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Frugal Painting

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Maybe this is a silly question, but DH and I are in a disagreement.  We just moved into a house and are on a shoe-string budget at the moment while we pay off moving costs and some new furniture.  We are really happy with the house - except for a tiny thing.  I'd like to paint my office and DS's room.  Adding a bit of color would make a huge difference.

I've painted some rooms in the past, and just assumed I would just do it myself.  DH, on the other hand, says that it would be cheaper to get someone else to do it, since we don't have any equipment ourselves.  He says we could just hire someone who would do a good job and we wouldn't waste money or time or effort, and we would actually save money because they would already have equipment and it takes less money to spray a room than to roll the paint on, etc.  (And they'd likely do a nicer job, ahum.)


My argument was that if we hired a PRO who already had equipment, their rates wouldn't be that cheap.  If we hired some random handyman guy to do it, he probably wouldn't have the equipment, either, he'd just do the labor, so we wouldn't be saving money.




And I know it depends on area, but what can I expect as far as costs?  They're average sized bedrooms, some windows, some closets.  Nothing terribly fancy, although they do have trim, and carpet on the floors.  And DS wants a deeper color for his room which would likely take more than one coat of paint (although I'm not sure what to look for as far as brands go.  Do I go with cheap brand or more high quality to need less coats?  Argh...)

post #2 of 18

Painting is way cheaper doing it yourself.  You don't need that much equipment - a roller, pole, roller cover, paint brush to paint edges, paint tray, painter's tape, and paint.  It's really not that much, and it's far cheaper than hiring a professional.  It really doesn't cost less to spray a room than to roll it - you're still using about the same amount of paint, plus you'll be paying a pro to do all the prep work, which is very time consuming.


I've been painting my house and can't imagine paying someone to do it.  It's tedious, but it's really not that hard.


With regards to brands, don't go with the cheapest route.  I have always used Behr but I'm considering splurging for Benjamin Moore for the bathrooms because the coverage is supposed to be much better.  

post #3 of 18

I see both your points and have waffled.  Ultimately we've never hired out for painting.  We rarely hire out for anything, so it seemed silly for me to hire painting when DH is doing electric and plumbing, KWIM?  There was a groupon recently in our area, I think the retail value was $300 which would get you one 11x11ish room with 2 coats of paint, if that gives you an idea on cost.


As far as a professional doing better, a professional painter would do a fabulous job (and not necessarily spray).  But it's a very reusable skill you can teach yourself.  It's not like you're going to not paint again.  :)  The first couple rooms we did weren't great, but I've since learned a lot through my own trial and error.  I last did our bedroom in probably 5 hours and did a very good job.  Do you realistically have the time to take a good portion of 2 days for each room to learn?


I wouldn't use the cheapest paint either, especially if you are new and going for a bold color change.  You don't need to spend $40 a gallon at SW, but get something mid-range at your home center. In the case of the color, I would get matching primer for the color and do a coat of that first, then the color, and then you might need a second coat of paint, or hopefully you can just get the thin spots.  I also would NOT get a cheap brush, I like the 2" angled purdy brush from sherwin williams.  Buy that and a brush comb for cleaning and you will use it for many paint jobs.  Rollers I've gone cheaper on - tip is you can wrap them tightly in plastic while your coat dries (even overnight) and reuse the next day.

post #4 of 18

I've never looked at getting somone in to paint, just always assumed it was something we would do ourselves.


Equipment was not that expensive, a couple of brishes, a couple of rollers, a paint tray and some sandpaper is about it. I tend to avoid the really cheep paintbrushes as I;ve found they don;t last but for a one off they would do the job. If you don;t have space to store them till next time you want to paint try asking around friends or even freecycle and see if people have ones they have finished with.


With paint again we've found the really cheep stuff doesn;t cover so well and doesn't wash down so easily so we do have our favorite brands. Staying within a basic colour range (ie not having it specially mixed) and not going for multiple colours in a room keep costs down. Also watch out for dented tins or those that people have had mixed and then changed their minds. The down side is you have to know how much paint you need as it's not always possible to go back for extra if you've got a bargin.

post #5 of 18

I have paid a teacher who paints on the side 150 dollars for a room. He had the drop clothes, ceiling paint, trim paint and a ladder, brushes. His job was just OK, the cutting in poor ... I could have done better (and now I do since I have more experience). BUT he did paint the ceilings and trim and window (using his own paint) and that was awesome.


I also paid 300 dollars for a contractor to paint another room, which was smaller. Her job was better. But I did have to buy the ceiling paint, trim, wall paint, etc.


