The time has come to get that wall painted with some fresh colors. But what, you might be wondering, is the best way to get the job done? Painting by hand with a brush is labor-intensive and can result in an uneven coat marred by visible blemishes such as brushstrokes, lines, and drips. Because of this, most people who paint interior or exterior walls end up going with one of two options: spraying the paint on or rolling it on. Both approaches can be used by the do-it-yourself painter or the experienced professional, and both result in better quality than a brush gives. There are, though, important differences between the two. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you choose the one that’s best for your needs.
Spraying paint onto a wall or other surface involves using a specialized machine that uses air pressure to project the paint in a mist that covers a wide area. There are certain kinds of jobs for which spraying paint is particularly well-suited. These include painting exterior areas that are not closely surrounded by other objects or landscaping, priming new interior surfaces, or painting surfaces that are intricately detailed or textured, such as molding, baseboards, and masonry. Because sprayer apply paint in a thin layer, they are good for ceilings since they are less likely to result in drips.
As with all home improvement tools, be sure to practice with the sprayer before using it on your target surface so you can determine the width, volume, and force of its spray. And always employ appropriate safety measures when operating the sprayer, including wearing safety googles and a suitable solvent and chemical respirator mask.
- Covers larger areas with less effort and very quickly.
- Fills in gaps of textured surfaces or finely detailed surfaces.
- Results in a smooth, clean finish that is evenly and thinly distributed over the target area.
- Produces an even finish on curved or rounded surfaces.
- Costs more money, with most paint sprayers selling for between $70 and $300, depending on the size and number of settings, and because the machines tends to use more paint than is necessary (some is lost in the process of vaporization)
- Necessitates masking, clearing the area, and other preparation to protect against overspray.
- Requires practice before use in order to become fully comfortable with how it operates and the kind of paint job it will produce, and to avoid overspraying.
- Needs regular maintenance and cleaning to keep hoses, nozzles, and pumps clear of dried paint.
Rolling is a simple way to cover a surface with a thick and consistent layer of paint. It requires little specialized equipment and is easy to do well with little practice. One of the great advantages of rolling is that it gives you control over the direction and flow of the paint. Rolling is good for most large areas, particularly if they are flat and even. You can purchase rollers in different sizes (the two most common are nine inches and four-and-a-half inches) to accommodate larger or smaller areas and to fit into corners and crevices. An extension pole can be connected to the roller to allow you to get difficult to reach areas painted evenly and with precision.
- Requires fewer tools and those tools are inexpensive, simple to operate, and easy to clean.
- Uses much less paint than spraying, since spraying results in about one-third of the paint drifting away. •
- Covers the surface with a thick coat that can conceal discoloration, dirt, and other defects. •
- Does not require the time-consuming and extensive masking that spraying demands, allowing the job to be started and finished sooner.
- Does not evenly paint on textured surfaces or in areas that have fine details.
- Takes longer to ensure even and smooth application of paint over a larger area.
- Poorer quality rollers can slip, shed fuzz, or come apart after a short amount of time.
- Because the paint is applied more thickly, it can result in drips, runs, or pooling if you are not careful and keep the roller moving steadily.
No matter which method you choose, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the different tools and techniques used. If you can, test the method on a surface that you don’t mind ruining. And remember that, with both spraying and rolling, you will get better at it with practice.