Did you know that paint rollers weren’t invented until 1938, near the end of the Great Depression? The first paint rollers were just pieces of carpet attached to wooden rollers. Today, painters can choose from a variety of roller covers in synthetics, lambskin and even plastic foam. Lambskin may sound old-fashioned, but the lambskin roller cover is preferred by many painting contractors.
Lambskin: Perfect for Oil-Based Paints
A good quality lambskin roller cover is much more absorbent than a synthetic one because it has almost 10 times as many fibers per inch. The fibers are what pick up and hold the paint, so the more fibers per inch, the more paint there is on the roller. This makes them perfect to use with oil-based paints, which don’t adhere well to synthetics. (Synthetics are best for latex paints, which are water-based and can make lambskin rollers soggy.)
Lambskin Is Convenient
Painters save time because the more absorbent covers have to be filled less often. Lambskin covers are also time savers because they don’t need to be pre-conditioned (they already carry natural lanolin) and they are much quicker to clean than synthetic roller covers. They are also much more durable and less likely to get damaged by abrasion
Pick Your Core Carefully
Lambskin rollers are more expensive, so it makes sense to get one with a durable core. Look for a solvent-resistant phenolic core, made of sturdy plastic that resists damage from falls and won’t warp. Be sure that the core is also labeled “solvent-resistant” so it can withstand damage from thinners and cleaners.