Renaissance Solutions Painting & Carpentry Logo

Is It Better To Spray Or Roll Exterior Paint?

Providing homeowners in Vancouver and surrounding areas with quality painting and custom carpentry services since 1992

Home » Exterior Painting » Is It Better To Spray Or Roll Exterior Paint?
spray oe roll painting

Exterior painting can significantly transform a home’s appearance, making it look great and protecting it from the elements. It also increases the value of your house. To keep the exterior of your home both protected and visually appealing, it’s worth considering hiring a professional painting contractor. With many painters to choose from in Vancouver, be sure to do your research beforehand, as their skills, knowledge, and communication with clients can vary significantly.

When choosing a house painting service, ask about their painting methods, whether it involves spraying or rolling paint. You may also have a specific plan in mind for your house painting contractor, or you may prefer to rely on their expertise to complete your exterior painting project.

Here’s what you need to know if you should roll or spray paint on your home’s exterior.

Which Works Better For The Exterior Of My House, Rolling Or Spraying Paint?

spray painting

Below are some reasons to consider when deciding between spraying or rolling the exterior of your house:

Spraying Saves Time And Money

The main reason why many painting companies prefer to use paint sprayers is that they are faster compared to other painting methods. This results in fewer work hours needed to complete a project, which translates to lower costs for the customer. Also, this is a cheaper and less effective way of painting porous surfaces.

However, you can make a real mess if you’re not careful. Further, spraying can be dangerous due to the pressure in airless systems.

Rolling Will Extend The Life Of An Exterior Paint Job

Spraying followed by backrolling is the way to get the job done. You get high efficiency of spraying along with longevity. Backrolling forces the paint into the cracks, grooves and pinholes. Spraying causes the paint to lay on top of the surface.

Backrolling also creates a more even finish on porous surfaces. Also, if you need to touch up an area later you can do it if it was backrolled. If it was only sprayed then you will never be able to touch up the area.

Rolling Cannot Match The Finish Of A Sprayed Surface

While this is true for non-porous surfaces like metal doors, other metal surfaces, kitchen cabinets, and sometimes trim, rolling works well for porous surfaces, such as drywall, textured ceilings, wood siding, exterior wood trim, etc.

And you must use proper technique, equipment and paint or it will look bad.

Both Rolling And Spraying Paint Can Produce Unsatisfactory Results

When using a paint sprayer, it is essential to consider the directional nature of the paint spray and approach the surface from different angles. Failure to do so may result in a faulty finish.

However, rolling paint is not a perfect method either. In fact, more potential issues can arise when using a roller compared to a sprayer. Proper technique is crucial when using a roller to avoid creating visible lines on the painted surface. 

Additionally, the roller itself can wear out and requires monitoring.

Instances Where Spraying Paint Is Not Applicable

Paint spraying may not always be the best method for painting a house’s exterior. This is especially true in tight spaces next to your neighbour’s house. And also in situations where the setup is too long or complicated.

But if you have professionals doing the job, this is not a problem. Yet, there are a lot of amateurs pretending to be professionals.

Paint Rollers Vs. Paint Sprayers. Factors To Consider

exterior painting

Exterior painting can be intimidating especially for inexperienced DIYers, and rightly so. A poorly done paint job can be quite noticeable, costly, and time-consuming. It is also dangerous as you will need to climb ladders. Hospitals are full of weekend warriors that have fallen from a roof or ladder or had a nail impale them.

Therefore, it is essential to take into account several factors before starting your house painting project to guarantee success.

Size Of The Project

Both paint rollers and paint sprayers can cover large areas with paint. Typically, using sprayers allows you to work faster. With that said, there are other factors to consider. 

Paint sprayers are versatile and can handle various surfaces, including flat walls, awkward shapes, and corners. In comparison, rollers are ideal for large, even surfaces.

Type Of Paint

Every type of paint comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that are important to consider when choosing the right one for your project. Knowing which kind of paint to use for exterior house painting will save you time and ensure a smooth, hassle-free process.

Type Of Surface

roller painting

It’s important to consider the condition of the surfaces you’ll be painting and the necessary preparations needed to achieve a successful paint job. This includes assessing whether stripping or sanding is required. 

Adequate preparation is crucial to achieving the best results. Furthermore, it’s essential to keep an eye on the weather conditions while painting.

