What's the Difference? Spraying vs. Rolling Paint

What’s the Difference? Spraying vs. Rolling Paint

You’ve decided to paint your own walls, but have you thought about how? Head to a paint supply shop, and they’re likely to suggest a variety of rollers, but that isn’t your only option. For some, using a paint sprayer eliminates many of the annoyances of a roller. On the other hand, it can take more preparation and requires a higher skill level. All of this is to say: you should weigh your options before sealing the deal—and your walls—with a painting technique. To make sense of roll painting vs. spray painting, interior designer and Clare paint founder Nicole Gibbons shares some of her best advice for preparing and achieving results you’ll be truly satisfied with.

Whether you’re painting a room or the siding on your house, you have quite a few decisions to make. Colour choices, types of paint, and application methods are probably at the top of the list. That’s right, brushes and rollers aren’t the only way for a homeowner to apply paint anymore. Paint sprayers are now options for all skill levels. For the do-it-yourselfer, these spray guns are small, hand-held, and use compressed air to apply a fine mist of paint. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer Melbourne home painting services

Using a paint sprayer may sound like a faster application method, but that’s not necessarily the case. The surface, its location, and how much time you have are factors to consider when picking your tool for your paint job. Read through all the pros and cons of spraying vs. rolling paint to see which tool and technique best suits your project.

Spray Paint Walls or Roll Them: Which Is Faster, Easier?

Roller or sprayer for painting walls in your home? It’s a tough choice. Paint spraying is fast, but only after you conclude with the extensive preparation work. Rolling is slower, but it lays down more of a quality coat than spraying does.

Using a Roller

A roller is the best applicator to use for the vast majority of common household paint projects, says Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare. “A nine-inch roller is what you’ll want to use for rolling large surface areas such as walls or ceilings, and you don’t need to be highly skilled.” So long as you use a high-quality roller, this method is a foolproof way to ensure your walls are evenly-painted and that the layer of paint is thick enough. “Low-quality roller covers will shed hairs, leaving fuzzy lint to dry into your paint and ruin your finish,” Gibbons adds.

Cheap roller covers also have a weak inner core that will start to dissolve when it comes into contact with your paint, which can also cause it to slide off the roller frame during application. In addition to a nine-inch roller, Gibbons suggests punching a four-and-a-half inch roller for smaller surface areas and increasing precision.

You may want to use the paint roller method if some of these conditions are met:

  • Masking is a chore: While you do need to mask out some areas when paint-rolling, it nowhere compares to the huge amount of masking you will need to do when spraying. Consider that with paint spraying, every square inch that you don’t want to be painted must be masked in film or with a drop cloth. Whatever you neglect to mask when spraying will get painted, like it or not. Rolling vastly reduces the amount of masking you will need to do.
  • You are painting interior walls only: Are you painting only the walls and not the ceiling? This factor may tip things in the direction of paint-rolling for you. When you roll on paint, it is relatively easy to exclude the ceiling. There is no need to use masking film on the ceiling when rolling walls.
  • You like to keep things simple: Roller, roller cover, paint tray, and tray liner: these are your four main painting supplies when rolling. Also, with the roller method, it is easy to jump into your painting project for a while, then put it on pause so you can attend to the rest of your life. With paint spraying, it is an all-or-nothing project that consumes your entire day.
  • Painting on a budget: Paint spraying wastes an incredible amount of paint when the atomized paint drifts away. When rolling, practically every drop ends up on the surface. It is estimated that as much as one-third of sprayed paint ends up elsewhere than the intended surface. Also factor in the cost of tools. All roller items are inexpensive compared to the purchase and maintenance of a paint sprayer.
  • Covering a dirty surface: While it is always best to thoroughly clean the surface before painting, sometimes this doesn’t happen. If so, paint rolling is here to save the day. Paint rolling allows you more leeway when the surface isn’t perfectly clean. Rolled paint goes down thick on the initial coat and bonds better to the surface. The tiny paint droplets produced by spraying do not connect with each other as well as rolled-on paint. Professional painters have a clever technique that combines the best of spraying and rolling: back-rolling. Paint is sprayed on the wall then is quickly rolled down, fusing the droplets together.

Using a Paint Sprayer

Using a paint sprayer is a great option when you are painting a new build or empty space, or covering very large surface areas (ex. all of your ceilings or your home’s exterior). The paint sprays out in a fine even mist which helps you achieve the most pristine finish when painting surfaces like cabinets, doors, or other millwork.” Paint sprayers are very fast, and once you get the hang of it very easy. Gibbons suggests getting used to painting sprayer before painting the desired space. For first-timers, practising on a wood plank or other scraps is a great way to get adjusted. “Once you get the hang of it, large areas can be painted easier and faster than with a roller, and you are left with a beautiful, smooth finish.”

While rolling has its points, paint sprayers do exist for a good reason: they are fast. You may wish to use a paint sprayer if some of these conditions are met:

  • Priming new, large interior spaces: When the room is in the early phases of remodelling, it is a blank canvas. This canvas lends itself well to paint spraying. You can spray with abandon, masking off only a few key areas such as plumbing stub-outs, electrical boxes, and windows. When a room is at this point of remodelling, it will always be faster to spray than roll the paint.
  • Painting an exterior with a clear perimeter: Exteriors with mature landscaping, extensive decking, sunrooms, playsets, garages, and anything else close to the house that will not be painted significantly drags down your preparation time. A clear perimeter means that you only need to mask items on the house, not around the house.
  • You have lots of detail work or texture: Paint sprayers make short work of complicated textures, such as those found on crown moulding, popcorn or cottage cheese ceilings, built-up baseboards, deep exterior textures, cornices, dentils, or masonry. Paint sprayers have the ability to work into the narrowest crevices, laying down a thin coat. By contrast, brushing or rolling detailed surfaces can result in pooled up paint and drips.

