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Frugal DIY: Interior Painting

Interior paintingI’m done painting our old condo! Well, I will be done by Friday afternoon so I’m calling it good. All in all, it was relatively painless. I painted many times (5?) before and this job was straight forward. Initially, I was very reluctant to do it because I was completely worn out from moving. I figured – why not hire someone to do it? We’re not poor anymore. I could afford to hire a painter, right? Well, it turned out I couldn’t do it.

I got a few quotes and the cheapest one was $1,800, not including paint. Yikes! That was the “off the book” price. Wow, that is insanely expensive. Our place is only 970 square feet. Why is interior painting so expensive? I couldn’t stomach paying that much and changed my mind about hiring a painter. Once I committed to DIY, the job became easier. Interior painting is a semi-skilled job, at best. Pretty much anyone can do it. And I already had most of the painting equipment from the previous time.

How can they justify charging that much? I just don’t understand. I spent about 25 hours total on the job. A 2 man crew can get it done in one long day. I guess hiring anyone is going to be super expensive these days.

To paint or not to paint

Let’s rewind for about 10 days. At first, I thought I could just touch up some spots on the wall and doors. We had a can of touch up paint from the welcome kit from 12 years ago. I stirred it up and went over all the spots I can see.

  • Nail holes (spackled)
  • Scratches and streaks from furniture
  • Dirty areas from hand rubbing
  • Various minor discolorations
  • Basketball marks all along the wall, door, and ceiling. These were the worst. RB40Jr had a basketball hoop and there were a ton of marks from his kiddy basketball.

Unfortunately, the touch up didn’t work. On some walls, it looked okay. But there were noticeable patchy spots on some walls and especially doors. I guess 12 years of living there left its mark. The old paint was faded and the touchup didn’t blend.

touching up

Here is an image of the closet doors. I turned up the contrast to show you the touched up patches. The touch-up paint showed a lot more on the doors for some reason. I guess the wood absorbed more paint than drywall. Anyway, this was unacceptable. Prospective buyers would probably fixate on the patchy paint. So I concluded we had to paint the place.


The actual painting went pretty well. I painted most walls and the condo looks good. New paint really freshened up the place. I spent 2-4 hours each day on this project.

  • Sunday – painted bedroom 1 and touch up the ceiling.
  • Monday – painted the hallway.
  • Tuesday – painted the living room and kitchen.
  • Wednesday – painted the doors.
  • Thursday – painted bedroom 2. A guy was fixing our bathrooms.
  • Friday – paint 2 bathrooms and touch up.
  • Saturday – final touch up if needed.

Unfortunately, I had to take a week off from blogging to do this. Also, we had a little snow this week. Our son had 2 delayed starts and a snow day. Luckily, that didn’t delay the painting project. RB40Jr came along and kept himself occupied with his books. He was helpful on several occasions too.

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Painting tips

Anyway, I’m relieved this project will be done soon. I was afraid I’d have to paint for 2 weeks. DIY worked out pretty well this time. The place is going on the market on Tuesday so we really have to get it done by Sunday. A couple of extra days of padding are good. Hopefully, I can spend this weekend unpacking and relaxing a bit. It’s been a long month for us. I’ve been moving and fixing stuff since February 3rd. I need a beer…

Okay, here are some tips for novice painters.

  • Use the same color. Bring a sample to match or get the same color code if possible. This makes painting so much easier. If you go with a different color, you’ll probably need at least 2 coats. I only had to do one coat because the same color is much more forgiving.
  • Prep. Prepping will make painting and cleaning up much easier. I used the blue masking tape and it worked beautifully. I paint one or two walls and remove the tapes. From previous experience, I found that leaving the tape on overnight was a bad idea. The paint fused to the tape and it was a pain to remove. Now, I go light when I’m near the tape and remove it ASAP.
  • Clean. Clean the wall a bit before painting. Paint doesn’t stick very well to a dirty wall so clean them with soap and water. I only cleaned a few grubby spots in our case. The walls weren’t too dirty. Also, get rid of the cobwebs on the ceiling and along the corners. They’ll get in the way.
  • Fill holes. Of course, you should fill the holes with spackle. Sand it a bit if the fix doesn’t look good.
  • Just do it. If you haven’t painted before, it will seem daunting. Don’t worry. As long as you don’t spill a whole bunch on the carpet, it is fixable. Get a drop cloth and go for it. Watch a few YouTube videos to get an idea of how to paint. It will become easier as you go.

interior painting

Frugal DIY

Interior painting isn’t that difficult. I don’t know why it cost so much. If you have time, I highly recommend DIY. You’ll get better as you paint more. The price is really ridiculous. How can they justify charging like a skilled laborer? I guess the economy is really good.

Have you ever painted or do you prefer to hire a professional to do it? Interior painting is an easy DIY job. Why not DIY? Exterior painting, on the other hand, seems much more daunting. I haven’t tried that yet.

Image by rawpixel

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