Whether you hire professionals or tackle the work yourself, few things are more stressful than home improvement projects. Although the thought of undertaking a job yourself can be intimidating, licensed contractors can cost much more than expenses incurred during a DIY project.
Even if you don't have any experience with a brush or roller, painting the rooms yourself can be a great way to save big and spruce up your home. A small investment in paint and supplies and a little bit of your time are all you need. But before you throw on those old overalls, be warned: home improvement projects require a lot of patience and preparation.
Here are six tips that can help you tackle the job properly and efficiently:
1. Prepare Properly
The common rule of thumb for home improvement projects is the seven Ps: "Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance." Tape off your ceilings and baseboards with blue painting tape. Sandpaper the walls to ensure an even coat, and wipe them clean to eliminate debris. Next, lay down some protective matting or newspapers to protect your floors. Remember, your goal is a smooth, finished coat of paint on your walls -- not a home that looks like it was designed by Jackson Pollock.
2. Invest in Quality Paint
The last thing you want to do is let your paint dry, move your furniture back in, and then realize you need to repaint because you chose the cheapest brand of paint in the store. Consult the professionals at your local paint or hardware store to determine the best quality product available at the best price.
3. Spend the Extra Money on Brushes
Brushes can cost anywhere from $5 to $30 apiece. Don't purchase the cheapest ones available -- instead, invest in mid-range quality brushes for medium-scale home painting projects. They hold up well, and if you clean and store them properly, they'll be usable for many future painting projects.
4. Coat Well
With a good coat of paint, the color stands out and imperfections on the walls are better camouflaged. Don't be afraid to dunk your brush all the way into the paint can and apply liberally to the surface. Do-it-yourself newbies and experienced professionals alike should give a wall at least two coats of paint, so make sure you let that first coat dry for at least four hours before applying the second.
5. Only Buy What You Need
Most experts recommend one gallon of paint for every 400 square feet, so measure the surface area of your project to determine how much paint is required. Purchase a little extra to be used in the future when you need to do touch-ups, but don't go overboard. The last thing you need to do is blow money on gallons of unneeded paint that will only end up in storage.
6. Register Your Color
When you purchase paint, most stores offer to create an account for you that can be used to register your color in case you need it for future projects. Rooms that experience high traffic, such as kitchens and living rooms, often require touch-ups every few years. Instead of having to match your color to a swatch or rely on a photo and a salesperson's interpretation, register your color and you'll be able to purchase an exact match when the need arises.
When planning your time-frame for a home painting project, do yourself a favor and double your original estimate. Unexpected surprises are sure to occur, and you should not feel rushed to complete your job. If you plan well, you can save a lot of money and have some fun as well.
What other tips can you suggest for DIY painting projects?
David Bakke lives in Atlanta where he enjoys taking on a variety of DIY home improvement topics. He shares tips related to saving and managing money on the blog, Money Crashers Personal Finance.