Hot Topics: Re-using Paint Rollers the Right Way

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Paint rollers can be expensive, especially when you have a paint project that takes a few days to complete. The cost to buy new rollers for each day of the project will add up. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand how to get the most of their paint rollers and end up spending extra cash for new ones.

These experienced painters have some tips for how to re-use your paint rollers and still get a beautiful, smooth finish.

Original Post: Re-using Paint Rollers

Rodster_diy Member

In my research, I saw some folks mention they save and reuse their paint rollers by wrapping them up in plastic. Since I was going to apply a second coat of paint to the ceiling the following day and since 14" rollers are about $10 a pop, I figured I'd give it a try.

I could tell right away the paint wasn't laying on very nice, and laying off was just as bad. I didn't have another 14" roller available, so I kept going. Not terrible results, but under the right lighting, it looks blotchy and not as nice as the first coat. I had considered not doing a second coat since the first coat turned out so nice but it appeared a bit 'thin' so figured what the heck.

I'll be doing a third coat in the morning with a new 14" roller!

Highlights from the Thread

PJmax Group Moderator

I just rinse them out good and let them dry overnight. The next day... re-rinse, shake thoroughly, and reuse them with good results. Takes a little extra paint to get going.

XSleeper Member

If reusing it the next day, you generally want to load the roller with paint, then cover with plastic. If you put the roller (only) in a plastic bag, you need to get all the air out of the bag, wrapping the roller completely so it sticks to the plastic. If the roller needed to be reloaded with paint... or air got to the roller because it wasn't covered sufficiently, I'm not surprised if it was gloppy.

They also make zippered bags to cover the pan and roller, like Kovrd. They work because they keep air out, and the paint can't dry.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Ideally the roller cover would get washed up at the end of the day, but that isn't always feasible. When I don't wash a roller, I'll do one of two things: either submerge it in the paint and cover the 5-gallon bucket so that the paint won't skim over, or wrap it tightly in plastic. As mentioned above, it needs to be tightly wrapped! Any air that gets to the cover can dry out the paint. You always want to inspect the cover before continuing painting!

At this point you might need to sand the wall before applying more paint to get rid of any dried particles of paint deposited on the wall.

wildbill7145 Member

I paint for a living. I keep a roll of saran wrap in my day bin wrapped in a big towel so the wrap doesn't get punctured. Put the towel on the ground, unroll it, pull off a sheet of saran wrap, put the sleeve on top and roll it up nice and tight. Twist up the ends of the saran wrap and push 'em in the ends. Nice tight wrap leaves no air in there whatsoever. Wrap my brushes the same way to bring them home for washing at the end of the day.

No matter what plastic bag you use, there's gonna be air in there that's gonna impact your sleeve.

I've never even seen the 14" or 18" rollers before. Don't think they're real popular up here in Canada. Some pro painters I know from the US swear by them. Pushes up production by a mile from what they say.

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