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House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow

Last modified: 2023-03-10 | Approximate reading time 13 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

Most people have carried out residential paint jobs at some point in their lives. It's one of the most common renovation projects, and it's an efficient and relatively affordable way to transform a surface.

However, it still pays to be well prepared for a painting project, whether it's exterior work or interior work.

That's why we wanted to create a checklist for residential painting projects. This tool will be useful for different types of work associated with painting, here are some examples:

  • Interior painting of the walls of a room
  • Painting a ceiling
  • Painting surfaces from dark to light
  • Painting with bright colours
  • Painting kitchen cabinets
  • Interior woodwork painting
  • Painting exterior woodwork
  • Painting on concrete surfaces
  • Painting on wrought iron
  • Painting on other metals

We will also discuss the preparation to be completed before carrying out the work, a presentation of the main steps of this type of project, the best techniques for painting different surfaces and the products to choose to get the best results.

Would you like to jump straight to the checklist? Click here! We also have a version that is already filled out to give you an idea of ​​how to use it (click here).

Interior paint bedroom_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


Before starting your project, you need to go through a few preparation steps. The following paragraphs will serve as food for thought so that you can make the best decisions and ensure that you are satisfied with the results.


Quality of the products and results 

If you want painted surfaces to stay beautiful for the long haul, be sure to choose prep and finish products that are of good quality. Even if you are on a budget, it is best not to buy products that are too low in quality.

Initially, this choice might be more economical, but over time, you will need to repaint the surfaces much more quickly than if you had chosen a good product. In this case, it is best to watch out for special prices for paints and other products that you will need.

Colours and finishes that are best adapted to the room

You may have thought of a few colours that you like, but have you given any thought to the fact that these hues might not be suitable for the rooms you want to paint? For example, if you or a loved one is sensitive to their surroundings, it is best to avoid overly stimulating colours, especially in certain rooms such as the bedroom. Even if you have a very specific idea for a red and orange bedroom, it might be better to save this colour combination for another part of the house to avoid regrets.

To continue exploring this subject, read this article: 3 things to know about color psychology.

As for the finishes, it's all a question of aesthetics, but also of maintenance. Certain finishes are better than others, depending on the types of rooms and surfaces you are going to paint. In general, matte finishes are best for ceilings, gloss finishes are recommended for damp rooms and semi-gloss for other types of rooms. We will explore the matter further later in this guide.

Easy maintenance 

Last, but not least, it's important that walls and other painted surfaces are easy to clean. This is especially true in rooms where the walls are exposed to dirt and stains, such as the foyer, the kitchen and the bathroom.

Paint product_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


Are you still at the very beginning of the process, that is, just now deciding that you want to paint one or more surfaces in your home? Before you start, it is important to ask yourself certain questions in order to better plan out the following steps.

First, you have to define your goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Make the room brighter
  • Fix and renew a surface that is worn out (staircase, cupboards, walls, furniture)
  • Add colour
  • Change the decor style
  • Define the spaces of the house

By answering the following questions, you will probably be better equipped to define your goals.

Interior paint white walls__House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


What surfaces need to be painted? 

This may seem like a silly question, but before you start meeting painting contractors, you should make a precise list of surfaces to be painted. This way, you are well prepared for the initial presentation of the project and to receive more precise quotes from these contractors.

What is the best time of the year to carry out this type of project?

For exterior painting projects, the answer is simple: it must be done between the end of spring and the middle of autumn (except for meteorological exceptions). Otherwise, it won't be possible. However, for interior painting, things are much more flexible. You can paint indoors during the winter. 

However, some interior work will be a little more complicated in winter, especially due to the fact that the windows cannot be opened to ventilate the areas. That being said, professional painters have all the experience they need to be able to do the job year-round. And if they ever think it would be better to wait until summer, they'll tell you and you can reserve your spot in their schedule.

Should I work with an expert or do things myself?

Some would say that painting jobs are among the easiest projects to do yourself, as a non-professional. It is true that this is a relatively accessible task, especially if you are not a perfectionist! However, by calling in experts, you will probably have better results, both in terms of finishings, protection and preparation work.

Also, experienced painters are more efficient and faster than unqualified painters. If you decide to do the work yourself, your time is at stake. Perhaps this time could be useful for more profitable activities or for hobbies. As a result, even the financial aspect of doing things yourself can be less attractive. That's something to think about!

Should I buy the products and materials myself? 

Some contractors prefer to buy the products and materials, while others are used to working along with the customer. You will need to discuss these options with the painters you meet during the bidding process.

However, it should be noted that if you opt to buy through the contractor, you might be able to save some money, as the pros often have access to discounts and lower prices than those in stores.

Should I opt for a turnkey service?

On a related note, you can always decide whether you want to carry out some of the tasks yourself in order to save a bit of money, or if you prefer to save yourself the worries. Time is money, so even if you do some things to keep the bill lower, remember that your time is valuable.

The amount you saved could therefore be less attractive, depending on your perception. If it makes you happy to participate, go for it, but if it is a chore for you and your loved ones, maybe it would be worth opting for a turnkey service where the contractor takes care of everything.

Will I be able to stay or will I have to move away for a few days/weeks?

Depending on the scope of the work, you may have to move away for a while to make the site easier to navigate for the contractor and his team. Not being in the way as the workers carry out the tasks will make the workflow easier.

However, it is not always necessary to leave home during painting jobs, especially if the project is focused around a single room (or surface) or if the expected duration is only a few days. Together with the contractor, you will need to assess whether it is better for you to leave or if you can stay.

Paint roller_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


As mentioned before, most people have carried out a residential paint project at least once in their life. It is often one of the first projects for which people decide to do things themselves instead of hiring a painting contractor.

