Many people prefer to do their own home painting jobs, rather than hire outside contractors to do the work. There are some advantages to that, you could say. For one, even though contractors will likely do it in half the time, you clearly save money because you are not paying for labor. On the other hand – particularly if it takes you twice as long – you may end up simply saving less than minimum wage for each hour of your own personal time. And then again, you get to make mid-project changes to the painting project, right at the moment you might need to do that. Still, a painting contractor company worth its salt will help you at coming up with the right plan – not to mention the right colors – before the first can of paint is ever opened!
1.Preparation is everything. Don’t even think of opening the first can of paint until the room or rooms are 100% ready for the project to start.
2.Cover everything of value in the room. If you don’t want paint on it, it must be covered or removed entirely to another room for the duration of the project. I know – because I made this mistake several times – it’s easy to imagine you’ll be very careful with every brush stroke, but even professionals who do this for a living know that paint often splashes.
3.Use protective material that is appropriate to the task. In other words, don’t use newspapers – almost any type of paint will soak right through newspapers – but professional grade drop clothes for the task. You might even be able to rent these, but if you have to buy them outright, buy enough for the single largest room you have, and only to one room at a time. That way you can reuse these on each room as your project progresses.
4.If you’re not really good at choosing paint colors, don’t take a chance. Work with a professional interior designer to get that perfect color. Remember you’ll be looking at these walls day after day for a long time. If you rely on the intern behind the counter at Acme Home Supplies for advice on which colors to choose, you’ll likely end up with the wrong color, and plenty of time to wring your hands later about how you didn’t do it the right way in the first place. Color choice might be the single most important service that an experienced home painting company can provide you.
5.Safety first: most paint projects need ladders. As my mother often said “you’ll cut yourself more easily with a blunt knife than a sharp one”. This old adage applies to ladders, too. If you need a long ladder to reach those tough high up spots, then have that ready before the project starts. More accidents occur in the home using too short a ladder – or heaven forbid, stacked chairs and other furniture – so have the right ladders ready. Some home associations have ‘communal’ ladders for this purpose. Any one family might need the use of a ladder once a year, so this is a great sharing of resources for just this type of project. Maybe your neighborhood knows about this. Ask around.
6.Not all paint is equal. There is a huge vendor variance in the quality of paint on the market. I won’t endorse any one brand here, but any experienced Home Depot painting specialist will confirm what you probably already know: which are the quality brands. And considering the price of the paint is really only a fraction of the real cost of a painting project – that is, when you factor in your own personal time on the project – paying a bit extra for the best paint on the market can have a big impact on the quality of the project, and only slightly increase the price of the whole job.
7.Try a test zone. Before you slam down on the big paint choice, buy one of those small paint cans and try it on a section of the wall you plan to paint anyway. A color can look rather different spread on a wall compared to the little sample you get in color catalogs. Don’t think too hard about the wall. You are, after all, about to cover all of it up when you complete the project. (This also has the effect of ‘forcing your hand’, you could say. Now you have a big sample of paint on your kid’s bedroom wall. It’s a great incentive to get on with the project).
8.Do it in stages. I remember, many years ago, I was doing a tiered, patio project at the back of my house. It involved some four thousand what are called Roman Pavers. Well, they had to be taken from the front of the house to the back. The task at the beginning seemed daunting. There were some five pallets of these pavers parked in front of my house. So, I decided in would do no more that ten front-to-back trips of pavers per day. Each trip took 4 pavers, so I managed only forty pavers per day. Well, it doesn’t seem like a lot, you might say, but only ten runs per day meant I would never get injured from overuse, and in fact, the exercise spread out over several months was very good for me. I did get my kids to join in on occasion, so the job took about two months, far shorter than the task of laying the pavers in the new project, but at least my neighbors could see progress was being made.
The same principle applies to painting projects. We all want the darn project finished, but limiting yourself to, say, one hour’s painting per day will mean you won’t wake up with a bad back from too much work the previous evening. And you’ll enjoy it. To me, this is the only reasonable way to do a painting project in my own home if I also have a full time job.
9.Plan with the end in mind: Even if you plan to paint every wall and ceiling of your 4,000 square foot house all on your own, the time will come when the painting work itself is all done. At that point, clear up any missed spots and put every thing away when the job is done. That way, you’ll truly enjoy your achievement, and not be bothered by an unfinished project forever. A cousin of mine, Joseph, painted his kitchen, but never got round to the spot cleanup at the end. His ladder was leaning against the kitchen wall of his house for three long years before his wife finally got rid of it. And him, too, by the way. Don’t be like my cousin Joseph.
More next week, if you’re around.