Posted about 2 years ago

5 Tricks for Cutting Costs on Paint Projects

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Painting is not normally considered as the most expensive part of a remodel project. Especially when there are projects like replacing cabinets or drywalling basement that need to be done, it can be easy to dismiss paint as a minor expenditure. But if you’re working with a small budget, or painting is all you’re doing, it’s a cost that can add up quickly.

For those looking to stay within budget, there are ways to keep the cost of paint down. If you’re willing to be a little careful and strategic in the way you buy paint, you stand to save quite a bit. Here’s a list of ways you can reap some savings on your paint purchase.

Go for Discounted Paint

You don’t always have to take the price of paint at face value. There are a couple ways you can get paint at a discount (or even free), as long as you’re prepared to be a little opportunistic. First, you can go to local landfills and recycling centers to see if there is any discarded paint. It’s very common for businesses to drop off their old or unused paint at locations like these when they don’t want them anymore, and since paint has a long shelf life, the product is likely still good. The best part? If you find a color you like, it’s yours for free.

You can also stop by the hardware/paint store to check for mistints. Mistints are paints that were mixed for a customer who either didn’t come pick it up, or brought it back unused (usually because it’s the wrong shade, or “tint,” hence the name). While this option doesn’t give you the same flexibility as far as finding specific hues of a color, mistints are sold at a severe discount—sometimes marked down by 70% or more.

You can also keep an eye out for seasonal sales or promotions going on at stores nearby. Paint products frequently go on sale during the spring (a popular time for renovations). So keep your eyes peeled, and keep an eye out for the sales.

Buy the Right Paint

Few things are as frustrating as having to buy more paint because you ran out. Having to buy a second round of paint to fix a shade or a texture, or because you didn’t prime when you needed to, can really jack up your paint expenses. Buying the right paint the first time will help you avoid problems, and will prevent you from making multiple trips to the paint store. Here’s what you’ll need to take into consideration:



●Primer/no primer

The color is the obvious one, as it’s the one everyone thinks of. Keep in mind that the color swatches won’t match the paint color exactly on every occasion, and that lighting, room decor, flooring, and other things will have an impact on how the color looks.

Texture is an important quality that many overlook; different textures are designed for different things, and are often unsuited for certain environments. By texture, we are referring to the matte/satin/gloss that the can is labeled with. The different textures are indicative of different levels of gloss. Here’s the scale, from least to most glossy:

  1. Matte/flat
  2. Eggshell
  3. Satin
  4. Semi-gloss
  5. Gloss/high gloss

Higher gloss paints are better suited to environments that take a lot of abuse (high moisture, high traffic, the exterior of a property), while the lower gloss is better at hiding imperfections on walls, and is easier to touch up.

As for primer, you’ll need it any time you’re working with an unfinished surface, or you’re drastically changing the color. You can purchase paints that include a primer, just be aware that you’ll probably have to do multiple coats.

Even after you’ve figured out the color, texture, and whether or not you need primer, you’ll still want to test a sample of paint before you buy a larger can. Buy a sample and bring it home to splash on the wall. This way you’re not committed to a full gallon can or five-gallon bucket if something’s off.

Buy the Right Amount

Once you have the paint pinned down, you want to make sure you’re buying the right amount of paint. After having to buy extra paint, having loads of leftover paint is the next biggest problem. You’re not going to have anything to use a spare five-gallon bucket for, so make sure you’re not buying it. There are paint calculators available online that make the process simpler, so figure out your square footage and use one to know how much you need before you buy.

Buy in Bulk

If you can stand to paint the whole place the same color, you can save by buying in bulk. A five-gallon bucket is almost always cheaper than five one-gallon cans, so if you know you’ll need that much of one color, buy the bigger container.

Downsize Your Project

If you’re really trying to stretch your budget, you can be more conservative with the project. Consider just touching up the current paint, or simply painting an accent wall. You can often get the same improvement this way without having to buy multiple gallons of paint. So if you don’t need to paint everything, don’t.