Is it better to paint a wall with roller or brush?
November 5, 2018 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Is it better to paint a wall with roller or brush?

My husband was helping my dad to paint some walls. My dad asked him to use a roller brush to paint the wall, my husband refused. He used a paint brush instead. This took him a very long time to finish painting the wall. In addition, he had to go on a ladder and paint and only had the brush with him so he had to go up and down the ladder to get more paint. He was so tired by the end of doing this.
I do not understand why he refused to use the roller however he is a particularly stubborn person in general. He does not like to be told what to do sometimes. So my dad just looked at him and let him do his method.
The next day, my dad finished some unfinished area with a roller which was much faster than using a brush. When my husband went to help the next day, my dad was finished already.

Is it better practice to paint with a roller or a brush? Which way is faster and the more commonly used method?
posted by direct1 to Home & Garden (25 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- cortex

Oh gosh. Painting a whole wall with a brush sounds horrible. I am not an expert, but I did extensive research on YouTube and various home renovation websites before I painted my walls, and I went with brush for the edges and then fill in with a roller. That seemed to be the consensus.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:49 PM on November 5, 2018 [9 favorites]

I've literally never, ever heard of anyone painting walls with a brush, that's crazy town, so much work - also far more likely to be uneven.
posted by smoke at 3:55 PM on November 5, 2018 [34 favorites]

Imagine you took the bristles or sponge or whatever from a brush and attached them to the outside of a tube. Then you took that tube and put it on a spindle...

I don't know why you would use a brush to paint a wall--at least in typical situations. In my experience as a non-professional interior wall painter using the right roller is so much faster and gives vastly superior results.
posted by sevenless at 3:56 PM on November 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I've painted a lot of walls in my time.

Roller pros:
- much, much faster
- more even coverage
- easier to deal with rough surfaces with a longer nap brush

Brush pros:
- more control
- can get areas a roller can't get, like trim or into edges

You really can't do a whole room with just a roller, but brush only is nuts. Also - you can take a paint can or bucket up the ladder with you. You don't have to go up and down for every reload.

I'd be shocked if the wall didn't look like crap at the end honestly. Latex paint is very prone to brushmarks.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2018 [20 favorites]

And every pro painter uses rollers or a sprayer plus brushes for trim & edging.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2018 [8 favorites]

Roller or sprayer for as much of the walls as is humanly possible, and brush for trim and edges.

Source: Briefly professional! I painted school interiors for 2 summers.
posted by esoterrica at 4:00 PM on November 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

I've was self-employed as a general handyman and ended up painting for half my work over an eight year period. For walls or ceiling areas - ease of application, uniformity of coverage and just general speed of work, a good quality roller will always be quicker than a brush.

Techniques will vary, but I normally will "cut in" the corners, edges and trim with an angled 3" trim brush. I'd then follow with a good quality roller appropriate for the paint and roughness of the wall. One "dip" of the roller can cover about 3-4 square feet. One dip of the paint brush might cover less than a square foot.
posted by tronec at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

Pros use a sprayer. For your average homeowner, roller for sure. You do still probably need a brush for edges, corners, trim, etc. but I can’t see a possible benefit to using a brush for a whole wall. Painting tray too, you don’t want to be dipping your brush in the paint can constantly or stuff may get in there.

Source: have painted a gazillion walls/friends’ walls.

Is there perhaps some mentality at play that more difficult = inherently better?
posted by AV at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with pretty much everyone, and I've used the same method tronec describes - corners and around trim with a smaller angled brush, roller everything else.

It does kind of depend on your wall though. Rollers are almost certainly superior for normal plaster or textured drywall walls, and rollers come with a variety of "naps" (the cushion thickness) to try to accommodate different textures of walls, since a roller will not do so well on a heavily textured wall with a thin nap. So, while a roller will far exceed a brush in terms of speed AND quality for drywall or plaster, a brush might be better for something like boards with beveled edges. But you also have to make sure you get the right kind of paint for a surface like that.
posted by LionIndex at 4:09 PM on November 5, 2018

Given that the answer to this question is self-evident, I don't understand the point of asking it here.

