Paint rollersNovember 28, 2001
For painting large surfaces quickly and easily, you can't beat a roller - but don't buy just any roller. It is important to match it to the job at hand.
Rollers are generally purchased as part of a set - the other part being a sloping metal or plastic tray to hold the paint. The roller cover, which is replaceable, may be of any variety of materials, suited for different purposes.
Lambs wool covers are fine for use with oil bases paints, but they should not be used with latex water based paints. Water causes the wool to mat, and tufts can pull off the roller, making it less than useless. Mohair covers can be used with any type of paint, and give a smooth finish to walls and ceilings. Synthetic fibres - nylon, rayon, polyester, dacron, orlon - are also used for roller covers, and will work with all types of paint. Where a stipple finish is desired, slit foam rollers will do the job.
Roller cover nap length range from 1/16 inch to 1 1/2 inches, and this too must be considered when matching the roller to the job. Generally speaking, the smoother the surface to be covered, the shorter the nap required. Short nap covers are best for applying paint to plaster, wallboard and smooth ceilings. For rougher surfaces such as textured paneling, a medium nap is preferred. Long nap covers are used for cinder block, stucco, brick and similar surfaces. Foam slit rollers is what I recommend for textured ceilings.
The type of paint used is also a factor in nap selection. Short nap covers should always be used with semigloss or gloss paints - they will produce the smooth, shiny finish desired with these paints. Longer naps can be used with flat, eggshell, satin finishes since these will not show the fine lint specks that may be left on the surface by the roller.
For the large areas of wall and ceiling, choose a roller either 7 or 9 inches wide. Many rollers have handles that can be fitted with extensions, making it possible to paint ceilings without a ladder. This is also a back saver when painting or refinishing floor.
Smaller size roller are also available. A 3 inch model is about right for cutting in at the ceiling and window frames, and for doing woodwork and trim. Corner rollers are designed to paint both sides of an inside and outside corner at the same time, you can paint round spindles as well.
As with anything else, you get what you pay for and the results are likely to show it. The best roller and quality covers are not that much more expensive than the bottom- of-the-line version, and will probably spare you a lot of aggravation.
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