How to stop paint splatter using a roller

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A paint roller can be a great asset when it comes to covering a large area in a short space of time or painting out-of-reach areas such as ceilings. However, rollers can also cause paint to splatter, leading to stains on furniture and carpets.

Before using a roller, it is important to clear a room as much as possible and cover carpets and any remaining furniture with plastic or dust sheets. A combination of preparation, choosing the right equipment and using the correct technique can also help reduce paint splatter or eliminate it altogether.

Use the best cover. Roller covers vary, with long or short fibres. Choosing a cover with short fibres will help to prevent splatter and give a professional finish on smooth, level surfaces. Woven covers are also very effective in reducing drips and splatter but are unsuitable for uneven or textured walls and ceilings. Foam roller covers should be avoided as they hold little paint and cause splatter.

Use the right paint. Some paints are designed to be non-drip and are a good choice if you are looking for a clean finish. Thinner paints tend to cause more splatter than thicker paints. Painting ceilings with a roller can often result in paint being splattered on objects below; ceiling paints that have been specifically designed to prevent this problem and can save a great deal of stress and cleaning-up.

Roll slowly. A simple way to reduce paint splatter is to roll slowly and carefully. Pushing a roller across the ceiling or wall too quickly will cause it to spin and splatter paint on areas below. It will also result in poor and uneven coverage. Using the same technique over the whole area will result in a much smoother finish.

Use the right amount of paint. One of the most common causes of paint splatter and drips is overloading the roller, causing excess to drop off the roller as it is being used. Rolling the roller along the dry side of a paint tray or along a roller grid in a bucket is a good way to remove any excess paint. If paint drips from the roller or squelches as it is being used, there is too much paint on it.

Paint thin layers. Although it may take a little longer, painting two thinner layers will be far more effective in reducing paint splatters than being tempted to overload the roller in order to paint the area in a single coat. Major colour changes may require a number of thin coats to change colour effectively without causing drips or splatter.