Rollers are to painting what cruise control is to driving. Rollers do not just make painting easier, they save loads of time. While paint rolling is fast and easy in movement, there are some tricks and plenty of ways to go wrong. Still, the roller has revolutionized home improvement by making it possible for millions of busy homeowners to easily and effectively get their house painted.
The Parts, from Extension Poles to Roller Covers
Rolling paint begins with some ingredients. The roller itself is the frame (shaped like a flattened question mark), then comes the cover, tray or bucket, and extension poles. A good, sturdy roller is key to success, followed closely by a quality cover. Roller covers actually apply the paint so quality is essential. The most common types are wool/poly blends and now foam covers. Foam covers are a bit more convenient; they are like sponges to the paint and do not leave fibers behind on the wall as new wool/poly covers are wont to do (solve this problem by wrapping masking tape around the roller and removing it to pull up loose fibers).
Extension poles screw into the bottom side of the roller to add more length. These can be bought at any paint or hardware store or, depending on the roller, you can use a threaded broom handle. The typical homeowner should only need about four feet of extension to reach wherever necessary. The paint tray and roller go hand in hand. One hurdle for paint rollers is that you can’t fit a roller into a can of paint. So some astute painter invented the rolling tray. For some homeowners and nearly all professional painters, paint trays are too easy to trip on or spill while moving, so they use a 5-gallon bucket and grid (screen) instead, which is much easier to move, holds more paint, and can be covered easily to keep paint from drying out. The grid allows you to roll off excess paint before removing the roller.
The Technique, Starting with a Light Touch
The key to rolling paint is a light touch. Especially with wool roller covers, if you press too hard it will get matted down, holding less paint, and the paint go up unevenly. It is best to work from the top down when rolling (starting with the ceiling).
Do not think that you can paint the entire wall with a roller. You will undoubtedly need a brush to “cut in” around fixtures and along wall/ceiling edges. The cutting takes time but is easily made up for by the speed of a roller. Rollers and brushes do leave different sorts of patterns, or bands, behind. In other words, you may be able to tell the difference between a rolled and brushed section. Therefore, try to roll as close to edges and fixtures as possible to minimize this effect.
The most common technique for rolling is to apply the paint in a “W” pattern on the wall and then roll it out, always from top to bottom.
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