Is Spraying or Rolling Your Exterior Better?

The great painter debate – should you spray or roll exteriors?  The answer might surprise you, because your home has a huge impact on whether you should spray or roll your home. This is a pretty controversial topic within the painting community, but we’re here to breakdown the question, is spraying or rolling your exterior better? Read on to learn the pros and cons of both exterior painting techniques.  

Pros and Cons of Rolling Your Exterior

Paint rollers have been around since 1940 and Sherwin Williams was the first company to bring them to market. Rollers revolutionized the painting industry by speeding up the paint process and giving painters a better tool to cover larger surface areas. Nowadays, paint rollers come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses to help with any painting project; exterior or interior. 

Pros of Rollers

  • Great for large, smooth surfaces
  • Cheaper than paint sprayers
  • No brush marks
  • Great for back-rolling to press paint into porous surfaces

photo of painter rolling the exterior of a home

Cons of Rollers

  • Thin coats can be uneven
  • Roller soaks up more paint so you use more product
  • More expensive than brushes
  • Rollers can’t be used for painting joints, corners, or smaller surfaces

Pros and Cons of Spraying Your Exterior

Paint sprayers and spray guns have actually been around longer than paint rollers. The first hand-held, air-powered paint spray gun was invented in 1907 and there have been many evolutions of that product since. We often find that clients who don’t like paint sprayers had a bad experience with them at some point. Paint sprayers from 30 years ago were quite different than the ones used today. Modern commercial paint sprayers have many benefits and have been optimized for residential and commercial use.

Pros of Sprayers

  • Thicker, more even and uniform coats
  • No paint waste as paint is not absorbed like with a roller
  • Works well on uneven surfaces
  • Faster and better application
  • No brush or roller marks

Cons of Sprayer

  • More expensive than rollers and brushes
  • Need experience and practice using them to be effective
  • Noisy compared to a roller

Exterior Painting – Spray vs Rolling

Now to the real question; which of these tools is better? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so black and white. When it comes to our exteriors we tend to use a sprayer because it’s more efficient, offers better coverage, and gives a more professional finished quality. That being said, it’s important that your painter can utilize both of these tools because that’s what they are – paint tools. At the end of the day these tools can both be utilized to provide the best paint job. For example, if you are painting brick, stucco, or some other porous surface, you will want to use a sprayer to apply the paint and have another team member following with a roller to “back-roll” the paint in. Back-rolling helps to press the paint into the surface and get into those little nooks and crannies. 

photo of kind home painters back-rolling paint into exterior of home

Kind Home Painters back-rolling the exterior of a Denver stucco home

For smoother surfaces like trim, wood, lap, vinyl, or metal siding, spraying is a much better tool to utilize because you won’t have any of those roller marks and you can angle the sprayer different ways to ensure you are getting full coverage on each board. Ultimately, one isn’t inherently good or bad. These are both great paint tools that should be utilized under different circumstances. To see some of the exterior paint projects we’ve sprayed and back-rolled, check out our gallery HERE. And for more inspiration for your next paint project, be sure to take a peak at our Instagram

If you would like to get pricing for your project you can submit for a free estimate HERE.