How to Effectively Use Texture Rollers
By Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans

tru tex rollers on countertopThis may seem like a silly statement but many who buy texture rollers are only getting the obvious use out of them. The simple release and roll over fresh mud is the obvious method for using a texture roller but is there more to these simple tools.

Keeping your rollers clean and free from cement build up is important. It’s easy to just throw the rollers back in the bucket when you are finished, but once cement has a chance to really lock on to your roller even with release it tends to grab or tear the design as your using the tool. If that does happen you can use a mild cleaner for breaking down concrete material such as C-Etch. This will not harm your rollers (or any of your finishing tools).

It’s also important to note that texture rollers are a wonderful asset to flat work contractors, as well as vertical decorative concrete contractors. Adding texture to patterns and corrective measures using these rollers is very effective. Edging your pours with texture is invaluable. A roller can be attached to a telescopic pole and corrections can be made.

Over years of using texture rollers I have a few things that might just offer you some neat concepts and add more value to that texture roller.

1.) Choose a very aggressive roller and texture the mud as normal but then go back with your trowel and lightly cover up your work or knockdown the texture design. It is a good idea to do this in the same direction of the roller if you can tell. The look will offer a travertine effect or a cut stone revealing the organic natural pits and depressions. These types of finishes will color up nicely and create depth in a relatively flat surface. Flat work users can take full advantage of these techniques and interior flat work can be coated with solids or epoxy finishes for even more depth effects.

2.) Use your texture roller for color. Yes, instead of covering the entire wall with a powder or liquid release, lightly roll the texture roller in a favorable colored release and then texture your wall randomly. You will have to reapply the same amount of release each time to allow proper color to show up evenly. The heavier the texture, the better the effects. If you use very light texture like in the soft roll technique, then this method will not work out very well because the texture is almost like a sand finish. The Coral or Heavy roller would be perfect for this effect.

3.) Are you bored with the patterns? Try rolling another texture roller over the same area just rolled. You can create unique patterns that are effective and contrasting with everything else in the wall.  

4.) Roller over roller techniques can be used but in striated stone patterns you can use roller next to roller designs to help define the sedimentary lines. This is a great way to stay consistent with texture on stone or rock work where this effect is needed.

5.) Close up your design lines creating a dry stack look. If you’re stamping, use your roller while the mud is still very soft. Release the roller and the desired area including the joint itself. Lightly close the joint until the two stone barely touch. This effect creates a closeness and hair line split between the two stones giving the appearance that the weight is being distributed over the surface of that stone. This effect looks great for dry stack designs.

6.) Don’t think your roller is just for stone effects. I have textured whole areas the same for a simple texture plaster look. Faux finishers in the painting industry get paid big money for creating the simplest textures with dry wall mud and finish trowels. Our texture rollers deliver the dreamiest impressions that faux finishers can do by hand.   

7.) If you are vertical stamping (or Stone Matrix), make good use of texture rollers to place random texture on your project prior to stamping. That will give you more texture variety in the project and removes the worry if may have missed the impression on every last inch of those mats.

8.) Another cool effect for an Ashler Slate type of design is to use rollers but to use them in random directions. The square and rectangular stone designs can seem mundane but when you use a variety of texture rollers and choose random directions over each stone the effect is realistic. Don’t make the mistake of just using 45-degree angles left or right. Introduce 25-degree and even 15-degree angles as well. Real stone will be even more random than this and it’s important to create the most realistic effects possible. Texture rollers really help us in our quest of simulating rock and stone textures. These tools however simple can unlock profits in future projects.

9.) Countertops. Don’t forget countertops. Rollers are perfect for applying both bold or sublime textures on concrete countertops. Similar surfaces such as step treads and border effects deserve the same treatment.

Look for ways to offer “upgrades” for particular textures and multi-step methods using texture rollers. 

Perceived value IS value.

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