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WWWD? House Painting question

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I've recently started putting more thought into our home-- cleaning, decluttering, decorating etc. I *think* the home was painted 4 years ago--right before we moved in. They used white flat paint for both the walls and the trim. It makes it impossible to clean and get stains off etc. Estimates on repainting just the living areas (no bedrooms or painting what *we've* repainted) are 2600 dollars.


Would you spend the money? I want to paint with a darker neutral. We would pay cash; we have an emergency fund; no debt but the house, but the money would come out of money I had saved when I was working. Now that I SAH we would not be able to replace the money quickly. We *do* have other work that needs to be done in the house; and dh would like to put new counter tops in the kitchen; and would rather the money be spent on that.

post #2 of 16

As the most un-handy person ever, and as someone who just finished two painting projects that didn't go as smoothly as she had hoped... no, I wouldn't spend the money. I'd do it myself. That's a LOT of money for something that isn't really too hard to do. I could see it if the cost were maybe $300 - just the convenience of not having to deal with it. But $2600 is a huge chunk of change, and isn't an emergency.

post #3 of 16

When I say the projects didn't go as smoothly as I hoped - I wanted to clarify that I'm happy with the end result. It just took more time and frustration than I thought it would. And still, I'd do it again 3 times to save twenty six hundred bucks!

post #4 of 16

Personally, I'd want to repaint if your place is flat white all over.  I understand the annoyance with such a finish all over the place.


But having painted myself (and having used painters as well) that seems like an unusually high estimate.  I'd get several more until you find one you like.  Or work at planning ahead well and doing it yourself.  (Seriously, we just had at least 4 rooms painted 2 years ago and it was less than that for all the work, including a major ceiling paint repair/touch up and that guy was said to be the most expensive.)

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sorry! I should have addressed DIY-- We've done quite a bit of the house ourselves, but the front of our home is pretty large; and most of it is two stories high with ceilings... I don't think we'd ever be able to do it ourselves; even without the kidlets.

post #6 of 16

Well, I think I would perhaps skip the 2-story high walls and just to the rest. Then get an estimate for that specific wall, for which you will probably need some kind of scaffolding. For scaffolding and painting, 2600 does not sound that bad if everything is included.

post #7 of 16

Okay - OP, a higher cost would make a lot more sense for a space like you describe.


I'd weigh it in with getting new counters and other jobs and make out a list of what you'd enjoy the most and what would save you time/money by improving.  If you are anywhere close to moving/selling your house where you'd want it painted (like within 3 years?) - wait until the last minute instead of doing it now.  If you're not anywhere close to that - maybe don't do it right away, but don't put it off so long that you don't get to enjoy a space that looks nicer and doesn't irk you the way it does now. 


Still - I'd get more estimates on the job, you might even happen on someone who might be able to do it on a more-at-their-convienence (so taking a bit longer, or at odd times) for a bit of a break on the price.  You might be able to ask whether they'd be able to give you a break on the cost for being able to schedule it totally at their leisure (so they'd take the job on when they don't have any others, filling in a lull with no pay).  Just some ideas.



post #8 of 16

Can you look into the cost of renting scaffolding?


That will tell you how *worth* it the $2600 would be.

Or, do everything else and hire someone to do the high parts.

post #9 of 16

Scaffolding is easy to make w/2"x4"s and screws and then you can either sell or reuse the wood for another project.  I would either do that or do the low parts and pay for the high parts.

post #10 of 16

We have two rooms with two story ceilings and we primed and then painted them both ourselves.  DH stood on the extension ladder and also bought some "extenders" for the brushes.  As long as you go slowly and take your time you can do a high wall.

post #11 of 16

That is a toughie - I always think painting is a doable task, although better done by some people so it is hard to spend the money on having someone else do it. And painting is also time consuming especially with kids around.  My house is mostly flat white paint too so I understand your problem of not being able to clean the walls very easily (at all).


I did pay 300 for a little room. And 150 for another room. The 300 dollar job was MUCH better then the 150 dollar job. Better in the sense that the cutting was not very good in the less expensive job. I also painted a wall myself, stripes, and I think my job was better then the 150 dollar job.


2600 does seem like a lot, but still reasonable, especially if it includes the ceiling and trim. And fixing any bouncy walls (is your home old?). I like the idea that someone above had about paying someone to do the two story high wall and maybe you will work away at the other walls. The other option is, once you set your mind to it and paint it yourself, you may surprise yourself and get it all done yourself.


post #12 of 16

We've done oodles of our own home repairs and we've contracted out certain home repairs. We weigh it out carefully, asking questions of ourselves first, such as: How important is this to us? Why? What ELSE has to be done before or after this task/project? Are we prepared for those other tasks/projects? What are the skills required for this/these project(s)? Do we have these skills? Can we learn them on-the-job without compromising our health or the overall project or our house? If not, do we know someone who does? If yes, is that person willing to consult with us before or during the work? What tools or equipment is required? Do we have it? Can we borrow it? How much does it cost to buy it used or new? What substitutions are acceptable? How long will it take us versus a professional? Is it worth the price difference? And so on....


