Once you’ve cut in your corners with a paint brush, it’s time to switch to a roller: you’ll cover more area in less time. But the type of roller and cover will vary with the job.
When buying an all-purpose roller, the kind that looks like a birdcage is your best bet, because it’s good for both oil-based paints and faster drying paints, since it cleans up more easily. Make sure the handle is threaded to attach to an extension pole. While widths vary from 4″ to 18″, a good standard width is 10-12″.
When choosing your tray, make sure it’s wide enough to accommodate the roller. Ladder hooks are a nice accessory; they let you keep the tray handy no matter where you’re working. You might also want to get plastic inserts to save cleaning the tray every time.
Choose a roller cover to match the type of paint you’re using; it’s usually on the label. Most synthetic materials can be used with all paints, but you can use natural materials, too. Mohair’s great for smooth finishes, and lamb’s wool is intended for alkyd paints. Covers for latex paints should have a plastic sleeve, while alkyd rollers can use a cardboard sleeve.
Choose nap length based on the surface you’re painting. The longer the nap, the better the coverage on a rougher surface.
You might also want some more specialized tools. Trim rollers can be cone-shaped for inside corners or narrow for moldings and areas where precision counts. Pad painters are good for rough surfaces, such as fences, shutters and shakes.
Next, doing a good job with your roller.