No other San Diego home improvement project gives more bang for your buck than painting. You can paint every room in your house for a fraction of the cost of other projects. Spending habits have shifted and families are cutting back, finding more ways to invest in – and enjoy – their homes. This summer “stay-cations” are the #1 family destination, encouraging us to appreciate the condition of our houses even more.
In any economy, smart homeowners know that maintaining a home’s appearance and structural integrity are vital to preserving its value. But in today’s challenging times signing a contract for 5-figure remodeling projects isn’t an option for most of us. With overall construction costs climbing nearly 25 percent in 2008, (steel rose almost 90 percent), our instincts to improve are stifled by limited expendable income.
Consider the Solution
It’s still true that first impressions make a huge impact and nothing is stronger than the impression a fresh San Diego paint job makes. Despite overall economic trends, paint materials and labor costs have maintained a relative state of normalcy. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price index for intermediate supplies, materials and components peaked in August of 2008 and has actually dropped every month since, returning to rates in line with May, 2007.
Painting one or more rooms is still the most cost-effective way to bring a fresh new look and a much needed update to your décor. Suddenly that tired furniture looks brand new; those dated draperies don’t seem so out of place. Amazing! Four walls of paint and you reap the benefits of a major home improvement effort without damage to your checkbook.
Inside and Out
Exterior paint jobs offer the same affordable benefit while saying to the neighborhood, “This home is in great shape!” And, if selling is in your future, a fresh coat of paint is essential for that all-important curb appeal. Lynn Niman of Prudential Realty in San Diego, CA notes that exterior paint yielded a 90% rate of return for California home sales throughout 2008. So, while big-ticket projects like roof and window replacement or new decks and major landscaping may be first on your to-do list, a fresh paint job – inside or out – is the smartest and most affordable move you can make.
How Much Will It Cost?
Factors like paint selection and the amount of prep work – power washing, cleaning, caulking, sanding and priming -will vary for each home. While doing-it-yourself may seem like a good idea, when you consider the extra cost you’ll pay for retail paint and renting expensive equipment, combined with the reality that you can’t afford the time, a top-quality contractor is the best way to go. For the average three-bedroom, one-story house, you can expect to spend as little as $1,500-$3,500.
Choosing a Contractor
There are 4 important things to consider when choosing a professional paint contractor:
- Does he have excellent references from your neighborhood?
- Does he use the best quality paint, labor and equipment?
- Has he included the necessary prep work in the quote?
- Does he respect your home and understand exactly what you want?
As with any project, you’ll want to get at least three quotes and be sure to follow up on the contractor’s references. Make sure all aspects of dates, times and access to your home are clearly understood before work begins including provision for clean-up and any necessary touch-ups.
Never underestimate the impact that a fresh, professional paint job can have: both the big impact on your state of mind and the low impact on your budget.
Associated General Contractors of America
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producer Price Index – Commodities
L. Niman, Home Improvement Trends – Cost vs. Value