What Roller to Use With High Gloss Enamel

By Farrah Davis
Painting with brushes can be more time-consuming than using rollers.

When choosing the right paint roller, several factors must be considered, not just the type of paint you wish to apply. High gloss enamel paint is a heavier paint that can break down poor quality paint rollers, so make sure you select a roller that is durable and made to handle enamel paint. Also, consider the surface you want to paint. This also determines roller suitability.

Enamel Paint Applications

Enamel paints are generally used for high traffic, high use areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are also commonly used outdoors since they can be exposed to extreme temperatures and rain. Most are high gloss, and surfaces can be maintained and cleaned more easily than those painted with water-based paints. Because the end result is a hard shiny surface, dirt can be removed easily with a damp rag without removing the paint.

Roller Nap

The nap value assigned to rollers refers to the length of the material on the roller which absorbs the paint and applies it to the surface. With enamel and high gloss paints, short naps are better for even application to create a smooth surface without bumps or bubbles. Generally, a 1/4-inch nap is the best length. Although shorter naps are recommended for enamel, remember to consider the surface.

Smooth and Rough Surfaces

For smooth surface applications, choose a roller with a shorter nap. If rollers with a longer nap cover are used, the paint may look textured, not smooth. The paint may also apply unevenly, resulting in splotchy areas. Examples of smooth surfaces are smooth woods, Sheetrock, flat metal surfaces and wallboard. For rough surfaces use a longer nap -- 3/8 inch to 1 inch. The rougher the surface, the longer the nap needs to be. This helps push the paint into cracks and holes. Examples of rough surfaces would be textured walls, bricks, concrete or corrugated metal.

Roller Quality

It is important to purchase a high-quality roller for enamel paint applications. There are several ways to determine if the roller is durable. First, check the inner part that slides over the rolling mechanism of the handle. Some rollers are cardboard. Cardboard rollers can break down when exposed to lots of water or paint, allowing the attached fibers to fall out. Next, determine the type of roller material. For enamel and high gloss paints, use mohair, a smooth and silky natural fiber created from goat hair that is excellent for smooth paint applications.

About the Author

Farrah Davis began her writing career in 2010. She has worked for Harley Ellis Deveraux and Green Dinosaur as an environmental consultant project manager, writing environmental plans for commercial projects. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in interior architecture and a focus on environmental studies.