The Simplest Way to Paint a House: An Interior DIY Guide

Are you looking to paint your house but dread the thought of hiring a professional? Have you heard that painting your own home is a simple task that anyone can do? Well, it’s true! With this do-it-yourself guide, you’ll be able to successfully paint your home in no time.

How Long Does It Take to Paint a House?

The size of your house is the best indicator of the painting completion time. An average 1500 square feet house will take approximately three to four days to paint with a team of two to three people. A larger house of 3000 square feet or more should take roughly five to six days to paint if you’re working with a small team. 

There are several factors to consider if you’re wondering how long it will take to paint your house from start to finish, such as:

  • The condition of the walls – If the walls are in bad shape, you’ll need to repair and clean them before you start to paint. This could add extra hours or days to the project depending on how bad the situation is.
  • Previous Experience – Previous experience is not mandatory. However, you’ll be able to finish the job faster if this is not your first rodeo when it comes to painting.
  • Paint quality – Although more expensive, high-quality paint allows you to paint faster because it’s easier to apply, dries faster, and produces a smoother outcome.
  • Weather conditions – It’s preferable to paint in hot weather instead of cold weather, but not directly under the sun exposition. If the room you’re painting gets direct sunlight, it’s preferable to wait and paint inside the time frame where there’s no sunlight.
  • Coats of paint – Two coats of paint are the average number needed to achieve a professional outcome. However, if you’re covering a dark color with a light color, extra coats of paint may be needed.

As you’d expect, the completion time for paint jobs is variable, it depends on your team’s qualifications, the size of the house, the supplies used, and other technical details. 

Deciding Whether to Paint Your House Yourself

When it comes to painting your house, there are a few considerations to make before jumping in. First, is the job too big or too small? If it’s too big of a job, you may want to give some thought to hiring a painting contractor. On the other hand, if you’re skilled and the job is small enough for you to handle, then painting the house yourself may be the best choice (and a self-accomplishment landmark).

Another factor to consider is your time availability. Do you have the time to spend painting your house? If you do have the time and decide to move forward, then here’s what needs to be done and how to do it.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

The first step is to gather all of the supplies you will need. Assuming you’re an adult and you have a good idea of the size and shape of your house, supply quantities should be easy to figure out and brands will be up to you. With this taken into account, the following supplies should be enough for the average paint job:

Prep Supplies

  • Spackling paste
  • Spatula
  • Paint Scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Soap & Water
  • Canvas tarp or blankets

Painting Supplies

  • 3″ Flat brush – To distribute the paint around the wall or smooth it out.
  • 2″ Angled brush – For cutting in around door trims, windows, and baseboards.
  • Paint roller – To save time, a roller allows you to paint the broader area of the wall in less time.
  • Extendable paint pole – Excludes the need for a ladder in most scenarios.
  • Ladder
  • Disposable paint trays

Primer and Paint

  • Regular or stain-blocking primer
  • Interior paint

There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars to gear up, basic brushes and a roller will do the trick. Nevertheless, it’s in your best interest to invest in a good extendable pole. This piece of equipment will reduce how long it takes to paint your house by about 70%, excluding the need to be going up and down the ladder all the time.

Planning and Preparing for the Project

Now that you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, a few more steps are needed before you’re ready to tackle painting your house.

First, you need to make a plan. Figure out what rooms you want to paint and which of these rooms you want to give priority.

After the plan, clear enough space inside the house for all the supplies you’ve acquired. This includes areas where you’ll be passing by with the supplies and areas where you’ll be working with water and brushes too.

Lastly, you want to make sure you’re geared up for the task and that everything you don’t intend to paint is safe. Follow these tips to keep yourself and your home safe while you paint:

  • Cover any furniture or other items that are likely to be damaged by spilled paint with a canvas tarp or blankets – this will help prevent unsightly stains and scratches when the painting is done.
  • Make sure to have gloves and protective eyewear ready to be used whenever you start painting – this gear will be useful when you’re painting around windows, doors, light fixtures, crown moldings, vents, and wires high up on walls or ceilings. 
  • Clean up any spills as soon as they happen – don’t wait until they’ve dried into an ugly mess!
  • Always wear a dust mask if using sandpaper or other fine materials that can contain dangerous particles.

