Painting With a Roller vs. a Brush

ECOS Paints 09/25/2020
Painting With a Roller vs. a Brush

When we think of painting in the home, the first image that comes to mind is a someone in a paint-spattered set of overalls with a single, square bush. But anyone with painting experience knows that a painter’s tools are as abundant as the number of things they can paint. The painter’s skill comes from knowing when to use which tool. Knowing when painting with a roller vs. a brush is the best choice for a project is a perfect example of this.


When To Use a Brush

The more common of the two tools, brushes apply paint or varnish using bristles made of animal hair or synthetic materials. Brushes can come in a variety of sizes, from a dainty, Da Vinci-esque brush to a bulkier brush several inches across, each of them useful for a wide variety of projects. Since brushes are generally smaller than rollers, these projects are often more precision-based, such as painting trim, window frames, murals, and furniture, though brushes are also useful for larger projects like walls.

Paintbrush Tips

Because of the variety of paintbrushes, it’s important to use the right brush for the job. Brush size and material matter. For example, our non-toxic* paints for furniture and walls work best with a synthetic brush so that the bristles don’t absorb all the water. Paintbrushes tend to splatter paint, so to avoid this, try not to dip the brush too far into the can, and make sure you tap the brush to remove excess paint. Also, avoid “over-brushing” when painting walls, which can lead to a less-than-smooth finish.

Paint Rollers

When To Use a Roller

Rather than bristles, paint rollers use a cylinder made of wool or foam to “roll” the paint directly onto the surface. Rollers typically cover a wider surface more quickly, often between 4 and 9 inches. Because of that, they are most useful for larger projects that don’t require much detail, such as walls or concrete.

Paint Roller Tips

Although paint rollers often offer a smoother and quicker paint job, paint splattering is still possible. To avoid this, try slowing down your rolls, and don’t go over the same area repeatedly. A common trick to help you avoid going over the same area multiple times is to paint a W or zigzag shape first and then fill in the spaces.

When To Use Both

Some projects require both painting wide areas and painting with precision. For these, painting with both a roller and a brush will give you the best results. For example, a wall is a wide space that most people rely on a roller for, but if you want to avoid getting the paint on the other walls, ceiling, or trim, you may want to consider painting the edges of the wall with a brush instead.

*Non-Toxic - Conforms to ASTM-D4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation and respiratory effects.