Weather Conditions

Exterior coatings can be affected by humidity, rain and direct sunlight. Water-based latex paint is a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor projects. It is easy to clean up, doesn’t emit a strong odour, and dries quickly.

Paint Usage

When compared to rolling paint, spraying requires 20% more paint. This is because the paint is dispensed through the nozzle in atomized particles. Also, some of those droplets end up falling to the ground. 

Rolling paint, on the other hand, does not have this issue. Nonetheless, the time saved by using a sprayer often makes it worthwhile.

Speed Of Painting 

Regarding the competition between spray paint and roller application, paint sprayers are the clear winner in terms of speed. Although preparation time is required for both methods, paint sprayers can cover the target area much faster. However, rollers provide better control over the paint’s distribution, despite not being as fast as sprayers.


For exterior painting jobs, some painting companies prefer rolling paint over the spraying method. To them the paint is applied much thicker, resulting in better coverage than if it was sprayed. Others prefer to use paint sprayers due to their efficiency, superior coverage, and ability to provide a professional-quality finish. 

The best choice is a combination of both.

Comfort And User-Friendly Factor

roller painting the exterior

Rollers have a straightforward design. Once you have selected your coating, material tray, and roller, you are ready to paint. Rolling paint onto a wall is a technique that does not require a lot of practice and can be done by both a novice and skilled painter. 

Doing it well takes some practice. Novices can make a real mess, getting paint on surfaces that are not to be painted, dripping paint, etc.

However, achieving the perfect spray pattern with paint sprayers can take a bit of practice. Moreover, using a roller can be physically demanding. Prolonged use can result in aching arms. Using a paint sprayer can cause fatigue, too.


A paint sprayer requires a significant investment. Even the most basic, entry-level paint sprayers are hundreds of dollars more expensive than rollers. 

However, if you maintain your spray equipment properly, it can serve you for many years. But if you’re on a limited budget, paint rollers would be the more practical choice.

Preparation Time 

Due to all of the masking required, prep work with a paint sprayer usually takes longer than with a roller. This can result in the total project time being similar for both methods. Additionally, rollers require less time to set up. 

And thus, rollers are more efficient in terms of preparation time. Spraying done by novices, who are not careful, can be a nightmare.

Clean Up

roller painting

Cleaning the roller brushes and equipment may require some effort. Still, it is less cumbersome than cleaning a spray gun and all the other components attached to it.

Related Post: Best Paint for Spraying Interiors

Spray Or Roll Exterior Paint? Let The Pros Do It For You!

Many professional painters often use a combination of spray painting and roller painting. It depends on the surface being painted. It would be advantageous to hire professional painters who can use both methods.

So when you’re ready to give your house a makeover with new exterior paint, please contact us today for an estimate.


1. Is it better to roll or spray the outside of a house?

Spray painting is the most efficient way to paint large areas that do not require precision, such as an exterior wall. On the other hand, rolling paint is ideal for interior walls, where you do not want paint on other surfaces.

2. Do you waste more paint spraying or rolling?

When using a sprayer, more paint is typically required as the sprayer atomizes the paint into small droplets. Although most of the droplets end up on the surface, a significant number also drift away. This is unfortunately unavoidable when spraying paint, and it is challenging to control. Further, you’ll need to remove paint left in the hose by pumping it out during the cleaning process.

3. Is it better to paint the exterior with a roller or brush?

Using a paint roller allows you to paint twice as fast as a paintbrush. Additionally, rollers are ideal for painting hard-to-reach high areas. However, it’s worth noting that rollers may leave roller marks, won’t work as well on uneven or grooved surfaces, and may not be as easy to control as a brush.

4. How many coats do you need with a paint sprayer?

It is highly recommended to apply two coats when using a paint sprayer. However, in some cases, such as painting brick or concrete, you may need more than two coats.

5. What is backrolling, and is it needed?

Back-rolling immediately after spraying helps to effectively work the coating into the surface, resulting in improved adhesion between the coating and the substrate. This technique is more efficient than spraying alone and is highly recommended for achieving a high-quality finish.

author avatar
Eric Goodwill Owner
Meet Eric Goodwill, visionary of Renaissance, redefining aesthetics in Vancouver with 30+ years' dedication. Former platoon commander, BCIT alumnus, ensuring excellence in every project. Connect for transformative spaces!

Subscribe to our Blog