I'm about to embark on painting my house. I have researched all the info here and on painting sites I can find about preparation and safety etc., but I'm still not sure the best choice regarding applying the actual paint itself.

I have HardiPlanks on the outside similar to this image but an older model of the planks so the chamfer isn't quite as pronounced.


I'm wondering should I just get a Big Brushes (125mm?) or should I cut in under each plank and around windows, then roller what I can, or just do the lot with brushes?

  • 1
    I've had good results with paint pads. If you find a pad that is the same width as the siding, it makes the painting a lot faster.
    – mbeckish
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 17:21

6 Answers 6


You absolutely want to use a brush for most exterior surfaces, and definitely the siding and trim. The only time to ever use a roller is on a large flat surface (think drywall, or plywood paneling) -- in the image you provided I might use a roller for the white soffit, but that's it and only if it's a large house.

Aside from avoiding unsightly "orange peel" effect that a roller will undoubtedly case, applying the paint back and forth with a paintbrush will work the paint into the surface of the product in a way that a pass over the top with a roller will not. This is especially true with wood surfaces, but generally true with most surfaces. Just imagine being paint on a relatively smooth surface. Wouldn't it be easier to peel if you were rolled on in one large sheet, than if you were brushed on and worked into the surface with each brushstroke?

Exceptions to the rule, for exterior surfaces are:

  • Concrete - I roll foundations and cement block with 1" nap roller
  • "Cedar Shake" siding (think Cape Cod) where I apply the paint with a 1-1.25" nap roller, then backbrush to work it into the siding and catch drips (this is much faster than brushing, and higher quality than spraying)
  • Large soffits or areas where I'm working over my head for long periods
  • T111 siding, vertical barn siding, etc, but in all cases I backbrush

Definitely buy a 4" brush for this project.


I would apply paint to the outside walls and trim surfaces with an air sprayer. Make sure that the walls are fully and properly prepped before applying paint. There can be no better way to get a excellent looking and uniform paint job than spraying.

Paint brushing the outside of a house is the old fashioned way of doing it before paint sprayers were invented !!

Using a spray application will cut down quite a bit on the amount of time spent on applying the paint. The saved time will be spent doing the necessary masking and brown paper application needed to keep the spray off windows, doors or parts to be painted a different color.


I'd always use a brush on weatherboard. Using a roller will require you to roll in sideways strokes rather than up and down which would be harder than just using a brush.

If you have flat walls of plaster or stucco then a roller is actually quicker and easier.

  • Guess my shoulders are gonna get a work out :-)
    – Paul Farry
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 0:27

This surface requires a brush or sprayer. The sprayer delivers a smoother finish, which may or may not be what you want. Personally, I like the looks a a brushed finish better for most sidings.

Apply the paint, smooth it out evenly, and then finish each spot with long brush strokes as you move across the board. Start with the brush on the dry surface, then move the brush in a long stroke across the wet surface, gently lifting it off the surface as you finish the stroke. We call this "feathering". It provides for a nice-looking brushed finish, not a choppy, stop-and-go finish.


Painting is challenging, especially painting old wood windows that are larger than doors. Ha ha ha. But the task you are talking about, you should use a brush. A roller will make your task harder. Buy two brushes, one regular size brush and one small brush (inch wide) for the areas that need edging. Rollers do work well for painting straight flat surfaces, wood that is already painted that you are just painting over, brick walls, concrete walls, and interior room walls. So, definitely use paint brushes for your task.


Using a roller will make the job much easier and faster, and the covering much better. The "orange peel" finish will smoothen out soon after you have applied the paint. For reasonably smooth surfaces definitely use a roller.

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