Author Topic: Painting- DIY or hire pro?  (Read 5733 times)

lavagirl

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Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:33:26 AM »
My whole house needs to be painted.  I've been putting this off for over 4 years and it's time to paint.  Keeping in mind that we will not be living here forever, I'm leaning toward hiring someone to paint rather than DIY.  Every time I've painted in the past I've thought "never again!"  Does anyone know about how much I would save painting myself vs hiring someone to paint a 1700square ft townhouse? Do you think it is worth it for a professional paint job when we will sell within a few years?  Honestly, I'd rather spend my time doing something I enjoy or with the kids.

The Lone Mainer

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 12:58:31 PM »
I've done the DIY route and the professional route in our home that is about the same size as yours.

When we moved in, we had a painting party where we somehow convinced a bunch of our friends to come over and help us paint the entire inside of the house for four hours followed by copious beer and pizza. I think we were able to pull that off because everyone was still young and still in the "broke college student" mentality, but if you can get some friends to help for the cost of beer and pizza, it's really awesome!

We had to do some touch up and finish a few bits after, but it turned a project that would have spanned 6 weekends into a single weekend thing.

Since then, I've hired professionals to re-do some stuff when we wanted to change colors because, like you, I hate painting. It was about $1,200 for a little under half of our house, but we have a guy who does work really cheaply. Some of the more "legit" painting companies charge twice that.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 02:20:10 PM »
When you hire someone, you pay from your netto salary the painter's brutto salary, plus employment costs, plus his travel cost, plus VAT. If you do it yourself you typically do this in your free evenings, so it's only costing you free time, not money. It never pays off hiring a person, other than saving time. We always paint ourselves, inside and outside the house. Painting is not difficult.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 07:35:10 AM by Linda_Norway »

WildJager

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 07:51:43 PM »
When I was a kid I had the luxury of painting my parents' house.  I've never had to do it myself since I've always rented, but it was an experience.

My strategy was getting an audiobook.  Wait till the weather is right, hit play, and zone out to the zen of painting during a nice morning (or two or three... whatever).

I would paint myself now a days.  The only thing I outsource are projects that are physically beyond me, usually because they require specialized tools that just aren't cost effective.  Painting definitely does not fall into that realm. 

JAYSLOL

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 12:52:50 AM »
Just finished painting the living room and dining room.  It's not something I love doing, but anyone can do it and I'd rather save the money than have a little extra free time as I know how much this saving is going to be worth when I need it in the future.  Also, I get better and faster at it every time, so pretty soon it won't be much of a pain at all to paint the house.

Case

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 09:36:58 AM »
My whole house needs to be painted.  I've been putting this off for over 4 years and it's time to paint.  Keeping in mind that we will not be living here forever, I'm leaning toward hiring someone to paint rather than DIY.  Every time I've painted in the past I've thought "never again!"  Does anyone know about how much I would save painting myself vs hiring someone to paint a 1700square ft townhouse? Do you think it is worth it for a professional paint job when we will sell within a few years?  Honestly, I'd rather spend my time doing something I enjoy or with the kids.

Really depends whether or not you are willing to spend the money or not (not so obvious).  Painting is one of the most accessible DIY activities... anyone can do it and do a decent job.  Just make sure you liberally use paint tape and other fabrics to prevent getting paint where you don't want it.

IF you are inclined to DIY in order to save some money, then this is one of the best activities.  It can take a low of time and be tiring, but the barrier is low, and you can do it piecemeal.  It's not like replacing your roof, which takes specialized talent and has safety risks.  It's not like building your furniture/cabinets which takes talent.

So basically, it depends how much you value your time, and what your income is.

Easye418

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 10:06:55 AM »
I told myself YEARS ago, I will always hire out for painting.

....

Fast forward years, I have painted each and every time I had to paint. 

I believe the biggest reasons are:

1.  I found a high quality paint that I like (Behr Marquee, always 1 coat, paint and primer, works fantastic).

2.  I found a high quality roller to use (Purdy medium nap).

3.  I found a paint tape I liked (Frogtape).

4.  I am cheap as shit..... errrrr I mean motivated and handy.

I actually just painted the baby's nursery this weekend.  Took me 2 hours to tape and paint a 12 x 13.

