I'll Do It Myself

I can save money by painting my own place.

Yes. More than 70% of the price of a painting contract usually goes to pay the cost of labor. By providing your own labor you save a great deal of money, possibly thousands of dollars.

How hard can it be?

I've often said that in six months I can teach almost anyone to do a reasonably good job as a house painter. The problem is the six month "learning process!" If you don't have time or opportunity to work with a good teacher, you'll be approaching your project as an amateur… a big disadvantage.

That said, most people with good eyesight and reasonably good mobility can do a satisfactory paint job if they have the necessary patience. Patience is the primary requirement of a good painter.

What does patience have to do with painting?

Everything. Most of the house painting disasters I have seen—whether perpetrated by homeowners or contractors—are the result of impatience. If you hate painting and only want to "get it over with," don't even think about painting your own home.

What do I need besides patience?

As I stated, you need a reasonable amount of physical strength and mobility, in addition to patience. House painting almost always requires the use of a step ladder. You need to be able to reach over your head, get on your knees, bend at the waist and keep your balance on a step ladder. You should have a relatively steady hand with a paint brush.

If you are reasonably fit and patient, you need to acquire basic knowledge of painting products and techniques. Information is easily found on the Internet, and you can find some aids to education on my resource page. Some painting contractors—including Reliable Painters—will be happy to provide tips free of charge if you're honest about your reasons for asking. As a rule, I have found information from paint manufacturers on the Internet to be more dependable than information available in local paint stores. Employees at local stores are not always well trained, and rarely have practical experience.

What can go wrong?

You might be amazed. Many hazards lie in wait for the amateur painter. Major accidents include spilled paint, a fall from a ladder or broken furniture. Minor mishaps include paint spattered on your furniture, clothes or oak trim. I've known amateur painters who used the wrong paint on their textured ceilings and ended up needing the ceiling replaced due to the damage caused. And then there are the paint jobs that just look so bad they're embarrassing to everyone, including you.

I'm not afraid. How do I start?

I'm going to be providing some specific instructions here at my site very soon, but in the meantime remember to start small. Do not start in a bathroom—bathrooms are challenging due to the number of fixtures, mirrors, cabinets, etc. Do not start with ceilings, if you can avoid it, but above all do not start with textured ceilings. Start in a closet or a small bedroom. That way you can work on your technique where you're not struggling with other obstacles.

Hire a tutor!

I am available—at an hourly rate—to provide painting lessons to amateurs who want to paint their own homes, but need a bit of training in technique. What is the benefit for the homeowner? By spending as little as $300, you will work side-by-side with a painter who has almost 40 years of experience. We'll actually be painting your house while you learn… so your job gets a good start, and you get the training to be able to continue on your own.

Call (780) 265-4650 and ask Nathan about a tutoring session.