If the real issue is how to persuade a stubborn husband to do things the sensible way in general, the best method I know is to put a suggestion for doing a thing about two weeks before you need it done, then leaving it alone completely; that way, his brain has two weeks to integrate the thing and fool him into believing it was his idea in the first place.

If the real issue is that your husband is in the habit of trying to make you believe that He Knows Best And You're Just Wrong in all circumstances, you have the internet's encouragement to call bullshit in whatever way you think will do you the most good.

I've met people like your husband, and I agree with your father that the path of least drama was just to let the guy have his pride and work himself six times harder than he needed to in order to prove whatever ridiculous point he thought he was trying to make, then finish the job quietly without him after he'd gone. Some people's help is just too much like hard work.
posted by flabdablet at 4:31 PM on November 5, 2018 [38 favorites]

I've painted a wall or two with just a brush. My father-in-law won't use anything else. It's slower by far, and it takes a certain amount of skill not to leave some brush marks. Rollers, on the other hand... I use both the normal-sized ones and the little ones (about an inch in diameter and a few inches long). I'd use either instead of a brush every single time.

I've tried the gimmicky paint-pad things also, if you're looking for an option 3 - maybe they work for some people, but I found them to be a pain. Roller every time.
posted by pipeski at 4:42 PM on November 5, 2018

[One comment deleted. direct1, AskMetafilter isn't an open space to air complaints about family members. It's a place to ask and get answers to concrete questions, that is all; you should find another forum to get the kind of thing you're looking for.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:52 PM on November 5, 2018

Your husband sounds like a very difficult person to be around. Paint is nothing, and it wasn't even his house- he should have just done what the homeowner asked because that's what helping means.

It must be exhausting to collaborate with him and I kind of hope this issue, which is pretty cut and dry (like literally CUT in with a brush, paint with a damn roller like every single other person in the world does, and then finish the job with enough energy left to watch paint DRY) spawns a discussion about his behaviour that gives him a little self awareness about how arrogant and ridiculous he was in this situation.

I feel for the level of emotional labour you must need to do to get anything done with this guy ostensibly on your team.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:52 PM on November 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

Should i discuss all these comments with my husband? I am wary of scaring him off as he helped my parents with their renovations and they need his continuous help as they are old and cannot do it on their own. Should i show these comments to my husband to get him to understand how silly he is or will this backfire?
posted by direct1 at 5:00 PM on November 5, 2018

If your parents really need his help and he's the pouty type who might stop helping out of spite, then personally I guess I wouldn't risk the argument til the renos are done.

However, his behaviour is surely hard on you too, and it may never feel like a good time to cause drama.

But he sounds extremely unpleasant and exhausting and draining to live with, so at some point I hope you are able to have this convo and he is able to hear it.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Absolutely don't show him these comments - they make him look bad. I can't imagine anyone who would feel good reading all of the negative judgments of him on this page.

You know he can be stubborn. If you want to talk to him about this you need to make about the facts, not a power struggle about who is right and who is wrong.

Why do you think he did it his way? Does he need to be right all the time (that can really exhausting for both of you!!) or is there a way in which your father pushes his buttons? If you come to him with a different way of doing it, do you think he will listen to you? If you think he might, I would find an trustworthy source on the best way to paint a wall and see if he would be willing to look at that (and then perhaps he can teach your father something?) I notice Consumer Reports has a video on how to paint a wall - that could be a good resource that would let him take in the information without being triggered.
posted by metahawk at 5:23 PM on November 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

If your husband wants to do extra work and tire himself out, that's his business. If the results look bad, then you could talk to him about it but he might decide that he doesn't want to do the work anymore.

