Best Type of Paint Rollers for Ceilings

By HomeAdvisor

Updated March 2, 2021

professional painter using roller on ceiling

Painting your ceilings is an easy task if you have the right tools for the job. The best type of paint rollers for ceilings are those that can deal with the thickness of your ceiling texture. The right foam cover will protect the texture to avoid chipping while spreading the paint evenly. With our suggestions, you will find the right roller to get your job done like the pro’s. Under budget and right on schedule.

On This Page:

  1. How to Choose the Best Roller for Your Ceiling
    1. Frames
    2. Sizes
  2. Best Types of Paint Roller Cover
  3. Nap Roller for Ceiling
  4. Best Roller for Popcorn Ceiling
  5. FAQs

How to Choose the Best Roller for Your Ceiling

To get the best results, you’ll need to choose the appropriate nap roller for ceiling depending on a few factors. The type of paint and the thickness of the ceiling texture are the most important. A smooth plain ceiling needs a harder and thinner nap cover to get an even application and prevent dripping. To paint over popcorn ceilings, you will need a softer and thicker roller cover that can reach all this irregular surface.


A roller frame is made of a handle with the roller cage to hold the cover. The best roller for ceilings has a handle with a threaded end. This allows you to attach an extension pole and reach the ceiling without the need of a step ladder. Also, the roller will have excellent ball bearings. This will enable the cover to roll smoothly and faster, empowering you to do a better job in less time.


There are two common sizes in rollers that are the most used in the trade. The 9-inch and the 4-inch roller. The bigger the area to cover on your ceiling, the wider roller you want. So, the 9-inche model is the recommended size to best fit the ceiling areas.

The 9-inch roller fits perfectly in the 5-gallon paint bucket and is ideal to cover a large area in less time. 4-inch rollers work better for trim work and detailing. Their smaller size gives them better control and precision for special applications.

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Best Types of Paint Roller Cover

The paint roller covers are made from different materials to match different surfaces and paint types. To determine which is the best way to paint a ceiling with a roller, you’ll need to know the ceiling materials and the paint specifications.

Lambswool Polyester Foam
Oil based paint Water-based latex paint High gloss latex
Any surface texture Any surface texture Porous surfaces
Long Lasting Medium term durability Short durability

Nap Roller for Ceiling

The best roller nap for ceilings is those that matches the thickness of the ceiling texture. If the surface is plain and soft, you can use the 1/4-inch nap. But the best roller to paint popcorn ceiling must have at least a 3/8-inch nap foam cover.

Plain ceilings Popcorn Ceiling
  • Polyester cover
  • 1/4-inch nap
  • 9-inch-wide roller
  • Foam cover
  • 3/8-inch nap
  • 9inch-wide roller

Best Roller for Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceiling are one of the most popular textures in ceiling’s finishing. You can find them in most apartments and single story homes. When painting them, it is better to use a foam roller to reach deep into the porous texture. The foam holds more paint and that allows you to saturate the uneven surface for excellent results.

Ceiling roller painting ceiling white


Is it better to spray paint popcorn ceiling or to use a paint roller?

If the ceiling is new and never been painted, it is easier and faster to spray it. But, if the popcorn ceiling has had painted before rolling will work best.

What other tools and accessories are necessary to paint my ceiling?

Besides the right type of paint for your ceiling materials, you’ll need the following:

  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape
  • Drop clothes
  • Roller and proper cover
  • Extension pole
  • Tray
  • Angle brush to finish
  • Vacuum
  • Hat

Consult or guide for more interior painting preparation tips.

How to prepare the ceiling before painting?

The best starting point is to clean the ceiling. Use a vacuum with the feather accessories, or a brush attachment. This will clean off the dust, spiderwebs, and debris to get the best results. Use the tape to cover all the edges of the joint to avoid paint getting on the walls. Cover the area with painting cover and us the right overall clothes. For help, consult a ceiling painter near you.

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