Even for a relatively small house, exterior painting can be a big job. Nevertheless, many homeowners attempt the task on their own in order to save money.
Painting seems like a fairly simple job that an average homeowner could handle: It requires no special equipment and little-to-no technical proficiency (at least compared to something like replacing windows or installing new plumbing).
But painting on your own won’t be free. You’ll still have to pay for all the materials, and of course, you’ll need to invest the time required to get the job done. If you do it wrong or inefficiently, you’ll end up paying extra, and you might not see the results you would if you’d hired a professional contractor.
Is it definitely worth it to hire an exterior painter?
Paying for the Job Yourself
First, think about how much a paint job may cost the average homeowner. A single can of paint is typically sufficient to cover between 250 and 400 square feet of surface with one coat, and a can of paint usually costs in the neighborhood of $30 (depending on the brand and style you).
But you’ll probably need multiple coats — especially if the surface is porous or hasn’t been painted before. Given those considerations, the average homeowner can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for enough paint to complete the job.
But paint isn’t everything you’ll need. Don’t forget that you’ll have to get brushes, rollers, and possibly primers or protective seals, depending on what kind of paint you choose. You’ll also need a ladder, and you might want to invest in painter’s tape or similar supplies to make the job easier (and more consistent).
Overall, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars, possibly even a thousand or more, depending on your situation.
Potential Return on Investment
How much money can you expect to get back from your investment? As always, that depends.
- Home value increases. First, you can expect the value of your home to rise immediately, by an amount roughly equal to what you paid for the supplies. This will vary, depending on the initial state of your home, your choice of color, and the level of proficiency with which you painted.
- Protection from the elements. Next, remember that a good paint job (and a high-quality brand of paint) will protect the exterior of your home against the elements and prevent the need for repainting in the future. Because of this, a paint job could end up saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars in future repairs.
- Costs and benefits. Unfortunately, it’s hard to estimate ROI universally because of the sheer array of variables. The types of paint and products you use, the total surface area, and the nature of your house are all significant variables that figure into any estimate you might try to make.
The Advantages of a Contractor
If it’s possible to do a decent job and see a respectable ROI on your own, why would you consider hiring a contractor? There are several advantages, and they can all have an effect on the ultimate value you derive from your investment:
- Ideal products. There are hundreds of kinds of paint available for exterior paint jobs — and that doesn’t include color choice. If you’ve never painted a residential structure before, this alone can be an intimidating decision, especially when you know the wrong paint may end up decaying prematurely or failing to add much value to your home. Working with a contractor, you’ll get a professional’s perspective on which paints are best to use, and for every price range. It’s a shortcut to becoming a better-informed homeowner.
- No new equipment. Unless you happen to have painting equipment already, you’ll have to spend significant up-front costs if you decide to do the job yourself. The cost of supplies, including a ladder, can add hundreds of dollars to the overall expense. Renting equipment is cheaper, but your least expensive option is to go with a contractor, who will bring his or her own equipment so you don’t have to worry about that.
- Certainty in performance. How confident are you in your painting ability? Are you certain your finished job will increase your curb appeal? With a professional, you’ll rest easy knowing the job will be done right the first time around.
- Resolving challenges. Do you know what to do if you encounter a spot that has exceptional rot? What happens if you accidentally paint a section the wrong color? Professionals are better equipped to address these potential challenges.
- Insurance and safety. Climbing ladders and extending your body is a recipe for serious injury if you don’t know what you’re doing. Professionals are far less likely to hurt themselves, but even if they do, they’ll be insured to mitigate the cost of the damage to you.
- Saved time. Of course, you can’t forget about the amount of time you’ll save when you hire a painting contractor. An exterior paint job will likely take you dozens of hours to complete. Is that worth saving a few hundred dollars? Depending on the job, how much free time you have, and whether you enjoy the painting experience, it might be worth saving the money, but for most homeowners, the answer is more likely a resounding “no.”
- Reasonable cost. It’s true that a contractor will cost more than the supplies you need to do the job yourself, but this alternative probably costs less than you think. Depending on whom you hire, the job can cost as little as $1,000—maybe even less, depending on your residential area.
Every house is different and every homeowner will have different priorities. But in most cases, it’s apt to be well worth the cost of a professional contractor to perform the painting. Not only will you realize a similar — or even higher — ROI, you’ll also spare yourself the time and effort of having to do the job yourself, and the finished job will look even better.
If you’re interested in getting more specific information about a home exterior painting project, or if you want to talk to a contractor to learn more preliminary information, contact us at John McCarter Construction. We’ll walk you through the process and get you a quote — with no obligation.