One of the first considerations when it comes to interior house paint is the base. There are two schools of thought, each with their pros and cons. Some brands commonly sold to contractors for commercial projects are oil-based, meaning the chosen pigment is mixed with an oil derivative called alkyd. Oil-based paint provides thorough coverage, and the finished coat resists moisture well. However, oil-based paint releases a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it dries, and it can only be removed from floors, brushes, and clothing with strong chemical paint thinners. In fact, many states have actually banned the use of oil-based paints because of their VOC levels and hazardous ingredients.
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.
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.
Paper/poly drop cloths: $2 to $6 for 9x12-feet. The best of both paper and plastic, these cloths are low-cost and disposable. They absorb paint drips while providing more protection for what's underneath. They also provide some protection from slipping. Plus, you can cut paper/poly drop cloths to fit the space. But, like paper, paper/poly drop cloths can rip more easily than plastic or canvas drop cloths.

Plan the schedule. Get a grip on the time it will take to bring the project to fruition. Plan for time to move furniture, wall prep, cut in, the painting itself, eating and breaks, and don't forget cleanup and bringing furniture back in. As you plan, err on the side of prudence. Unforeseen events will slow you down, so allow time for these. Remember, this is a multi-day project. Don't try to fit too much into a day. If you move faster than planned, great!
The following guidelines will set you up for success. First, start at the top and work down. Second, paint out of the sun’s glare, since the sun will cause the paint to dry too quickly and flake or blister. To avoid marks, try to brush from one wet surface onto another. If you do have to paint onto a dry surface, overlap the wet paint onto the dry surface by several inches.
Homeowners report that painting a home’s exterior costs an average of $2,923 with a typical range between $1,734 and $4,119. The average price per square foot ranges from $0.50 to $3.50 depending on your location, condition of your exterior and accessibility. Stucco and brick cost an average of $1 per square foot more than vinyl or wood. The average 2,500 square feet home costs an average of $4,000, though it can range from $1,250 to $8,750.
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