Spray VS Roller/Brushing for Exterior Painting

Questions & AnswersSpray VS Roller/Brushing for Exterior Painting
Mike asked 10 years ago

I am in the process of obtaining bids on the exterior of my home. It has 4″ tongue and groove Redwood siding that is peeling and checking badly.

Several of the contractors spray on the paint and do not recommend roller and brushing. They say that the only reason they brush is because they cannot afford the spray insurance and that they can also get too thick of a coat of paint and the wood is unable to breath.

I have always felt that a brush and roller is better in that it works the paint into the surface to improve adhesion and coverage. I realize that the prep work is the most important part of the process but assuming that is the same; do you feel there is an advantage to either system?

5 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

I have some concerns with these contractors.

1) There isn't such a thing as "spray insurance". Over spray is covered by a contractors general liability insurance. Make sure they have general liability insurance.

2) Modern acrylic paint is designed for thick application. Also, acrylic paint allows some air exchange even when applied in a thick coat. In other words, modern paint breaths.

When I paint a house I combine both methods. The primer and paint is applied with an airless sprayer, plus it is rolled while being sprayed. This is called back rolling and is used for the primer and first coat of paint. The second coat is spray only.

If I had to choose between spray only or brush and roll, I would go with brush and roll. You are correct that rolling pushes the primer and paint into cracks, nail heads or other surface imperfections. This not only looks better but lasts longer.

Anonymous answered.

Spray is thinner than Brush and Roll. Spray only goes on about half as thick and lasts about half as long. It will be cheaper as labor is less, but will use more paint. Brush and Roll is a more quality technique.

Anonymous answered.

I guess things are done the old fashioned way out west still. Here on the east coast we believe that spraying, while using more paint, not only saves time, but applies the paint in a more uniform finish. While I agree that the initial coat could be back rolled if the condition on the siding needed it, it is not the only way to get a professional, quality paint job. Ask the professionals from Sherwin Williams or Ben Moore if you have further questions, but stay the hell away from consumer reports and Home Depot. They are NOT professional paint applicators!

Anonymous answered.

Any tool in the hands of a poor applicator will not work. Just because you roll does not mean you will get more paint on the surface. You might get less when the guy gets tired of dipping his roller over and over. Rolling the whole exterior of a house is like creating a letter on a type writer.

Anonymous answered.

The process of Spraying and Back rolling allows for a full coat coverage. The sprayer applies the paint and the back rolling pushes the paint in all the nooks and crannies. No need to dip your roller into the paint as the sprayer has already applied the paint. While It is more expensive than spraying alone this process covers better, reduces flashing and lasts much longer…