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Should I Paint my Own House or Hire a Professional House Painter?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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Nothing lasts forever, and that includes house paint. After a period of time, a combination of sunlight, moisture and exposure to the elements causes house paint to peel away from the exterior and become unsightly. As far as do-it-yourself repairs are concerned, house painting is not technically difficult for a homeowner to perform, but it can be time-consuming, messy and physically demanding. Hiring a professional house painter may seem like a viable alternative, and in many cases it is. But the services of a professional painter do not always come cheap, and finding a reliable one during the height of construction season is not always easy.

One thing a homeowner should consider when deciding between a do-it-yourself project and hiring a professional house painter is the size of the job. The old paint usually has to be scraped off before any new primer or paint can be put on the walls. This scraping and prepping step is not going to be pleasant, and the scrapers must be in good physical shape to reach some of the more obscure areas of the exterior. Homeowners accustomed to labor-intensive jobs may be able to tackle the scraping and prepping of an average sized home, especially with the help of a few teenage assistants. Anything larger than average may require the expertise of a professional painter and a seasoned crew.

There are also a few hidden costs associated with house painting that homeowners may not have considered. While the paint itself may be relatively inexpensive, all of the tools, sprayers, brushes and ladders may not be. By the time a homeowner purchases all of the additional equipment needed to paint a house, the cost may be even higher than hiring the services of a professional house painter. A homeowner may be able to rent a professional grade paint sprayer from a rental agency, however, for an affordable daily rate. Before hiring a professional painter, it may pay to visit a local home improvement store to see how challenging it is to use a modern spray painter or advanced painting techniques.

A professional house painter and crew does bring a level of expertise most homeowners do not possess. They will often mask off areas prone to receive over-spray, such as windows, exposed pipes and gardens. A professional house painter should also be able to complete the job in much less time than a "weekend warrior" homeowner and an amateur crew. If time is a consideration, a homeowner may be better off hiring a professional house painter instead of allowing a partially scraped house remain in limbo for several weeks.

A professional house painter may charge a significant fee per hour or job, but a homeowner should compare that fee to the expense and time requirements of a do-it-yourself project. If the house painter can complete the job within a few hours or days instead of weeks, then the cost may be acceptable. If the project is not overwhelming and the weather is cooperative, however, painting your own house can be a satisfying experience that provides a sense of ownership and responsibility. Just be sure to pick a color of paint you and your neighbors can live with for years to come.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon992798 — On Oct 03, 2015

I was trying to hire professionals, but as Framemaker said, I have an older house and the prep work to replace caulking and removing old and peeling paint and then the cost of paint supplies and labor added became astronomical. And despite half a dozen estimates, I couldn't get under $5000 for a 900 square foot home! I cannot afford that and painting my house myself has become required though I have no desire to do so.

By oganmy — On Apr 25, 2011

When considering the price of hiring the services of a true Painting Professional please also calculate the replacement/repair costs of such items as windows, doors, fascia and soffits, wood siding, not to mention interior structural components, decks, railings, and any other item that an inadequate paint job is sure to damage. Leave the exterior work to professionals it will cast you so much less in the long run.

When and if you hire a painter, do yourself a favor, and check references and also call the city or town hall and check to see if the company is licensed and always require an insurance certificate. If they don't have all of these things, chances are you're about to hire a hack that won't do any better than you will.

By highlighter — On Jul 24, 2010

@ Framemaker- You are absolutely right painting a house is labor intensive. I am an exterior painter as well, and I decided to tackle an interior job for my parents. They own an old farmhouse, and needed to strip the wallpaper throughout the house, and paint the interior. I thought the job would be easy enough, but I was dead wrong.

None of the walls were even. Underneath the wallpaper was 100-year-old horsehair plaster that was beginning to crumble. It was a mess.

Long story short, my interior house painting estimate was only half the actual cost, and it took me twice as long. I had to patch, mud and level all the walls; tape all corners and seams; and stain treat the few walls that were straight. Next time I'll stick to exterior painting.

By FrameMaker — On Jul 24, 2010

I used to paint houses for a living and I can honestly say it is laborious work. I worked in the North East, so there are different considerations to take into account when it comes to exterior house painting costs.

Most houses were wood siding, and the elements can take their toll on a house. There are often minor siding and window repairs that must be done when painting a home (unless the home is being painted for the first time). Take into consideration your ability in repairing windowsills, rotted wood, and minor cosmetic damage.

I advocate painting your house yourself, but it will involve lots of prep time, patience, and may cost you a considerable amount. Estimate your costs, add ten percent and consider what your time is worth. Compare your estimate to what it would cost to hire a reputable paint crew that guarantees their work.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
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