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Spraying Vs. Rolling: The Home Exterior Paint Debate

Key takeaways:

  • Paint rollers have been available since 1940 and are a popular tool used by many painters.
  • Paint spraying has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its efficiency and accuracy.
  • Paint sprayers use more paint than rollers.
  • If you have mastered the skill, painting using a sprayer rather than a roller will result in an even, smooth coating.
  • Paint sprayers consistently outperform rollers in speed; however, they can be more expensive than rollers.
  • Rollers win the contest when it comes to cleanup; however, paint sprayers require more extensive cleaning.

It’s one of the age-old questions when painting the exterior of your home: should you spray or roll? Although rollers have been around for a while, they are still popular tools. However, various adaptable, effective paint sprayers are also available in the market now.

Using the best equipment for your painting job may make the difference between success and failure. Both painting methods have their pros and cons, and ultimately it comes down to preference.

In this blog post, DeltaPro Painters will take a closer look at the major differences between using current tools and sticking to traditional ones so that you can decide how to paint your home’s exterior.

What Is Paint Rolling?

Rolling is the process of applying paint to a wall using a roller. The roller is a cylinder with fabric or foam attached to one end. The paint is loaded onto the roller, and then the roller is rolled across the surface of the wall to apply the paint.

Sherwin Williams was the first business to introduce paint rollers to the market, and they have been available since 1940. Rollers changed the painting business by accelerating the painting process and providing artists with a better tool to cover more surface area. Paint rollers are now available in various sizes and thicknesses to assist with any painting project, whether interior or exterior.


What Is Paint Spraying?

It is the process of painting a surface using a spray gun. The paint is delivered to the gun via a pump and then sprayed onto the surface using compressed air. This method is often used for large surfaces or surfaces that require a smooth, even finish.

Paint spraying has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its efficiency and accuracy. Since the creation of the first hand-held, air-powered paint spray cannon in 1907, the product has undergone several developments. The paint sprayers used today differ from those in use thirty years ago. Compared to traditional painting methods, paint spraying can save you a great deal of effort and time.

Spraying vs. Rolling: The Debate

Paint Usage:

Airless paint sprayers may use more paint than rollers because only around 33% of it ends up in the atmosphere. When using paint, HVLP paint sprayers are more like rollers since they produce less overspray. Keep in mind any waste materials from cleanup are still in the sprayer or power roller hoses.


If you have mastered the skill, painting using a sprayer rather than a roller will result in an even, smooth coating. On the other hand, a roller can cover the surface with a respectable coat of paint in only one pass and will give you greater control over the final placement of the paint. Another thing to remember is that it is difficult to manage corners with rollers, whereas sprayers can easily blast your paint into even the smallest crevices and corners.

Painting Speed:

Paint sprayers consistently outperform rollers in terms of speed in the battle of spray paint vs. roller application. A job that normally takes days to complete with a brush and roller can often be accomplished in hours using a paint sprayer. Because you have to wait for each layer of paint to dry when using a brush or roller, this method takes significantly longer. However, with a paint sprayer, you can apply several layers of paint in succession without having to wait for each layer to dry. This is a major time saver, especially when working on a large project.


When using a roller, it’s unlikely that you’ll get hurt, but safety is something to think about when using a paint sprayer. Wear protective gear such as safety goggles, a mask, and gloves as you can inhale the paint floating around.

Additionally, these devices aren’t designed for spray tans. The strong paint jet has the potential to pierce the skin and inject paint beneath it, necessitating medical intervention. Keep your hands clean, and never point your paint sprayer in anyone’s direction.


The cost difference between painting with a sprayer and a roller is undeniable; even the most entry-level, inexpensive paint sprayers are likely to be more expensive than purchasing a roller. However, if you take care of your machine, it should last you for many years. The best option for painting on a tight budget would be rollers.


The design of rollers is basic. You are ready to paint after you have your material tray, selected coating, and roller. Rolling a coat onto a wall doesn’t take much practice, so both inexperienced and seasoned painters can do it well. On the other hand, using a paint sprayer may require some experience before you can master the ideal spray pattern.

In terms of comfort, rolling is physically exhausting and might leave your arms sore after prolonged usage. However, several versions of paint sprayers have handles that are ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue.

Ease of Cleanup:

Rollers win the contest when it comes to clean up. You can quickly and easily remove the paint from the roller; if there’s any spillage, it’s usually easy to clean up. Paint sprayers require more extensive cleaning, which can take up significant time. If you’re using a pump-style sprayer, you’ll need to disassemble it and clean all the parts.

The Bottom Line: Spraying vs. Rolling

So, what’s the verdict? When it comes to painting your home’s exterior, both spraying and rolling have their pros and cons. If you’re working on a large surface area, spraying may be the best option to save you time. However, rolling is the way to go if you’re concerned about paint waste or want an easy cleanup. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your preferences and the project.

If you’re looking for high-quality results, it’s always best to hire skilled painters to complete the project. They are experienced and knowledgeable enough to produce excellent work using both techniques.

DeltaPro Painters serving West Chester, OH, can help deliver exterior home painting results you’ll be proud of! Get a free estimate today!