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.

The Cutters. Someone with meticulous attention to detail and a steady hand should be assigned the job of "cutting in," or painting a straight edge where needed, such as along a wall where the ceiling does not get painted. Many products are available to assist, but none work as well as a person who's good at doing it freehand. Ensure this person is skilled (ask them to show you). A poor, jagged, wavy or splotched cutting-in job will jump out at you every time you walk by it. Why more than one cutter? This job is nerve-wracking and painful to hands and arms after a few days. You'll want to give this person a break after a few walls.
Although interior house paints can be purchased in pint-size samples or five-gallon buckets, the standard measurement is by the gallon can. A gallon can of basic water-based paint can be found on store shelves for less than $25, but the additional cost of a primer coat should be considered. One-coat paint/primer blends for most DIY projects should cost between $30 and $60 a gallon, including customized tinting. VOC levels should be lower as well. For high-end painting projects featuring designer colors or full-gloss finishes, expect to pay $60 or more per gallon.
House painting is no easy feat. While you may be tempted to purchase the cheapest kind of paint you can find, remember that you want the paint to look good and last a long time. If you haven’t chosen a color palette, there are a number of apartment design apps out there to spark inspiration. Once you’ve decided upon your color scheme, you’ll have to choose what kind of paint you want.

For walls, measure the linear feet of wall space (measuring along the baseboards) for the areas to be painted (using a tape measure, laser, or both). Then multiply this by the ceiling height (usually it is 7.5 or 8). If there are 2 story areas, measure them separately, and multiply them by double the regular wall height. Then multiply the total number by 2 (for 2 coats).

Before hiring a painter, you should get a detailed estimate from them. This should include costs for labor, materials, paint, and the timeframe of the project. Covering details upfront will prevent issues from emerging later on. Ask the painter if they charge for travel time, whether their estimate includes pressure washing and caulking, and any other questions you might have.


An example of the wall measurement would be: 40 linear feet of bedroom space, x 8 wall height, =  320, x 2 = 640. Minus 1 door (60) and 2 windows (80) = 500 sq feet being painted. Then divide the 500 by 400 (sq feet per gallon), and you get 1.25 gallons (4.73 L) needed for that room. For this, you'd need 1 gallon (3.8 L) and 1 US-quart (950 ml). If the amount it comes out to is over 1.3, we recommend just getting 2 gallons (7.6 L) so that you have leftovers if needed, since 2 US quarts (2,000 ml) costs essentially the same as a gallon in most stores.

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.
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.
×