How To Paint Corners With A Roller [6 Steps]

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If you are painting a room in your home with a roller for the first time, you may be wondering how to paint the corners. You may have heard painters use terms such as “cut-in” and “wet edge,” though you’re unsure what they mean. Maneuvering a roller is a bit different than a paintbrush, so, understandably, you’d inquire about the best method for getting around the corners. We’ve researched these methods, and in this post, we will share them with you.

Here are the steps to paint corners using a roller:

  1. Paint cut-in lines on the ceiling.
  2. Paint the remainder of the ceiling.
  3. Apply painter’s tape to the ceiling.
  4. Paint cut-in lines where the ceiling meets the wall.
  5. Paint cut-in lines on the edges of each wall.
  6. Paint the remaining area of the walls.

Typically, painters will use a paint edge or paintbrush to paint the corners of a room. However, if you are in a pinch and need to paint the corners of a room without these items, it is possible. Continue reading to learn how to paint the corners of a room using a paint roller.

A painter using a roller paint to paint the corner of the window, How To Paint Corners With A Roller [6 Steps]

How To Paint Corners With A Roller

Painter using a roller paint to paint the corner of the window

If you are painting the walls and the ceiling of your room, it’s best to start with the ceiling. The reason is that painting a ceiling is typically more challenging. It’s more likely that you’ll make more errors than if just painting your walls. It’s also important to note that if you paint the walls first, they may need to be touched up as paint may drip from the ceiling directly onto them. Also, it takes a fair amount of skill to paint corners using a roller brush. The most recommended brush is a 2 or 3-inch foam brush, as it will create sharp lines on the corners.

Things you’ll need:

  • 3-inch foam roller brush
  • A 6 or 8-inch roller brush
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint roller extension wand
  • Interior paint
  • Paint tray
  • A ladder
  • Clean rag or microfiber cloth

Paint cut-in lines on the ceiling

Take your 3-inch roller and attach an extension wand, and starting on at the corner to the left of the door, run the roller across the perimeter of the room’s ceiling. Be sure to keep the roller’s open edge as close to the edge of the ceiling as possible.

Buy a foam paintbrush on Amazon.

Paint the remainder of the ceiling

Next, switch the roller on your wand to the six or eight-inch roller. Paint the center of the ceiling and paint the remaining surface of the ceiling. 

Apply painter’s tape to the ceiling

Once the ceiling has completely dried, place the painter’s tape on the ceiling to meet the wall. Be sure only to cover the edge of the ceiling and not the wall, where you’ll be painting.

Buy painter’s tape on Amazon.

Paint cut-in lines where the ceiling meets the wall

Next, take your ladder and position it at your paint starting point on the left side of the entry door. Remove the wand from your roller and replace it with your 3-inch roller. Next, dip your roller brush into the paint. With the open end of the roller facing the ceiling running along the top edge of the wall. Start in the corner of the wall and work your way to the edge making sure to cover the entire perimeter of the room. Keep in mind that you’ll be moving the roller horizontally instead of vertically along the wall to cover the edge.

Buy an extension wand on Amazon.

Paint cut-in lines on the edges of each wall

After you have covered the top edges of the wall with the roller, it’s now time to cover the corners of each wall. Start at your base point (left side of the door). Take your 3-inch roller and roll it down the wall’s length from the ceiling to the floor. Ensure that the open end of the roller meets the edge of the wall, covering it completely. Do this on each corner of the room until all four half cut-in lines.

Paint the remaining area of the walls

Once you have created your cut-in lines for the walls, change back to your 6 or 8-inch roller and paint each wall one by one. Be sure to use long zig-zag strokes starting at the top of the wall and paint only 2 to 3 feet at a time.

Quick tips for using paint rollers

Here are a few tips to get the best finish results when using paint rollers.

Remove fuzz from your paint roller.

If you have a used paint roller made of mohair or anything other than foam, be sure to remove any loose fuzz from the cover before starting your paint job. You can do this by going over the roller with painter’s tape or giving it a quick wash with mild dish soap and tap water.

Buy dish soap on Amazon.

Extend the lifespan of your paint rollers

Paint rollers are relatively inexpensive when compared to other paint materials, but their costs can add up if you begin to take on various projects within your home. And who said that you need to use a new roller for each project? Well, you don’t need to go through several paint rollers. You can preserve their quality by simply washing them after each use and covering them tightly and plastic wrap or a plastic bag after they dry.

Paint using the right technique

When painting walls, be sure to roll the paint onto the surface with a zigzag-like pattern. Once you cover about 2 to 3 feet of space, go back over the area with criss-cross paint strokes to ensure full coverage.

Dip it right

When dipping your roller into the paint, be sure to do so lightly so that the paint only covers less than half of it. Next, roll it backward and forwards along the ramp of the paint tray so that the paint is evenly distributed across its surface.

Don’t leave paint rollers exposed.

You should never leave paint on your roller after you have completed your paint job. If you do, you might as well throw the roller away, as it will be too time-consuming to try to remove it from the roller. Always wrap your rollers up in plastic wrap replace them in an airtight Ziploc bag if you are taking a quick break and looking to keep them wet.

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Should you paint corners first?

Painting materials placed on the flooring of a spacious orange colored living room

Yes. Professional painters will typically “cut-in” or paint the edges of a room before painting the wall’s entire surfaces (after the ceiling, that is). This is because paint rollers are a bit difficult to use when it comes to painting corners. Experienced painters can paint corners with rollers with relative ease, but they will typically cut in the corners using a paintbrush or a paint edger. They may use a roller in a pinch, but this will take more precision.

Buy a paint edger on Amazon.

Is it OK to cut-in one day and paint the next?

While it’s more common for painters to cut-in and paint the remaining surface on the same day, painting the following day after doing the cut-in is possible. For the best results, you’ll want to cut-in one wall and then continue painting the remainder of the wall before starting on the next wall. This is the most commonly used technique, as it can help you avoid lap marks. Lap marks occur when you immediately roll paint over wet cut-in lines.

There are also color considerations to think about. For example, if you are working with relatively light or neutral colors, you can get away with letting the cut-in lines dry for a day before painting. However, if you are working with dark colors or high-gloss paint, you may want to keep it as wet as possible. Sometimes the paint can dry too fast, causing it to get a bit tacky when you roll over it with the paint roller–and as a result, it can lift the texture of previously applied paint.

How do I avoid roller marks when painting?

Here are the two best ways to prevent roller marks:

Always cut-in

“Cutting-in” refers to painting the perimeter (edges) of a wall or ceiling with a brush or edge before painting the entire surface.

Use the right equipment.

If you have the proper roller sleeve nap and quality paint, this will minimize the chance you have roller marks. Try to stick with smaller naps (under 1/2-inch) for better blending.

What type of paint roller(s) gives the smoothest finish?

If you are looking for a smooth finish, you’ll want to pay special attention to what’s referred to as the “nap” of your paint roller. You may also hear it referred to as “pile.” This measures how thick your paint roller is, which is the biggest determinant of how smooth or textured your paint finish will be. For smooth surfaces, you’ll want to have a nap that’s no more than 3/16 to 1/2-inch thick. Also, synthetic fiber and foam roller sleeves are the best for creating a smooth final finish. They work well on flat surfaces and can be used with oil-based or acrylic latex paint.

Wrapping Things Up

Painting corners and walls near a ceiling can seem a bit challenging to novice painters. Using the above-mentioned suggestions should make it relatively easier to paint these areas without creating roller marks on the walls or the corners.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How To Paint Window Frames [11 Steps]

Where And How To Buy Sherwin Williams Paint Online

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