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Roller nap for ceiling

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I'm painting the living room ceiling. It is the most entertaining thing I can think of doing... ;)

Which roller nap to use? In the past I have used 3/8" in bedrooms, and it looks ok. Will 1/4" give a better appearance? I am prioritizing quality of finish, not speed or paint coverage. I want it to look good when I am sitting there staring at it in a few year.

Thanks for any tips!
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I did my ceilings with CHB flat white from sherwin williams per recommendation of a painter friend. Flatter than flat and very forgiving. Extremely easy to touch up. I used the same 3/8" purdy rollers that I did on my walls and it looks great. If doing color i'd probably use the same purdy rollers.
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All ceilings are meant to be white, without exception, unless you have Michelangelo on staff......
Thanks for any tips!
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Thanks guys. Yes white it will be. Anyone use a 1/4" nap roller? I know it doesn't carry as much paint, but how does it look? Better? Worse?
I’d just buy the bulk 3/8 Purdue rollers. Likely you’ll only need one for your cieiling and you can take it off and store it in a ziplock in the fridge or wash it out. That was the best thing about the Purdy rollers was they were on the plastic tube so you could rinse the whole thing without destroying it.


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Thanks guys. Yes white it will be. Anyone use a 1/4" nap roller? I know it doesn't carry as much paint, but how does it look? Better? Worse?
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Roller nap matches the surface. Carpet nap for smooth, my old textured wet plaster gets 3/8"
1/4" will work however there could be a couple problems created by using it. The first like you mentioned, it does not hold as much paint so you con get dry spots when rolling and they will show after the paint has cured. Second they are more prone to roller marks if you don't back roll as you go. Third is, if you have any imperfections in he ceiling it will magnify them. If you are set on the smooth look roll first with a 3/8" nap followed by the 1/4" nap before moving to the next section.
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A nap sounds good. Better than repainting the ceiling...Even if cabin fever is causing the walls to slowly close in.

I matched the wall as far as roller choice. Nothing smooth goin on in regards to paint when I painted this former foreclosure.
What I did not do and almost recommend ,is.... use the paint that goes on pink then dries to white to show you where you messed up your coverage :because I was just so danged good at painting.
Looking up at the ceiling about a year later ,I noticed a couple tiny spots somebody messed up coverage on....
I'm painting the living room ceiling. It is the most entertaining thing I can think of doing... ;)

Which roller nap to use? In the past I have used 3/8" in bedrooms, and it looks ok. Will 1/4" give a better appearance? I am prioritizing quality of finish, not speed or paint coverage. I want it to look good when I am sitting there staring at it in a few year.

Thanks for any tips!
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That's where the CHB flat white shines. If you miss a spot you can touch it up and it will blend perfectly and you will never know it was touched up.
A nap sounds good. Better than repainting the ceiling...Even if cabin fever is causing the walls to slowly close in.

I matched the wall as far as roller choice. Nothing smooth goin on in regards to paint when I painted this former foreclosure.
What I did not do and almost recommend ,is.... use the paint that goes on pink then dries to white to show you where you messed up your coverage :because I was just so danged good at painting.
Looking up at the ceiling about a year later ,I noticed a couple tiny spots somebody messed up coverage on....
Been painting 20 years

I actually use a 3/4 on ceilings (NOT microfiber).

Less time in the tray and more on the ceiling. Be careful or you'll get "heavy edges" or "rat tails".

Use a high quality ceiling paint (I use Benjamin Moore ceiling paint) or you'll be wearing more paint than the ceiling does.
Which direction should I roll? Parallel to the long or the short dimension of the room? Room is about 16' x 20'.

In the past I have rolled parallel to the long dimension. Does it make a difference? Priority for me is appearance/quality. Time/effort is secondary.
Direction is not critical if you take your time and roll the same direction over the entire ceiling.
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Thanks hommer. Hope to get 2 coats on the ceiling between now and Sunday afternoon.
I prefer to roll with the least amount of overlap. I can cover 8 foot easier than 10 and you need to figure overlap in there also. Your best bet would be to roll 2, 8x20 paths.
Which direction should I roll? Parallel to the long or the short dimension of the room? Room is about 16' x 20'.

In the past I have rolled parallel to the long dimension. Does it make a difference? Priority for me is appearance/quality. Time/effort is secondary.
  • Like
Reactions: kroppe
Thanks FF.
Rolling the second coat today, will probably do a third coat this week. I’m rolling the long dimension of the room from one wall to the middle. Then change directions at the end. Using S-W ProMar. Coverage is so-so but color and flatness is very good and it dries almost as fast as it comes off the rush/roller. Helps I have the heat cranked up and that it is low humidity this time of year.
p.s. Glad I went with 3/8" roller nap, thanks for the suggestions. 1/4" nap would have been a pain and much slower. The painted surface looks good with the 3/8" nap.
Finished the ceiling, it looks pretty good. Also did one wall that needed it. Now some kitchen work, then maybe bathrooms...
3/8 on a repaint, especially on a ceiling makes no sense. If it is really slick, maybe a half inch but the guy that said 3/4 knew what he was talking about. Purdy skins are the only way to fly and if you take care of them, they will actually get better with age.
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