How to Choose a Paint Roller!

You’ve made it through the tedious task of colour selection.  You’ve decided on a sheen and chosen a product line.  You think you’re set.  Now you just have to get the paint onto the wall, but what roller sleeve should you use?

They’re all the same aren’t they??  Of course not.  Roller sleeves come in a variety of “fabrics” and different “naps” (the term which refers to how “fluffy” the roller is). So how do you decide what you need?  You ask us. Basically, the fluffier the roller, the more paint it will hold.  While that sounds like a good thing it can cause some problems.  Similarly, using a roller that isn’t fluffy enough can also be problematic. 


 Here is a rundown on what type of roller to use for your painting project.


“Lint Free” Rollers

These rollers are generally white in colour.  They come in a variety of naps and are made of a woven fabric that is shed resistant.

These are available in a standard 9 ½” size as well as 7 ½”, 3” and 4” large core sizes.


“Microfibre Rollers”

Microfibre rollers are also shed free, but their fabric is more absorbent and holds more paint than a lint free roller. They are usually white with a blue stripe or blue-gray in colour.

These consumer favourites are available in a standard 9 ½” size. They are also available in a 4” and 6” small core refill.


“Velour” Rollers

Velour fabric is very tightly woven and smooth.  It has a very low nap (about 4mm) and is used mainly with clear waterbased finishes.


“Flocked Foam” Rollers

Flocked foam rollers are made specifically for use with the (relatively) new hybrid cabinet and furniture paints.  Where we used to use alkyd melamine paints and foam rollers, we now use hybrids and flocked foam.

These rollers have a foam center with a layer of fabric over top.  They provide a smooth even finish and are available in 4” or 6” lengths.


“Split Foam” Rollers

These specialty rollers are made of foam and actually have “slits” cut into them.  They are made specifically for painting textured ceilings.


Nap Choice

5mm or 6mm – used with clear alkyd or water based polyurethanes.  Not usually used for walls because they do not hold enough paint!

10mm – used for smooth walls

13mm/ 15mm- used for walls and ceilings where you need the roller to hold more paint, but still want a smooth finish

19mm- used to paint textured surfaces


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