A whole house paint job though, that be a rough pill to swallow.  I typically like to do room by room.  I moved into my house in May 2016, I have now painted 3 rooms.

nereo

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 10:10:42 AM »
My whole house needs to be painted.  I've been putting this off for over 4 years and it's time to paint.  Keeping in mind that we will not be living here forever, I'm leaning toward hiring someone to paint rather than DIY.  Every time I've painted in the past I've thought "never again!"  Does anyone know about how much I would save painting myself vs hiring someone to paint a 1700square ft townhouse? Do you think it is worth it for a professional paint job when we will sell within a few years?  Honestly, I'd rather spend my time doing something I enjoy or with the kids.

The only way to know "how much" is to get some quotes (preferably at least 3) from vetted contractors (check out angie's list for referrals). The big unknown here is how much prep your house requires, which depends a lot on the age of the house, the condition of the walls and the amount of trim. Regardless painting will be a multi-day affair; the contractors will first patch, repair and prep the walls (day 1).  Then they will need to prime (day 1 or 2 depending on prep) followed by an entire day to lay two coats on everything (day 3).  These days may or may not be consecutive. If you want different, bright colors in various rooms that makes it more complicated.

From a DIY perspective, painting isn't hard, but it will take a lot of time - especially the prep.  For your house size you are probably going to need ~20 gallons of paint and an equal amount of primer, plus a few hundred dollars worth of tape, drop-cloths, brushes, rollers etc.  The paint itself will cost anywhere between $700 to $1500 depending on the quality, though there are ways to minimize that (check out the 'last-chance' paints available at every ecocenter/transfer-station/dump).  So budget $1000-2000 in materials to DIY.

If the house is empty it's an easy thing to do.  If there is furniture, curtains, paintings, etc. it will get more complicated.  You can use the strategy of painting 1-2 rooms per weekend, but that will stretch this out to a couple of months with most of your free time consumed by painting. OTOH your life is going to be disrupted by hiring painters too, and you have to weigh the DIY savings vs loosing a few weekends of your free time while considering you'll have a bunch of strangers walking into and out of your home for several days should you hire out the work.

FWIW we've always DIY painting, but we go about it on a room-by-room basis.  Friday night we will move most of hte furniture and do prep/repair work.  Saturday we'll lay down primer in the morning and two coats in teh afternoon.  Sunday morning we'll do trim and by sunday evening we move everything back into the room (but leave stuff 4" from the walls for the next week or so as the paint cures). It takes a while to do the whole house this way, but we just focus on 1-2 areas that look the grungiest and update those.

FIRE me

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 05:14:11 PM »
My whole house needs to be painted.  I've been putting this off for over 4 years and it's time to paint.  Keeping in mind that we will not be living here forever, I'm leaning toward hiring someone to paint rather than DIY.  Every time I've painted in the past I've thought "never again!"  Does anyone know about how much I would save painting myself vs hiring someone to paint a 1700square ft townhouse? Do you think it is worth it for a professional paint job when we will sell within a few years?  Honestly, I'd rather spend my time doing something I enjoy or with the kids.

Painting is low hanging fruit when it comes to saving DIY money. Price your materials, then get a labor estimate to see how much you'd save going DIY. Then decide if it is worth it.

If you chose to DIY, keep the following in mind:

Don't use cheap paint, brushes or rollers. You're already saving a bundle on labor. Don't kill your results with trash materials and tools. I like Behr's paint (buy the top $ grade) and Purdy brushes and rollers.

Your results are likely to be directly proportional to the conscientiousness of your surface preparation work.

You can devalue your home with a sloppy paint job. Getting unwanted paint on any of the following: stained wood trim, cabinets, bath fixtures, bath tile, or any flooring are all time consuming to correct (after the paint is dry) and it looks like crap.

A tip: when painting, keep a clean water dampened paper towel at the ready, a hip pocket is a handy place. If you the get any paint anywhere it should not be (either an oops with the brush or roller, or a drip) wipe it IMMEDIATELY with the clean damp towel. This will get 100% of the undesired paint off most hard surfaces. It works on rugs too, but rugs will need vigorous wiping and probably will need more than one sheet of towels. The few surfaces that it won't work on 100% are very hard very dry porous surfaces such as bare unpainted brick or rough unfinished concrete. So be extra careful when painting around those.

stoaX

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 05:49:23 PM »
I've done the DIY route and the professional route in our home that is about the same size as yours.

