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The following describes our process for painting walls with a roller.  Every project is different but we’ve outlined a general guideline below to ensure your project will go smoothly.

We’ve created a material list, a step by step guide and a quiz to test your knowledge.


1. Pre-Arrival

Please refer to service standards post for instructions on how to communicate with a client and organize for a job.

2. Room Preparation

Please refer to room preparation post for instructions on how to get ready for drywall repairs and/or interior painting.

3. Drywall Repairs

Please refer to our drywall repair post for further instruction.

4. Masking a room

Please refer to our tips and tricks for taping and masking a room for painting.

5. Cutting Straight lines

Please refer to our post on how to use a brush to paint straight lines around mill work and up to ceilings.

6. Rolling Walls

** If you had any major repairs made which involved applying mud it should now be dry.  Before you paint you should sand the mud with a medium to fine sanding sponge.  If the surface needs more than a quick pass over with a sanding sponge you should sand with an electric sander attached to a shop vac.  Sanding drywall compound can quickly and easily coat an entire room of furniture which has to be avoided.  We use the Festool CT26 hooked up to the Festool RTS 400 and 120 Grit Granat Sand Paper.

  • Pour Paint – Start by pouring your paint into a paint tray or 5 gallon bucket.  Always use a bucket or tray liner.
  • Pick Roller Nap – Generally speaking, we like to use 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch nap roller cover for paints with a sheen such as eggshell or satin.  The lesser roller nap with not hold as much paint but when paint is applied less roller stipple will be evident after the paint has dried.  Shiny paint with heavy roller stipple does not look good.  For flat paints you can go up to a 3/4 inch roller nap because that paint typically dries flatter and light does show heavier stippled paint.  For textured surfaces such as knockdown you can go 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inch nap roller.
  • DeFuzz Roller – If working with a new roller you will need to remove roller fuzz by wrapping roller with tape and removing.  If you do not do this step you will be left with roller lint on your walls which will need to be sanded to remove.
  • Load Roller – Before applying paint you need to work paint into your roller, saturating it with paint.  Roll into your paint source while using the grate to work the paint into the roller nap.
  • Lay Paint On – Laying the paint on means we are trying to get paint applied to the surface with sufficient mil thickness.  One of the most common problems I see with new painters is dry rolling or extending their roll beyond the point in which their roller is laying paint onto the surface.  When your roller is loaded with paint and you first touch it to the wall it will likely apply a heavier coat than is actually needed.  This heavy coat could result in a paint sag which can be difficult to fix.  To avoid these sags you always want to start your roller at least 1/2 a roller width away from a corner, window, ceiling etc.  You want to start towards the middle of the wall so you can use that heavy area to eventually lay paint off by back-rolling.
  • Lay Paint Off – Without saturating the roller, back roll over your surface finishing the final pass tight to trim, ceiling and corner with a down stroke.  You want a nice even distribution of paint which is why we call this “laying the paint off”.  Its important to get tight to corner, trim, etc. so you create an even appearance off roller stipple.
  • Special Considerations – Walls that are tall can be a challenge especially with eggshell or higher sheen paints.   If you have to roll half a wall its important to not get too far left or right before shortening your roller extension to finish the bottom half of the wall.  Ideally, you are able to roll the wall from top to bottom but sometimes that isn’t possible.  Rolling behind toilets or tight areas may require a smaller 4 inch roller.

7.  Next Steps

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