The right brush or roller can be the difference between a paint project living up to your dreams, and needing a do-over. If you’re not sure which one your project needs, we’re here to help.


Brushes are great for smaller projects and detailed areas. Their smaller size makes them useful for trim, ceilings, and cutting in along corners. The other big reason for using a brush is if you’re staining a surface. The bristles on a brush do a better job of working the stain deep into a surface, meaning you’ll get a better look and better durability.

Your other option is a roller. Most jobs will require a 9″ roller cover – they’re designed to hold more paint and cover more area, so they work great for larger surface areas such as walls and ceilings.

choosing the right brush for trim


Brushes come in several shapes and sizes, and each is good for different scenarios. An easy way to pick a brush is by determining the type of coating you’re using.

If you’re opting for a roller, there’s a few different kinds of roller covers, so you’ll want to figure out which one is right for you.

Always try to use a top-quality roller cover. There’s a reason they’re top quality – they carry more paint to the surface, which means you’ll be done sooner and with less effort. They’re also made from materials that give you a smooth, lint-free finish. A quality roller can also play a critical role in terms of paint-hiding capability. Luckily for you, Valspar has high-quality roller covers in a number of materials and nap sizes.

choosing the right brush


First, you’ll need to figure out what nap size is right for your project. The general rule of thumb is:

  • 1/4″ – Use for ultra-smooth surfaces like cabinets, doors & metal.
  • 3/8″ – Use for smooth surfaces like walls & ceilings.
  • 1/2″ – Use for semi-smooth surfaces like textured walls, textured ceilings, plaster & wood.
  • 3/4″ – Use for rough surfaces like stucco, decks & masonry.

Next, you’ll need to decide on either a knit, woven or microfiber cover. Woven roller covers are more shed-resistant, so they’re better for gloss and semi-gloss finishes, which can highlight lint left over from the roller. For flat, eggshell, and satin finishes, knit roller covers do the job more efficiently. For consistent control and smooth finish, we recommend microfiber roller covers.

For all brushes and rollers, see the application instructions on the back panel of Valspar paint products, or check with your store associate to make sure that you choose the proper applicator.

paint brush roller cover