I am painting an exterior steel door in our garage. We have some Behr Premium Plus Primer. I was planning on keeping the flat look so I was going to use the foam roller.

But the primer instructions said to use 3/8-1/2 nap roller.

Is that necessary?

  • Behr paint is typically latex, and they expect you to use it on walls (hence the nap recommendation, which is just that). I wouldn't use that on a door. It's not tough enough. I'd use oil-based enamel. – isherwood Jul 22 '17 at 19:23

Paint manufacturers like to advertise their products as "one coat coverage" but they fail to emphasize the many variables that determine how well a paint film covers.

One of the factors is the amount of paint applied to the surface. By recommending a 3/8-1/2" nap roller, the manufacturer is at least assured that a decent amount of paint will end up on the surface, thereby bolstering their dubious "one coat" boast. Feel free to use a foam roller if you wish (I'm not a fan); if you are concerned about coverage use a thick nap roller then go over it with a high quality brush, low-nap or foam roller.

I would question why you are using primer as most steel doors come pre-primed. You do not need to prime previously painted or primed surfaces except for certain circumstances with specialty coatings or where you have an issue with the surface.

  • We installed last fall and did not paint it right away. Now it has some defects to fix (paint over). – JeffJak Jul 23 '17 at 12:51

They're trying to help you apply it efficiently, perhaps because it is thick.

You can beat roller texture by using the "roll and tip" method. That means rolling it out to lay it down, and swishing over it with a brush wetted in paint to remove the roller stipple. I do it so often that I find myself doing it even when I don't need to.

The link and similar Youtube videos talk about marine paints, the best of which have very good flow-out and will "look sprayed" if roll/tip is done properly. Disregard what they say about mineral spirits and chemical thinners, thin according to your paint's instructions.


If you are painting a door I would use a shorter nap or a sponge roller to get a smoother look.

You could also cut the paint with water if it is latex (or mineral spirits if it is oil base) to get it to lay down better.

Good luck!

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