When we moved in, we had a painting party where we somehow convinced a bunch of our friends to come over and help us paint the entire inside of the house for four hours followed by copious beer and pizza. I think we were able to pull that off because everyone was still young and still in the "broke college student" mentality, but if you can get some friends to help for the cost of beer and pizza, it's really awesome!

We had to do some touch up and finish a few bits after, but it turned a project that would have spanned 6 weekends into a single weekend thing.

Since then, I've hired professionals to re-do some stuff when we wanted to change colors because, like you, I hate painting. It was about $1,200 for a little under half of our house, but we have a guy who does work really cheaply. Some of the more "legit" painting companies charge twice that.

It's important to stress the order in which you painted your house:  paint first then beer. 
Personally I vote to DIY - I like painting because you see tangible results from your labor.

Megma

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 06:02:41 PM »
I diy painting also and room by room usually so it's not to onerous.  Does it look as good as professional? Nope but i do a decent job.

There's one exception, once when moving it of state i hired someone to paint my condo after moving out.  It was 650 sqft and i paid around $600. They did the ceiling too. In this instance, it was worth it but it was a special circumstance and i got a great deal.

AMandM

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2017, 12:58:06 PM »
I would DIY. Painting is disruptive, but the actual painting is the least of it--the moving furniture, cleaning, etc. are the worst part, and most of that you have to do yourself anyway.
How old are your kids?  If they can help, then DIYing *is* spending time with your kids, and as a bonus they are learning a useful skill.
I was in grade 4 when my parents bought their house.  Many days after school, my parents and my two younger sisters and I would go to the new house and all scrub walls, paint, etc. together.  Forty years later, I still have happy memories of those times.  Sometimes, as a special treat, my father would fetch dinner from the McDonald's that had just opened up around the corner!

nereo

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2017, 01:06:04 PM »

It's important to stress the order in which you painted your house:  paint first then beer. 

This is the best advice I've read in a while :-)
Adding: provide pizza to your helpers, but only after the day's work is done.

BlueHouse

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2017, 01:53:04 PM »
I really enjoy painting, but when it comes to whole house, then I'd say hire it out.  The reason is it's really hard to be efficient when you have to move stuff from room to room.  For that reason, you really need to do one or two rooms at a time so you have someplace to put everything when those rooms are being painted. 

Take a look at PaintZen for an easy online estimate. 

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2017, 05:39:46 PM »
I mean if you want the Mustachian answer you clearly should DIY - there's no scenario in which you hiring painters is a better financial decision than doing it yourself. 

Whenever I get in these dilemmas I remember the MMM article about convenience and when I examine all my reasons for wanting to easy way out (i.e., hiring someone) they're always about convenience.  If I have reasons other than convenience then I consider it.  In this case all of your presented reasons are about convenience / luxury, so the Mustachian answer is DIY.

MsPeacock

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2017, 05:53:36 PM »
About a month ago I painted four rooms of my house and the hallway in one weekend. I don't mind painting at all and think it is an easy DIY. The key is putting in the time to prep, put down tape, dropclothes or plastic, make sure you have the right tools (step ladder, trash bags, Purdy brushes and rollers, rolling tray and liners.). Probably 60% or more of the work is prep, 35% trim and cutting in work, and 5% rolling out the big walls. Good paint (agree re Behr) makes a huge difference. I find it highly satisfying, particularly because so many DIY jobs are outside of my skill level, physical strength, and available time.

Mezzie

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2017, 07:25:36 PM »
I read this thread title as "PARENTING - DIY or hire pro" which I thought would be a bit more controversial. :p

On topic, I find painting indoors totally doable. I leave the outside to the pros, though.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 01:17:37 AM »
As I mentioned above we have always painted ourselves, both indoors and outdoors. Now we live in another house and some of the outside walls need painting. But the very untechnical previous owner of the house choose tar to paint the house with. Tar needs to be warmed up and will then spread unhealthy fumes. He himself has become allergic to it. You cannot paint it over with normal paint, either. My husband has decided to give it a try and do it himself this summer. I am very worried for his throat and lungs as he is already allergic to pollen, cleaning detergents, dogs, cold weather and who knows what more. If it's up to me, I'd rather pay someone for the job. That is of course not good for that painter either, but maybe he has better protection. We should definitively try to find (maybe hire) a good mask, maybe even with oxygen.
They only thing we can do to improve this house may be thinning out the tar and mixing it with some substance that will tolerate in a later stage to be painted over with more normal paint.

