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How to Use a Paint Roller Properly

A paint roller is a handy tool that allows you to apply your paint in smoother applications. The best paint roller allows you to paint larger areas in shorter amounts of time compared to the traditional paintbrush method. A paint roller allows you to paint textured surfaces without having to apply larger amounts of paint to the surface. A paint roller is simply a must-have tool if you are painting walls, ceilings, fences, and any large area.

Using a paint roller is not difficult, but, there are certain tips and tricks that will help you create a better finish. We have compiled the tips our experts shared with us so that your next painting project will be a huge success.

How to Use a Paint Roller Step by Step Guide

Tips to Use a Paint Roller like a Pro

Using a paint roller is actually a simple process. If you follow these steps you will be painting like a pro in no time at all.

Tools You Needed

  • Paint
  • Roller frame
  • Roller cover
  • Extension Pole
  • Paint pan or paint bucket screen
  • A paintbrush
  • Painters tape
  • Drop Cloths
  • A clean five-gallon bucket to put paint in if you are using a bucket screen and smaller containers of paint
  • A ladder to allow you to reach high places when you are “cutting” in the paint around the top of the walls or over the window frames

Step 1: Assemble the tools you need

Step 2: Cover any flooring or furniture that you do not want to get paint on using drop cloths.

Step 3: Take the time to apply painter’s tape so that when you are rolling the paint on the walls you do not accidentally get paint on the ceiling, or the trim work, on the baseboards, or on any window glass, hardware, door knobs, or hinges.

Step 4: Out the roller cover on the roller frame.

Step 5: put the roller frame onto the extension pole.

Step 6: stir the paint or shake the paint can so that the paint is mixed properly.

Step 7: Pour some paint in the paint pan or put the screen into the paint bucket. If you opted for a screen and only have a one-gallon bucket of paint you will need to pour the paint into a five-gallon plastic bucket.

Step 8:Load the roller. You want to dip the roller into the paint (in the bucket dip the roller in about ½” inch and in the paint pan dip the roller into the deep well o the end of the pan)

  1. Once the roller has been dipped into the paint you need to roll it against the bucket screen or against the textured portion of the paint pan to wipe away the excess paint.
  2. You will need to dip the roller and then rub away the excess five or six times when the roller sleeve is dry, and then two to three times on each other loading

Step 9:Apply the paint to the surface area. This is a tricky step. You are going to need to apply the paint to the surface but do not roll simply up and down or side to side. Allow the roller to apply the paint in diagonal swipes, and up and down so that you do not create pattern lines while you are applying the paint.

  1. Do not apply too much pressure to the roller or you will cause paint runs and you can even cause the roller end to gouge into the wall surface
  2. Too much pressure on the roller will cause splatters of paint
  3. Too little paint on the roller will cause your applications to be splotchy
  4. It is better to paint two coats of paint than to try and paint really thick layers of paint
  5. Always allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before you try to apply a second layer of paint
  6. Keep the paint roller loaded properly by reloading paint onto it often.

Step 10: Clean up. You should remove the roller cover and if it is a high-quality cover then you can wash the paint out of the cover and allow it to dry. This can usually be done with a water hose. Spray the roller cover so the water causes the paint to be washed out. The pressure from the hose will cause the cover to spin and this will allow the paint to be removed.

  • Rinse your roller frame,
  • pick up your drop cloths,
  • remove your painter’s tape,
  • seal your paint can,
  • wash out your paintbrush,
  • wash out your paint bucket or paint pan. If you had a disposable paint pan insert you can throw this item in the trash
  • put away your ladder and tools

Tips and Techniques from the Pros

Properly load the roller with paint

Properly load the roller with paint

You want to dip the roller into the paint about one half of an inch. You then want to rub the roller against the screen in the paint bucket so that you wipe away the excess paint.

It will take five to seven times of dipping and rubbing against the screen for you to load a paint roller that is completely dry. Once the roller has been completely loaded you will only have to dip and rub against the screen about twice each time you reload the roller.