Prepping the Surfaces

Now that you’ve nailed the preparation, it’s time to start painting! Here’s how it should be done.

how long does it take to paint a house

1. Start by clearing the room, covering furniture and the floor – Any furniture you’re not able to place away from the room should be moved to the center and properly covered. It’s fine to use plastic to cover furniture but avoid covering the floor with it as it can become slippery!

how long does it take to paint a house

2. Remove the cover plates from power outlets, switches, and wall fixtures – A typical screwdriver should be enough to remove these, you probably already own one.

how long does it take to paint a house

3. Tape the baseboard, doors, and window trims – Use painter’s tape to carefully tape the baseboard, doors, and window frames. You might want to tape the ceiling edges too if this is your first painting job.

how long does it take to paint a house

4. Repair the wall surface – Use a paint scraper to scrape off peeling paint and any loose parts of nail holes. Afterward, use a brush to clean off any particles still left inside the holes. Next, grab the spatula and apply some spackling paste to wall dents and small holes. Larger holes may require a patch kit. After finishing, wait for the spackling paste to dry and use a second coat if needed (drying time should be on the product’s instructions).

5. Sand and prime – Use sandpaper to even out wall irregularities, especially over the spots where you’ve previously applied spackling paste. Important note: Prime these spots before applying paint, otherwise, they’ll be visible through the paint once the job is done.

6. Wash the wall – Use water and soap to remove any grease that will prevent paint to adhere to the surface.

Painting the Room

1. Once everything is taped along with your wall patched and primed, apply another coat of primer over the entire wall before you start painting if needed. Especially when the new color is much darker than the old one. You can skip this procedure if you are using good paint and a similar color.

2. Time to finally start painting! Start by “cutting in” with an angled brush around the edges of the wall, windows, baseboard, door trims, and light fixtures. Use the ladder to paint near the ceiling border as you won’t be using the extendable pole in this phase yet. Make sure to paint a border thick enough with either the angled brush or the 3″ flat brush so that you leave room to maneuver the roller comfortably without touching any of these surfaces.

3. Unload the paint onto the tray, attach the roller to the extendable pole and load it up with paint (don’t be afraid to load until it’s full, good quality paint will not drip out of the roller). Start painting the wall from either the left or right side and move to the opposite end rolling in up and down motions until the entire wall is covered. Important note: once you start rolling in a certain direction, keep it! Don’t ever change the direction of the roller on the wall as it will become noticeable in the texture of the paint.

4. Consult the paint instructions about the drying time (you can use a fan to speed up the process) and let it dry properly before applying the second coat. Make sure to sand the wall between each coat for the best result! Modern paints contain advanced technology and most will be dry and ready for the second coat between one and a half to two hours.

5. Apply the second coat of paint. Start by cutting in once again and repeat the previous steps.

Cleaning up

Clean up your painting material after you’ve used it. It’s specifically important to clean brushes and rollers immediately after each use before the paint dries, it can render these materials useless sooner than expected.

After the painting is done, take care of any mess that may have arisen from the job. Clean up any paint that may have accidentally spilled or dripped onto the floor, furniture, or other surfaces. Yes, this will happen no matter how careful you are!

Finally, remove all the equipment, painter’s tape, and covers from the room. Wipe down any dust or small debris with a broom or a damp cloth, and vacuum the area.

Side Notes

Although the paint may dry in a couple of hours, resist the urge to hang pictures or install fixtures on the wall for a few days, give it close to a week to make sure the paint is hard enough first.

Also, make sure to let the paint fully curate before doing any kind of washing as it can leave irreversible smudges, this process typically needs close to a month to be finished.

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