The Different Types of Paint Roller Covers (Sleeves)

And examples of specific uses

There are many different types of roller covers out on the market today. The most common being the 9" long 1/2" nap standard cover.


In reference to roller covers, you'll see terms used such as nap, weave (or woven), lambskin shearling, blended high-density nylon, and so on. For our purposes concerning interior/exterior house painting, I want to concentrate on the most common terms used for rollers and intended useage.

  • Nap - refers to the thickness of the cover material.

  • Weave (woven)and Knits - refers to the fact that the material is spiral wound onto the cores.

  • Plastic, or Phenolic Cores - these are the solvent-resistant core inards of the roller.

  • Natural Lambskin - refers to the natural material used to make this particular cover. It is hand-sewn into rectangular sleeves and then set onto the cores.

  • Beveled Edges - This term refers to the angled, or beveled edge of the roller, which in turn helps to reduce or eliminate "ridges" that might occur when rolling. (see photo)

    detail of beveled edge of roller cover

    Intended Uses

    In the following picture, please note what I consider to be (from left to right, thickest to thinnest) the most common sleeves used when painting the exterior or interior of your home.

    Various roller covers

    The first cover you see on the left, is a 1 1/4" wide nylon woven standard 9" long sleeve that is designed for painting really uneven, porous, and highly textured surfaces such as split-faced concrete block on the exterior of your home. (not recommended for general interior use)

    The next cover you see (second from the left), is a 3/4" wide blended nylon roller cover which is ideal for semi-rough surfaces such as plaster, masonry, or textured ceilings and walls. Use either interior or exterior.

    The next sleeve (third from left), is the most common roller cover for interior use. It is 1/2" nap and is perfect for painting walls and ceilings.

    The last cover shown (fourth from left) is a 3/8" nap which is generally used for smooth surfaces that don't require a tremendous amount of rolling time, such as doors, cabinets and panels.


    I also like to use a 6" roller (see photo) for painting in hard to reach areas such as behind toilet bowls, between closet shelves and generally places where a normal roller cover would not work. I've also found them excellent for painting panelled doors and cabinets.

    lambskin roller cover

    The lambskin roller cover is used generally for painting surfaces with solvent oil-based coatings. The natural pelt material allows for maximum paint pick-up and release, which is critical when painting with oil-based paints.

    Note When painting with latex, use only synthetic roller covers, as natural covers are generally much too absorbent, and will hinder paint release. In short, you'll end up with more of a mess, than with a good paint job.

    For Excellent Results, I Recommend Corona © Sleeves

    As with anything I do, I try to use quality tools and paint products when trying to perform my job, which is painting.

    To that end, when using a cover for a specific project, I look for well-made products, that, although might not be the cheapest covers out on the market, they are in my mind, the best I've seen for the money.

    The specific roller covers I'm talking about are the products made by the same people whose paint brushes I highly recommend as well, Corona Brushes, Incorporated.

    roller covers made by Corona Brushes, Inc.

    Corona roller covers offer the very best in workmanship and attention to detail.

    These covers have everything you're looking for when painting your home:

  • Maximum paint pick-up and release

  • Shed-resistant for lint-free painting

  • Solvent and water resistant cores

  • Made with high-quality materials

    With proper care, these covers, like the paint brushes that Corona makes, will last a long time.

    They're definitely worth the price!

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