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How to Match the Roller Cover to the Surface

Loading a Brush

Choosing the correct roller cover starts with knowing the sheen of paint you will be using. Once you’ve picked either a woven or knit roller, the next characteristic you want to focus on is the nap height, which is the length of the fibers that extend from the backing and carry the paint to the wall. Below are some general guidelines to help you.

For smooth surfaces such as new drywall, choose a shorter nap (3/16” or 1/4") to evenly apply the paint. Because a shorter nap picks up less paint, it is common for some painters to “bump up” to a longer nap for increased production. While this can be a good idea to speed your painting project up, it is important to note that higher naps may leave a textured look on a smooth surface. Always remember to select a nap height that will provide you with your desired finish regardless of the paint pick up and release capabilities. Sometimes faster isn’t always better!

Rough surfaces require a higher nap (3/4” to 1-1/2”) so the long fibers can reach into the valleys of the texture. Higher nap heights are great for textured plaster or stucco, siding, decks, concrete block, brick, and corrugated metal. Long nap heights offer great paint pick up and release, which makes getting into all the cracks and crevices of the surface easy. Remember, the rougher the surface, the higher the nap to make your job easier.

Next, learn how to properly load a roller cover.

The Wooster Brush Company offers quality roller covers for every project. If you still want to leave it to the experts, visit our Roller Cover Advisor. If you have additional questions or need more information, please contact our Customer Service Department.