Top 10 tips for an affordable painting job

You’ve just signed the lease, or attended the closing and are preparing to move into your new dream home. Everything is perfect except for one thing… You hate the colour of some of your walls. If you had the time, tools and energy you’d paint the walls yourself, but you’re a realist and know that if you don’t pay someone else to paint the walls, it’s never going to happen. Here’s where things get tricky. Do you move in and paint later? Let your neighbour who claims to be an expert paint? Hire your building’s super? Use that new app that guarantees the best service ever for the lowest price?

If you’re looking for a space that looks great without spending a ton of money, here is what Paint Next recommends:

  1. Never, ever hire your building’s super. 97% of the time they do horrible work and then you’ll hate your super for ever.
  2. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Get multiple quotes. Ask to speak to prior clients of anyone you’re thinking of hiring.
  3. Plan on getting the painting completed before you move in. Moving and covering furniture will add to the price.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute to call painting companies or painters. Good painters are usually booked for a few weeks.
  5. Choose neutral colours that won’t require deep based primers, and 3-4 coats of paint. More coats of paint = higher costs.
  6. Understand that painting doors and trim will usually cost as much if not more than just painting the walls. If the doors look ok, don’t paint them. If they need paint and you’re a bit handy and need to save cash, paint one door a week after you move in.
  7. Be sure you and your painter are on the same page regarding wall preparation. Is the painter fixing cracks and holes or just painting? Get everything in writing.
  8. Find out if your building requires liability and workers compensation insurance to be filed before work begins.
  9. If you’re renting or own and are looking to keep costs down use Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 paint. It’s better than the big box store stuff and cheaper too.
  10. It may seem like common sense, but be nice to your painter and treat them with respect.

In addition to these tips, please remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If someone tells you they can properly paint your space for half the price of the other two quotes, be very cautious. Fixing a terrible paint job costs more than doing it properly. You’ll be looking at your walls for a long time so make sure you hire someone who will make them look great. There is a difference between affordable painting and cheap, poorly done painting.

Andrew Roof owns Paint Next, a Halifax, Nova Scotia based painting company. If you’re publishing this, please link to Thanks!