Tar is

birdiegirl

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2017, 10:48:01 AM »
Very timely post!  We were just discussing this last night...the longer we live in our house the more we notice the crappy paint job the previous owners did. 

Is it still a simple DIY job if your walls are beat up and need to be smoothed out?   I've done painting before but have never attempted to do more than patch nail holes. 

Connemara

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2017, 10:56:27 AM »
I repainted my entire 1,100 sq. ft. home with the help of my father and occasionally one or two other people. I mean the entire home - all walls, (including in closets), wainscoting in bathroom, all ceilings, and all trim on windows/doors. It took a lot of evenings and weekends but I only paid for materials and the occasional pizza/take out dinner for me and Dad.

Was it a PITA? Yep. Would I do it all over again if I had to? Yep.

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2017, 11:13:31 AM »
I really enjoy painting, but when it comes to whole house, then I'd say hire it out.  The reason is it's really hard to be efficient when you have to move stuff from room to room.  For that reason, you really need to do one or two rooms at a time so you have someplace to put everything when those rooms are being painted. 

Take a look at PaintZen for an easy online estimate.

I'm sure that there would be exceptions, but I've not yet seen the room that I could not paint by just gathering the furniture to the center of the room. Then cover with drop cloths. Works even when painting ceilings, provided you have a 5' roller extension pole.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2017, 11:17:19 AM »
Very timely post!  We were just discussing this last night...the longer we live in our house the more we notice the crappy paint job the previous owners did. 

Is it still a simple DIY job if your walls are beat up and need to be smoothed out?   I've done painting before but have never attempted to do more than patch nail holes.

We have replaced wooded wall plates on inside walls, wallpapered them and painted. We have also repaired door frames in terrible condition that turned up nicely after finished painting.
Yes, holes in walls can be repaired. After that sandering and wallpapering (with paintable wallpaper).
I can tell from experience that wallpapering is NOT easy. We have done 4 rooms and are still terribly bad at it. The painting is much simpler.

Bobberth

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2017, 12:01:37 PM »
I say go for it. That said, I have seen many bad paint jobs. It's something that many people think they can do as it looks easy but you can easily make a mess of things. I own several rental properties and I can repaint a 1200 sqft house in a weekend. A few tips to get a better quality end product:

Cut in with a brush first and then roll out. Brushes will leave streaks and the roller helps roll those out. Cut in is where you use a paint brush to paint the inside corners and near trim that a roller can't reach.

NEVER. And I really do mean NEVER use your wrist. Your wrists are most likely too weak to do a good job, you will flop paint all over. Instead lock your wrist & elbow and use your stronger shoulder muscles. Or even better, lock your wrist, elbow and shoulder and use trunk rotation to move the brush. You will be able paint much straighter lines doing this. Combined with the other tips, I don't use tape anymore so that saves me a bunch of time and expense.

Less is more when it comes to paint. Don't dip the entirety of the bristles into the paint. Dip maybe a half inch. A little more if you're doing a bigger area and less, even just barely touching the paint, if you have smaller areas. Sometimes I will use the brush in the middle of the wall to help remove excess paint that has accumulated.

A 2 1/2" angled brush is my favorite brush to use.

When cutting in, after you dip your brush, start away from the corner/trim to get the excess paint off and then approach the corner/trim. Even if you barely dip your brush,  there will be excess paint on the brush that can pool up and get on the ceiling, trim or somewhere you don't want it. I like to start about 2"-3" away from the corner/trim, brush in both directions to remove excess paint, and then work my way into the corner. You can then go back to that starting point to soak up the extra paint. Re-dip your brush when the paint runs out and repeat.

