Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.
Homeowners with wood siding have the option of staining or painting siding that has been worn down by the elements -- especially if they need to increase its defenses against the sun or extreme humidity. Holes, missing pieces or other problems will increase the overall cost of the painting project. You can expect to pay between $700 (~250 sq. ft.) and $2,000 (~1,000 sq. ft.) to paint wood siding, but this project will also help to protect the home's exterior from more extensive repairs down the road.
Those who do hire a professional have every reason to make sure they hire the best one available. Since interior painting projects are often very different from exterior, it makes sense that many companies specialize in one or the other. When discussing your project with prospective contractors, make sure to ask about which type of painting they consider their specialty. You also want to make sure the company you hire was chosen for characteristics other than the bottom-line price. Since painting projects are technically less demanding than other home improvement tasks, there is a much greater chance of running into companies with inadequate experience or poor business practices. For such companies, a low-ball estimate is really the only enticement they can provide. It’s also enough to lure in many homeowners. When entering a painting project (especially an exterior project), hiring a company with a good reputation for service and performance is far preferable to hiring one based on a bargain estimate. The best companies often have to charge a little more to keep good help, equipment in good shape and get the job done right. Remember, if going with a low estimate leaves you with a paint job that fades or chips prematurely, you’re not saving any money at all!
Whether interior or exterior, painting projects are home improvement tasks that nearly every homeowner is, at some point, tempted to tackle. Do-it-yourself painting is something many first-timers are more than willing to attempt; however, those who have tried and were disappointed either with the aesthetic or financial results are often more than happy to leave this job to the professionals. There are many things to consider before you decide whether your particular painting project is worth spending money as a professional or DIY investment. Here are a few pointers that may make your options a little clearer.