As far as equipment goes, ladder, drop clothes - a small investment and items that you will always be able to use. Paint for trim, windows and ceilings adds up but a can will go a long way. And then the wall colour.


If you are just painting the walls, you could probably do it for less money. And the more you paint the better you get at it and then you wont want to pay someone!


edited to add: I used Aura Benjamin Moore Evening Blue. This is a good paint and I was able to get the colour we wanted with one coat, (although I used up the rest of the paint and did two coats). I just painted one wall and bought 1 quart ... that is an option for your sons room, painting one wall in a nice bright colour and the rest in a neutral shade.


the contractor that charged 300 - this is her average price, regardless of the room size. She said the prep and set up is the same for any room and the painting is the easiest part of a paint job... if you do hire a contractor, they tend to fix things , cracks, soft walls etc, do a lot of prepping,

Edited by SunRise - 3/8/12 at 8:18am
post #6 of 18
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post

Painting is way cheaper doing it yourself.  You don't need that much equipment - a roller, pole, roller cover, paint brush to paint edges, paint tray, painter's tape, and paint.  It's really not that much, and it's far cheaper than hiring a professional.  It really doesn't cost less to spray a room than to roll it - you're still using about the same amount of paint, plus you'll be paying a pro to do all the prep work, which is very time consuming.


I've been painting my house and can't imagine paying someone to do it.  It's tedious, but it's really not that hard.


With regards to brands, don't go with the cheapest route.  I have always used Behr but I'm considering splurging for Benjamin Moore for the bathrooms because the coverage is supposed to be much better.  

I agree with all of this.  Professional painters are very expensive, and you still have to pay for the paint on top of labour.  If you don't hire a professional, you can probably do just as good of a job yourself if you look for some youtube videos on how to cut properly in corners and against trim, etc.  You don't need any more materials than listed by Bokonon, and if you learn how to cut properly you don't even need tape (which tends to bleed anyway).  You also don't need any type of fancy drop cloth.  An old sheet will do.  A better quality of paint will look better when applied, will be easier to work with, will last longer, and will be easier to clean (and won't wash off when you wash your walls like some cheap paints do!)


post #7 of 18

I've painted and we've hired out painting too.  I've appreciated hiring out the work when theres some room that needs better prep work (major cracks/peeling ceiling) that I just really don't want to deal with.  Someone who'll have the job done in 2 days is nice too, somewhere around $300 is pretty reasonable, IMO for a normal sized room.  If you're getting a few rooms done at the same time, you might get a bit of a deal (since they can work them all at once, possibly, and save you time).  It's also possible to get someone to come prep and prime everything, and do the rest of painting yourself (did that once when we were having a few other things worked on in the house, and it was really nice to have that work done and I felt like I saved a little money over not having them paint too - plus I couldn't decide what color I wanted anyway, so I needed more time).  winky.gif  


It takes me about a week to do a room, otherwise, because I know I need to take my time with things and I'm more likely to have to deal with interruptions.  I always prime, usually need 2 gal. paint, and then 1 good brush, roller, tray, drop cloths.  I'd expect having to get all that to run around $150 so yeah - less than a professional, and a lot of it can get used again.  


My paint recs - Sherwin Williams super paint is my absolute favorite and worth the extra money.  It's self-priming and saves me a lot of time when I have to do the work myself (a barely 2 coats, maybe 1 1/2 coats job that looks great).  I've used it once or twice without priming (on a light colored wall) and it came out great then too.  When not using that, I make sure to prime a bit more thoroughly and tend to need 2-2 1/2 coats for a room.    

post #8 of 18

I'd never pay someone to paint an interior room, unless it was really weird brick wall or something.  Painting is fun :) Great bonding time.  And way cheaper- home depot sells kits with the roller, roller brush thing, and edging brushes, plus the roller pan for $10-$15.  A lot of rollers screw onto broom handles, keep that in mind.  Or you could stand on a chair with plastic draped over.  It's easy, it's not horrible, and it's rewarding :)

post #9 of 18

Painting is one of the few things that you don't have to hire out!  I usually cut in & DH rolls.  Not expensive to get brushes and rollers.  Not exactly fun for us, but it feels good when it is done!  I have no idea what it would cost to hire a painter.    

