Even if you go it alone, specialize to keep your initial investment low. If you do only interior painting, for example, you might get by with one ladder, a few brushes, rollers, basic hand tools and such, for an investment of less than $300. Again, you can add to your tools as you need to (every job is a bit different), and parlay profits into the equipment necessary for exterior painting or working on large commercial properties.
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Even if you think you'll probably do the job yourself, it's good preparation to seek estimates from professional home painters, whether your painting the exterior or interior of your home. Then you'll have a financial point of comparison and you may benefit from what a home painting contractor has to say about the condition of your home, color choices and types of paint available. Let the painter make his pitch for a professional job before you decide what to do. You can still opt to do it yourself while having learned something worthwhile.
This article with comments was terrific - it was so informative. I found the advice useful. It addressed specifics like the condition of the dry wall surfaces, any additional repairs such. pin holes, chalking, smoothing of wall surfaces, absorption of paint and number of coats that may be needed. It should also include insurance coverage, and reflect the clean-up afterwards. Having a written contract with the company's letterhead is a must.
As a former professional painter, something that drives me crazy is when I see painters cut in around wall plates. First of all, the amount of time that it takes to cut in is usually much longer than the amount of time that it takes to simply remove the wall plate. Secondly it does not look nearly as clean as it does when the wall plate is removed and thirdly it can invariably leave paint on the wall plate itself which also looks sloppy. Make sure the painter takes them off and then reinstalls them. It's less time.
If you are going to hire a contractor (professional painter) give a room by room punch list of the fixing of holes small or big, have it identified for the painter to tell you if you need a drywall finisher or if he does this type of work good. Wall repairs can be 3-5 steps to do repairs ( one per day for good drying of patching material and a good sanding) this is what gives you a good paint job only using high quality paint.
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Another good rule of thumb is to test out colors on your home before you start. Once you’ve noted what others have done, and have visited a paint supply retailer to get some more ideas, test out a few potential colors on a nondescript part of your home just to make sure it’s what you expect. Colors that look fantastic on a tiny brochure can strike you a lot differently when they’re covering an area of a couple square feet. Try out a few options so you can compare them, and give yourself a few days to mull over your impressions. Taking this advice can save you the dilemma of what to do those 20 gallon buckets of “Green Myth” that you quickly realized looked more like split pea soup once you started slopping it on.
"Modern paints dry too quickly, and are difficult to brush out," says Dixon, who uses paint additives, such as Floetrol for latex paints and Penetrol for alkyds. "Adding a few ounces per gallon slows drying time and makes the paint more workable," he says. Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) Although there are mildewcide additives, our pros prefer using bathroom and kitchen paints that have built-in mildew fighters. "These paints will prevent mildew from forming, but they won't kill mildew that's already there," Dixon points out. Because leftover mold spores can live beneath the paint and eventually work their way through to the surface, you should also prep bath and kitchen surfaces. First, wash down the walls with a bleach solution (3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water) then seal with a stain-blocking primer, such as Zinsser's Bulls Eye 1-2-3 or Kilz's Total One.