How long does a single average bedroom or study take to paint?
Modern home/unit – 2 coats walls only – 6 hours
Modern home/unit – 2 coats walls and ceiling – 12 hours
Modern home/unit – 2 coats walls, ceiling, 3 coats door and skirting boards – 18 hours
This includes adequate masking, floor and furniture protection, and sanding/washing/primer on door and skirting. (NOTE: Cheap painters don’t do this).
Historic home/unit – 2 coats walls only – 8 hours
Historic home/unit – 2 coats walls and ceiling – 16 hours
Historic home/unit – 2 coats walls, ceiling, 3 coats door, WINDOW, PICTURE RAIL and skirting – 30 hours
This includes adequate masking, floor and furniture protection, and sanding/washing/primer on door, WINDOW, PICTURE RAIL and skirting. (NOTE: Cheap painters don’t do this … either).
Most people are surprised at how long it takes to paint a room … until they try it themselves. Painting is LABOUR INTENSIVE!!! (Well, decent painting is. Crappy painting that fails almost immediately is really fast!)
The steps to a great paint job are as follows:
1. PROTECT YOUR STUFF. Small items must be moved out. Big stuff like furniture must be wrapped in plastic. Floor coverings, like carpet and floorboards must have drop sheets laid over AND masking the appropriate tape applied around the entire perimeter. Then curtains and blinds must be removed.
2. FILL THE HOLES/CRACKS. Nearly every room has cracks or picture hook holes that need to be filled and dried ready to paint.
3. MAKE THE TRIM ‘GRIPPY’. All the glossy stuff like doors, wooden windows, skirting boards, picture rails, wardrobe doors, even wooden fire places need to be de-glossed, or the new paint will peel off. De-glossing is done with sandpaper and/or a special primer.
These 3 steps are called Protection and Preparation. These steps can take up to 50% of the time allowed for a long lasting, good looking paint job. Cheap painters just don’t do this stuff and that’s why they can present quotes that are half as much as a real painter.
Sadly a lot of home owners opt for the half price option and are very disappointed with the results. AND the inevitable fix up costs even more because of the damage caused the first time around.
Only then does a good painter do the painting part. Even here there is a huge difference between good and cheap painters. The good guys take TIME to apply the paint correctly so there are no bare patches and no dribbles or runs. They take TIME to let the first coats dry before applying the second coats, while the cheapies apply one super thick coat and call it done.
A good painter doesn’t just chuck the paint on and run out the door. They apply, let dry the evaluate whether the RESULT is correct. If not, they make sure it is correct.
So they next time you look online for the answer to: How long does it take to paint a house interior? Make sure you separate the cheap answer from the quality answer.
Asking yourself WHY DO I NEED A PAINTER? will help you decide WHO you should engage.
Some people think ALL painters are ok at ALL types of job. So hiring the cheapest one (who doesn’t smell of whiskey) is ALL that’s needed.
This is not true. (Well, avoiding the whiskey smell is).
Go on, just ask yourself WHY DO I NEED A PAINTER?
If the answer is because … I WANT TO PAINT THE EXTERIOR OF MY 12 STORY UNIT BLOCK … you would obviously look for painters experienced in large scale exteriors, scaffolding, abseiling, insurance, body corporate work etc. This would certainly be a large well established firm.
But if the answer to … I WANT TO PAINT MY DAUGHTERS BEDROOM AS A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE … maybe the unit block guys would not be right. Here you certainly need a person who is meticulous with painting AND not getting your home messed up.
I’m exaggerating here … but only a bit.
I get calls all the time from people who want … a painter.
My first question is WHY?
Do you need a painter tomorrow to touch up a scratch in the wall before your mother in law arrives? If so, I’d recommend finding a good handyman. Most handyman are ok at small, urgent touch ups. Whereas most good full-time painters are booked weeks out. So SPEED is your why.
Do you have a rental that needs a quick once over between tenants? If so, CHEAP AND FAST is probably your why, with QUALITY way down the list.
Do you have an older home with cracks and mould that need fixing before painting ? If so then REPAIR PLUS PAINT is your why. (Also, call me. That’s what I specialise in.)
Other whys might be:
If I spend another day with peach coloured walls I’ll vomit.