However, there are several reasons why it may be worthwhile to hire an expert for this type of project. Here are a few:

  • They have more experience and are therefore faster and more efficient
  • The results will probably be better
  • They know the products and will be able to make better choices

Would you like to better understand the role of a painting contractor and what are the advantages of using this type of service? Check out our article

Brown interior wall paint_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


In general, painting jobs are among the most affordable and accessible projects, while also having a strong impact on the look of the surface. The amount you will pay for them will depend on several factors:

  • The condition of the surfaces (do you need to make any repairs)
  • The number of surfaces to be covered
  • The number of layers to apply
  • The workforce (how many people, how long)
  • The type of product that will be used
  • The complexity of the work (angles, mouldings, different colours)

Here are two articles to read for more information:

For a general idea of the amounts to set aside, test our cost calculator: 

Paint rollers_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes

Do you need a permit for a residential painting project? 

Note: before we go on, it is important that you know that for permit matters, you should always check with your municipality, as the information may vary from city to city. The information shared here is valid in most cities.

Some exterior painting jobs generally don't require a permit: painting the balcony, porch, gallery, terrace or staircase. Be careful, however, to make sure that there are no regulations in your area regarding colours.

If you wish to repaint highly visible surfaces such as siding or roofing, please inquire as to whether a permit is required.

When it comes to interior painting, in most cases, permits are not required.


We have gathered here a few useful articles to check out to make certain choices for your painting project:

LAYERS OF PAINT: How many coats of paint are necessary?

IDEAL CONDITIONS: House painting projects: what are the ideal conditions

BRIGHT AND DARK COLOURS: Paint: how to cover dark colours!

PAINTING A CEILING: 8 tips for painting a ceiling

Paint pots_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


When you do your own painting, all too often, the surface preparation step is omitted. Damaged sections need to be repaired, sanded to even out the surface, and then possibly covered with at least one coat of primer.

This step is very important in the long term because the end result of the work will be much more resistant and beautiful. If you call in paint experts, they will make sure to prepare the surfaces adequately.

Check out the articles that will be linked in the following paragraphs to discover the different preparation techniques before painting.

The specific characteristics of the different surfaces to be painted

Most paint jobs are about covering interior walls. However, paint can also be used to cover other types of surfaces, including metal, wrought iron, ceramic or wood. Here are articles that provide you with useful information for preparing for this type of project:

Bedroom paint_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


If this isn't your first time starting a paint job, you already know that there is a wide variety of products on the market for you to choose from.

First, there are the colours you will need to choose from. At major paint manufacturers like Benjamin Moore, you can choose from over 3,500 shades, which gives an idea of ​​the variety of colours that are available on the market.

Next, you have to think about the type of finish. Here are the finishes that are most often used: Velvet, Pearl, Satin, Semi-gloss, High gloss, Matte, Ultra-mat.

Some products are also designed for different surfaces, including kitchens and bathrooms, metal, wood, exterior surfaces and so on. If you decide to buy the paint products yourself, be sure to seek expert advice.

Present the work to be done, show pictures of the surfaces and follow their advice. You could also decide to entrust the task to your contractor while agreeing with them on the question of colours, textures and finishes.

Interior or exterior paint: how to choose the colours 

Here are some articles to give you ideas of colours to choose for your interior painting jobs:

Kitchen cupboard paint__House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes

How to choose interior paint products 

These articles talk about the different products to use:

How to choose exterior paint products

And here is an article to help you know more about exterior paint: 

Exterior paint_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


Even though painting is a relatively "simple" project that will go well in most cases, there can still be some problematic situations. In these articles, we discuss the mistakes not to make during the course of the project to avoid having bad results or problems that appear after a few months.


Sometimes you will have to repaint due to a problem with a surface in its current state. For example, if you notice paint peeling off in your basement or bathroom, simply applying a new coat of paint on top of it won't be enough.

Here is an article where you will find tips on repairing a painted surface:

Ceramic paint_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


Residential painting project: the typical process

You will see in the checklist below that we have outlined the main stages of the project, but here is an overview:

  • Buying the products and materials
  • Preparing the area: protect furniture and surfaces that will not be painted
  • Installing painter's tape if necessary
  • Repairing damaged sections of surfaces
  • Applying primer
  • Applying the paint (wait between coats)
  • When finished, cleaning the tools properly
  • Making sure there aren't any stains on surfaces that have not been painted

Exterior painting project: typical steps

For an exterior project, most of the steps are similar to those mentioned previously. However, you must also take into account the weather for the day you'll be working and even the days to come.

Indeed, if the forecast indicates that it will rain in the upcoming 48 to 72 hours, it is better to wait for sunny days. If you do not meet this criterion, your paint may have difficulty adhering to surfaces.

Here is an article that tells you more about this subject:

Paint tools_House Painting Project: Checklist of the Steps to Follow_Reno Quotes


  • Decoupage tape (and other tools for decoupage such as stamps)
  • Quality brushes and rollers
  • An extension handle (for the rollers)
  • A paint bucket
  • A spin rack for the rollers
  • A painter's outfit
  • Tarpaulins to protect the floor and furniture


Typically, this type of project is one of the jobs that tend to be shorter. However, if you decide to repaint the entire house, it could take days or even weeks. In addition, paint can be a disturbing element for the occupants of the house, because of the smell, but also because it takes time to dry.

For larger painting jobs, it may therefore be advisable to live elsewhere if possible or to reduce your living quarters so you can avoid rooms that are being painted.

Are you looking for ideas to help you get through your project with peace of mind? Check out this article:


Download the PDF version + Download the version that has already been filled out for examples

Checklist house painting project

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