On average, expect to pay $0.60–$1.60 per square foot for exterior painting. The average for painting labor across the country is $30–$40 per hour before you pay for paint, painting supplies, location costs, and equipment. To get a very general estimate, though, painting contractors will take into account the square footage of your home and the number of stories and also factor in normal prep work.
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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:
Test different paint swatches. The last thing you want to do is paint a whole room and then decide you despise the color (yes, it happens!). Try out different paint colors on the surface before choosing the paint that you want. Buying sample sizes will help you save money. The caveat: paint color samples are not real paint, so if you try to finish or touch up a project with samples, the paint will fade.
Paper drop cloths: $3 to $5 for 9x12-feet. Paper drop cloths provide a cheap way to cover furniture or windows while painting small, indoor jobs, such as touching up window trim. They're absorbent and textured to hold paint. When you're finished, you can just fold them up and throw them away. However, paper cloths are not the best option for protecting floors since they can tear easily.
Flat, or matte finish on the no-shine end of the finish spectrum. A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat or matte paint (the terms are interchangeable) soaks up — rather than reflects — light, has the most pigment, and provides the most coverage. It's good for adults' bedrooms and other interior rooms that won't be roughed up by kids. That's because it's tough to clean without taking paint off.
Priming is compulsory if you're painting over a darker color, or on a new drywall, but it's a good idea to include this step before any paint job. A primer is necessary because it blocks any stains from bleeding through. It is also important because it prevents any blisters and paint-peeling by improving paint adhesion. Lastly, primer is a good idea as it allows complete single-coat coverage of the walls. If you want a better appearance, you can tint your primer with the final color you intend on using on the walls. Most paints today come with inbuilt primers, but an old school primer is still a better option. Before you start painting, remember to use painter's tape to cover your door frames, window sills, and any switches on the wall.
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.
Determine the coverage area for each color and estimate the number of gallons you'll need for each. For odd walls with angled ceilings, make your best guess. If you're not comfortable doing this, measure the wall at its highest height and multiply that by its width. Now subtract the lowest height from the highest height, multiply that number by the width, cut that answer in half, and finally subtract that new number from the original height by width. That should give you the wall area.
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.