Top 10 Painting Tips to Avoid Roller Marks

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By: Vicky Carroll
Published: October 11, 2016
Last Update: February 20, 2023

Painting is a big job, but it’s something most homeowners can do on their own in order to save money. Whilst it's easy enough, painting does require certain tricks and skills to do it well! Many things can go wrong and ruin the paint job -  so use these top ten painting tips to avoid roller marks so your final job looks even and complete.

Load with a Screen

Place a screen into the paint bucket. Load the roller with paint by dipping it half an inch into the paint and then rolling it up and down the screen. If the roller is dry, you will need to administer this technique five or six times to fully load the roller. After you use the roller a couple of times, you can use two or three dips. When the roller is fully loaded, it is one of the best painting tips to avoid roller marks.

Paint loading with a screen is one of the top painting tips to avoid roller marks

Sweeping Strokes

When you are ready to paint the wall with a full roller, you will want to use a sweeping stroke to get the paint nice and even. Start a foot from the bottom and roll up at a slight angle. Keep your pressure light, and stop a few inches from the ceiling. You will want to roll back and forth at a decent speed so you don’t leave paint buildup to dry between strokes. Don’t worry about perfection at this stage, but try to keep things as even as possible.

Sweeping strokes

Get Good Sleeves

The roller cover, which is often called the sleeve, is the most important part of your paint job setup. It is hard to resist the cheap covers that you can throw away when you are done without thinking of the extra cost, but cheap roller covers don’t hold adequate paint to do a decent job. It will take you longer to paint the room, and you will have inconsistent layers. Instead, buy a nap wool blender roller. If you care for the roller and clean it well, you won’t have to buy another one.

Coral Performance Paint Roller Sleeves 9 Inch

Keep the Edges Wet

It is a good idea to plan how you will paint the room and leave enough time to get an entire wall in before you take a break. You will always want to overlap newly applied paint with paint that is still wet it you won’t show uneven marks on the wall. You want to make sure that you overlap the edges where the paint is wet so you can take care of roller marks before they dry and become a problem.

keep the roller edges wet

Get Close

Rollers don’t fit tight into the corners, so you will want to brush along the ceilings, floorboards, and into the corners with a paintbrush first. You will notice brush marks, but when you paint with the roller, get as far into the corners as you can and the roller will erase the brush marks. Use a roller that isn’t fully loaded with paint because you will have to be more careful about how you spread the paint in those areas. With practice, you can get tight into the corners and next to the ceiling without putting paint somewhere it doesn’t belong.



Keep a Light Touch

You can slap the paint on quickly, but then you will need to keep going over it with the roller in order to smooth it out. When you are smoothing the paint and ensuring that it is spread evenly in the right manner, keep a light touch on the wall. Don’t press too hard, or you will end up with more roller marks that you will have to even out again.

light touch

Smooth Walls

One of the best painting tips to avoid roller marks includes starting with a smooth wall. Even the best painter can’t avoid bumps and marks if the wall isn’t flat and smooth. Fill nail holes if there were pictures on the wall, and sand off old paint lumps or wallpaper residue before you begin painting. Starting with a smooth wall makes it easier to avoid roller marks and other issues.

fix walls before painting


Less is More

Roller marks appear frequently when you have too much paint on your roller. Instead of piling paint onto the roller, use it sparingly and go over the same spot several times. It will take a little longer, but it will look better and you will spend a lot less time trying to repair the roller marks because there won’t be as many or any at all. Use your paint wisely, and you’ll be happier with the outcome.

Less paint is better

Clean the Roller

You can use the same roller for the entire paint job, but it will do a better job for you if you clean it between coats. Instead of letting the roller sit overnight, clean it out as if you were finished with it. When you go back the next day to apply a second coat, you won’t have dry paint creating roller marks on the fresh coat you are applying. The roller will be as good as new, and the roller marks won’t appear as frequently.

clean the paint roller

Roll and Repeat

You will need to go over each spot on the wall several times. Instead of using an up-and-down motion in the same spot over and over again, go up and down once and then move the roller over a bit and repeat the motion. This is one of the painting tips to avoid roller marks that takes care of the marks as soon as they appear. You can apply several coats to the area in this pattern, and the marks will disappear as soon as they appear because you are covering them up quickly with wet paint.

roll and repeat