When your brush comes in contact with the surface, the bristles move. That sounds like, "Well, duh!" but you need to remember that. Make contact with your brush and then move it into position when cutting in. Once the brush has fanned out, move so just the tips of the closet bristles make contact with your edge. You only need paint from the outside of the brush, not the middle, to be at the edge. Many paint mistakes happen, especially where trim meets wall, when bristles flare out unexpectedly and touch something you don't want. Find the flare, then move the flare into position using trunk rotation. Painting around the trim on the left hand side of a doorway? Make it so the bristles flare to the right and into the trim. Cutting in around the ceiling, make them fare into the ceiling.

I always use an extension handle long enough that I can have both hands on the handle when rolling (broom handle will work) unless I physically can't (like painting in a hallway). For one, it is easier and two, it makes mistakes harder. If you use the extension correctly, you will almost never make a mistake while rolling. When painting the top part of the wall, get a comfortable distance from the wall and then move your top hand into a position so that when fully extended, the roller will finish within the area of the wall you cut in but short of the ceiling. If you hold the handle too low, it is very easy to accidentally go to far and hit the ceiling. If, at your arms full extension point, the roller stops short of the ceiling, it's near impossible to hit the ceiling. You can now safely roll out that area without worrying about hitting the ceiling. When you finish that area, move on and again check that when your top arm is fully extended, you will still stop short of the ceiling. This theory works great adjusted for painting ceilings and painting the bottom of walls near baseboards.

Mistakes and drips happen. Use a drop cloth and carry a rag with you. Immediately wipe up paint that accidentally gets on trim, ceiling or wall that you don't want. Especially if it's a darker color that got on a lighter color. You may still have to touch up that area but it will be easier if it has been wiped up. Have access to some water to help remove critical mistakes (assuming latex paint). Depending on the flooring, sometimes drips are easier to let dry and then peel up than to clean up immediately. Most bad paint jobs are a result of not cleaning up mistakes and leaving the results.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2017, 12:27:09 PM »
When I have to DIY something I find it really motivating to watch youtube videos, especially when they have the fastforwarding thing where you watch someone complete the job really quickly. Cooking, cleaning, painting, curling my hair...if I watch a Youtube video of somebody doing it first my brain starts thinking, well that doesn't look so hard! And then I start feeling the itch to go do it myself.

stoaX

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2017, 10:37:58 AM »
My strategy for painting the exterior of the house is to do one side of the house each year and the trim in the fifth year.  You never stop painting but it never becomes overwhelming.  Of course, you gotta like the color of your house or be ok with different colors on different sides of your house for a while.

Cassie

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2017, 12:16:18 PM »
When we were young we always painted ourselves. Now that we are old we hire it done. Always cheaper to do it yourself.

BlueHouse

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2017, 01:31:17 PM »
My strategy for painting the exterior of the house is to do one side of the house each year and the trim in the fifth year.  You never stop painting but it never becomes overwhelming.  Of course, you gotta like the color of your house or be ok with different colors on different sides of your house for a while.

Have you ever heard of Poor Solomon Grundy?  (The Sesame Street version, not the old English Rhyme)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ8UOsUTd0Q

stoaX

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2017, 02:17:40 PM »
My strategy for painting the exterior of the house is to do one side of the house each year and the trim in the fifth year.  You never stop painting but it never becomes overwhelming.  Of course, you gotta like the color of your house or be ok with different colors on different sides of your house for a while.

Have you ever heard of Poor Solomon Grundy?  (The Sesame Street version, not the old English Rhyme)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ8UOsUTd0Q

Thanks!  Perhaps I will incorporate that into my hygiene regimen.

Gyosho

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2017, 03:36:25 PM »

Take a look at PaintZen for an easy online estimate.

Thanks for this recommendation! I got a super-cheap quote from them. I will be contacting them. I had never heard of PaintZen before this.

mporter012

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Re: Painting- DIY or hire pro?
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2017, 07:06:51 PM »
I didn't go back and read through all the comments, but DIY painting is pretty straightforward. It is time-consuming though! Watch some youtube videos - that's how I learned. The mistake most people make is they try and spread the paint on a roller over too much area. Once you wet the paint, you really should cover more than a 4'x4' area give or take.

If you decide it's too much, depending on where you live, there is always TaskRabbit or Thumbtack. These services send someone out quickly.