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Paint Spraying vs Rolling

What’s the Difference?

In addition to choosing paint color, sheen, brand, etc…. It’s an important decision when coming to your choice of paint or using a sprayer. Both are messy - no getting around that. There are lots of myths regarding which application method is easier. Sprayers aren’t necessarily faster or easier. Here is a list of pros and cons for both methods.


With a sprayer, you can apply paint into the narrowest of crevices, something that’s difficult to do with a brush. You can also cover large areas very quickly. Also, because the sprayer aerates the paint, an experienced operator achieves a smoother finish. The paint sprays out in a fine even mist which helps you achieve the most pristine finish when painting surfaces like cabinets, doors, or other millwork.

Sprayers are great for filling the gaps in textured surfaces: Sprayers will tackle complicated textures and small crevices, coating any space with an even and thin layer. They also give a better finish on non-flat surfaces.

Spraying requires practice before application and extensive masking and prep work. They also require in depth cleaning and maintenance - as well, they are expensive ($40 - $200).


Rolling paint is the frugal homeowner’s choice. A roller is the best applicator to use for the vast majority of common household paint projects and you don’t need to be highly skilled. As long as you use a high-quality roller, this method is a foolproof way to ensure your walls are evenly-painted and that the layer of paint is thick enough. Rolling requires minimal clean up or maintenance.

Another thing to consider: If you’re interrupted or tired of rolling, stopping your project and continuing another day isn’t a big deal—you can quickly wash up your roller or stow your paint-covered tools in a zip-lock bag to keep them fresh until you resume. But once you’ve filled a sprayer with paint, you’re committed until you’re done as paint left in the sprayer’s hose or gun will dry and cause clogs.

Rolling paint is hard to perform on textured surfaces and very time consuming in large spaces. Rolling also requires you to be very meticulous and cautious when creating even coverage.


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