Why Isn’t My Paint Roller Rolling?

Paint rolling instead of using a paint sprayer can be a tremendously rewarding painting technique, especially if you really enjoy hands-on painting work. But it’s frustrating when your primary tool—the paint roller—stops doing rolling paint like it’s supposed to. 

When the problem persists despite changing roller brands, it can feel even more defeating. Before you switch to a paint sprayer or give up any method of painting altogether, however, we might have an answer as to why:

If your paint roller isn’t rolling, you may be applying too much pressure on it while painting. The cover may also not be the right fit, or you may be putting too much paint on it.

Read on to find the simple solutions to your frustrations.

paint roller

Why Your Paint Roller Won’t Roll

No one wants a sloppy paint job, especially when painting your first nursery or applying a fresh coat of paint to that kitchen cabinet. Painting is messy and time-consuming when your paint roller isn’t rolling correctly. 

So, let’s explore why your roller is frustrating your DIY painting.

Too Much Pressure 

Many first-time or inexperienced DIYers hold the roller awkwardly and may apply too much pressure when painting. 

Adding too much pressure strains your wrist and stops your roller from rolling smoothly. Always apply light pressure when using a paint roller. 

Rolling on a Smooth Surface 

Rollers can only move on slightly textured surfaces. So, the root of your frustration might be a too-smooth wall or cabinet. 

To solve this dilemma, use 300-grit sandpaper to create texture on the surface before painting. 

Applying Uneven Pressure 

Almost every roller handle is U-shaped. So it’s pretty commonplace for most new painters to grip the handle in a way that applies more pressure to the side closer to the handle. 

Does this sound like you? Applying uneven pressure on the roller can stop it from rolling, and it even leaves you with a shoddy paint job. 

Therefore, apply equal pressure by leaning your wrist towards the side farther from the roller handle. This leaves you with a smooth finish rather than skipped or underpainted sections. 

Applying Too Much Paint 

The secret is not to overload or use less paint on your roller. You may end up with awful roller marks from the latter, while the former leaves you with drippy and messy paint. 

What’s more? Paint rollers won’t roll if there’s too much paint on them. 

How do you know if there’s too much paint? You probably applied too much paint if it’s dripping off the roller. 

Using the Wrong Roller Cover 

Most DIY painters fall for the hype around specific products. Dense foam rollers are best suited for oil-based paints, while nappy rollers are for latex or water-based paints.

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Why Is My Paint Roller Skipping? 

Does your roller leave dry portions strips on the wall after every rotation? Then, you’ve got a roller “skipping” problem. 

Your paint roller “skips” when certain sections on the roller have not absorbed enough paint. This problem is quite common in roller covers made of densely woven fibers, as it takes time for these roller types to soak in paint thoroughly. 

How to Keep Paint Rollers from Skipping 

Here are a few sure-fire steps to prevent skipping when applying a layer of paint:

Step 1: Gather all necessary equipment 

You need a paint tray, roller, and a large tarp to cover the floor or any area you don’t want to paint. Get quality paint rollers from reputable brands: search review sites and forums for high-quality rollers. 

Step 2: Dip the Roller into the Tray 

Pay attention if you are using roller covers with dense fibers. Dip the roller into the paint tray. Next, use the ribs in the tray to spin the sleeve, allowing the dry side to soak up paint. 

Wait for a few minutes once you’ve fully loaded it with paint. Then, repeat the process. However, start painting after soaking it in paint again. 

In addition to this, you must remove excess sheets of paint on the roller cover. You should be able to avoid skipping or even paint dripping. 

Why is My Paint Roller Sliding? 

DIY painters, especially those using rollers for the first time, may experience this issue. Paint roller covers may slide off for these reasons:

Uneven Pressure 

Most roller handles are U-shaped. So, it’s a common mistake for most folks to apply more pressure to the side closer to the handle. Instead, apply consistent pressure all along the handle.

Low-Quality Roller Frame 

Roller covers may slide off if the roller frames get loose quickly. DIY-ers often complain of losing the bolts on their roller frames.

Always go for reputable brands, even if they are a bit overpriced. Better still, get recommendations from professional painters or other DIYers. A popular roller frame isn’t necessarily overrated.

How to Keep Paint Roller from Sliding 

The rules for preventing roller covers from sliding are pretty straightforward. 

First, go for high-quality roller frames from reputable brands. A good roller is very durable and can withstand abuse. Second, you should apply equal pressure on both sides of the roller. Lean your wrist towards the side farther from the roller handle. 

All you need to do is checklist these solutions to keep the paint roller from sliding. 

Why is My Paint Roller Dripping? 

paint roller dripping

Dear DIYer painters, your roller shouldn’t drip paint. Paint rollers will only drip paint when it’s oversaturated with paint. What’s more? Some roller covers can absorb more paint than others. 

How to Keep Paint Roller from Dripping 

After skipping, sliding, and not rolling at all, you may encounter one final drag in the process: dripping paint that ruins the consistency of your project.

After saturating the roller cover with paint, roll it on the ridges in the paint tray to remove excess paint sheets. The paint ridges are on the highest part of the paint tray. Remove it from the tray and paint that entire wall, ceiling, or cabinet without dripping paint. 

Here’s an extra tip: you should wet your paint roller before use. Soak the roller cover in water, remove all the moisture, and dip in paint.


Paint rollers should enable you to paint like a pro, not stop you from doing so. With this guide, you’ve got this covered. Go ahead, handle your roller like a pro and apply that new coat of paint.