To the inexperienced, painting a wall may seem like a larger-scale version of coloring inside the lines. But painting should never be considered an elementary task. Painting professionals and experienced DIYers know that a successful paint job requires time, planning, and a steady hand. That’s why many homeowners opt to hire painters as opposed to taking on the task themselves.
But everyone’s DIY skills are different. There may be a part of you that feels that you could handle painting your bedroom yourself. So how are you supposed to choose between paying a painter or grabbing a paintbrush?
We’re not saying you should never try painting parts of your house. After all, practice makes perfect! But if you’re weighing whether you should paint a room yourself or hire a pro, allow us to suggest several factors that can help you make your decision.
1. It’s a big time commitment
The painting process involves more than just rolling paint onto the walls and ceiling. If you’re doing it yourself, it’s a very time-intensive project.
“The decision to paint will include a run to the paint store, picking up proper materials, preparing and protecting the surfaces, the physical labor involved with painting, and cleanup,” says Nathan Outlaw, president of Onvico, a design, engineering, and construction company in Thomasville, GA. And don’t forget the time it’ll actually take you to decide on a color.
In a recent survey, homeowners said the main reason they put off painting is because they dread having to prep the space. Totally understandable! Filling any holes and making sure the walls are clean are just two items on a long list of tedious tasks you must do before you paint.
“You also need to remove all items from the walls, including electrical switch plates, and you need to remove or carefully cover furniture and flooring with painting tarp, to protect from potential paint drips,” says Matt Kunz, president of Five Star Painting. Plus, to ensure straight edges, you’ll need to apply painter’s tape to the wall’s trim.
2. Experience = success
You could take all the time in the world to paint a room, but it will be irrelevant if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re a novice, it probably isn’t wise to tackle a room as your first painting project. Take on something less conspicuous, like the inside of your closet.
“Homeowners typically don’t have the knowledge of the types of paints and primers, application tricks, and a general understanding of the products,” says Outlaw. “A good painter will be able to adjust technique to fit the situation and can make recommendations on paint, depending on the use,” he says.
3. There’s more to choosing color than meets the eye
Sometimes, that perfect color you picked out in the paint store may look horrendous on your walls. A professional painter can help you choose the right shade for the room you’re about to paint. Depending on the lighting in the room and the type of wall surface, colors can take on different hues.
“A professional has the best experience and resources to help homeowners foresee the true appearance of paint colors in a space,” Kunz says.
4. Prep work should never be rushed
The three buzzwords for preparing a surface are “clean,” “dry,” and “dull.”
“First, the surface must be clean and free of all dirt, soil, loose paint, grease, or oil,” says Jenny Burroughs, senior product marketing manager for PPG Paints. You can use a mild detergent or soap along with water to clean the surface—just be sure to rinse off the cleaner.
The surface must be completely dry, as painting over a damp surface results in a loss of adhesion, Burroughs says. Lastly, if the surface is shiny or glossy, you’ll need to scuff and sand the area to dull it, so paint will adhere evenly.