Plan the workforce. If you intend to not hire a professional crew, you'll need lots of help. There are many jobs to be done. First there's the furniture moving, then wall preparation, floor covering, materials gathering and prep, cleaning, and don't forget everyone will have to eat. It can easily take a team of five people a full ten days to paint a two-story (approx 2000 sq.ft.) home. Get as many people to help as you can. If some can only come one or two days, great. Maybe others can fill in. Ensure you plan with your workforce members in mind. They'll need plenty of time to arrange days away from work. Identify a few key personnel:
Most house painting professionals will agree that two coats of paint are needed on a home. Using one coat of paint may look sufficient, but will not hold up over time. Two coats of paint, on the other hand, provide protection, washability, and help retain the true color of the paint. If you are still toying with the idea of hiring a professional painter, ask if two coats of paint are included in the pricing estimate.
Prepping a house costs anywhere from $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. This is almost always included in the total project price. However, the DIYer might negotiate some discounts for completing this work on their own. Be warned, proper prep is key to the quality and durability of the finish. If you do this work yourself, the contractor might no guarantee to finished product.
Painting interior walls does not require professional aptitude, but it is still a skill that arrives with a learning curve. The most challenging part of any interior painting project is the prep work, which often involves cleaning the walls, masking off windows, doorways and baseboards, then carefully “cutting in” the paint around the edges. Once the masking and cutting in are finished, volunteers with handheld or roller brushes can usually fill in the rest of the space with little trouble.
Carefully consider the gloss level. The shiny gloss paints are easy to clean, but will make any wall blemish stand out. The flat paints will help disguise wall blemishes, but can be difficult to clean. Generally, you'll want glossier paints where there's lots of steam or cooking (baths and kitchens) and in high-traffic areas. Flatter paints are preferred for large walls and ceilings.
Like the rest of your home’s exterior, you should start from the top down when painting exterior trim. If your window sills look particularly weather-beaten, you might want to give them a second or third coat of paint. When painting doors, paint the panels first, then the rails and stiles, and finally the edges. For more details, read up on trim painting guidelines.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for painters, with some booked up to six months ahead of time, so book well in advance. Homebuyers getting VA loans have run into difficulties with this, so if you’re getting a VA renovation/rehabilitation loan, get all your painting and inspection estimates and work dates booked before you fill out any paperwork with a closing date, or the house will not be move-in ready in time.
One important consideration when comparison shopping for interior paint is the manufacturer’s available palette. One brand of latex paint may be significantly less expensive than others, but the tint options can be limited. There can also be a noticeable difference between one manufacturer’s “midnight blue” and another’s “Prussian blue.” There is no universal standard, so this is why sample cards and test paints are so important.

Like the rest of your home’s exterior, you should start from the top down when painting exterior trim. If your window sills look particularly weather-beaten, you might want to give them a second or third coat of paint. When painting doors, paint the panels first, then the rails and stiles, and finally the edges. For more details, read up on trim painting guidelines.

Staining a deck costs $540 to $1,000. Covered porches might hit $2,000. Consider negotiating the price a bit lower by combining it with a full exterior job. Painting handrails can run anywhere from $1 to $2 per linear foot, depending on whether it’s wood, metal or some other material. Although you might think this is an easy $30 to $100 job, most painters charge a minimum fee regardless of the size of the project. You’ll probably end up paying at least $150.
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