Brush or Roller?

Rollers and Paint Brushes both get the job done adequately.  Each tool works best when doing slightly different types of paint applications. Although both are technically interchangeable in some instances, getting impeccable results requires that the strengths of each tool are considered and utilized where necessary.

Standard rollers tend to come in primarily two sizes 7 inches and 9 inches with a nap (applicator) that measures anywhere between ¼ inch to an inch. There are specialized rollers for various forms of applications. These include natural fiber rollers used for oil painting, adjustable rollers used for ceilings and elevated surfaces and smaller rollers used for greater precision.

When to Use a Roller

Typically a painter will opt to use a roller to create a smooth finish and decrease application time. A roller holds a greater volume of paint and applies quickly. However, a roller is not ideal for painting surfaces that are uneven, like corners, staircases railings and fences. This is where a reliable paint brush becomes a necessary tool.

When to Use a Paint Brush

A paint brush is seldom used to cover entire walls unless a particular effect is required. After the preliminary application of paint with a roller the brush can be utilized to create neater edges at the corners or base of the walls. Paint brushes are also especially useful when applying oil paint or stains to wood based surfaces like decks, tables, bookshelves and other furniture.


Paint Brushes are best for precision based painting on surfaces that are not even or modestly sized. Rollers are essential for large surfaces and more even application.


Rollers absorb a comparatively greater volume of paint and can sometimes be tedious to wash out. In addition a less skillful painter may waste a lot of product using a roller if he or she does not correctly apply pressure during the application process.

Paint Brushes can leave unattractive streaks if the painter is not careful to apply the paint as evenly as possible and with the correct number of coats.