How to Stop Paint Splatter When Using a Roller

Avoiding paint roller splatter is a matter of using the right tools for the job and applying the paint more slowly and deliberately. Because painting seems like such a simple task, many people never truly learn the proper way to do it—they simply grab a roller and go. As a result, even the most careful painters are often unfamiliar with proper roller technique and leave tiny flecks of splattered paint in their wake. A few simple tips are all you need to paint like a pro and avoid putting pesky paint dots on your walls, floors and even your face.

Young couple painting walls in their new house.
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A few simple tips and tricks will have you rolling like a pro.

Step 1

Buy the proper painting equipment. You truly do get what you pay for, and cheap rollers create a host of problems, including an increase in paint splatter. Use the proper roller nap, as well. Your paint can will tell you which roller nap and surfaces it works best with.

Step 2

Cover your work area with a drop cloth to catch any splatter and protect your floor. Even the best painters create a little splatter every now and then.

Step 3

Apply paint to your roller from a large bucket rather than from a paint tray. This strategy offers several advantages, one of which is better control over the wetting of the paint roller. When painting with a 5-gallon bucket, a vertical metal paint roller is placed in the bucket and used to evenly distribute paint on the roller. This metal grid works better than the paint trays most homeowners use, and it helps to reduce roller splatter.

Step 4

Slow your roll. Rollers make painting jobs much faster, but as your roller speed increases, so does the amount of splatter you create. Work quickly enough that you always have a wet edge to paint against but not so quickly that you're throwing paint everywhere. Slow and steady makes for a better paint job.

Step 5

Thin paint is more likely to splatter than thicker paint, so don't overwork your surface. Apply the paint to your wall or ceiling, smooth it out, and then move on. If you continue to roll over the same area and overwork the paint, it will thin out, splattering as it does so. It is much better to apply multiple coats of paint rather than trying to perfect a single coat by excessive rolling.

Step 6

Keep your roller facing the same way between paint reloads. If you started painting with the paint roller's metal bar facing to the right, make sure you keep holding it that way as you go. Roller nap works like tiny little bristles. Pushing them in one direction bends them over so they lie down. If you turn the roller handle, you'll force the bristles in the other direction, splattering paint as they go.