Rollers vs Brushes vs Sprayers: which do you need for your project?

When you are about to undertake a decorating job, getting the right tools is essential to the quality of your work. The debate about whether to use rollers, brushes or sprayers has painters and decorators divided. While they are all looking for a means of covering the space as efficiently and effectively as possible, quick and high-quality sometimes don’t go hand in hand. Here we explore the pros and cons of each tool and answer the question once and for all: which one should you use?

The ever-so efficient roller

The Pros:

  • Quick
  • Less likely to get drips and runs
  • Even application of paint

The Cons:

  • You will still need a brush for those pesky edges
  • You will never get a satiny finish

Rollers are great at covering huge expanses of wall and ceiling quickly and relatively evenly. With the right application, drips and runs are rare, and the ceiling is a doddle with the right attachment. You can extend the roller arm and get to the four corners of a ceiling without ever mounting a ladder.

The problems? Well, first, accuracy around the edges. You are still going to have to cut into the edges of the room. Second, the roller will always leave a distinct texture on the surface of the paint. Even if you choose a shorter nap, you are going to get some texture. Therefore, a roller is not the tool of choice if you are looking for a satiny-smooth finish.

Spraying… everything

The Pros:

  • Big area covered in quick-time
  • Satin-smooth finish

The Cons:

  • Overspraying
  • Drips and runs

The sprayer is an amazing invention. Paint squirts out in an even flow covering the surface in super-fast time. For great expanses of wall and ceiling, there is nothing more effective than a sprayer. In fact, any other tool is going to cost you in time spent. Also, it is genuinely the only way to get that smooth look.

Using a sprayer takes some skill. If you apply a thick coat in one hit, then you are going to get drips. You need to do several thin coats to get to the perfect end product. You will also have to cover everything in sight. People call it overspraying when they mean they have blathered everything in sight with paint. You will need to do a lot of taping up and covering areas in drapes to make the best use of the sprayer.

Just gimme a good ol’ brush!

The Pros

  • Accuracy
  • You need to cut in with a brush no matter what

The Cons

  • Cheap brushes make a mess
  • Time and effort

There is nothing more reassuring than a brush when applying paint. It is an extension of your hand, and accuracy is relatively assured. You will still need to do careful taping up, but far less than when using a sprayer. Also, you will likely have to do the cutting in with the brush, no matter the methods you use to cover the rest of the expanse of the wall.

A high-quality brush is best. Paying a little more for the best brushes will help avoid lost bristles in the paint and many imperfections. A more expensive brush will also hold more paint causes fewer drips and runs.

The major problem with a brush is time and effort. The amount of time needed to cover a large space is depressing.

The ultimate answer to the age-old question

The right answer is always going to be to use the right tool for the right job. You need to be using a sprayer with a huge expanse of wall and ceiling all in the same colour. Used professionally, with thin, even coats, a sprayer offers the smoothest finish too. However, if you are in a smaller space or you just know you will cover everything in paint, then a roller might do the trick. Some people also prefer the textured look created by the nap.

No matter whether you choose a sprayer or a roller, you will always need some quality brushes. While the idea of painting the whole room with a brush is exhausting, you will need to cut in no matter what.