I like my wall colours but they are old and marked and I want a freshen up.
I have stains from water damage.
My paint work is just so old its peeling off.
My builder has finished our reno and now I want the work painted.
I have historic plaster work that needs repair and painting.
I have a mould problem.
I have a crack problem.
Having decided on your WHY, you can now set about finding the RIGHT painter. Look for a painter who has evidence of solving your problem.
Google is the best place to start. Just chuck in all the things you want and Google supplies lots of business sites. Eg. Mosman painter plaster cracks mould
And finally, I’m really sorry if I’m teaching you to suck eggs, but … I suggest reading the websites supplied to make sure they have what you want, BEFORE ringing them. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and wasted time.
How many coats of paint do I need?
Q. One coat of paint or two?
A. Often it’s 3 (counting the primer).
Have you ever thought that only paint one coat of paint on interior walls would do? In the words of Mary Ellen from A Walk in The Woods, “Big Mistake.” This thought is usually an attempt to save money. But only applying one coat of paint will unfortunately cost you money I the long run.
The top coat that you see (and wipe crayons marks off) is not sticking to your walls. Wait. What?
Nope! Top coats stick to primer (or old wall paint which is itself sticking to primer). They never actually stick to new plaster, timber, whatever. Or if you try it doesn’t stick for very long.
The primer’s job is like a house foundation. Its not meant to be seen. It’s meant to hang on – tight. And to hang on it has to sink into the microscopic nooks and crannies that make up the substrate. When primer dries it’s a bit rough, or a bit shiny, or whatever. It’s not meant to be seen.
Then the first coat of top coat goes on. And it’s a still bit rough. AND it’s a bit thin; you can see through some parts. Where it goes over (primed) plaster repairs the first coat may be shinier or duller than the rest of the wall. And there’s always a few tiny missed spots.
So the second top coat goes on. It smooths the overall finish making the job look better. It creates a uniform solid colour. It doubles the thickness making the skin able to be wiped and cleaned without coming off. And any micro-misses are covered up the second time through.
And the biggest bonus of all is the this fresh, colourful, easy-clean painted wall or door now has a TOUGH skin that can move and take a few knocks. So it LASTS. Much longer. And doesn’t need to be repainted for a long time.
AND you don’t even save much money doing one coat. Its not like half the price of two coats. Because most of the work of painting a wall is in the protection (masking, covering) and preparation (washing, scraping, filling, priming). The painter is there all set up with a roller wet with the right colour ready to go. Its nuts to say, “Ah, just skip that second coat. I want to save 3% on this job.”
So, it’s either two coats or don’t even bother.
GOOGLE REVIEWS PAINTERS
One of the best ways to help select a high quality house painter is with Google reviews. Google reviews for painters are probably the best because they are the hardest to cheat on.
Facebook is another good place to see what previous clients have experienced. There’s also Product Review and Yelp.
To see The Tidy Painter’s reviews click here.
Its important to take Google reviews for painters with a grain of salt but they are very good for getting an overall impression. Here’s my very un-scientific review of review rankings:
All 5 star reviews
Obviously pretty good. But be sure to read the actual comments. Past clients might talk a lot about cleanliness or speed or accuracy. This helps you narrow down the KIND of painter YOU want. We are not all the same.
5 and 4 star reviews
Still very good and an indication that these reviews are real. Cheaters only ever give themselves 5 stars and their competition 1 stars.
5 stars (and 4 and 3 and 2 and 1 star) reviews TOGETHER
This might indicate inconsistency. It might also mean that within the same company one painter is great and another is very average. Which one will you get?
3 star reviews
A very ‘just OK’ review. Most clients are either delighted or disappointed with their painting job. 3 stars says, “They came, they saw, they put paint on the walls.” Nothing good. Nothing bad. Fine if you just don’t care.
2 star reviews
Very unhappy. But not quite furious.
1 star reviews
These poor folks are fuming! There are three kinds of 1 star reviewers: First - clients who were very badly let down. Second – clients who never became clients because no one called them back (or one poor guy who was hung up when he revealed he was gay). Third – people who didn’t have painting done but are just mad at the company. Bad driving, a poster for the painting company they don’t like, a neighbour’s painters who poured old paint on the grass etc.
