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How to Pick a Roller

For best results, consider the three equal parts of a paint project: colour, paint product and application. Some argue that application is actually the most important of the three, so you’ll want to be sure you pair your paint project with the right roller for the job, for better coverage and better results.

Roller “Fluffiness”

The most important consideration when choosing a roller refill is the Pile Height, sometimes referred to as “Nap.” This is the “fluffiness” of the roller, or the length of the fibers measured in millimetres (mm). The surface of your project (substrate) will often dictate the pile height you choose.

Your roller options are:

  • 5mm for cabinets & furniture. Makes for smooth thin coats on smooth fine surfaces.
  • 10/13mm for walls. A 13mm is good for Eggshell and Flat finishes and offers enough paint pick-up for a wet, substantial coat, without the spatter or texture of a thicker roller. Use 10mm for Pearl and Semi-Gloss finishes.
  • 15mm for ceilings. Hot air rises, which means ceiling paint dries much faster. A 15mm roller means fewer trips down to the paint tray and coats that remain wetter longer to avoid overlap marks.
  • 19mm for rough surfaces. Go thicker for surfaces like brick or stucco which soak up a lot of paint or have challenging textures.

Benjamin Moore Paints have advanced to dry faster in fewer coats, which means a 13mm or 15mm roller is now the better pairing, compared to years ago when a 10mm may have been the go-to.

Handy Roller Guide

The thinner the roller nap, the thinner each coat will be. This is great for building a smooth finish, for example, on kitchen cabinets. Thinner coats will also dry faster, although this is not always desirable and can cause overlap marks if you aren’t keeping up with faster drying wall paints, which work better with thicker, “fluffier” rollers.

The thicker the roller, the more paint it’s able to pick up. This means fewer trips to the paint tray and a wetter edge for seamless results. On the other hand, if the roller is too thick for the purpose, it can leave an undesirable  “orange peel” effect (the mottled look of dried paint close up).

Another thing to consider when choosing a roller is the material it is made with. We have put together this handy guide which you can download for reference.

More questions? We’re here to help! Stop by your local Paint Shop to get expert advice from our staff. Find a location near you.