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8 things to consider before DIY-ing a paint project

Before you pick up a paintbrush, there are

Before you pick up a paintbrush, there are several factors to consider before you decide whether or not to call in the pros. Credit: Getty Images/svetikd

If you're planning to refresh the paint in your living room or swipe on a new hue in the kitchen, you may be thinking about tackling the project yourself. However, before you pull on overalls and pick up a paintbrush, consider the factors below to help you decide whether or not to call in the pros.

1. Look at the state of your walls.

If you live in a new home with perfectly smooth walls and few nicks, painting your master bath could be a relatively easy project. However, if you're in an older home that has crumbling plaster and layers of paint, paint-scraping and spackling could turn an otherwise-easy project into one better left to the pros.

Of course, this is a judgment call that should be based on your level of experience and the amount of time and work you're willing to put in. As a general rule, if you're not sure you'll be able to achieve a smooth finish, it's time to call a professional painter.

2. Consider your health.

You'll likely need to climb up and down a ladder, wield a roller for several hours and crouch down or stretch up to paint every inch of the molding and trim. If you have back problems, it could be worth it to outsource this project and save yourself the pain.

3. Be realistic about your skill level.

It may sound obvious, but your painting skills will ultimately determine whether you achieve the results you want. The hard part can be admitting to yourself that it might be worth paying a pro in order to be satisfied with your freshly painted room.

4. How high is the ceiling?

Before you start painting, it's a good idea to measure your ceilings and take a look at the ladders you might need for the project. If you're tall and have 8-foot ceilings, a small step ladder might do the trick. If you have high ceilings, you may need to invest in a taller ladder.

Again, consider your own safety before deciding to paint your cathedral ceilings on your own. Professional painters have years of experience and the right ladders and tools for the job. If you do decide to DIY the project, it's a smart idea to ask a family member or friend to help hold the ladder.

5. Value your time.

Painting the entire house yourself could save you $1,500, but it could cost you several weekends. Be sure to factor in the value of the time you'd be spending on the project. Research has shown that outsourcing time-consuming chores can actually make people happier, so weigh whether the time investment is worth it to you or not.

Alternately, consider turning the painting project into a communal activity by recruiting family or friends to help out.

6. Look at your schedule.

Painting an entire room or house is a task that's best reserved for when you have large chunks of time to devote to it. For example, if you have only short windows of time available, it will be almost impossible to paint an entire room with a seamless finish (and it may appear obvious where you started and stopped the project). If you can't dedicate a full day or at least several consecutive hours to the project, it may be better to hire a pro.

7. Don't forget the mess factor.

Whether you're painting the kitchen or your entire house, you're probably going to need more tarps, towels and floor covers than you think. Most pro painters are experienced in avoiding the spills, drips and splatters that can happen when painting a room. Plus, they'll move the furniture and supply all the necessary tarps and covers.

8. It's OK to outsource.

Remember, there's no shame in hiring a pro painter. Outsourcing this task may help you feel calmer as you cross one big chore off your to-do list.

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