How to Choose a Paint Roller Cover

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Kansas City paint roller cover This is the roller cover that delivers the best results for interior painting.

Like so many other things, paint roller covers can be simple but also pretty complex at the same time. Size, shape, materials and construction all play a role. Even location - Kansas City painters prefer the Purdy brand while Wooster products are generally preferred to the East. While most homeowners run to the hardware store and pick up whatever looks like it might do the job, the professionals at Crestwood Painting will weigh the many factors and choose the roller cover that will give the desired finished results. Here's what we look for.


We regularly use sizes ranging from 4 1/2" up to the fairly new 14" size, but have broken out the monster 18" roller for certain jobs. Generally, the standard 9" is the go-to size. But what about those areas where a 9" won't fit? Maybe over doors or windows? That's when we'll use the 4 1/2" (or 6") size - it allows us to match the texture of a roller (and not have brush lines) and still cover surfaces we couldn't otherwise.

Nap size

Shorter naps (1/4", 3/8") hold less paint, are often for thinner materials and generally deliver a smoother finish. Thicker naps hold more paint but often leave more stipple. Of course, nothing is easy so there are thicker naps that leave a smooth finish and vice versa.


The fabric can be woven to the core or knitted. The core can be plastic, cardboard or phenolic. Cover fabrics can be lambskin, a wide range of polyesters or a blend. Oiy!

Some roller covers will hold a lot of paint, some very little. Some will spatter paint all over your floor as you roll, some won't spatter at all. Some are easy to clean while some are meant to throw away. Some fabrics will leave a very smooth finish and some will leave a noticeable stipple - but sometimes you want smooth and sometimes you want stipple.

Our Recommendation

Our painters at Crestwood Painting prefer Wooster products. We most often use Wooster's Pro-DooZ (9", 1/2" knap) for walls and Woosters SuperFab (9", 1/2" knap) for ceilings. We almost never roll trim.

Still not sure? Give us a call and you can join our list of delighted customers.

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