There are two methods for applying a coat of paint – with a brush and roller or with a paint sprayer.  The proper method to use depends on what is being painted and where it’s being painted.  Both methods have pros and cons, and generally all professional painters are experienced and trained in both methods.  No matter which method is used, what’s important is applying a consistent and appropriate mil thickness of paint to a properly prepared surface or substrate.

Brush and Roll:  This method uses less paint material than spraying, and brushes, rollers, roller poles and pans are significantly less in cost than a paint sprayer.  Brush and roll is the method of choice when the substrate is porous or heavily textured (i.e. cinder blocks, rough sawn cedar) because paint can be better worked into the surface using these paint tools.  However, since the paint brush and/or roller is in direct contact with the substrate, it can leave a texture in its wake in the form of brush marks, roller stipple, or lap marks.  Generally, brushes and rollers are used for interior painting projects where there are furnishings, window treatments, and flooring materials to work around.

Paint Sprayer:  Using a paint sprayer significantly cuts down on the amount of time it takes to paint a project. Spraying also produces a more even and smooth finish on the substrate.  But, when a sprayer is used, everything in its path must be protected with drop cloths and masking paper – paint overspray is messy and sometimes cannot be removed from objects inadvertently painted.  Sprayers are expensive pieces of equipment which require training and expertise to operate properly.  And as with all equipment, sprayers much be properly cleaned and maintained to operate effectively.  Sprayers are predominantly used in new construction projects, and many residential painters choose sprayers for exterior painting projects.

Bottom line –  the painting project dictates which method is best.  A brush and roller makes more sense to use when repainting a dining room for example, while generally a paint sprayer is the most cost effective method when repainting a building’s exterior.  Whichever method is used, at the end of the day the goal is a properly prepared surface followed by a consistent and adequate paint mil thickness on the substrate.