the materials and tools. 

For your future projects, equip yourself with:

  • a tarp and masking tape to protect your floors from paint splashes and drips, and to cover the areas you do not want to paint;
  • a paint bucket to measure out the amount of paint from your roller;
  • solvent to clean your rollers and brushes between uses;
  • a protective mask to keep you safe from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) harmful to your health.