The short answer is, it depends on how many people are on the job, and how much square footage you plan to paint. So, if you’re doing all the work yourself – painting your entire mansion in the country – in after office hours, it will take a lot longer than that small bedroom project you were planning.
The work can be broken into three major stages. Preparing the rooms, hallways, and all of the surface areas. Sometimes that involves cleaning surfaces first (think black mold or food stains), and letting it dry. You also must spend time covering what you don’t want paint to splash on (or removing it completely, if that’s easier).
A professional painter would probably do this in half the time, or you might if you’ve done painting before, but for me, I factor in, per room, a half day of prep, one day for painting, and another half day of cleanup and touch-up. That’s because I’m a slow painter. It always feels like I’m doing some grand artistic project that must be savored and enjoyed at every moment. Still, let’s look at my times as the ‘worst case scenario’.
I don’t consider shopping for paints and planning as part of the work because it’s the easy, enjoyable part for me. Choosing colors is another part I love doing, although a professional designer may not agree with my choices.
Many people ask themselves, how much will I save if I do the painting myself? Well, assuming you can do as good a job as a house painting contracting company, factor in sixteen hours per room, perhaps eight for each hallway, then divide that into the quote for the painting job you got from a contractor. You’ll probably arrive at a number between fifteen and thirty-five, not including the paint itself, and depending on what quality of contractor you get a quote from. Some are incredibly fastidious, paying attention to every small detail, while others will whip through the work, paying little attention to those finishing touches you want in your home. The former put in a lot more hours of work than the latter. True, they’ll do it in far less time than you will, which is what experts do when they’ve been doing the same kind of work for years.
Some people can work for sixteen hours straight; others cannot. Me, I can just barely do eight hours of painting – at least, last time I tried – before my arms feel like they will fall off. I also prefer to go slowly, enjoying each step, standing back to marvel at the room transforming as hours disappear!
The reason for whole day increments is, there is a fixed ‘start-up’ and ‘wrap up’ time for each painting session you do. You have to get dressed for the occasion, probably stir the paint again, and get ready to start painting before each session. Then there’s the cleanup time. You simply have to factor in a half hour to an hour for getting the paint out of your brushes, mixers, trays and rollers, and even out of your hair! All that takes time, but if you get a lot done in a single session, you’ll spend less of your time overall, and better off in the long run.
Choosing the right contractor can save you time
Some contractors, like Rite Painting, have a significant pool of available painters – especially if you plan well ahead and get them on board in advance – so they can have one or two persons per room, if time is of the essence to you. It sure is nice to come home to a house painting job completely done and finished and walk-in ready, with all the cleanup finished. It may not make any difference to the price, either. Be sure to ask about how many people will be working on the project each day.
Every wall can be different. So too is trim (the wainscoting, door frames, window frames, etc.) insofar as how it receives paint. For example, a water-based paint may not take so well on a previously glossy surface. You might have to either sand down the existing surfaces, or choose a different type of paint. Again, considering your particular home needs, asking the experts at your home supplies store, or your painting contractor, will give you the answer you need.
Personally, I like to do home projects when the weather is cool and dry. Dry enough so that damp or humidity are not interfering with my work, and cool enough so that I am personally comfortable doing the work, without having to stop of ‘cooling’ breaks because it’s the middle of August and I have the air-conditioning off and the windows wide open. With the right weather, the windows can all be left open, which helps the paint dry properly, and I can stay comfortable doing the work.
You don’t want to use a one-inch brush to paint a whole wall. I like rollers that take their paint from trays, simply because I can cover huge areas quickly. I can also reach the top of walls, usually, without having to use a ladder. A rule-of-thumb I use is, use as big a brush as you can for any given surface. That can mean quite a small brush, of course, for those finer edges around windows. Too small a brush can really make the job last a long time, and increase your frustration. For the sake of a few dollars of extra brush, this is one thing that can save you a lot of project time. Of course, a painting contractor will know exactly which brush, roller or spray-gun to use for exact exact part of the project.
If you’ve ever gone shopping for a set of kitchen knives, you’ll know that prices span orders of magnitude. It’s the same with painting equipment. You can spend twenty dollars on a 4-inch wide brush, or spend two dollars on something that might look similar. Good paint brushes, if cleaned and stored properly, will maintain their shape and function a lot longer than cheaper ones. They will also help you get the job done. As my mother often said, you’ll cu yourself faster with a blunt knife than with a sharp one. The same goes with cheap paint brushes. You’ll botch the job easier with cheap brushes than with quality ones.
It might sound obvious, but taking the time up-front to be fully prepared in all respects will save time when doing the work. You’ll also enjoy it more, finding the process satisfying, and you inch-by-inch improve the quality and value of your home, not to mention your personal pride in having done a great job.
In the meantime, give us a call at Rite Painting if you have any questions, or grab a time slot for us to come talk to you about your particular painting project.
See you here next week!