Prime. Dark colors, stains (once sealed), and previously unpainted surfaces (drywall, spackle, etc.) will need a primer coat, usually white. NOTE: most paint stores & home improvement centers will now tint primer (at no charge) to match fairly close to the color of the finished coat, that way two coats of primer need not be applied. Although not all surfaces need a prime coat, skip this step at your peril! Dark colors will likely show through the first -- or even the first couple-- topcoats of paint. Sealants and unpainted surfaces like spackle patches will absorb or repel moisture in a topcoat at a different level than the areas surrounding them. Applying a good primer coat will help even out these differences. Primer equalizes a wall to a uniform surface. It's like erasing a canvas before drawing a new picture. Although some will argue the point, you generally don't need to spend a great deal on primer or buy special primer. A cheap, 5 gallon (18.9 L) bucket of plain, flat white paint will usually do the trick and cover a large area. Give your primer at least 24 hours to dry (follow its instructions) before applying a topcoat.
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.
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.
There are a few ways to prevent your interior house paint from fading — or stop it from getting worse. One simple fix is to install shades or curtains to block incoming sunlight. If you don’t want to shut out the light, you can also tint your windows with a UV protectant. However, fading shouldn’t be much of an issue if you use high-quality interior house paint.
From dull to shiny finishes, paint comes in several different lusters. A paint’s luster depends on its mixture of pigment, resin, and additional ingredients. If you’re struggling to decide what finish you want, note that glossier finishes tend to be more durable and washable. Flat paint, on the other hand, is better at hiding surface imperfections. Pearl and eggshell lusters fall somewhere in the middle, as they are more washable than flat paint and partially hide irregularities.
A more user-friendly option is a water-based “latex” paint, which blends acrylic pigments with a thin base for easy application with a brush or paint sprayer. Although many water-based interior paints are promoted as one-coat wonders, there can still be a need for an initial primer coat followed by one or two coats of latex paint. Water-based paints are very low in VOCs, which means minimal odors during the drying period. Most spills can be wiped away without the need for chemical cleaners, and clothing containing latex paint can be laundered in water and detergent. Water-based paint is a good choice for first-time DIYers and their younger assistants.
Power washing – $0.42–$1.40/sq. ft.. You might think you can save some money by power washing the exterior yourself, but homeowners can get a bit trigger-happy with a power washer in their hands. The pressure from the washer can take them unawares, breaking windows, leaking water into window frames and siding joints, and gouging wood. It’s probably wiser to use a hose and scrubbing brush. Rinse off any cleaning solutions thoroughly.
The average cost to paint the interior of a house or room is $1 to $3 per square foot. Painters charge $1,200 to $3,900 to paint the walls in a house interior, and the cost to paint a room is $350 to $850. Prices increase when including the ceilings, baseboards, and trim. Get free estimates from interior painters near you or view our cost guide below.
Exterior paint averages $25-$40 a gallon, and a 3,000-square-foot home takes 15 or more gallons of paint, or $375-$600 just for the paint. However, really premium paint can cost $50-$100 a gallon, or $750-$1,500 for that large home. Doing it yourself also requires renting a pressure washer or sprayer for $50-$100 a day; extra-long ladders or scaffolding at $20-$75 daily; and a power sprayer for $50-$100 daily, plus masking tape, drop cloths and other supplies. However, it's possible to paint a large, two-story house for materials-only costs of $400-$600.
Expect to pay between $600 to $3,500 or $1.25 to $3 per square foot to coat vinyl, with prices likely increasing for the finish. It is one of the more inexpensive siding materials to have repainted, especially with recent innovations in materials. Changing the finish on your siding is not recommended unless it's completely degraded and worn away by the weather. You can save nearly half the vinyl siding installation cost of $4 per square foot by painting rather than replacing. Before adding a new coat to vinyl siding,