Should I Spray or Should I Roll? 4 Common Questions Answered

Spray vs. roll – which one should you choose? The answer is that both are good application techniques, and each has its advantages, says Rick Watson, director of Product Information and Technical Services at Sherwin-Williams. In this article, he answers four of the most frequently asked questions he hears about this topic.

1. Is proficiency with the sprayer the most important factor in deciding whether or not to use it to do an interior paint job?

No project is one size fits all. When approaching a new paint project, consider everything from your comfort level, size of the project, safety and experience to the manufacturer recommendations with the selected product.

While most coatings can be applied with an airless sprayer, additional considerations include the tip and hose, which are a part of a system that must be compatible with the material and surface that you are applying paint to.

Application techniques are also not mutually exclusive. Even with a perfect spraying technique, it’s often recommended to backroll to hide imperfections or to provide a smooth, attractive finish.

2. What’s the biggest mistake I can make when using a sprayer? With a roller?

Preparation and using quality paint and materials are the key to creating the best possible outcome out of a painting project. You will not achieve the desired results if you don’t take the time to make sure the surface is clean, dry, dull and sound, or if you use poor quality paint and materials.

We have created a Brush and Roller Selection Guide to help you choose the right application tools for each type of paint we sell. Each paint product is paired with the preferred brush and roller to give you outstanding results each time.

Knowing how to properly operate and maintain an airless sprayer will ensure that jobs are completed safely and professionally and add years of life to this critical piece of equipment. It’s important to remember safety guidelines.

The high pressure generated by an airless sprayer can cause a potentially dangerous skin injection unless proper precautions are taken, and you should never remove protective devices like the spray gun tip guard and engage the spray gun trigger safety when you’re not spraying.

Watch this video for an overview of airless sprayer safety guidelines

3. Which lasts longer – walls painted with a roller or a sprayer?

If you are using the proper tools, applying at the same wet film thickness and using the same high-quality paint, your new paint should stand the test of time – regardless of whether you roll or spray.

4. Are there as many paint colors available for spraying as there are for rolling? Or do you use the same type of paint for both?

Most coatings and colors can be applied by brush, roll or spray. Refer to the product data page to review application techniques.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of PPC magazine. Rick Watson, director of Product Information and Technical Services at Sherwin-Williams, answers pro questions in the Ask Your ProPartner™ column in PPC magazine.

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