The type of roller you select will depend on the size of the roller you want and the kind of surface you’ll be painting. Paint rollers are available in mini to 12-inch (and larger) sizes. Generally, the mini rollers will be best for painting woodwork and other small areas while a 9-inch roller is ideal for work on walls and ceilings. This guide will explain the different types of roller materials, nap sizes, and how to select the best roller for your project.
How do I select the best pile height or nap for my project?
The pile height, or nap, refers to the thickness of the material used on the roller and determines how much paint the roller will hold. Generally, the best rule to apply to most painting jobs is the glossier the paint and the smoother the surface, the shorter the pile you should use.
Short nap 5 to 8mm:
Short nap does not hold as much paint as the others but is the best kind to use with glossy paint, since it leaves a thin, very smooth coating. They can be used on smooth and semi-smooth surfaces
Regular nap 10 to 12mm:
Holds any type of paint well and produces a soft-looking, stippled effect. More suitable for use with water based paints on smooth and semi-smooth surfaces such as wall boards and cement render. Holds more paint than the short Nap however the finish is not as fine.
Long nap 22 to 32mm:
Suitable for all paints on semi-rough surfaces such as brickwork and masonry. They have exceptional paint holding capacity and are also suitable for semi-smooth surfaces where heavy coverage is more important than finish. Works a heavy load of paint into the irregularities of a textured, damaged or extremely porous surface and can create a deeply stippled effect on any surface. The greater the irregularities, the longer the pile needed.
The quality level of the paint roller will determine the quality of the finish, the durability of the roller, the amount of paint it will hold and the ease of use.
Premium or Pro Series rollers will provide the best finish, will last the longest, will hold the most paint and are very easy to use.
Project or Classic quality rollers will provide a great finish, will last reasonably well, will hold paint well and are easy to use.
General Purpose or Redline rollers are good for disposable single use.
The material of the fabric comes down to preference but in general different materials should be used with different paints and on different surfaces.
Woven Polyester: suitable for use with ALL paints including full gloss enamels.
Knitted Polyester: More suitable for use with water based paints on smooth and semi-smooth surfaces such as wall boards and cement render. Holds paint well and produces a soft-looking, stippled effect.
Mohair Blend: gives the ultimate finish to full and semi-gloss enamels on smooth surfaces. They are most suitable for applying polyurethanes, epoxy resins and fibreglass coatings.
Sheepskin: is generally used on rougher surfaces such as cement render and brickwork because of the longer pile height. The natural fibres pick up and release paint readily however the rollers are more expensive than those made from synthetic material.
Foam: For use with full and semi-gloss enamels on smaller areas such as kitchen cupboards where a mirror finish is required.
Micro Fibre: can be used with most water based paints. The short pile is especially suited for use with acrylic enamel paints
Textured: Coarse, medium, fine.
Coarse Texture Foam Cover: Specially designed loops in this cover lift texture paints into peaks for a rich stucco look. Applies to all textures, finishes in one step. Clean by simply hosing out excess material.
Medium Texture Foam Cover: Specially woven loops lift texture paints into peaks for a medium texture finish. Applies to all textures, finishes in one step. Clean by simply hosing out excess material.
Fine Texture Foam Cover: A very fine foam material gives a fine textured finish. Applies to all textures, finishes in one step. Easy cleaning by simply hosing out excess material.