Painting with a roller is a simple and effective way to apply paint for large spaces, though it is not as simple as dipping a roller cover in a paint tray and spreading the paint. This tool is inexpensive, and set-up and cleaning are easier than with other methods, particularly compared to the more expensive spray painting process. To learn how to paint with a roller like a pro, check out these guidelines with our step-by-step explanation.

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How To Paint With A Roller Without Streaks

How to get the right roller?

Before getting into the detailed technique and instruction, firstly, you need to choose the right roller. It comes down to what you plan to paint and the type of paint you plan to use. To simplify it, these are your choices:

  • Short pile (6-8 mm thick) provides a broad cover for smooth and flat surfaces (including the drywall).
  • Medium pile (10-12 mm thick) is handy for lightly textured walls and ceilings but can also be used on walls. It uses more paint than short pile rollers, so if you’re faced with a wide room to decorate, a medium pile may be your best choice.
  • Long pile (20-32 mm thick) is handy for highly textured walls such as concrete and outdoor walls.
  • Foam rollers work best with gloss or varnish.
  • Radiator rollers work with radiators and fiddly areas that need bending to get to.

What you need:

  • Roller
  • Roller tray
  • Extender
  • Your favorite paint color

Read more: Comparison Paint Sprayer vs Paint Roller


Instructions on how to paint with a roller

1. Prepare and Prime the Painting Area

Before starting your work, remove small items from the room, such as chairs, area rugs and side tables. Lay the drop of cloth in the area you intend to paint. Cover all other plastic sheet items. Secure the plastic with the tape of the painter. Wash and prepare your walls before painting. 

Before opening the paint, if possible, turn off the forced heat or air conditioning to prevent the dust in the can, bucket, and wall paint. The painting process may take around 4 hours for a 150 square feet room, but the preparation for that painting process may take a day.

2. Prepare the Edges

When painting with a roller, it is impossible to bring the paint directly to the edge and achieve a sharp-edged line. Instead, you’re going to need to edge the paint before you roll. 

One approach is to use a paint edger: a small tool intended to be painted around the edge. Another method is to run a painter’s tape along the surface that won’t be painted. Paint is only applied to the adjacent surface, with the tape protecting the other surface from painting. 

Finally, if your hands are stable, you can cut-in the paint with a tapered brush designed specifically for the work. A good tip is that you should wear gloves to avoid getting wet paint on your hands. You can try latex or nitrile gloves.

how to paint with a roller

3. Thoroughly Mix the Paint

If the paint was mixed and put still for a few days, you need to separate it before doing the job.  You can use the paint within a few days of buying it from the store or mix it with a power mixer connected to the drill.

4. Pour the Paint Into the Bucket

You should work outdoors or in another environment where big drops do not matter. Start moving from the paint can into the paint bucket. Use the pouring beam attached to the paint can and then tips the can to allow the paint to flow slowly into the larger bucket. 

Avoid pouring out quickly, as this may cause bubbles. Usually, people pure less than three gallons of paint at one time to make it easier to use.

5. Add the Bucket Screen

Join the bucket screen to the lip of the paint bucket. The bucket screen extends a few inches into the paint, with much of the screen visible above the paint. If you’ve got less than 9 inches of available screen, dump some paint into the can.

6. Load the Roller Cover With Paint

Move the roller cover along with the roller frame. Dip the cover into the paint bucket, but not too far beyond the roller cover since this is going to cover the roller frame with paint and hence, drips. 

Let the roller cover soak up the paint. Shift it to the top of the bucket screen and roll gently down a few times. Avoid pressing too hard, as this will pass leave marks on a wall that may be difficult to flatten later. 

Consider using an extension pole when you plan to paint a high wall or ceiling. There are various types: threaded end wooden stick, lock mechanism aluminum pole and lock mechanism adjustable pole. We recommend the adjustable pole.

7. Roll Paint on the Main Surface Area

Check if the paint roller contains enough dry paint, and then start rolling the main area. You can start doing in the area around 4×4 feet. Move the roller up and down in a W pattern. 

Remember to keep rolling in an adjacent wet edge to merge the edges and avoid forming lines. You should roll slowly to avoid splashing paint drops on areas like windows or ceiling.  

 Roll Paint on the Main Surface Area

8. Reload the Roller Cover

If the roll marks on the wall begin to look spotty and vague, it’s time to refill the roller cover with paint. You should dip the roller in the paint, but not too deeply when reloading. Dip the roller partway into the paint, but don’t fully immerse it when reloading. Then press the roller several times on the bucket screen to balance the amount of paint on the entire roller cover.

9. Back Roll the Main Area

This is the painting process for the second time to fill in the sections and deepen the colors when the first coat is still wet. Right when the first coat has been laid, you must return to that area because if you wait for too long, the first coat will have a textured and rough finish.

10. Roll Close To the Edges

Let’s say you have already painted the edges; now you have a painted band of several inches width that you can meet with your paint roller.

11. Roll a Second Coat

To deepen the colors and make the paint long-lasting, we should apply two or more paint coats to the area after the first one has dried. Check out the steps mentioned above to finish the second coat, or even the third coat if you want. 

Remember that many painters normally put on the fresh roller cover after each time of use since roller covers are hard to clean.

12. Clean the Work Area

Now, wait until the paint has completely dried, remove the tape from the painter. Then slowly remove the plastic sheeting and drop cloth. If you use latex paint, you can use warm water and soap for all the items used, such as roller frame, bucket screen and brushes.

Get your roller ready

Now you have learned how to paint with a roller without leaving streaks, you can do some tasks yourself in some favorite projects at home. The technique you learn will save you time, money and help you to have the finished painted surface as you wanted.