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Ready, set, roll...
getting started with rollers

Rollers are the ideal way to paint a large area quickly and get a professional result. Painting with a roller is fast and easy.

Always use good, well cleaned equipment. Good quality rollers hold more paint and give a better finish than inexpensive rollers. If you are unsure as to whether you are using the right roller, check the information on the Resene roller stand or ask staff at your local Resene ColorShop or Reseller - they can recommend the best roller for the paint you are using and the surface you are painting.

There are many different types of roller sleeves available. Resene and PAL (Paint Aids Ltd) have worked together to match rollers to specific Resene products and areas of use. A unique numbering system and in-store guides are designed to make it easier for you to select the right roller sleeve.

The most popular DIY roller sleeves are available in three sizes. The larger 230mm is the most popular and is used for larger areas, including most walls and ceilings.

The 150mm sleeve can also be used on walls and ceilings but is most suited to smaller surfaces, such as interior doors and cupboards, as well as fencing.

The 100mm long reach rollers are made using the same fabric but do not hold as much paint as the other sleeves as they have a reduced total surface area. They are designed for cupboards, doors and hard to reach areas, such as inside cupboards and shelving.

Roll using a W pattern

Be prepared! Have everything you need ready before you start applying paint. Work steadily. Don’t rush and don’t roll fast with a loaded roller - unless you want to be a spray painter!

Rinse new rollers in water (for waterborne paints) or turps (for solventborne paints) to remove any loose fibres or dust before use. If your roller handle has been used before, place a drop of oil on the roller handle bearings (i.e. the two plastic end caps) - it will make painting much easier.

When using waterborne paints, lightly dampen the roller sleeve before use. Ensure excess water is removed. It should be slightly damp rather than wet to touch.

Make sure your roller tray is clean. Tip the paint into the tray to the paint level shown. If you overfill the tray, loading the roller is more difficult and spillages are more likely. Once you’ve got the right amount of paint in the tray, roll the roller into the paint to saturate all the fabric.

Use the ribbed section of the paint tray to squeeze out the excess paint and ensure your roller gets an equal distribution of paint. Repeat this process several times to ‘work’ the paint into the roller. This will make application easier and more consistent.

When painting walls and ceilings, we recommend the use of a quality extension handle. The more painting you have planned (including future projects) or the larger your current project, the better the extension handle you should select.

A simple wooden handle will suffice for a small one-off project, however a quality extension handle such as the Unipro 1.2m pole, will help you achieve a faster and more professional finish.

Application using a roller

Rollers are used to paint many substrates from interior walls and ceilings through to panel doors, shelving and kitchen cupboards. They are used to apply waterproof coatings to concrete and planters and for staining and fences.

Painting an interior wall is the most common painting project for DIY painters and the following has been taken from the project sheet for applying Resene SpaceCote. Other project sheets and videos for painting ceilings and exterior plaster are available free online at

Laying off

Laying-off: Let the weight of the roller run down the wall

Rolling ceilings

Follow steps as for walls, finishing off along the line of light from windows. View the Resene how to video and project sheet on painting ceilings at

Roller care

Wrap roller and tray in plastic bag and seal
Wrap roller and tray in plastic bag and seal

General advice

Resene paint labels carry full instructions on surface preparation and advice on paint application. Please read these instructions carefully before commencing work. Always stir the paint thoroughly before use. Contact your local Resene ColorShop or Reseller if you need further advice. 

Guide to choosing your Resene roller

Roller No: 1

Use on:


Recommended for:

Roller No: 2

Use on:


Recommended for:

Roller No: 3

Use on:


Recommended for:

We recommend an extension pole and a large capacity ribbed tray for this work. The ribbed section lifts the roller pile each time you load.

Roller No: 4

Use on:


Recommended for:

Roller No: 6

Use on:


Recommended for:

Guide to special purpose rollers:

Strong solvents rollers - 180mm and 230mm

Roof rollers - 180mm and 230mm

Blacktex - Gooploop roller - 180mm

8mm Hi Solids grit texture roller - 180mm

Easy Reacher rollers

These smaller 100mm rollers and handles are recommended for smaller jobs which are difficult to access. They are available in a range of sleeves (as shown below) and are suitable for work similar to those rollers whose reference numbers are shown alongside.

Easy Reacher Sleeve Suitable for similar work as
Dacron Roller No 1
Fabric Roller No 2
Velvet Roller No 1
Foam Roller No 6

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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