If you're hoping to save some money by painting a room in your home yourself, take a good, honest look at your budget and any corners you hope to cut. Sometimes painting a room yourself can be an inexpensive way to freshen things up, but if you try too hard to save money, you could end up with a horrible paint job that requires professional rescue. Here are some ways to help make your DIY painting more likely to succeed.
If you're painting walls, and you have to sand the drywall -- and you likely will, at least lightly -- you're going to end up with drywall dust over everything. Home-ec 101 says to take a broom and brush down the walls, ceiling fan, and baseboards. You must buy or rent a shop vac and vacuum several times to pick up as much as possible. Have a box fan in a window facing outward so that it blows dusty air out of your home. After vacuuming repeatedly, damp-mop floors and wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth, and change your home's air filter.
Drywall dust is particularly tough to deal with. If you don't handle it immediately and thoroughly, it will show up all over your home again and again and again. Do not cut corners, hoping a light clean will save you time or let you avoid buying a shop vac.
If it's in the room, it can be splattered with paint. Even vertical surfaces can get paint drops on them. Anything that isn't being painted needs to be covered or removed. If you cover the item, cover the whole thing and not just the edges. If you don't, the end result can look sloppy, requiring you to re-cover the surrounding area, strip off the errant paint, and redo any other affected areas.
Rubberized Canvas Drop Cloths, Not Plastic
Plastic sheeting is cheap and easy to find, and it doesn't let paint soak through to the carpet or flooring underneath. Houselogic says plastic sheeting can run about $1 per 108 square feet.
But plastic sheeting is generally not reusable unless you find a heavy-duty plastic, which will likely cost more. Plus, plastic sheeting can become hazardous to walk on if paint hits it. Until the paint dries, it makes the plastic slippery. The plastic also doesn't always stay flat, which creates another trip hazard. And, if you're using the plastic to cover furniture, paint can run off the plastic onto whatever you've got on the floor. That should be another dropcloth or sheet, but it's still added mess.
Canvas, though, does not become slippery and does a better job of staying put. Canvas does absorb paint, so look for canvas dropcloths that have a rubberized backing to prevent the paint from soaking through and staining the floor. Houselogic says plain canvas can run about $30 for heavier canvas.
Plastic is certainly better than nothing. But the safety issues it presents can be costly if you or someone else falls. You're better off spending a little more money on canvas than a lot more money on your health insurance deductible.
This one should be a basic painting supply, but it's tmepting to skip it and just trust your own careful hand. Until you sneeze, or the cat gets in, or something else happens to make the paint border waver. Take the time to use painter's tape properly so you don't have to go back and fix mistakes or have a professional company come in to fix that area.