Techniques

Comparison: Brush or Roller – What’s the Best Way to Paint Walls?

Annie Sloan: This is my Wall Paint and I am so proud of it. I think it’s an amazing paint. I’ve made it so it’s really tough. It’s strong and it covers really, really well. Now, I like to apply it with a brush and I know that’s quite controversial because many people think “oh no, you’ve got to do with a roller”. But a roller I think takes up a lot of paint, you get a different sort of texture and I think it is, in the end, more time consuming. So, Felix, my son and I are going to do a little test, a little experiment to see how it works. He’s got a roller and a tray and of course he also has to have a brush as well, because you have to use a brush to cut in.

Felix Sloan: I’ve got to start by pouring mine out, so you’re already ahead of me.

Annie: I’ve got to wait. The texture of the wall isn’t completely flat, I am able to go into it and go over it. One of the mistakes people make is to paint using their hands like that and that’s quite hard work. I tend to use my whole arm. Both of us are covering extremely well. It’s going right over the Graphite. So, the next bit of this test is to see how much paint was used. So Felix, you’re going to pour what you didn’t use.

Felix: I’ve got a lot of paint still left in my roller and I’ve got a bit in the tray, which I will sweep in to save some. You always put too much roller in the tray.

Annie: Too much paint in the tray!

Felix: *laughs* Too much paint in the tray!

Annie: Messy pot by the way!

Felix: Yeah, thanks, yours is nice and neat.

*both laugh*

Felix: So lets weigh them in!

Annie: So this is mine…

Felix: That’s 3 kilograms and 454 grams

Annie: Ok, now yours…

Felix: 2.88.

Annie: That’s a HUGE amount.

Felix: Yeah, that’s a big difference.

Annie: And you’ve messed up my beautiful weighing machine…

Felix: I know, I’m sorry. Let me wipe it.

Annie: And you’ve got all that to clean up… I’ve just got a brush! So, it seems that Felix used over 17.5% more paint than I did. That’s a huge number, I think, and if you imagine that over a whole room or a whole house, that’s enormous! So, for me, coupled with the fact that I love the finish on here [pointing to wall painted with brush] – it’s got character, it’s got personality. [Pointing to wall painted with roller] This has got a lot of texture on it in not a very nice way for myself… I feel it’s got too many little bits in it. For me, it’s a bit like a school or a hospital. Really perfect but perhaps, not that much character. And, of course, I used less paint than you.

But it’s what you like and what you feel comfortable with. I just think that this is the nicest thing. I’ve just got one brush to wash, but Felix has got a roller, a tray, and a brush as well. Good luck!

*both laugh*

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between using a brush and a roller? Annie and her son Felix put the two to a test to find the best method for painting walls

How do you choose the best tool for painting walls? Many people think the quickest way to paint a wall is using a roller. But have you ever thought about using a brush instead? There are many advantages to using a brush – for one it uses up less paint!

Annie always prefers to paint walls with a brush. But many people will instinctively opt for a roller. Realising our preference for brushes might be somewhat controversial, we decided to put the two methods to the test. In this comparison, we’ve painted the same wall in the same colour using a brush on one side and a roller on the other. So which do you think will win? Brush or roller?

How to paint walls – brush vs roller

  1. If you’re working with a brush instead of a roller, you can dip your brush directly in the tin of paint. No need for a tray.
  2. When dipping your brush, try not to charge the brush with too much paint. Just dip in the tip of the brush. You want to use a small amount of paint frequently.
  3. Use your whole arm when applying paint. With a brush you can go into and over any texture, which is particularly useful if the surface of the wall isn’t totally flat.
  4. Use the same brush again for cutting in along the ceiling edge of a wall and in the corners of the room.

We had a lot of fun with this experiment comparing using a brush to a roller on walls. You might decide you prefer the more uniform finish of paint that has been rolled on, but perhaps you’ll consider again when you see that not only will you use up more paint, but you’ll need more equipment and it will take longer to finish. If, like Annie, you like the texture and character of paint that has been brushed onto walls, then have a go using a Wall Paint Brush next time you decorate!

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