A helpful illustrated guide to why painters back roll in Rhode island

Why Do Painters Backroll?

Exterior house paint in Rhode Island is applied in two ways: Spray only or spray and backroll. What is backrolling? Applying paint by sprayer and then using a paint roller to, in theory, push paint into small openings.

And what about just brushing paint? Well, you could brush an entire house, but that hasn’t happened in over 50 years.

So with only two options, one of the most common questions we get is “How does Happy Trees painting apply paint”

There are a range of opinions on this, but understanding the factors involved can help homeowners make the best decision.

On a breezy Rhode Island summer day the paint can easily “skin over” before it is backrolled, especially of the person rolling is busy moving ladders or drop cloths.


An even, consistent paint film will give a home the longest-lasting protection from weather, UV and yes, bird poop.

  • Consistent paint thickness per manufacturer’s specs
  • More efficient application
  • Less chance of drips or runs
  • Easier color Transitions (light to dark no problem)
  • All areas of the house get exactly the same consistent coverage

Spray & Backroll

Spray the paint for efficient application and then immediately roll over (backroll) to, in theory, push it into small openings. While backrolling can fill small gaps, it also creates uneven film thickness in the paint – think of rolling a red dining room with white paint.

Uneven paint film thickness means uneven paint performance.

On a breezy Rhode Island summer day the paint can easily “skin over” before it is backrolled, especially if the person rolling is busy moving ladders and drop cloths.

Drawbacks to Backrolling

  • Slower
  • Widely varying paint thickness
  • Timing is critical
  • Weather is a factor
  • “Easy” areas get backrolled, “hard” areas don’t
  • Unnecessary multiple existing coats
  • Pointless on smoother surface

There are several factors that make backrolling more of a challenge – timing and weather top the list. With questionable benefits and difficult execution, Happy Trees Painting falls squarely in the “spray only” camp. Give us a call and we’ll show you the difference it’ll make on your home

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