Should I Wet a Paint Roller Before Using It? blog post

Should I Wet a Paint Roller Before Using It?

Alright, picture this: you, standing in front of a blank wall, armed with nothing but a paint roller and a determination to transform your space from “meh” to magnificent.

But wait, should you wet that roller before diving into your masterpiece?

Don’t panic!

As a professional painter, I’ve tried painting with both a dry and wet. So, I can tell you whether your roller and brush needs to be wet before use.

Also, In this article, I will share exactly how professional painters use a paint roller, and as a bonus, I will give you my top-secret tips to make rolling paint easy!

Wetting paint roller before painting

Should You Wet a Roller Before Applying Paint?

I recommend wetting your paint roller before rolling your walls and ceilings.

When you wet your roller before you start painting, the paint will coat your surface more evenly and smoothly. Also, it will allow you to load up your paint rollers with more paint and make it easier to clean up when you finish. Wetting a paint roller before use is something all of our painters and decorators in West London do daily to get the best possible results!

However, you don’t want to make your roller soaking wet! You only want to make it slightly damp.

Wetting paintbrushes with water before painting

Do You Wet a Paint Brush Before Painting a Wall?

Just like your paint rollers, you should wet your paintbrushes before painting a wall.

However, when you wet your paintbrush, you must be careful with what you use to wet the brush before using it. That’s because you’ll need to dampen your brush with a different liquid depending on the type of paint you’re using.

I’ll cover this in the next two sections of this article.

Can You Use a Wet Paint Brush with Water-Based Paint?

Water-based paints are one of the most common types of paint. Water–based paints include acrylic and latex paints.  
If you’re using water-based paints for your DIY paint job, you need to use water to wet your brush before use.
Follow these steps to get your brushes ready to paint with:
  • Flick the brush bristles back and forth to remove any dust or dirt from the brush.
  • Wet the brush with water to dampen the bristles.
  • Shake off the excess water and brush it on a piece of cardboard until the excess water comes off. Your brush is now ready to apply paint to your surfaces.  

Should You Wet Your Paint Brush Before Painting with Oil-Based Paint?

Oil-based paints come in two types: traditional oil-based paints and alkyd paints.
Before painting with oil-based paints, you want to wet your paintbrush with white spirit instead of water.
Here’s how:
  • Flick the bristles of your brush back and forth to remove any dirt and dust from the brush.
  • Soak the brush in the white spirit solution for two minutes. 
  • Shake off the excess white spirit and roll it on a piece of cardboard until the excess liquid comes off. Now, you can start applying the paint with your brush.
Painter and decorator dry rolling a wall

What Is Dry Rolling Paint?

Dry rolling means rolling paint on your walls and ceiling without wetting the roller cover first.

Some professional painters prefer this method instead of wetting their rollers before use because it creates less mess, and the finish is faster drying.

But I prefer to wet my rollers before rolling paint as the finish tends to be better quality.

Professional painter and decorator rolling a wall using a paint roller

How To Use a Paint Roller?

Mastering how to use a paint roller before applying your paint could be the difference between a DIY disaster and the flawless finish you envisioned for your home. 
It helps you apply paint smoothly and prevents you from making rookie mistakes.
Here’s how I use a roller on all my paint jobs:
  1. Before rolling your surfaces, you need to ensure they are thoroughly prepared and ready to be painted.
  2. Load the paint roller with paint – remove any excess paint before the first use of the roller.
  3. Start to roll your surfaces in small sections (about 3ft wide).
  4. You want to use long strokes in either an ‘M’ or ‘W’ pattern to cover the surfaces evenly and fully.
  5. Overlap your lines by covering 2-3 cm of the sections that you previously rolled with paint. If you follow this tip, your roller should give you smooth and even coverage.
  6. Lay off your surfaces. To do this, lightly roll in one direction over the sections that you already rolled without going through the process of reloading your paint roller. You want to do this while you still have wet paint. Otherwise, you could end up with roller marks being left behind on your surface.

How To Get the Best Paint Results with A Roller?

You will get fantastic results if you follow my technique for using a paint roller. But here are some pro tips to help you get a flawless finish:
  • Invest in high-quality rollers and roller covers (or roller sleeves). Any painter is only as good as their tools. You can find out what rollers professional painters use here.
  • Before use, the roller needs to be correctly loaded with paint. Roll the roller into your tray to cover it with paint. You don’t want to submerge the entire roller; you simply want to dip the roller’s nap into the trays until it’s covered in paint. Repeat this process until the whole roller is covered in paint. 
  • Prepare your walls and ceilings properly (sanding, filling, priming surfaces) before applying paint. 
  • When rolling paint, you want to apply a small and even amount of pressure to the roller. You don’t want to use too much pressure as this can cause roller marks to be left behind when the surface dries. Instead, your paint roller should be doing all the work.