Spray painting vs rolling: why choosing the right paint sprayer will make your life so much easier
We are all familiar with traditional house painting, and its lengthy, cumbersome nature. It’s a process that takes professionals hours to complete, and amateurs, whole days at a time for a single room. Ever since paint sprayers became widespread, they’ve been the fastest option by far. Still, there are plenty of advocates for both kinds of tools. So, how do you choose the best option for you?
Photo credit: Stephanie Ho
First, let’s take a look at paint rollers. This classic solution is simple and intuitive. They’re extremely affordable. You can buy the best roller around for a fraction of the price of a cheap paint sprayer. They require regular cleaning, but it’s a pretty easy process. Most of the time I just throw away used rollers and replace them with new ones, but I talk to professionals and they cut their expenses down by keeping the roller moist between coats.
There are three ways to salvage old rollers…You can wash them with cold water (hopefully you’re using water based paint), you can wrap a plastic bag around them at the end of the day and use it the following, or you can purchase the paint roller cover and use them at a later time.
Getting back to using it, the crucial drawback is time and in some cases finish. Rollers take a long, long time, and a fair share of elbow grease. Furthermore, results vary significantly depending on your skill. Take too long between coats and you’ll leave telltale marks. Load the roller with too much or too little paint and the coats will be uneven. It’s a merciless tool. Learning is relatively easy, but it takes practice. And there’s no getting around the long time it takes. Further, painting ceilings with a roller is pretty hard work.
On the other hand, we have paint sprayers. Paint sprayers are unarguably faster, anywhere from 4 to 10 times faster than rollers. They’re also pretty intuitive, even for beginners. They are much easier to use in ceilings and confined spaces than paint rollers. They’re also a lot less physically demanding. This allows you to do a lot more before you’re too tired to go on.
All of this translates into time saved, which is great for professionals and DIYers alike. But they also make achieving smooth, glossy finishes on any surface a lot simpler. The continuous flow of paint makes it easy to avoid any marks from drying between coats.
Source: Makely Home
However, they are not without drawbacks. For starters, paint sprayers can get pretty loud, especially the larger machines. They also require some expertise: if you don’t read up on the best technique, you’ll get suboptimal results, from uneven surfaces to overspraying.
Overspraying is also a problem with paint sprayers in general which makes them more wasteful, in terms of paint. They also require significant prep work masking everything. Paint sprayers also require extensive cleaning, as well as, special care during storage. Their service life depends largely on the quality of the maintenance you provide them, and of course, there’s price. Paint sprayers can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
So, all in all, which option is the real winner? Typically, it would depend on your circumstances and projects. But these days, there’s such variety of paint sprayers, you can find the right solution every time.
Is the loudness a problem? Get a silent or low-noise unit. Does the machine seem too complex? Get an easy-to-use, point-and-shoot, DIYer-friendly unit. Problems with overspraying? Get an HVLP or airless paint sprayer with reduced overspray. If you are finding maintenance too burdensome? Get an easy-cleaning or self-cleaning unit. Maintenance can be as easy as flipping a switch or pushing a button. Price too steep? There are paint sprayers on the market right now for less than $20.
No matter your objection, there’s a paint sprayer that addresses it. Choose the right unit for you, and change the way you paint for good!