How to Paint a Wall Without Roller Marks

Updated February 21, 2017

Most any do-it-yourself painter knows that interior painting projects are often a laborious task. Paint rollers hasten and ease the application process. Unfortunately, they can also leave unattractive roller marks in the final finish. You can combat this potential problem by employing a particular application strategy. Before you rush into the application process, know the proper tools and the appropriate way to use them, or you could end up trading roller marks for other flaws.

Protect flooring beneath the walls with dust sheets. Protect surfaces running adjacent to the walls from paint overlap by covering them with professional painter's tape.

Apply spackle paste to minor cracks and nail holes, using a plastic putty knife. Smooth the paste to conform to the rest of the wall using the putty knife. Wait two hours for the spackle to dry. Smooth the dried spackle by sanding it with 220-grit sandpaper.

Open the paint and stir it for three full minutes, using a wooden stir stick. Pour 2 gallons of paint into a 5-gallon bucket.

Dip the roller into the 5-gallon bucket. Saturate the nap roller cover with paint. Wipe the roller on the screen to remove dripping paint. Apply the paint to a 3-foot-wide portion of the wall, using the roller. Begin on the left side of the wall. Roll in a vertical motion, moving from left to right.

Smooth the wet paint, using a broad paintbrush specifically engineered for water-based latex coatings. Apply light pressure and brush in a vertical motion.

Continue the application process until the entire wall is painted. Use the paintbrush to apply paint to any areas of the wall that are inaccessible to the roller.


Do not paint more than a 3-foot-wide area of the wall at a time, or the paint will begin to dry before you can smooth it with the paintbrush.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheets
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Spackle paste
  • Plastic putty knife
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Satin or semigloss latex paint
  • Wooden stir stick
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Roller frame
  • Nap roller cover
  • Roller extension pole
  • Roller screen
  • 4-inch latex paintbrush
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.