In most cases, we figure out how to do it on our own utilizing resources we have access to such as friends and family and neighbors. We contract out certain parts of jobs when the skill or equipment or risk is greater than we have or want. For example, we hired someone to scrape our popcorn ceilings due to the risk to my health (asthma) and time. That person also re-textured our ceilings by hand (we did not posses this skill and did not wish to learn it). He did the scraping in one day and the re-texturing in a second day. He came back for 1-2 hours for some closets on a third day. He charged $1/sq ft of ceiling ($1200) and it was worth every single penny! He did a great job and was professional and thorough. (We had a recommendation from a very "picky" neighbor and had talked to many other homeowners in our neighborhood.) It would have taken us a LOT longer to do the job and we didn't posses the texturing skill, so we would have had to rent a hopper and that was not the look we wanted. We also have a two-story ceiling in one area. He had the right ladder for the job. We do not. Anyway, we then did the caulking and painting of all our ceilings. WHEW! That was a lot of work, but it did not require any special equipment. We borrowed or purchased (low cost) whatever we needed. I knew how to paint already and DH learned on-the-job. Flat white ceiling paint is fairly easy. Caulking had it's trial and error moments. LOL We managed with our young child. We tried borrowing a taller ladder for the two-story ceiling, but no one had one so we left it un-caulked and unpainted for the time being.


A year or two later, we had to vacate our home due to termite damage and tenting (it was beyond non-fumigation remedies) beyond our control. (We live in a HOA.) I didn't feel comfortable with the customary 3-day return timeframe. In my research on ways to keep us out of the house for longer, I hit upon getting the whole house painted. We had to move a lot of stuff out anyway for the tenting (I moved all soft goods and pictures and artwork after researching in addition to the regular stuff), so it would only be a proportionately small additional amount more to move. We were staying with my dad who lives in the same HOA. His place had been done three months prior. I got quotes from three places (all recommended by neighbors) and chose the middle price. The lowest price guy just didn't feel right and the timing wasn't working as well as I wanted. When I got the quotes, I asked for three scenarios: 1) Just the two-story ceiling (one space we couldn't reach from the above project) and rooms affected by that high ceiling (walls lead into each other); 2) The entire downstairs (includes the two-story zones plus all public spaces to give me a headstart on the overall project); and 3) The whole house (at first, just for comparison purposes). When all was said and done, it was more efficient and cost-effective to have professionals paint the entire house (all doors, trim, banister, bathroom cabinets, the one ceiling, and all walls) because they charged so much more for those challenging areas than the easy work. Plus, they have all the equipment and supplies already. We would have to rent special equipment due to the staircase and walls in our two-story foyer and living room. Also, I did not have health insurance at the time (was un-insurable; not from lack of trying but rather stupid insurance rules), so DH would have been doing the ladder work and, frankly, I am the more skilled painter by leaps and bounds. I advised the painters of the tenting and we reached a great painting schedule arrangement. I chose all the paint (mid-grade from reputable paint store; not big box) and it was included, so I got all the leftovers which have come in mighty handy!!! The painters did an excellent job and were courteous and professional and the cost surprised us. It was far lower than we expected for our entire house (except 90% of the ceilings) and not one penny more was expected at any point. That is probably the only project that has been exactly as advertised! LOL I have used them again to repaint our powder room because the color I chose was just not right and we were having houseguests and a major party (timing is everything). It is a tiny room and cost $40 and that was so incredibly worth it! (It has a custom archway we put in with a light color on one side and a deep color on the other side combined with heavily textured walls equals a royal pita to paint under stress.) Yet, after a major flood two years ago, I painted the living room ceiling all by myself -- twice! And I have touched up every room and painted outside areas (HOA territory, technically, but easier to just do it myself), so it really depends.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 



We've decided to wait on the painting for a bit; and we decided to go ahead with the countertops.


We've done lots of DIY in the past; but dh is saying flat out *no* to repainting himself. He's done his fair share of cielings and painting; so he understands whats entailed. We are running on two years of no sleep and are just *done*. And; tbh; I have a whole host of things that I'd rather him be working on. We did get another quote from a smaller; mom and pop type company for 1500 dollars. I am going to go ahead and calculate how much paint would cost for the area just so we know the cost of the labor itself.


I had promised dh that if we got the loan in from his uncle (which we had written off); we'd get the countertops done. Suprisingly we did hear from him this month; so we are going ahead with that project.

post #14 of 16
Would it be possible to paint, say, the bottom 10 feet of the walls yourselves, and leave the top half white? Put some sort of moulding at the join? Or would that look awful?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

no... i don't think that would work... hmmmm.. let me see if I can post a picture.

post #16 of 16

Our neighbors have a two-foot wide stripe of white at the normal ceiling height and then one color under that and a different color above that. Looks very nice!

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