How To Pick The Right Paint Roller



I'm sure you have spent at least a few minutes standing in front of the racks and racks of rollers at your home improvement store wondering which one you should be buying.  Paint rollers are made in different lengths, naps and materials.  This article will tell you which paint roller you should use for the specific job you are doing.  Since there are so many different brands/styles of roller, I will tell you which nap should be used and you can make your own determination of quality by the price of the roller.


When you find the correct nap roller and choose a length that will work for you, the next step is to pick out which quality you want to use.  Most of the time you should use the best quality cover that you can buy.  It will provide the smoothest finish and your job will end up looking better because of it.  Certain jobs, like painting a basement wall or floor, may not require the best cover.  However, remember that less expensive covers can possibly shed so you may end up picking lint off of your walls.


In general, a high quality 9 inch paint roller will cost anywhere between four to six dollars.  Inexpensive covers could range from one to three dollars.  Make sure to look for the words "shed resistant" when purchasing the covers.


Roller Naps


1/4" -  This roller is typically used when you want a very smooth finish.  (doors, counters, flat trim work)


3/16"  - This has just a little more nap than a 1/4" cover.  It will also provide a very smooth finish.  (doors, counters, flat trim work)


3/8"  -  A standard size roller.  This roller can be used on 80% of paint projects.  It is great for smooth ceilings and walls.  It can also be used on floors, tile and smooth exterior surfaces such as decks, vinyl and aluminum siding.


1/2"  -  This roller can also be used on all surfaces that a 3/8" cover can be used on.  However, this roller will hold more paint and apply it in a heavier fashion.  This can result in a little orange peel texture on smooth surfaces.  1/2" nap covers work great on medium textured surfaces, such as textured ceilings, masonry walls, and floors.


3/4"  -  A specialty cover for very textured surfaces.  This roller is generally used when painting a very pourous surface.  Sometimes paint manufacturers will recommend this nap cover when waterproofing a basement wall.  It is also recommened when painting rough-sawn cedar wood on exterior surfaces.  It can also be used for heavy stucco finish and textured ceilings.


1" & 1 1/4"  -  These rollers are used when you want to apply paint in a very heavy fashion.  Typically these rollers are not recommened by paint manufacturers but can be used anywhere a 3/4" cover is called for.   


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