HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ROLLER COVER FOR YOUR PROJECT

Select the best high-quality roller cover for your next project to ensure first-rate results from Benjamin Moore® paint.

A close up of a roller painting a white wall.
Paint rollers are ideal for large flat surfaces because they help get the job done faster. Rollers are especially helpful for textured surfaces like stucco, concrete, and brick. Use this guide to help you choose the right roller cover type, size and thickness (nap) for any job.
Get top tips for choosing a high-quality paint roller cover in this video.

Step #1: Know the Different Paint Roller Cover Types

Popular types of paint roller covers include:

  • Microfiber—Holds up to three times more paint than a standard roller cover and provides the smoothest finish; works with all paints, enamel and sheens, and best with semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes like ADVANCE®, an interior paint that’s perfect for doors, trim and cabinetry.

  • Nylon/Polyester—Suitable for water-based paint like Regal® Select Interior on any substrate; resists matting and produces a smooth surface.

  • Natural Fibers—Suitable for an oil- or alkyd-based paint; primarily made from lamb’s wool or mohair; works on any surface.

  • Blended Fibers—Combines synthetic and natural fibers for oil or high-gloss latex paint; preferred for porous surfaces like bare wood.

Helpful Tip

Choose quality over cost-savings: Budget rollers shed fibers and deteriorate with numerous washings. A quality roller cover may cost a little more money but lasts longer and provides more uses if maintained properly.

Cheap rollers often do not hold enough paint and shed fibers on your walls. Opt for a quality roller cover that includes beveled edges, no visible seams, a plastic core and visible bounce-back when squeezed.
A homeowner removing a roller cover from its packaging. A homeowner removing a roller cover from its packaging.

Step #2: Choose the Best Roller Cover Size


Paint roller covers come in several different sizes for application on a range of project areas. Use a small roller for tight spots and a larger one for wide-open spaces, like a wall or ceiling. Here are some project guidelines when choosing a roller size:

  • Walls, Ceilings, Flat Doors—Use a standard-size, 9” (240mm) roller

  • Small Furnishings, Paneled Cabinet Doors, Wide Trim, Narrow & Tight Surfaces, Edges, Frames, Handrails—Use a medium-size, 4” (100mm) roller

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Helpful Tip

Before using a new roller, wrap painter’s tape around the palm of your hand, sticky side out. Rub the tape along the roller to remove excess lint.
A homeowner picking up a roller cover to start their painting project. A homeowner picking up a roller cover to start their painting project.

Step #3: Understand Nap Thickness


Nap is the thickness of the fibers on the roller cover, also known as “pile.” The more texture your surface has, the thicker the nap should be. Examples of nap thickness and projects include:

  • 3/16” - ¼”—For smooth surfaces like metal doors, trim and cabinet doors; works well with semi-gloss or gloss coatings

  • ⅜” - ½” (9.5-12.7mm)—For smooth and semi-smooth surfaces like drywall, painted or unpainted walls and ceilings

  • ¾” - 1” (19.05-25.4mm)—For semi-rough surfaces like wood, stucco or a textured ceiling

  • 1 ¼” - 1 ½” (31.75-38.1mm)—For rough surfaces like concrete block, brick, or masonry

You’ll still need a paintbrush for areas that demand precision, like cutting in corners and painting trim. Otherwise, rolling paint over large areas is extremely efficient and offers the smoothest finish.

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Helpful Tip

While painting, if you see little dimples on your wall—think orange peels—consider switching to a roller cover with a thinner nap.


Have more questions? Your local Benjamin Moore retailer can offer more advice on choosing roller covers and how to use them.
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