Not professional. Not trying. A total gamble on your part. Why would you let someone into your home who was totally unknown to you? Unless you Mum recommends this painter I wouldn't go near them.
If a painting company has all 5 star reviews and one 1 star review (from a neighbour who didn’t like the music the painters listened to) I’d let that one slide past.
How many reviews?
Just to the right of the Google star rating is a grey number in brackets. This shows HOW MANY people have given reviews. If only one person has given 5 star review, we can be pretty sure that it’s the guys sister in Perth who gave it, and it may not be 100% unbiased.
So don’t just choose your painter based on price. Meet the painter, look at the website, call a few past clients and dig through his/her online reviews. Soon you’ll have a very good picture of who’s right for YOU and YOUR situation.
House painting - expectations vs reality
Most people have never painted a full house interior themselves. So there is always a bit of a difference between expectations and what really happens. Nothing wrong with that at all but if you’d like to know what surprises people the most read on ...
“This should only take a few days right?”
Realty: An older style home will on average, take 1 painter about 1 week to paint 1 room. This includes repairing, preparing and painting, ceiling, walls, door, windows, picture rail and skirting boards.
“You’ll be painting the top coats the day you arrive right?”
Reality: ALL of my clients are surprised at how much work is done before the ‘painting’ starts. Most people realise some sanding and cleaning will be required. But in addition there is a huge amount of ‘protection’ to be done. This includes moving furniture, pictures etc, taping the perimeter of the room, putting down drop sheets and protective plastic film. I estimated once that about 30% of my time on your paint job is used in protection and preparation.
“You’ll treat my home like your home right?”
Reality: I do. But not all tradesmen do. Some painters see your home as a building site and others see it as your home. In fact this split applies to all tradesmen. For example a newly constructed house is a building site until it’s finished. A new house painter can spill as much paint on the floors as he likes if they are going to be sanded or carpeted. He can chuck his empty cans on the junk pile that will become the front yard. And that’s all fine.
But if the same painting or plastering work is to be carried out in your immaculate lounge room ... a very different approach is required. That’s why I keep harping on about finding a painter who has lots of experience working on YOUR type of situation.
“The guy I met at the quote will be doing the work right?”
Reality: I DO. But most bigger painting companies have a sales person/owner/estimator whose job is to sell you that companies services but NOT actually do the work. Thats fine as long as you know thats the deal AND your initial discussions make it to the team doing the work. There are basically 3 company structures when it comes to WHO does WHAT.
1. You meet the owner. He does the work (sometimes with help). Communication should be at its highest.
2. You meet the salesperson/owner/estimator and they pass your agreement on to their 'regular team'.
Communication can get a bit lost, and you have to hope you like the team you are given.
3. You meet the salesperson/owner/estimator and they pass your agreement on to .... whoever they can find to do the work. Some guys are really just brokers finding work for other companies and taking a slice of your money. This is a great way to make a lot of money but I don't think you the consumer get very good value at all.
“The quote is fixed right.”
Reality: Painters that give super cheap 'quotes' often have a nasty habit of finding unexpected problems a few days into the job. Funny that. Your home is in disarray, the guys are standing around doing nothing and you get the news that the price has jumped. Its blackmail and it works. Be very careful that your QUOTE is not just a dodgy GUESS. Make sure it is a fixed quote.
And theres probably a dozens more expectations!
The main thing is to find a painter who you feel you can TALK TO. Then you can ask dumb questions and not feel dumb. And they can explain whats going on at the beginning and throughout the job.
Google reviews are THE BEST WAY TO CHOOSE A PAINTER!
Choosing a painter (or any tradesman for that matter) is hard work.
You want a quality job, a person you can trust around your home, someone that you can communicate with, and a fair price.
Asking friends isn’t a bad way to find a good painter. But what your friends needed and what you need could be very, very different.
That’s why Reviews are so helpful.
It’s possible to find a person who had similar painting needs to you, who found a really great painting specialist for their needs. If, say, you have an interior full of cracks and peeling paint you will be looking for a 5 star rating and positive review for an expert in those problems.
But beware! Some reviews are fake.
Google probably has the most trustworthy reviews. It’s very hard to ‘game’ Google
Reviews. And if you get caught ... that’s the end of you, on Google anyway.