Don't make this about who is right and who is wrong. If he wants to do something a silly way, let him.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 5:24 PM on November 5, 2018 [6 favorites]

This isn't about painting technique. The painting is done. This is about the fact that if you're doing someone a "favor" by doing it in a way that they've specifically asked you not to do it, it's not really a favor at all. It's so frustrating for the person who needs help, because they don't feel that they're in a position to argue, but it's not the help they requested. I disagree that you shouldn't show him these comments. I think you should, because if he's like the other men I've known who are like this, he won't take your word for it, but might take the word of a bunch of strangers.
posted by HotToddy at 5:38 PM on November 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

I did the walls of a very small closet with a brush, it was too small a job to warrant a run to get a small roller, but if I'd had a small one I'd certainly have used it.

To your real question, whew, been there as the stubborn ass (as in animal) that dug in and insisted on something something. Going head to head is not, ah, effective. I liked the comment above to seed a particular idea two weeks before, but do not have much else other than a direct confrontation is loose/loose all around.
posted by sammyo at 6:04 PM on November 5, 2018

You've asked a few other questions about your husband, and it seems to come down to the fact that you both are *very* different people. Communication is important, and was important on some of your other Asks, but on this one, you just need to accept that this is who he is. If he wants to paint with a brush, and you're not in the project with him, just leave it be.

Your dad may have been frustrated, but that's not your job to jump in to tell your husband how to do it. Just do your best to learn to let this go and accept who he is and how he does stuff.
posted by hydra77 at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Should i discuss all these comments with my husband?

No. People so personally insecure as to evince an unshakeable belief in their own unconditional correctness will almost always deflect any attempt to challenge that belief as "nagging".

This is a public forum. If direct2 discovers it on his own, so be it; let us be the ones suggesting bluntly that he get over himself. No skin off our noses.

But if you point him to it, or even just leave it lying around in a way that makes him more likely to run across it himself, the freshly brush-painted walls in his head will go straight up, he will retreat into a strangely comforting sense of grievance, and his behaviour will not change in any useful way. Instead, he will find ways to make you suffer in an attempt to train you into not doing that kind of thing again.

Stubborn people have decades of practice at resisting challenges delivered head-on. You can't beat them at their own game. Best you can do is just leave them in charge of making sure they look every bit as stupid as they are so desperately worried that other people might think they are.
posted by flabdablet at 6:27 PM on November 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

This question is not about home renovation techniques, it is about human relations.

To approach this from another direction, consider that your husband has a perfectly valid reason* for using a brush rather than a roller that he's simply not articulated. Perhaps he's not articulated why he prefers a brush because he hasn't really pinned down his thoughts about it or perhaps because he feels like there's little point in engaging in discussion where his preference has already been characterized as coming from a place of being wrong and stubborn. The way past this communication gap is to ask him in the spirit of learning, listen without judgement, and accept his viewpoint.**

*One very valid reason for preferring a brush is the prep and clean up are much easier and faster than the prep and clean up for a roller. Perhaps your husband dislikes spending lengthy amounts of time rinsing paint out of a roller, which is an especially big hassle because if not done properly the roller is ruined from the paint that dries in the nap. Or he doesn't like getting splatter from the roller on himself. Who knows, just ask him.

**He's painting a wall, not engaging in a mission-critical operation with lives at stake.
posted by jamaro at 10:21 PM on November 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've painted a lot of walls, most of the time used a brush. My wife will only use a brush.
It takes longer. It looks different. We just prefer it.
posted by bongo_x at 11:47 PM on November 5, 2018

Did your husband even want to paint the wall? Because a time-honored way to not be chosen again for grunt work is to sabotage it the first time. He may not even be consciously doing it; he may be unaware of WHY, but he is drawn to do an inefficient job of it.
posted by shalom at 1:46 AM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I paint walls in a home with a brush because it uses less paint and I find the rollers to be incredibly messy and require so many coats! But the end result is completely the same. It's totally a personal preference. And if he's doing free labor, let him do it the way he wants.

And if the roller is so much faster and better, then he probably didn't need to help in the first place. I'd say it's equally likely that you dad wanted a worker to boss around.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:57 AM on November 6, 2018

« Older How to stop thinking about something I'm undecided...   |   Why do locator maps on Wikipedia pages go blank... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.