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When it comes to painting large surfaces, a paint roller can save you a lot of time and energy. However, there’s a lot of confusion about the different paint rollers and how to best use them.
So what is the best type of roller for emulsion paint? Read over this quick guide on how to select the best type of roller for emulsion paint to find out.
What is Emulsion Paint
First off, you may be wondering what exactly emulsion paint is.
Emulsion paints are water-based with acrylic or vinyl resins that make them more hard-wearing. These acrylic or vinyl resins are suspended in water and as the paint begins to dry they fuse together to create a film of paint on the wall.
This makes it impossible to wash emulsion paint off the wall once it has dried and the shinier the finish, the more hard-wearing it tends to be. Emulsion paint finish can range from matte, eggshell, silk, satin, and full gloss.
Most of the time emulsion paint is used for internal walls and ceilings, but some types are produced specifically for woodwork.
Roller or Brush?
The fact that you’re reading this suggests you’ve already decided to go with a roller rather than a brush. Just in case, though, we’re going to explain how to decide what best to use.
For a larger, flat surface, like a wall, rollers are preferred. Rollers save a ton of time and energy when painting large areas and produce a much evener coat than a paintbrush.
A paintbrush should be used when painting edges and corners where rollers can’t quite cover. This is known as ‘cutting in’. POUSE around the HOUSE offers a quick tutorial on how to do this in this beginners guide for DIY painting.
Types of Rollers
Rollers come in two parts: the frame/handle and the roller itself which is called a sleeve. The sleeve is disposable and should be carefully selected for each job.
Picking the right frame
When it comes to picking the right frame, apply some common sense. For example to reach a high ceiling, go for a long handle or telescopic pole (or simply use a ladder).
The frame handle can be made of wood, plastic or a synthetic material. You’ll find wood is less easy to clean, so we recommend avoiding wood.
At PWS, we highly recommend this frame from Purdy:
- Its open design ensures more paint is delivered onto the wall
- It's easier to clean
- No residual build up
- No sleeve roll-off
- Compatible with our power Lock extension pole.
Choosing the right sleeve
Choosing the right sleeve for each job is based on the following criteria:
- The type of surface being painted
- The type of product being applied. E.g. paint, stain or varnish
- The desired finish
8 types of sleeves
There 7 common types of sleeves, each with their own use:
- Foam sleeve
- Staining sleeve
- Lacquering sleeve
- Medium pile sleeve
- Long pile sleeve
- Short pile sleeve
- Honeycomb sleeve
Note: The pile (or nap) of the sleeve is the length of the roller’s hair.
Sleeves can be composed of synthetic fibres or natural fibres, and sometimes a mixture of both.
- Synthetic fibres are best suited for oil-based paint.
- Natural fibres are best suited for emulsion paint
Best Type of Roller for Emulsion Paint
While man-made, or synthetic, fibre rollers are great when using oil-based paint, emulsion paint should be applied using a natural fibre roller sleeve. This is because natural fibres hold more paint than synthetic ones and splash a lot less.
It’s important to have a roller that doesn’t splash paint when using emulsion paint since emulsion is nearly impossible to wash off once dried.
If you’re painting a textured wall or artexed ceiling, go for a long-sleeved mohair roller. Mohair is actually the hair from Angora goats. A lot of professional painters prefer these rollers because they are absorbent.
A more absorbent roller means less time is spent reapplying paint and that will help get the job done faster. It also helps the paint go on smoothly and evenly.
Lambswool rollers are also great for emulsion based paints for similar reasons.
Although natural fibres like mohair and lambswool tend to be more expensive, they’re well worth the extra expense when painting textured surfaces.
You can save and reuse your rollers by storing them in a plastic bag so the emulsion paint doesn’t dry on, and then wash it thoroughly.
For a smooth plastered wall, go for a high-quality, woven fabric medium pile sleeve like this one: Wickes Professional Finish Medium Pile Roller Sleeve.
What to Avoid
Cheap paint rollers should be avoided! They are often created with cardboard tubes, which eventually gets damp to the point of the bristles and foam coming loose.
Rollers come in a variety of widths anywhere from 90mm to 450mm, which all have their own purpose. While there’s no exact right or wrong width, just remember that the larger the surface the wider the roller.
There are many types of paint rollers for different purposes. Sometimes knowing the best roller for the job isn’t always easy to figure out.
We hope you found this simple guide on the best type of roller for emulsion paint easy to follow and will help you get the job done.
Do you have another suggestion for what the best type of roller is for emulsion paint? Please share with us in the comments below!