DIY Painting, Is It Worth It?

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Painting doesn’t seem so hard to do.

Some people say “Why not paint our new house ourselves rather than pay the builder and save money?”

Well I have done plenty of painting of individual rooms over the years but I wouldn’t attempt a new house!

A figure I have heard from an amateur doing the surface preparation and painting of ceilings and walls only (not the woodwork) is around 180 hours for a 300 square m house.

Even if you have got a 200 square house its still 120 hours before you start on the woodwork. Add the woodwork and it will probably be at least another 60 hours.

Assuming there are two of you painting for 6 hours per day that can be over 7 weekends. This consequences are:

  • If you want the painting doing before you move that could be paying another couple of months rent where you live. That will eat into any savings from doing it yourself.
  • If you do it after you move you are going to be living in a mess for around 2 months. All your spare time will be used up painting, while all the other jobs that you find when you move, will have to wait.

About the only painting I would do myself would be painting a feature wall. Even then I would have the decorator do the initial painting of the wall. This would mean:

  • There would be no rush to paint.
  • All the surface preparation would be completed.

If you are going to paint yourself here are a few hints:

  • Invest in some good brushes and look after them.
  • Don’t try painting with a brush out of a big tin of paint, drop it and it makes a huge mess! Decant it into a half litre container.
  • For painting large walls a roller is the way to go. I regard these as disposable as they are difficult to clean well. You can wrap it with cling film and it should be OK to use the next morning, longer and plan on using a new roller.
  • Get some of those disposable overalls with a hood, because you are going to spill paint, and its worse if it gets in your hair.
  • When you have put the top securely on a paint can store it upside down, this stops it getting a skin on the top.
  • Make sure you get plenty of drop sheets or builders plastic on the floor.


See the Selection / Pre-Start Guide for more to think about when finalising your new home