City Paint & Tool

Choosing the right paint roller


The fabric is referred to as pile or nap. The nap type and length determines the finish, with the longer nap often leaving a pattern on the surface. The choice of roller is dependent on the type of paint being used and the surface being painted.

Solvent-based paints are generally applied with a short pile mohair roller onto smooth surfaces.
Water-based paints are generally applied with sheepskin, bended synthetic of foam rollers.

  • Long pile is used for rough surfaces
  • Foam is use for smooth and semi smooth surfaces
  • Medium pile is used for semi rough and textured surfaces

NB: Velour rollers – foam with a ‘light orange/pink” membrane are increasingly popular and result in a finish close to that of sprayed application, when using non drip polyurethanes/enamels like Plascon Velvaglo.

What should I look for to determine if a roller is of good quality?

  • Run your hand over the roller to see if it sheds any lint. If it doesn’t, it’s probably a good roller.
  • Check both ends of the roller to see if there is any fabric hanging over either end. Good quality rollers are "bevelled” and there should be no overhanging fabric.
  • Look for the seam in the roller. If you don’t see one, then it is probably a good roller. If you see any gaps in the roller or loose backing at either end that means the roller is of inferior quality.
  • The quality of the fabric together with the method used to manufacture a roller impacts on the quality of the end product and ultimately on the quality of the paint job.

How does a good quality roller benefit me and my painting project?

Saves times and produces a quality finish. Quality rollers hold more paint and allow for an even film thickness, (levels the paint finish without shadows or valleys). Cheaper rollers often result in a number of coats having to be applied, which is costly and time consuming. A quality paint roller:

  • Will not delaminate during use
  • Will not shed lint on the painted surface
  • (Check manufacturer’s instructions before using epoxy and/or industrial coatings)