Buy a bucket screen instead of the traditional paint pan that sits on the floor

5 gallon paint bucket

The majority of all people have seen the paint roller pans that are designed to hold small amounts of paint and sit on the floor. You dip the roller into the deep end of the pan and then roll the roller across the ribbed section of the pan to remove the excess paint. These paint cans are handy but the screens that fit inside 5-gallon paint buckets are better. You will very rarely see a professional painter using the traditional paint pans.

If you buy the screen you will reap the following benefits

  1. It is easier to reposition the bucket of paint without spilling any paint.
  2. You are less likely to step into the bucket of paint and spill it while you are painting.
  3. The bucket holds a larger amount of paint so you do not have to stop as often and refill the paint pan with paint.
  4. You can place a damp cloth over the top of the bucket to prevent the paint from drying. This also prevents trash and debris from getting into your paint.
  5. It is quicker to load the paint using the five-gallon bucket and screen.
  6. If you have a large container of paint. Then you do not have to transfer the paint into a smaller container to do your job. You will simply put the screen in the bucket and go to work.
  7. The screens can be washed and used again with very little trouble. Those paint trays can be hard to wash. Or you have to throw them or the inserts you buy to go in them away when you finish painting each day. On large jobs, those cheap inserts can start to add up to a good deal of money.

Buy a Quality Roller

Do not waste your money on the rollers that are designed to be thrown away after the job is completed. The experts have this to say about quality rollers:

  1. A quality roller can be used repeatedly.
  2. A quality roller will allow the sleeve to roll effortlessly so that you leave fewer drag marks or lines in the paint while applying it.

A quality roller is easy to clean up

  1. A quality roller will easily attach to threaded extension poles to allow you to paint high areas without using a ladder or scaffold

Choose the right roller cover

The roller sleeve/cover is the portion of the roller that holds the paint. These items come with different naps so they can apply different amounts of paint, and so they can reach into crevices, and paint textured or rough surfaces properly. Your roller cover/sleeve determines how many coats of paint you will have to apply as well as how good the finished paint job looks.

Roller cover/sleeve tips:

  1. Do not buy cheap roller covers. The cheap covers do not hold the same amount of paint as the higher quality covers. The cheap covers have been known to come apart while you were painting.
  2. A ½” nap is usually recommended for the majority of paint surfaces
  3. The wool blend roller covers are higher in quality and more reliable than any other
  4. Never apply more pressure in an attempt to get more paint out of the roller cover

How do I stop a wool blend roller cover from shedding fibers into my paint?

The biggest drawback with the wool blend roller covers is that they have a tendency to shed fibers into the paint when they are new. In order to stop this from happening when you get the roller cover out of the package, you should wrap it in masking tape. Slowly pull the masking tape off of the roller cover and this will allow the loose fibers of the cover to be pulled free so they will not be left in your paint.

Frequently Asked Questions about Using a Paint Roller

Do you need to wet a paint roller?

When you are loading your paint roller you do not wet it in water before dipping it into the paint substance. You put the paint in a roller pan and gently roll the roller down into the paint so it can soak up some of the paint. When you roll it back towards you the bottom of the pan will remove excess paint so you do not have drips when you lift the roller from the pan.

What causes roller marks when painting?

The main cause for a roller mark when you are painting is applying too much pressure to the roller. If you are applying too much pressure the edges of the roller will leave marks. You also get roller marks when you do not vary the direction you are rolling the paint roller in. If you always roll straight up and down you will leave marks. You should roll in V shapes to eliminate 4 of these lines.

Do you cut in before or after rolling?

You should cut in before you roll the paint on so you have your edges established. If you wait to cut in after you roll then you are more apt to push the roller too close to the surface of the ceiling or wall that you are trying to protect.

Final note

Using a paint roller is the perfect way to apply paint to walls, ceilings, and larger paint areas. You will need to practice using the paint roller so you develop the skills needed to be proficient with this tool.

Anybody can master the art of painting with a roller and doing the paintwork yourself will save you money on your project.

Always use quality paint and take your time in order to create a professional finish.

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