Edited by CookiePie - 3/9/12 at 10:06am
post #10 of 18

I have painted everything myself as well.  A $6 purdy brush, a $6 purdy roller, a no splatter roller holder   (maybe $10) and a $3 tray and you should be about good to go :)  That is all the equipment you need besides the sheet or newspapers or something for the floor.  Wash your brush and roller and you can use the same ones forever.  I painted our whole house and barn with the same roller and brush.  Paint- don't go cheap but $25-$30/gallon should be all you need.  Eventually you will need to paint the rest of your home and then you would have all the equipment already...   Oh- unless you have super tall ceilings- you probably don't need ladder.  I use my little costco kitchen 2 step folding ladder and I can reach to our ceilings.  

post #11 of 18

Here is another tip - if you are painting over a dark color, or walls with a strong smoke smell, or walls that already have a semi-gloss or glossy paint on them, you WILL need to prime.  Otherwise, you should be ok skipping the primer.  But it is a necessary step and expense in many cases.  My house had been painted semi-gloss off-white by the previous owners, and it looked awful IMO.  I've had to prime every room before painting, but if I hadn't, the paint job I've done would eventually peel.


There are tons of good painting tips online.  It's a short learning curve but a skill that you can use forever, and the payoff is great!  I love looking around my house and seeing the big difference I made in how it looks, by putting the time and effort into painting it myself.  :)

post #12 of 18

Oh, I just remembered this.  My dad's BF is a painter by trade.  And a very good one.  He actually insists on buying more expensive rollers (lint free and something else, I can't remember) as he said it really makes as much of a difference as the paint in getting a good outcome.  But if you only need one roller and the "expensive" one is $5 more than the "cheap" one it's probably a good investment.  Someone at the paint store would be able to help you chose the best brush for your paint.  And the ONLY paint he will use is Benjamin Moore Aura paint. 

post #13 of 18

We bought a house last summer and I've been slowly painting every single room. So far I've done 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an large hallway/stairway, the living room, and a dining room - all the walls AND all the trim. Once you've purchased the paint brushes, rollers, tray - you won't need to buy them again as long as you clean them really well. I don't use painters tape - I've had it peel paint off the walls, and I can cut in very well. I also didn't need drop cloths, I was just very very careful.


When I needed to buy full priced paint, I bought Valspar No VOC with primer - one gallon, no need to buy additional primer, and it went a really long way. In a few rooms I had great luck with the 'mis-tints' and returns. My sons bedroom is a lovely sky blue - I got a great gallon of paint for $5. Same with my bedroom, a soft golden yellow. I also found a bunch of quarts for less than $5 that have come in handy (red paint for the house #'s!).


We did purchase 5 gallon buckets of flat white and white semi-gloss. We intended to repaint all the ceilings, and all the trim. It was much cheaper in the long run to buy the 5 gallon buckets. Also, my trim matches exactly in every room with plenty of paint left over.


If you intend to paint the trim and the walls, try painting the trim first. You don't need to tape along the walls. Any paint that gets on the walls will just get painted over later. I found it much easier to paint the trim first, walls second since the trim can be so fiddly.


One more tip - even if you tape, you will likely need to 'touch-up' after you remove the tape.


By far painting yourself is much much cheaper than hiring someone, it's not very hard, just time consuming. Plus, once you have the equipment and some skills under your belt you can easily repaint other rooms in the house when the fancy strikes you!

post #14 of 18

Painting is one the cheapest things you can do yourself. The supplies are inexpensive. If you wait for a holiday, paint will always be on sale. To save a little extra money you can put your rollers in the freezer to save for the next day instead of tossing. Once you buy drop cloths or get an old blanket, you can use it forever. You may not need tape if you can cut-in with a steady hand.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well, I did it.  I went out and got the room painted.  It... it looks moderately horrible, lol.  I only really messed up the molding on one part (and I didn't have any white paint to paint over it, but it's behind the door anyway).  I like the effect though of a red room and so does DS - which, really, is all that matters since it's HIS room I did.  DH ranted and raved about what an awful job I did and how we're going to need to hire people to fix it up... But I don't know about all that.  It's not perfect but I still like it.  He also doesn't like the rest of the decor DS chose for his room.  (It's a Cars theme which I'm also not crazy about, but uh, it is his room and all.  My mom used to decorate my room when I was a kid with decor SHE liked and I always hated it.  OK, I'm rambling.)   I'll post pics in a while.  I have yet to do my office, which I'm kind of scared of because it's a bigger room, and my hands are already blistered up from painting yesterday lol.  I think I'll wait a few days on that.  But all in all I'm glad I did it.  It might use a touch up but that can wait a while...

post #16 of 18

Good for you OP!  Red is hard!

post #17 of 18

Good for you!  Even bad paint jobs can be fixed!

post #18 of 18

Hiring a professional painter is probably not the least expensive option. You can go to discounted stores to get lower cost materials. However, I would not be so frugal on the interior paint. You can always get a quote from a local painter and do a cost benefit analysis for your needs!

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