Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wagner Power Roller

When Ami came down to DC to help us start priming, we bought a Wagner power-fed roller. This is a paint roller that's fed via a tube from a paint pump fed from the can. The idea is that you never have to go dip your roller in paint, so you can work faster.

We used the roller on the ceiling, cleaned it according to the manufacturers instructions, and then put it away. When it came time to prime again, I discovered that it wouldn't draw primer. After half an hour of trying to clean it (and successfully feeding water through it via the garden-hose quick-clean attachment) I gave up and did the next ceiling with a conventional roller.

Having tried both methods I came to the conclusion that the Wagner power-fed roller is not as good as a cheap foam roller on an extension poll:
  • The wagner roller is heavy. Any benefit in not having to dip paint is more than lost by having to lift all that weight above your head when doing ceilings. (I think I spend more time rolling and smoothing paint on ceilings than going for refills from the tray.)
  • You can't use an extender poll on the wagner because paint is fed through the poll, so you spend a lot of time repositioning your ladder and can't work on as large of an area. You can't take as long strokes and it requires a lot more shoulder muscle. Ami and I were both very tired after doing 200 square feet of ceiling with the roller; Lori and I did that after doing the dining room today with a conventional roller and don't feel any soreness.
I was going to compare it to a conventional roller on walls, but after not being able to draw primer we took it back to home depot, who took it back for a full refund and marked it defective. I don't know if the problem is that Kilz is too thick for the motor or our unit had a problem or what, but in hindsight I'm happy to return it and use conventional rollers so all's well that ends well.

So perhaps for walls and latex paint the Wagner power roller is a useful tool, but for Kilz on a ceiling I recommend cheap foam rollers.

(For that matter, Kilz is thick nasty stuff and tough to clean, so I think there's something to be said for using the cheapest disposable equipment you can find; there's only so many times you'll be able to clean your brushes before they're toast.)