When to Use a Foam Paint Roller

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As a longstanding do-it-yourself project, painting drives millions of people to the paint or hardware store every year. Because their walls don't need to be painted every year, however, they are quick to discover a slew of new tools and gadgets the advertising assures them they cannot do without. Paint rollers replaced brushes for wall painting generations ago. But foam paint rollers are a fairly recent development. The question is, when should you choose foam?



Until the 1990s, traditional nap rollers were the only option when considering painting your walls. Made from the same kinds of materials as foam paint brushes, foam rollers offer a light weight, disposable, budget-conscious alternative to the classic roller.


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Thanks largely to their composition, foam paint rollers pick up a large amount of paint each time you dip into your paint tray. As a result, the coverage offered from these synthetic rollers is excellent. You get a nice, thick coat of paint with fewer strokes than other rollers. Unfortunately, the wall surface is also a determining factor in how effective these tools are. When painting a smooth surface, the foam rides very wall across the wall and covers almost as smoothly as a spray application. On rough or uneven surfaces, however, the foam roller will not work well. You'd be better served with a traditional roller or brush in these instances.



Unlike the nap-style roller, the foam roller soaks up paint like a sponge, making drips and spatters nearly a thing of the past. The foam roller technique should involve long, slow, smooth, even strokes that lay an exceedingly even layer on the wall. Other rollers spatter a bit as the paint spins off the edge of the brush-like roller surface.



Foam rollers are made in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, making them useful for applying trim paint. Again, considering most trim areas are a smooth surface, foam rollers apply a beautifully even coat on the first try.



Thanks to the low cost of foam and the plastic roller frames with which these tools are equipped, they make clean up a breeze. While you could conceivably clean out the rollers for use another day, they are not nearly as durable as traditional rollers and are designed as disposable items. Use them until you are done, then discard them rather than spend hours washing, rinsing and drying them.


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