Rochele Painter rolling paint brush in tray

Here at Rochele Painting we often get approached by quite a few clients to explain the difference between rolling and spraying when applying paint systems. Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to outline the pros and cons for each application method and dismiss the numerous myths.

Below are the pros and cons of both systems:

Rolling on paint

Invented in 1940 by Canadian Norman Breakey, the paint roller is the traditional method for painting large surfaces such as walls and ceilings in order to achieve a smooth and uniform finish without the visible brush stokes.

Rolling on paint requires minimal preparation and clean up time and allows an easy flow of workmanship. Rolling on paint allows a painter to apply thick, and lightly textured coats of paint.

Spraying on paint

The spray gun stems from the invention of the first airbrush which was patented in 1876 by American Francis Edgar Stanley. As such, most people may not be aware, that the first spray gun machine was developed in 1887, predating the roller by almost 53 years.

Spraying on paint requires large amounts of preparation time to ensure all areas not to be painted; i.e. windows, architraves and floors, are taped, marked or covered before application begins. Once spraying has begun, application is faster, can cover larger areas with a uniform and smoother in finish.

Most good painters will then “back roll” their spray work, especially on ceilings and walls to push the paint into the surface pores. This will also give a lighter, textured finish, while ensuring any cracks or joins are also filled in. The finished result of “back rolling” also ensures surfaces are easier to “touch up” in years to come.

In conclusion

Neither spraying nor rolling on paint is much quicker than each other when taking into account the relevant preparation and application times. Also, neither method may use more paint the other, with modern day spray machines involving computerised measurements.

While spraying is a great way to paint harder to reach areas, such as cupboards and shelves or uniformly paint detailed items such as lattice, both methods are used depending on the requirements of the paint project.