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.
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.
House painting is often an important step of the moving process. If your home or rental property is in need of a fresh coat (or two) of paint, you’ll have to decide how you want to proceed. Do you hire a professional painter or break out the ladder and purchase the exterior house paint yourself? Depending on the scale of the project, your time frame, and whether it’s an exterior or interior house painting job, the answer might be different. Read up on our house painting tips and tricks to see what choice is the best for you.
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.
Do the cleanup. When the painting is done, send the painter home and do the cleanup work yourself. This will include rolling up drop cloths and collecting scrapings, removing painter's tape (use a hair dryer on low heat to soften the adhesive), cleaning paint brushes, rollers, and other tools, replacing electric switch plates, outlet covers, and light fixtures, and sealing any leftover paint cans and storing them in a dry, temperature-controlled location.
Prepping a house costs anywhere from $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. This is almost always included in the total project price. However, the DIYer might negotiate some discounts for completing this work on their own. Be warned, proper prep is key to the quality and durability of the finish. If you do this work yourself, the contractor might no guarantee to finished product.
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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.
Like the rest of your home’s exterior, you should start from the top down when painting exterior trim. If your window sills look particularly weather-beaten, you might want to give them a second or third coat of paint. When painting doors, paint the panels first, then the rails and stiles, and finally the edges. For more details, read up on trim painting guidelines.
Dirt and grime are bound to develop on exterior house paint after some time. Luckily, you can easily clean your home with a pressure washer. It’s recommended that you pressure wash your home about five or six years after the initial paint job. For areas like porches and overhangs, you should clean them more often. Taking a garden hose to these areas once a year should do the trick.
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.
While many professionals use paint sprayers, they can leave drips and uneven coatings in the hands of an inexperienced user. If you’re set on DIY house painting but don’t have much practice, you may want to stick to rollers and brushes. Brushes are great for edges and smaller areas, while rollers can be used to paint large and long surfaces like siding and trim.
It is helpful then to outline your wall with 2 or 3 inches of primer around the edges and frames before priming entirely the wall. Such a technique should help create a professional look by eliminating drips and splatters. A handheld brush is the best choice for this. For the actual primer application, roller paint can provide extra convenience. Spread the primer pain in V or W-shaped strokes. Once the primer has dried, sand down the bumps and wipe the walls down with a damp sponge.
Paint acts as a protectant on wooden siding, slowing down the rotting process. This makes it incredibly important to fully coat the undersides of corner boards on the exterior of your home. Whether you’re undertaking a DIY house painting endeavor or have hired professionals, you should check corner boards and shutters to make sure they’re fully painted.
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.