Toolipedia: Paint Roller Covers

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about paint roller covers

An assortment of different Paint Roller Covers | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

What is a Paint Roller Cover?

A paint roller cover is a cylindrical painting tool with a hollow core made of plastic or hard paper and a soft, absorbent fabric exterior. They are most often used to quickly and evenly cover large areas with paint, stain or other finishes. Paint roller covers are designed to be used with a paint roller frames. Roller covers can be disposed of or cleaned and reused after a painting project has been completed. 

How is a Paint Roller Cover used?

After being installed on a paint roller frame, the cover is then loaded with paint (or other product) by rolling it back and forth in a sloped paint roller tray. The paint is then spread by rolling the cover along the surface of the wall, ceiling, or project. When most of the paint has been transferred from the roller cover to the surface, the cover is re-loaded with paint in the tray and the process repeated.

What are the different types of paint roller frames?

There are many different size roller covers available. The most common size roller cover measures 9 inches long, but they are available in sizes ranging from 2 inches up to 18 inches. There are many different fabric types and pile thickness to choose from. The following guide is provided courtesy of Sherwin Williams:

Fabric Types

  • Synthetic covers (nylon, dacron or polyester) – ideal for most latex paints.
  • Natural covers (mohair or sheepskin) – should be used with oil-based paints. If used with latex paints, the water in the paint may swell the fibers, causing them to become matted.
  • Blended covers (polyester / wool blend) – combines the extra pickup of wool with polyester for longer life. Can be used with all paints.

Pile Depth

Pile depth refers to the thickness of the roller cover’s fiber nap. It’s essential to choose the right pile depth for the surface you’re painting. Sherwin-Williams offers six pile depths:

  • Very Smooth – for metal doors and plaster (smooth foam)
  • Smooth – for drywall (1/4-in. nap)
  • Semi-Smooth – for drywall (3/8-in. nap)
  • Semi-Rough – for rough wood and acoustic tile (1/2-in. nap)
  • Rough – for textured ceilings and stucco finishes (3/4-in. nap)
  • Very Rough – for concrete block, brick and fences (1-in. nap)

Purdy makes a high-quality paint roller.

Removing the fuzz from a paint roller | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Paint Roller Tip: Remove the fuzz

Some new roller covers (usually the cheaper ones) have a layer of fuzz that detaches from the cover. The first time you load up a fuzzy roller, the paint mixes with the fuzz and creates small bumps on the wall. One way to remove the fuzz is to wrap masking tape all the way around the roller cover. When you pull the tape off, the excess fuzz will be pulled off along with it.

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