Blog Spray Gun - Paint Brush - Paint Roller

Published on December 10th, 2012 | by Grant Barnard


When To Use a Sprayer and When To “Brush and Roll”

Is It Best To Spray Or Brush And Roll?

To Spray or Brush and Roll

This is one of those questions that can vary depending on how you want to do the job and how much you are willing to spend on the job for prep materials. Using a sprayer can be the most helpful thing or may flush money down the drain very quickly. Most professional painters will use a brush and roller more than you might think. Unless you absolutely need a sprayed finish like when painting cabinets or furniture.

When To Use a Sprayer

Interior Paint Spraying

  • For ceilings and trim where the carpet is being replaced
  • Large interiors where there is very little furniture to mask. Trim and ceiling can be sprayed then the walls can be rolled out if there are more than a few colors
  • When only one color is used.

Exterior Paint Spraying

  • If you are painting gutters with the trim always use a sprayer
  • Areas with all siding and no brick
  • Staining fences and decks

When NOT To Use An Airless Sprayer

Interior Brush and Roll

  • When there is natural stained trim
  • When there is a lot of furniture to mask
  • When the area cannot be properly ventilated

Exterior Brush and Roll

  • When the wind is above 10 mph. However the wind one side of the house will always be blocked by the house
  • When you are above a roof. Overspray on a roof is horribly noticeable.
  • When there is simply too much to mask. Many time you can simply brush and roll int the time that you can mask
  • When there is only one coat. Many times it is only efficient to mask and spray if you are doing two coats because the masking works for both coats and still only is done once.



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About the Author

Grant Barnard started painting in 2000 and started Grants Painting in 2008. Originally doing business in northern Indiana, the business was moved to Indianapolis and Greenwood shortly after. Today the Grants Painting has blossomed into a reputable painting contracting company with an ever growing extensive website including our How To DIY Articles. Grants Painting covers all aspects of coatings and specialized in epoxy flooring, interior painting, exterior painting and cabinet painting.

  • John Fantin

    We have taken off all the old trim and will be putting down vinyl plank flooring then new mdf trim. Our painter says he can spray the trim for better result. He says he will tape off everything and cover the new floor. Does this sound possible? Hate to ruin new floor.

    • Grant Barnard

      Yes its possible but I’ve seen alot of floors get over sprayed like that. It does achieve better results if he knows what he is doing and uses a very small tip. Our way to do it is to lay drops down to a few inches away and then a paper/tape machine and at least one inch blue 3m tape (2090 series) with 12 inch paper that then gets taped to the drop every few inches . Make sure all floors are covered in the entire room. Good Luck and I hope you are working with a quality painter. From the sounds of it you may be. I mean, at least he doesn’t want to roll it on with a foam roller or something.

      • Anonymous

        Grant, thanks for the reply. Our painter did assure me that the floor would be totally covered and protected as well as the windows and cabinets. He says it does take more time because of all the taping but the result is much better.

  • Brooke Jackson

    We are building our own home and are finally at the painting stage. We used an airless sprayer for the ceiling and trim. Is it best to roll the wall color on? Are there any edgers on the market that actually work? Any advice would be GREAT!

    One more question. Our wall texture is Holy Smooth (not sure if I spelled that right)…I want to paint stripes in a room. Is that possible with that wall texture?

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