One question that gets asked a lot at the local home improvement store is “What type of roller do I need?” It’s understandable, since there is always an overabundance of choices, and if you don’t pick the right type it will make your project more difficult.
A straight forward answer would be that the more rough the surface, the thicker nap you want your roller cover to have. If you have a completely smooth area, a roller with very little nap works best.
Roller cover thickness ranges anywhere from 1.5 inches to 1/4 inch. They also generally come in two lengths – 9 inch or 4 inch – but you can also find 12 inch rollers, which are good for covering an area quicker but are heavier when loaded with paint.
So what can happen if you use the wrong roller? The next post explains:
What is the Best Paint Roller for Your Paint Project? – My Colortopia
It’s important to choose the right size nap for your project. If you use a thick 3/4″ nap roller cover on a smooth wall, it will produce an orange peel textured surface. You should use a 1/4″ nap cover to produce a smooth finish. If you use a thin 1/4″ cover over stucco, the cover will rip apart quickly and not get paint into all the crevices of the surface.
Every painting contractor has an opinion on what is the optimal roller cover and how to use it. Most individuals who are painting interior walls will opt for 3/8 inch as long as the surface is fairly smooth like drywall or knockdown texture.
For exterior walls though, especially stucco, you need to have a thick nap roller. Without the right roller, your chances of complete coverage in all the cracks and crevices is diminished.
This video offers a rule of thumb for how thick the nap should be:
With the above suggested criteria, it makes choosing the depth of the nap a little easier. Another aspect to consider is that there are a variety of fabric types that all have a distinct purpose.
Some rollers work well with either latex or oil based paint, but others are specific to the type of paint being used. If you aren’t sure, the next post describes what applications will give the best results:
Choosing the Right Roller Cover – Sherwin-Williams
Natural covers (mohair or sheepskin) – should be used with oil-based paints. If used with latex paints, the water in the paint may swell the fibers, causing them to become matted.
Blended covers (polyester / wool blend) – combines the extra pickup of wool with polyester for longer life. Can be used with all paints.
Read more here: Choosing the Right Roller Cover – Sherwin-Williams
The roller cage that you put the cover on is also an essential part of deciding what type of roller to paint with. What it really comes down to is that if you buy a cheap roller and cover, you are going to have problems with the fibers ending up in your paint, issues with smooth paint distribution, and not being able to clean and reuse your materials.
Consult with your favorite Denver painter to see what they would suggest, or just hire them to do the project. The time and energy you save might be considerable in the long run.