Can You Paint with A Wet Roller? Is a Wet Roller Better than Paint Brush?

Switching between a paintbrush and a paint roller is common when you work on a big project. I see a lot of questions coming like- can you paint with a wet roller, when it’s so obvious to wet the roller? Because pre-wet rollers soak more paint into it.

I guess people having this confusion behind this obvious fact, might be the problem they are facing while painting due to wrong techniques.

In short, if you know the right way to use brushes and rollers, wet or dry won’t be an issue for you.

What is Pre-wetting a Roller Means?

Pre-wetting a paint roller means, soaking the roller in water and damping it. It’s a way to paint smoothly and professionally and do it all the time.

Now, there is a fine difference between damping a roller and wetting it to the fullest. We wet the roller with the intention to prime the roller surface.

Whereas, if you wet the roller heavily, water by then should be dripping off the surface. And there remains no space for the paint to get absorbed.

So, what you will be doing is, after dipping the roller into the water, you will get rid of extra moisture off the roller by wiping it with a paper towel and giving it a better shake.

When and Why Rollers are Used?

Rollers are helpful while working with large projects requiring flat and uniform paint layers. This kind of project needs a roller more than a brush for better results. Moreover, using a roller for such cases is cost-effective as well.

Usually, rollers with long filament, let’s say more than 10mm is preferable for big projects. Whereas, if you want a finer roller for your small projects, get a roller with a filament of 10mm approximately.

Other than the filament, there are different types of rollers as well. You choose rollers depending on the paint you use.

Like- get a roller made of natural fiber for using solvent-based paint. Again, use plastic rollers for painting with water paint. If you have oil paint, get your hands on a sponge roller.

When to Choose a Roller Over a Brush?

When the paint demands a roller, you choose it. For knowing, when to choose a roller, you need to know the basic difference in usage between the two. So, you can choose according to the project.

The difference in usage between brush and roller is seen in the following field-

Even Coats

When you look for even coats, the roller beats the brush. It’s too hard to maintain a smooth and even coating layer while working with a brush. On the other hand, roller eventually gives you even coatings.


The game changes when it comes to precision. You can never achieve the best precision like a brush by using a roller.


Rollers are supposed to cover a wide area at once when brushes can’t.

Paint Holding Capacity

Rollers can absorb a large amount of paint at once, so you don’t have to reload paint more frequently. Whereas, brushes can’t hold much paint at once. So, reloading them frequently becomes an issue.

Now that you got differences, make your choice.

Things You Should Remember Before Using a Paint Roller

  • There are cases when the roller cover isn’t properly fastened with the frame. You need to make sure they are fastened tightly.
  • It’s not a thumb rule to use only water to wet the roller. Like- use mineral spirit to dampen the roller while working with oil paint.
  • In case you are having trouble loading the roller, here is what to do. Let’s say you have taken paint in the roller tray. In the first phase, you will be rolling the roller in the well of the tray to stick paint evenly. In the next phase, roll similarly in the tray’s upper portion for getting rid of excessive paint.
  • If you want to avoid frequent refilling of paint, replace the tray with a painting bowl.
  • In case, you don’t know, taking off the sleeves from the roller frame and keeping it in the freeze can keep it fresh for 4 days on average. However, you can’t paint with it immediately after taking it out from the freeze. Take it out two hours before you start painting.
  • Long and even strokes of roller paint can stop spattering.


Painting with a bone dry roller doesn’t fulfill the purpose of using a roller, that is smooth painting. As a bone-dry roller acts rough on the wall, you won’t be getting an even coat as well. Again, a dripping wet roller can’t absorb much paint. Moreover, the paint will be diluted and glide down from the wall.

Now you know- can you paint with a wet roller, isn’t too hard to answer. You better know now, when to wet the paint roller and to what extent.

FAQs Section

Does A Paint Roller Have to Be Completely Dry?

The answer depends on the intention. If it’s after the painting, then yes. Or else, mold formation might take place. If it’s before reusing the brush, then partially yes. Your brush doesn’t have to be bone dry or entirely wet before painting. You need to dampen the surface and get rid of extra moisture from the roller by squeezing it. In this way, the roller will have room for paint absorption.

Should You Wet Your Paint Roller Before Painting?

If the roller is kept bone-dry, then you should damp it a bit. For that, dip the roller in water and squeezed out the excess water.

Does Roller Work Better Than a Brush?

Roller doesn’t necessarily work better than brush in every case. Depending on the difference the brush and roller provide in their usage, you need to make a choice wisely.

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