This post was last updated on June 23rd, 2018 at 01:25 pm
Paint rollers are a device that allows the professional or do-it-yourself painter the ability to apply a broad swath of paint in a very short period of time.
A paint roller consists of a roller handle and a roller sleeve.
The roller handle is the part that you use, wash thoroughly when you are done and re-use the next time you need to paint.
The roller sleeve can be washed, however, with the labor cost and the use of cleaning materials including hot water, and the fact that they are very difficult to clean thoroughly, they are normally discarded when finished with.
Table of Contents
Paint Rollers: Quality Counts
You can purchase very low-cost roller handles for a few dollars, or you can purchase roller handles in the $10-20 dollar range.
If you are doing a lot of painting, buy the best you can afford.
If you want a better paint job, buy the best you can afford.
The differences between the low cost and more expensive roller handles include ease of rotation, more comfortable handle, better support for the roller sleeve and better prevention of paint entering between the paint sleeve and the roller frame.
Paint Rollers: Threaded Handle
Roller handles are commonly manufactured with a female thread on the end of the handle.
Make sure the one you purchase has this. You can thread a broom handle or an expandable painter’s pole into the threaded receptacle on the paint roller handle.
This makes painting ceilings as well as upper and lower walls a whole lot easier on the back.
My preference is a collapsible paint pole.
They aren’t terribly expensive, and when you are painting in a narrow hallway or closet, you will appreciate the fact that the pole does collapse, while still giving you better reach for the ceiling and hard to reach spots on the walls.
When painting in a stairwell, an extending painter pole is really beneficial.
Specific Sleeve Width
The roller handles are manufactured to utilize a specific roller sleeve width. The most common width is 9.5″ (240 mm).
“Whiz roller frames” are common too, and come in sizes to accept 3″ (75 mm) through 7″ (175 m) depending on the manufacturer.
Their use is as varied as their size, with a predominance for painting trim and smaller flat surfaces.
Be a bit careful when you buy a smaller width roller handle. Some do not have the circular diameter to fit certain roller sleeve diameters. You have to match the roller handle to the correct “hole size” in the paint sleeve.
The roller sleeves or paint sleeves slide over the cage in the roller handle. They are the devices that actually apply the paint to the wall or other surfaces that you are painting.
Different Roller Sleeve Thicknesses
As well as the need to match the width of the roller sleeve to the roller cage, it’s necessary to decide how “deep the pile” will be on the roller sleeve itself.
Depths of the pile can range from 1/4″ (6 mm) through to 1/2″ (12 mm) as a norm, though some specialty sleeves have different characteristics in their pile.
When you are selecting a roller sleeve, you would normally opt for a shallower pile the flatter the surface you are painting, and a thicker pile for the rougher the surface.
Some pro painters opt for a thicker pile regardless, as they like the coverage they get using a thick pile roller sleeve on certain walls.
Read the cover on the roller sleeve carefully. It will provide the information you need to know to select the right sleeve for you.
In particular, make sure that the material the roller sleeve is constructed of is suitable for the type of paint you are planning to use. Not all roller sleeves can handle all kinds of paint, though, for the common paints the typical household requires, the typical roller sleeve will handle them just fine.
Yes, you can purchase cheaper roller sleeves or more expensive. And, if the quality of the paint job is important to you, don’t scrimp on the sleeve. The quality of the sleeve is directly correlated to the quality of the paint job.
A cheap sleeve will almost always equal a poor paint job unless you are a very gifted painter.
Taping The Roller Sleeve
One more thing on roller sleeves; before you use one, wrap the pile in the non-stick green masking tape lightly, and then unwrap it, to remove any loose lint that can mar the finish.
Even if the roller sleeve is touted as lint-free, there may be the odd loose fiber.
Picking them off the roller sleeve before it’s covered in the paint makes that process a lot less messy!
Scissoring The Roller Sleeve
And even one more thing!
When using 10 mm and 15mm and thicker roller sleeves, some pros will use a pair of scissors to trim the edge of the roller sleeve on both ends.
They swear that this reduces the tendency of the roller to “spit” little globules of paint onto the wall surface, globules that might not be noticed until they have dried, thus imparting an unsightly bump on an otherwise perfectly smooth and perfectly painted wall.
Sounds like good advice to me.
Hope this help you understand paint rollers better.