A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labor and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.
If you paint over dirty, oily surfaces, the paint will easily chip or peel off. So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint cleaning. They work well to clean painted, varnished or enameled surfaces to improve the adhesion of the new paint. They’re ideal for cleaning greasy or oily areas like kitchen and bathroom walls and removing hand marks around light switches and doorknobs.
Most of us can do an okay job of painting a room. But a seasoned professional does a great job. Obviously, pros have more experience than the average homeowner, but they also know techniques and tricks that make them better painters. We asked six pro painters to share those secrets. They probably kept a few tips to themselves, but they provided us with more than enough to help you work more efficiently and get better results. Some of what you'll read may surprise you. For instance, their secrets won't cut painting time. Painters spend two to four days on an average-size room. That's how long it takes to prep, prime and paint correctly. It's more work, but when you stand back to admire the results, you'll agree it's time well spent.
Before the scrubdown, protect nearby plants by misting their leaves and saturating the surrounding soil with water, pulling them away from the house, and shrouding them in fabric drop cloths. (Plants will cook under plastic.) Lay more drop cloths along the base of the walls to collect any falling paint debris. Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather.
After painting the ceiling, work from the top down: Start with the crown molding, then do the walls and then paint the casement molding around the windows and doors. Do baseboard molding last. "Painting the baseboards last keeps dust and grit from traveling off the floor, onto the brush and then up onto the freshly painted casements," explains Weeks.
Being in the business for 25+ years I have had the privilege of working with thousands of clients. Although they all came from different circumstances and backgrounds they all had one common goal in mind. Every one of them wanted to be respected, receive top value for their money, and get the best possible paint job for their most prized possession, their house!
Gray is a timeless color, but it could also be considered drab if not accessorized with bold colors. Anyone who has grown tired of looking at white paint on walls for years should consider gray tones. Gray paint is cooler than its white counterpart and more versatile, as it manages to blend well with most decorations. It is an ideal color for all interior spaces and provides the perfect backdrop for color bursts.

A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labor and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.

Gray is a timeless color, but it could also be considered drab if not accessorized with bold colors. Anyone who has grown tired of looking at white paint on walls for years should consider gray tones. Gray paint is cooler than its white counterpart and more versatile, as it manages to blend well with most decorations. It is an ideal color for all interior spaces and provides the perfect backdrop for color bursts.


Brown denotes a personality that is earthy, realistic and trustworthy. This classic earth tone can be applied to living and work areas alike, as it evokes a feeling of being well-rounded and connected with nature. Terracotta and dark mustard brown combinations are perfect for Latin American and Santa Fe-style décor. Brown hues are great for interior spaces that get a lot of sunlight. Lighter shades of brown, such as beige and taupe, are neutral colors that particularly work well in homes that are being shown to potential buyers.
The right paint stroke to use in interior painting is highly debatable. It's not a talent as much as a skill that is learned through practice. Many experts paint in a “W” pattern when using foam rollers, but others simply roll up and down then sideways with either brushes or rollers. The motion isn’t as important as making sure that the application is even and drip-free across the entire area. However, technique is important when you're covering over wall repairs.

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