Other reviews can be found on Facebook, Product Review, Amazon, and many others.
You can find genuine reviews (and ignore fake reviews) by looking out for the following warning ‘suss’ signs.
So check out Google Reviews and any others, but watch out for fakes.
And after you meet a prospective painter the very best review you can get is a list of happy customers you can actually phone and talk to.
Interior house painting can really improve you home. BUT it's harder than it looks. Many of my clients have started their interior painting project and discovered it takes much more time and effort than they thought. Don't believe 'The Block' or 'House Rules' with their overnight paint jobs.
Most people can do a pretty good job themselves ... if you don't skimp on the quality of materials and tools, or try to rush the process,.
You just need to remember that:
House painting takes a LONG TIME.
House painting requires a LOT OF PREPARATION and set up.
House painting requires a LOT OF EQUIPMENT.
House painting requires QUALITY materials and tools.
Here's how ...
1. PLANNING - 1 PAINTER = 1 ROOM = 1 WEEK
Allow plenty of time. A good painter can paint a room in about a week. That includes prep., crack repair, scraping loose paint, and 2 coats of top coat paint on all walls, ceiling, doors, windows, skirting boards, and picture rails.
So if you have 10 rooms (eg. Hall, 4 x bedrooms, 1 x kitchen that adjoins 1 family room, 1 x lounge room, 1 x dining room, 2 x bathrooms) it will take one good painter 10 weeks, or 2 painters 5 weeks, or 5 painters 2 weeks.
2. TOOLS - QUALITY TOOLS = QUALITY RESULTS. CHEAP JUNK TOOLS = CRAP RESULTS
You will need:
A step ladder - 5 or 6 steps
Rollers and trays - sheepskin roller covers are best
6cm angled cutting brushes - 3 or 4
Plastic drops for furniture - NOT the floor
Canvas or fabric floor drops
Masking Tape - 3M
Plastic buckets - 2
Foam sanding block
Selleys No More Gaps - for long corner cracks and gaps along skirting boards
Selleys spacfiller for small holes
3. PAINT - DULUX FOR WALLS & OIL BASED TRIM - TAUBMANS FOR CEILINGS AND WATER BASED TRIM
WALLS - Dulux Wash and Wear low sheen. (I've tried them all. Dulux W&W is the best for walls) Allow 1 litre for every 16 square metres of wall. Times 2 for 2 coats. Do NOT try to get away with only one coat. Just don't.
CEILINGS - Taubmans Tradex White Flat Interior ceilings (better and cheaper than Dulux ceiling paint) 1 litre for every 16 square metres again. And 2 coats again.
TRIM - (Doors, Windows, Skirting, Picture rails) - EITHER Dulux Super Enamel Semi Gloss (if you want oil based enamel) OR Taubmans Ultimate Enamel Alkyd Based Semi Gloss (if you want water based enamel).
More info on oil and water based paint here.
4. EMPTY THE ROOM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Clear your work area. Remove blinds and move as much furniture as possible. Large furniture such as beds or chests of drawers can be walked (move one end a little bit at a time) to the centre of the room. You will need at least 80 cm clear space around all walls.
5. WRAP OR COVER EVERYTHING LEFT IN THE ROOM
Protect, protect, protect. Wrap large furniture in plastic sheeting. Use high quality masking tape on your floors (carpet OR floor boards) where they meet the skirting boards. THEN use a strip of painters paper about 20 cm wide. THEN put fabric drop sheets on all floors. The floor and furniture should be completely covered.
6. REMOVE DUST
Remove dust. Sweep or vacuum dust from the room edges, above doors and cupboards, along picture rails.
7. WET SAND
Scrub all trim (doors, wooden windows, skirting, picture rails). The best way to clean AND sand is to use a good quality foam sanding block rinsed regularly in a mixture of water and sugar soap. This cleans any dirt AND sands the glossy surfaces. BUT the added advantage is that all paint dust sticks to the wet sanding sponge rather than turning into airborne dust. it is then rinsed out into a bucket. This is a great way to protect yourself from any residual lead paint in all old houses.
8. SCHEDULE - 2 ROOMS AT A TIME
Try to work two rooms at a time. This allows you to always have something to do as a surface dries.
