Dulux color tools roller testers

Ask Dr Dulux: “There are so many different types of paint rollers. How do I know which one to use for my project?”

Welcome to Ask Dr Dulux. In this series, we answer your burning decorating questions and give you all the practical advice you need to take on your next painting project, big or small. Got a question you’d like to ask? Share it over on social using #AskDrDulux and we could be answering your question next in the series.


This week, Aimee Creasey from Tooting asked: “There are so many different types of paint rollers. How do I know which one to use for my project?”

It’s a good question – there are lots of different options out there and trying to decipher everything from pile length to fabric type can leave us feeling more confused than when we started our Googling crusade.

To find out which rollers you need for different jobs, watch our video below and read on for our top tips.

The Medium Pile Microfibre Roller

Dulux tool tester Medium Pile Microfibre Roller

Probably one of the most popular and reliable rollers on the market, these are designed to apply water-based emulsions, such as matt and silk paints, to internal walls and ceilings.


Why it’s great:

The medium pile creates an even roller mottle across walls and ceilings. Microfibre is a synthetic fibre that’s designed to hold more paint, which means you don’t have to reload the roller as often. Hurrah!

Top tip:

For an even finish, roll paint on your wall in a zig zag ‘W’ pattern – then without lifting the roller from the surface, go back and fill it in. 

The Long Pile Microfibre Roller

Dulux tool tester Long Pile Microfibre Roller

These rollers have been developed to apply paint to more textured surfaces, such as external walls.


Why it’s great:

Using a long pile roller on a textured surface helps the paint get into the low points of the texture, whereas a medium or short pile roller just skims over the high points.

Top tip:

Avoid using a long pile roller when painting internal walls as the roller texture will be too high, leaving a not-so-beautiful “orange peel” effect. 

The Mini Roller

Dulux tool tester The Mini Roller

These are for use on wooden surfaces, such as internal doors, skirting boards and furniture.

Why it’s great:

This style of roller is specifically developed for the application of woodwork paint, which has different application properties than wall paint. Woodwork paint needs to be applied using a roller sleeve with less texture for a smoother, more even finish that lasts longer.

Top tip:

Short or medium pile microfibre mini rollers are the best when applying water-based, woodwork paints, such as Quick Dry Eggshell, Quick Dry Satinwood or Quick Dry Gloss. Avoid using foam mini rollers when applying Quick Dry products, as these can cause paint bubbles to form when rolled onto the surface.

The Roller Extension Pole

Dulux tool tester The Roller Extension Pole

Not exactly a roller as such, but a key accessory nonetheless that can provide you with extra reach when painting the top of walls and ceilings.


Why it’s great:

Aside from the logistical benefits of a longer length (so long, stepladder!), a roller extension pole will actually help you to paint a ceiling or wall faster, and achieve a more even finish. 


Top tip:

Roller extension poles can be fitted to most roller arms, but it’s worth checking whether the roller arm has a push fit or a threaded handle to make sure you buy the correct one.

The Mini Roller Frame

Dulux tool tester Mini Roller Frame

Another great accessory, mini roller frames come in two sizes: a 20” frame for rolling paint behind radiators, and a 3-4” frame, which can be used on internal doors, skirting boards and furniture.


Why it’s great:

Mini roller frames are great for speeding up those awkward and tricky-to-reach paint jobs and help to give you an even finish.  


Top tip:

When buying a mini roller frame for painting behind a radiator, make sure the roller head that you fit to it is slim enough so that you don’t hit the back of the radiator as you roll it on the wall.

How to clean and store your paint rollers

Painting again the next day?

No need to wash your roller. You can just pop it in a plastic bag and tape the opening to prevent any air getting to it (that way, the paint on the roller doesn’t dry out).

Done with painting?

Go you. All you need to do is scrape off as much paint as possible and wash your roller in warm water. Just make sure the water runs clear before leaving it to dry. 

What about brushes?

These demanding little diva tools require washing at the end of every day. The same steps apply: scrape away excess paint, then wash in warm water until the water runs clear. Top tip: If you’re painting again the next day, don’t store your brushes overnight in plastic bags or clingfilm as this can change the shape of the brush (which means you then need to wash them again in the morning).

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