Rolling Paint Vs. Spray Paint for Exterior

Modern technology has made painting much more efficient. In many cases, the old roller frame has given way to the more productive spray rig. However, even though these gas- and electric-powered sprayers are much faster than their traditional counterparts, they do have their limitations, and there are times when rolling paint is a better application method for certain types of exterior surfaces.


There are times when rolling is preferred to spraying.

Although spray painting methods can make quick work of an exterior painting project, they cannot produce the same level of coverage as the traditional roller frame and nap roller cover. Areas with cracks and rough texture may require two coats of spray paint. On the other hand, a roller is capable of smearing much more paint onto a surface and can fill cracks and holes that spray techniques leave open.

Over Spray

One of the problems with spray painting is over spray. Often a metallic or fiberglass shield must be used to frame the spray to prevent paint from getting where it doesn't belong. In addition, extensive taping and masking is generally required to prepare for a spray painting project, while a fabric drop cloth is generally sufficient when preparing to roll paint. Spray painting techniques should never be used when conditions are windy, as this can cause over spray to travel several feet where it can stick to concrete and automobiles.


Spray painting is ideal for coating slick surfaces where a smooth, flawless sheen is desired. However, when it comes to applying texture during the painting process, a spray gun is not equipped for the job. You can mix aggregate into paint and roll paint and texture onto exterior surfaces. This makes rolling the ideal application method for stucco coatings.


One of the bad things about spray rigs is that they use a lot of paint. If you are on a budget, you may want to roll your exterior surfaces because rollers tend to use about 10 percent less paint than sprayers. However, if you are running a painting company, and you want to keep labor costs down, the sprayer is your ideal choice for exterior projects because they promote faster completion times.


Many spray rigs pack enough pressure to actually shoot paint into the skin. Spray rigs should never be operated by someone without proper training or experience. They do, however, provide an element of safety when it comes to working on ladders. It can be difficult to apply paint to the exterior of a home with a roller when standing on a ladder. You may become off-balance and could potentially fall.

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.