9. PAINTING ORDER
The correct order of room painting is as follows:
1 - Cut (paint edges with a brush) the ceiling.
2 - Roll the ceiling.
3 - Cut Trim
4 - Cut the ceiling a second time.
5 - Roll the ceiling a second time.
6 - Cut the trim a second time.
7 - Cut walls.
8 - Rolls walls
9 - Cut walls a second time.
10 - Roll walls a second time.
10. VENTILATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Fresh moving air helps painted surfaces dry faster and is good for your lungs. Some people are sensitive to paint fumes especially oil based paints, so ventilation is important.
And thats it!
House painting is really an exercise in patient, step by step, time consuming, application. If thats you, then go for it. If not I'd be glad to supply a quote.
THE AD – Hi, I’m Tony Richardson, The Tidy Painter. I paint home interiors in Mosman, Cremorne and the Lower North Shore. If this article has made you think of hiring a SPECIALIST interior painter instead of doing it yourself, lets talk. CLICK HERE
Recently on Facebook a Mosman man complained about a painter wanting to use (and charge for) scaffolding. The complainer thought a ladder would be just as good for painting, and not cost him nearly as much. He was being very brave with the painter’s life!
As a Mosman painter myself I’ve made the decision not to paint exteriors because of the dangers of height.
But I still use a step-ladder inside and when I do I often think of Molly Meldrum.
In 2011 Molly had climbed a ladder to put up Christmas decorations. He fell 3 metres onto concrete stairs, fractured his skull and nearly died. He had metal plates put in his skull, was in a coma and suffered months of amnesia. And it would appear that he has long-term problems resulting from the fall too.
Every year nearly 5000 people in Australia are hospitalised from injuries resulting in ladder falls. Around 20 die. And the vast majority are men over 60.
Only 20% of these falls are work related, meaning of course that 80% of falls are in the home.
So men over 60, who get out the ladder at home to change a lightbulb do some painting need to be very, very careful.
Most of my Mosman Painting clients fit this age profile so I’m very glad to help. But if you are going to use a ladder here are the 10 key ladder safety rules.
1.Make sure the ladder is not damaged.
2.Make sure the ladder base is on firm level surface. No slopes, no soft soil.
3.Make sure your step-ladder is secured into the ‘A’ shape it was designed for.
4.Make sure your extension ladder is secured at the top or bottom or is held firm by another person.
5.Extension ladders should be angled at 1:4. That means the base is 1 metre from the wall for every 4 metres of height.
6.Maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder. 2 hands one foot, 2 feet one hand.
7.Your maximum sideways lean should be as far as your belt buckle.
8.Do not climb higher than the second top rung or step.
9.Face the ladder as you climb down. Don’t climb down as though you were on a set of stairs.
10. Don’t multi-task, rush or carry too much up and down a ladder.
And finally don’t let your pride get the better of you. I’m not as young as I used to be and my balance is not as good. So I use my ladder more slowly and carefully than ever.
There’s no shame in paying an expert who uses a ladder every day to do your repairs or painting. It could save your life.
THE AD – Hi, I’m Tony Richardson, The Tidy Painter. I paint home interiors in Mosman, Cremorne and the Lower North Shore. AND I’m very careful with ladders. If this article has made you think of hiring a ‘ladder aware’ interior painter instead of doing it yourself, lets talk. CLICK HERE
Painting a ceiling is harder than it looks. For starters, everything in the whole room underneath has to be covered or moved. Small nick-nacks and paintings need to be moved to another room. Fabric groundsheets are good for covering floors and disposible plastic sheets can be wrapped around large bits of furniture that are too hard to move.
Then there’s the choice of paint. I used to used Dulux Ceiling White for most ceilings. Its good for going over a ceiling that is fairly white already, but its quite thin/watery. So, if you have a stained ceiling or one that has had a lot of plaster repairs, a more opaque paint is needed. For this I’d use Taubmans Tradex Flat White.
It is quite good at covering most ceilings.
But when my friend Bahaa, who runs a local coffee shop, asked me to paint his ceiling I knew I needed the big guns. Imagine 20 years of commercial kitchen grease and gunk, lifted skywards and deposited on a white ceiling.