Rolling Vs Spraying – Advantage and Disadvantage

Rollers Vs Paint Sprayers Interior

Painting is a good way to add to the curb appeal of your property and even increase the value of your home. However, choosing the right type of painting method can be intimidating. When it comes to interior painting, most homeowners are left in a dilemma to choose between rolling and spraying. Looking for the best home painting company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

Each of these interior painting methods has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will look at the difference between these two paint application methods.

Paint Spraying


This is a technique of applying paint using an airless sprayer. Best airless paint sprayers and high-pressure paint spray guns are painted sprayers that are commonly used by homeowners.

Advantages of Paint Spraying:

  • Great for fast application- One of the primary advantages of spraying is speed. You just need to fill the sprayer with paint and start painting. Hence, this method of application allows you to work and get jobs done much faster.
  • Creates a more consistent and flawless coat, especially when done correctly by a professional.
  • Gives smoother and uniform finish that is free from roller and brush marks
  • It is easier to get into areas that are hard to reach
  • Less tedious than the brush and roller painting
  • Reduces labour cost as one person can cover large areas in a short period of time compared to using rollers or brushes.

Disadvantages of Paint Spraying:

  • Requires long Prep up and clean up time- Spraying paint requires careful masking of windows and doors and outdoor furniture. It also needs you to prepare the work surface by scraping, sanding and cleaning it before you can start painting. Additionally, you need to prepare the paint and remove large particles that may clog the gun.
  • Uneconomical and does not conserve paint- Unlike brushing and rolling, spraying is likely to use 2-3 more paint. This is a downside of spraying since an incredible amount of paint wafts away into the air.
  • Impossible to paint on windy days since much of it will drift away.
  • Produces uneven coverage- Sometimes the coat can be too thick when spraying paint as the spray lines overlap in some areas. Besides, it does not properly fill cracks and seals.
  • Can be dangerous- High-pressure sprayers use high force to shoot paint, and this can penetrate the skin. Hence, it is vital to wear proper safety gear.

Rolling Paint

The paint roller is a traditional method of painting that is mainly used on large surfaces like walls and ceilings.

Advantages of Rolling:

  • Requires minimal prep and clean up time- Unlike spraying, rolling requires very little prep work since masking is not necessary. As for preparing the work surface, all you need to do is lay a cloth just below your work area. Also, no draping of outdoor furniture and bushes with plastic as you must do when using a sprayer.
  • Creates high-quality outcome.
  • Rolling can give both a thick and lightly textured coat and offer better coverage than spraying.
  • Using a roller allows the coating to sink in and penetrate.
  • Has excellent control and is easier to be precise since it eliminates the risk of overspray.

Disadvantages of Rolling:

  • Rolling can leave roller marks, and this creates an inconsistent coat.
  • The application process is slow, and more labour hours are needed.
  • Costly in terms of labour
  • Paint rollers are designed for large uninterrupted surfaces, and it’s difficult to use a larger roller to get into crannies and nooks created by siding.
  • Obstructions make the application difficult.

Spraying vs. Rolling for Interior Paint

Now that we have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of both methods of paint application, you may be wondering which is better than the other. The paint roller is a labour-intensive interior painting method that requires more time and painters in order to get the job done while a sprayer can effectively streamline the process within a short period of time.

Spraying is also a great way to apply paint on hard to reach areas like shelves and ceiling. Therefore, if time and cost are your key concerns, then paint sprayer may be suitable for you. Typically, most professional contractors believe that spraying provides a better paint application and high-quality job than rolling. However, there are certain instances where using a roller can be more efficient.

Benefits of Using Both

The best painting results will be achieved by using the mixed technique – start with painting the corners, difficult-to-reach areas and edges with the brush, and then cover larger surfaces with the roller. This method is more efficient and will save you time, plus you’ll end up using less amount of paint. 

Whichever painting tools you are using, it’s necessary to wash them with water after completion of the project. You can use them again after they have dried. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of melbourne home painter services. 

Whether you need major remodelling or you want to revamp your walls, at Home One Service, we are here to help enhance the look and feel, comfort and safety of your home.

Tips for Making the Work Faster and Easier

  • Work in sections. Break up the project into smaller sections that you can tackle with ease. Some homeowners find it helpful to think of each large wall surface as an individual project. You can even each large wall surface in a separate season—tackling one face of the house each summer, for example. You can also mentally divide each “wall project” into smaller sections that can be completed in the course of two hours.
  • Hand-paint only the special sections. Some areas need more attention and a thicker coat of paint than others. Exterior corners and drain pipes are areas that tend to get battered by the weather and can benefit from hand-painting. If painting the entire house by hand seems more than you can tackle, at least address the special areas with the special attention that comes along with hand brushing.
  • Clean brushes carefully. Learn how to properly clean paintbrushes. A quality paintbrush is a fine tool; by treating your brushes better, you extend their lifespan. This allows you to buy higher-quality brushes, which in turn makes your painting go smoother.
  • Use bigger brushes. Buy at least one 4-inch brush. It just makes sense that if you’re going to be painting broad expanses, you need a broader brush.
  • Choose proper paint sheens. Using flat or matte paint finishes helps you pick up again on your painting without worrying about visible lap marks. Flat paint hides overlap marks better. However, be aware that surfaces coated with satin or semi-gloss paints will be easier to clean.
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