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.
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.
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Summer is the busiest time of the year for painters, with some booked up to six months ahead of time, so book well in advance. Homebuyers getting VA loans have run into difficulties with this, so if you’re getting a VA renovation/rehabilitation loan, get all your painting and inspection estimates and work dates booked before you fill out any paperwork with a closing date, or the house will not be move-in ready in time.
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.
Supplies and Equipment – Scraping, sanding, and stripping tools and supplies; patching compound; power washer rental; primer; caulk; masking supplies; painters’ tape; ladders and scaffolding; paint pans; brushes, sprayers, and roller brushes all cost money, even if you do it yourself. Consider all of those tools and equipment sitting in your garage for the rest of your life vs. paying an experienced painter to do it all for you at a price that saves you weeks of time. Expect to pay $5–$6 per 100 sq. ft. for supplies and materials.
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.
Most of a projects price is the cost of labor at $25 to $75 per hour. However, most contractors bid out based on the entire project which includes all work hours. Hourly rates are only useful if your pro asks to do the job as “time and materials.” However, be wary of this pricing structure, it usually shows the contractor is uncertain how long the project will take.