When you have your house painted, the cost of labour is the largest expense. Understandably, some homeowners are tempted to try to do the painting themselves. By buying the paint and doing their own painting, they figure, they'll save more than half the cost!
On the other hand, if you're unsuccessful with your DIY, then you've wasted the money on paint and your own time and effort, and you still have to call in the professionals. How can you predict whether you should attempt the job yourself?
- How big and how complex is the job? Painting a single story building with good surfaces in the same colour it had before is a different matter from painting a large heritage building with uneven surfaces in a lighter colour than it currently wears. Be realistic about the difficulty of the job you've chosen. Make sure, too, that you've thought about safety and the environment -- professional painters do, and these very important concerns can add extra steps to the job.
- What else would you be doing? If you'll be taking time off from work, get an accurate idea of the amount of time it'll take you (hint -- it's going to take you longer than it would take a professional) and factor in the cost of your time. If you think you can get it done over a long weekend or in the evenings, think twice. You'll need to prep the surfaces, deal with any issues of mould or blistering, possibly remove old paint, deal with nails that have popped out or any other issues from a settling house, move plants and shrubs out of the way, prime the house -- and that's all before you begin painting. When you consider that you almost certainly won't get the same results that a master painter will, even if you put in all that time, it may not be as cost-effective as you think to paint your own house.
- Do you have the tools? It may not be as inexpensive as you think, either, even if you decide that your own time has no value that needs to be considered. Do you have the tools you need to remove old paint and preparing the surfaces? Do you have a scaffolding for reaching high places? Do you have the tools you need to paint all the nooks and crannies of the job? You may imagine yourself out there with a roller and a can of paint, but watch a professional painter and you'll see that it isn't quite that simple. Buying all the things you need to do well on just one painting job will increase the cost of your painting considerably.
- How much do you care about results? If you want to slap a coat of paint on the doghouse to brighten it up, the end result doesn't matter that much. The paint on your house affects the value of your property and the way you feel when you come home from work every day.