I used the usual suspects but they didn’t cover very well at all. So then I tried my standard undercoat/blockout paint – Taubmans 3 in 1. It worked a treat – blocking out the mess and leaving a nice solid semi-flat white finish.
So I guess it goes to show that sometimes the ‘standard’ solutions are not always the best and that a little creativity in thought can give great results.
By Tony Richardson - The Tidy Painter - Mosman, Cremorne and the Lower North Shore's favourite painter.
Which brand of paint is the best? People ask me this all the time.
The answer is 'Horses for Courses'. I use Dulux ... and Taubmans .... and Zinsser depending on what's needed.
Each brand has some real champions and a few ‘family members’ that let the side down quite a bit. (And not surprisingly, most cheap sub-brands, even with the Dulux or Taubmans name on them, are rubbish)
That’s why it’s a bit unfortunate that so many painting companies (usually the large ones) only use one brand of paint for everything. Bulk discounts are all very well, but shouldn’t the very best kind of paint be chosen for each particular job?
The Tidy Painter (AKA Me) is locked into no such agreement and can pick and choose the best type of paint for every application.
With that in mind I’ve developed a best in class list of paints that I use for my lucky, lucky clients.
Dulux Wash and Wear Low Sheen. The best known for a reason. In two coats it covers most existing wall colours. Marks and spills can be easily wiped off without leaving any marks. (Cheap paints will either leave a mark or rub off altogether!)
Personally I don’t like Dulux’s ceiling paint. I find it surprisingly thin, transparent and watery. I much prefer Taubmans Tradex Flat Ceiling paint. It is thick and opaque and two coats cover most problems.
Trim is the wooden stuff in your home – doors, windows, skirting and picture rails. When painting trim it’s very important to find out whether the existing surface has been painted in oil or acrylic based paint. Usually new oil goes over old oil and new acrylic goes over old acrylic.
Oil based paint (AKA Enamel) is the toughest option but can ‘yellow’ over time. It smells strongly! And it takes a long time to dry (16hours)
Water based trim paint (often confusingly called Enamel too) is softer, often needs more coats but does not ‘yellow’. It has a smell, but is a lot less strong. Its other disadvantage is that when painted directly over oil based surfaces without proper preparation, it peels right off!
(Also many water based enamels are just bad.)
So … I use both oil and acrylic ‘Trim’ paint as needed. These are the ones I’ve found work best:
OIL BASED TRIM PAINT – Dulux Super Enamel
WATER BASED TRIM PAINT – Taubmans Ultimate Enamel Alkyd Based
(Don’t ask me what Alkyd is. All I know is that its water based and has many of the advantages of oil)
Undercoat is a colour blockout. Usually I’m going over previous paint work so undercoat is not needed. But sometimes a light top coat over a dark or strong existing colour needs a base of undercoat. Also undercoat is needed over new Gyproc plaster board, in renovations etc.
I use Taubmans Tradex Ultra Prep Undercoat
Primer is different to undercoat. While it too is a colour blockout, it’s primary functions are to GRIP and SEAL. Primer is painted over bare timber (to seal up the pores), over repairs and fillers again to seal, and before acrylic is painted over old oil based trim.
Here I use a product from an American Primer/Undercoat specialist manufacturer, called Zinsser. It’s a bit smelly but that evaporates within a few hours.
I use Zinsser CoverStain Primer Sealer Stain Killer
And finally, even though I hardly do any exterior painting at all, its good for you to know that there are specialist paints for outdoors. In Australia because of the extremes of weather and temperature, outdoor paints need to have quite different properties to indoor paints.
They need to be able to stretch and contract as the substrate (brick, concrete, timber) expands and contracts. As a result good outdoor paint is very ‘rubbery’ even when fully cured. The best I’ve found is Dulux Weathershield.
So now you can see why there is no ‘best brand’ of paint. In my professional opinion eight kinds of paint from 3 manufacturers will cover 99% of situations. Some are harder to apply than others, but whether you get me or another pro to apply them, I’m sure you’ll be happy with the results.
By Tony Richardson - The Tidy Painter - Mosman, Cremorne and the Lower North Shore's favourite painter.
You are welcome to use my blog posts - in their entirety or as "quotes".