Painting: Should You Spray, Roll, or Brush?

When painting indoors or outside, spraying, rolling, and brushing are the main methods used to cover a surface. Though each method accomplishes the same task, they are each suited to different types of surfaces and purposes. Knowing which surfaces you should spray, brush, or roll can help ensure the best results while spending less time on the project. At Dunbar Painting, we provide quality and complete exterior painting and interior painting solutions. With extensive experience in each painting method, our team has provided some information on which surfaces are suitable for each method. This knowledge will allow you to make an informed decision for your project.

Which Method Should you use?

To ensure even paint coverage and minimal mess, it is important to use the right application method. The following is a description of each method and the surfaces they should be used for:


Spraying is the most modern method of the three. It is performed with a paint gun and can quickly apply a large amount of paint. Though spraying allows for the fastest application, it also tends to require the most preparation and masking. In general, spraying is ideal for large surfaces such as exterior siding. Wood and stucco siding in particular are great candidates for spraying. Stucco has many angles that need to be covered and spraying often does the best job at providing even coverage. In addition to exterior siding, spraying is often used for new construction projects to provide a perfect finish for trim and to spray primer for ceilings and drywall.

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Rolling is a method invented in the 1940’s that involves the use of a roller brush. These brushes are available in a variety of sizes and can be used for many different surfaces in a home. Rolling tends to require less preparation and masking than spraying, but it is not nearly as fast. Suitable surfaces for rolling include interior walls and other large interior surfaces. Some sections of exterior siding can also be suitable for rollers if they require too much masking for a sprayer. Smaller/fine rollers can be used effectively on doors, railings, and for repainting trim.

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Brushing is the oldest application method for painting, dating back hundreds of years. Brushes of various sizes are used in this method to coat a surface. Brushing allows for greater accuracy, but it also takes the longest and is not suitable for large surfaces. Brushing is ideal for fine detail work on small objects and minor touch-ups if needed. Brushes can also be used to repaint interior and exterior trim, but they are not recommended for new construction as spraying is faster. One of the best uses for brushing is the application of wood stain as it must be brushed in to fully absorb.

Learn more about whether it’s better to spray or roll paint.

For more information on painting methods and applicable surfaces, contact the team at Dunbar Painting. We can be reached at 604-788-3382 and can provide the perfect painting solution for your needs.