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.[6] 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.
Get estimates from several contractors, request and contact references, search for complaints at the Better Business Bureau[12] and check that the company is properly bonded and insured, as well as licensed in your state[13] . Only pay a small deposit, and don't pay the entire amount until the job is finished to your complete satisfaction (both painting and cleanup).
Another type of paint is on the market that claims to be a primer and paint in one. Basically, it’s just thicker paint and costs twice as much as regular paint. Most professional painters aren’t fans, but if you have exterior walls in excellent condition already, and the self-priming paint is the same color as the original paint color, it could certainly save painting time with one coat going on instead of two.

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.


You might pay an additional $1 to $5 per square foot for optional repairs and updates. Consider having your molding, trim and baseboards checked while you have a professional in your home. This might be a good time to upgrade or repair any cracks, warps or other issues. Pros can usually touch up or replace these items for an affordable rate, and they may even package such fixups with your project.
Containing either natural oils or a synthetic alkylate, oil-based paints are more durable than latex paints. Oil-based paints should be used on surfaces where you want the finish to last for a long time. While this kind of paint has a stronger odor and takes longer to dry, its durability is unmatchable. The strength of oil-based paints makes them a great choice for moldings and trims.
Interview past clients. Talking to former customers is always a good idea. But, to ensure you're getting honest feedback — not just feedback from people who have been handpicked by the painter to sing their praises — ask to speak to the painter's three most recent clients. When you speak to them, ask about specifics. Find out whether the painters showed up on time, protected furniture from paint spills, kept the house clean, completed the project on schedule, and of course, what it cost to paint their house.
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.
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.
A single gallon of paint can run anywhere from $20 to $80 per gallon. Professionals get a contractor discount of anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. For rough siding, like stucco, you’ll need to use 10% to 20% more paint. Some textures, like wood and stucco, require extra paint because they have more surface to cover in a tiny area compared to smooth siding. Use the highest quality exterior paint your budget will allow for your project. It will look the nicest and save you money by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours. You’ll also go a few years longer without needing to shell out more cash for a new coat. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
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