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How to Choose a Roller

Pick the right size, fiber type, and nap length for the job

In this video, pick the right size, fiber type, and nap length paint roller for the job.

TIP 1: Use a 9-inch roller for general painting, a 14- or 18-inch roller for quickly coating large walls and ceilings, and a small foam roller on door panels and wainscoting.

TIP 2: Choose a roller's nap length based on the roughness of the surface: a ⅛- to ¼-inch nap for smooth surfaces, like plaster; a ⅜- to ½-inch nap for lightly textured drywall; and a ¾-inch nap for textured surfaces, like stucco or brick.

TIP 3: Use rollers with polyester and nylon fibers with latex paints; natural fibers, like mohair and lamb's wool, with oil-based paints; and foam rollers on porous surfaces, like bare wood, or where you want a glossy-smooth finish, like on cabinets.

See the rest of the Beyond the Basics: Painting series:
1 How to Pick a Paint
2 How to Choose a Primer
3 How to Pick a Paintbrush
5 How to Prep the Room
6 How to Prep the Walls
7 How to Use a Brush
8 How to Roll Paint Onto a Wall
9 How to Clean a Brush
10 How to Clean a Roller


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