Oil-based paint is commonly used for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, and floors, trims, and moldings, since these areas take more abuse over time than walls do. Typically oil-based paints are less expensive than latex paints, take longer to dry, can create bad odor while drying, and contain more volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which essentially means they're less environmentally friendly.
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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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.
The next step up is a semigloss finish, which has the level of reflectivity that makes an impression but can be challenging to apply. Semigloss paint provides great coverage and is easy to clean but is less forgiving when it comes to brushstrokes and overspray. The highest-end finish is full gloss, which looks very luxurious when the job is finished, but requires a surprising amount of prep work and painting experience to apply correctly. It is also on the expensive side, so it is often used sparingly on door frames, window treatments and accent walls.
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:
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.
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.
It's up to you. Outside is much harder because it requires more prep, patience, time, help, money and of course, effort. I have been painting my own houses and rental properties interiors for 20 years, and I painted the exterior of one, once. I then had it promptly done again by professionals who said it would have been cheaper if they didn't have to undo my work first. My advice is to get pros for the outside because everyone will see it.
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.
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.