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Paper/poly drop cloths: $2 to $6 for 9x12-feet. The best of both paper and plastic, these cloths are low-cost and disposable. They absorb paint drips while providing more protection for what's underneath. They also provide some protection from slipping. Plus, you can cut paper/poly drop cloths to fit the space. But, like paper, paper/poly drop cloths can rip more easily than plastic or canvas drop cloths.
House painting is often an important step of the moving process. If your home or rental property is in need of a fresh coat (or two) of paint, you’ll have to decide how you want to proceed. Do you hire a professional painter or break out the ladder and purchase the exterior house paint yourself? Depending on the scale of the project, your time frame, and whether it’s an exterior or interior house painting job, the answer might be different. Read up on our house painting tips and tricks to see what choice is the best for you.
While some professional painters will charge a flat fee for a painting project, most charge an hourly rate—about $25 to $100 per hour on average. Most painters will charge more for last-minute jobs (think 48 hours' notice or less), travel costs (if you live far away, the painter may want extra money for gas), or intensive prep work (e.g., removing mold or stains before painting). Also, depending on the painter, the rate may or may not include the cost of paint materials such as paint, primer, and supplies.

If you have two weeks, a ladder and some experience, this makes an excellent DIY project. On most surfaces, it is forgiving of mistakes and easy to work with. Correcting mistakes only adds more time and not much more expense. However, a professional will get it done faster and with a better finish. If you don’t have 2 to 3 weeks to spare, find a professional painter near you today.


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.
Begin prepping your walls by removing any outlet covers or lighting fixtures (if possible). Next, inspect your walls for any defects. If you encounter cracks, dents, or holes in your walls, simply fill them in with caulk or spackling compound. There are also a number of DIY tips to fill nail holes. Once your repairs dry, smooth them down with sandpaper and wipe the walls down with a damp sponge.
Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Do it correctly the first time or you’ll quickly end up spending more to fix peeling and chipping paint. Follow this process before starting on your home's exterior. Keep in mind that the process may vary based on your siding materials:
Paint can be expensive. Buying too much paint is particularly frustrating since paint stores won’t refund an already tinted gallon of paint. That’s why it’s recommended to first buy around 80% of the estimated paint you need and then purchase the remainder when you’re almost finished. Factors such as square footage, surface type, and quality of paint all play into how much paint you’ll need. Paint stores should be able to help you determine how much paint you need for a specific job. If you aren’t sure how much paint to buy, ask a salesperson for advice.
It’ll cost you between $500 and $1,000 to paint the exterior yourself. Not including paint, it’ll cost you no more than $200 to $300 at a home improvement store like Home Depot, Lowes or Menards. You may end up spending more if you buy high-quality products from specialized shops. Professionals can get the same supplies for about half what you’ll pay.
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