There's something to be said for doing your own home-improvement projects.
Being able to look at a newly painted room, for example, and say, "I did that" is rewarding.
And it can save you money, especially if you shop around for the best prices.
Since a lot of people don't have the time to check the prices at a variety of stores, I did it for you, making a spot check on prices of items you might need to paint a room in your house.
I chose products that matched as closely as possible. For paint, I went with the cheapest brand, which was often the store's brand, in eggshell. For roller brushes, I chose the same length, even if the brand was different.
I went to a couple of specialty paint stores, but they are a whole different ball game. Prices of paint are much higher, but the stores offer their own labels and boast personalized service that they say you won't get at a big-box store.
For example, the least expensive gallon of eggshell white paint at Dunn Edwards and Sherwin- Williams starts at approximately $35, compared to $13.97 at Home Depot and Lowe's.
I did not include the specialty stores in my chart for fairness purposes, since they only carry their own higher-end brands of paint.
I chose supplies you might buy if you were starting from scratch. Obviously, you don't have to have a canvas dropcloth, but I chose it because you can reuse it. I felt it was more cost-effective than buying plastic sheeting - not to mention better for the environment.
What you would pay for painting project
Product Ace Hardware Home Depot Lowe's Lowry Hardware Walmart
White eggshell paint, 1 gal. $21.99 $13.97 $13.97 $21.49 $17.94
Spackle, 1 quart $6.99 $6.98 $6.98 $4.29 $4.47
Putty knife, 1.5" flexible $3.99 $2.97 $6.88 $3.29 $3.97
Painter's tape, 60 yards $3.99 $3.93 $3.93 $3.99 $3.27
Canvas dropcloth, 9'x12' $22.99 $21.98 $21.98 $23.99 $19.97
Angled brush, 1.5" $7.49 $7.37 $6.98 $4.79 $5.63
Paint roller frame, 9" $4.99 $4.98 $3.57 $4.49 $3.97
Paint roller cover, 9" $3.69 $4.97 $2.98 $5.49 $3.67
Paint tray, plastic $2.49 $1.97 $2.29 $3.29 $1.87
Sandpaper, 3 sheets $2.88* $3.97 $2.97* $2.70* $1.77*
Flat brush, 3" $10.99 $9.97 $6.98 $9.99 $5.97
Totals $92.48 $83.06 $79.51 $87.80 $72.50
Notes: Prices were recorded Wednesday and Thursday in Tucson. * Ace Hardware sold 5-sheet packages of sandpaper. I adjusted the price to that of a 3-sheet package. Lowe's sold a 4-sheet package of sandpaper. I adjusted the price to that of a 3-sheet package. Lowry Hardware sold a 5-sheet package of sandpaper. I adjusted the price to that of a 3-sheet package. Walmart sold a 5-sheet package of sandpaper. I adjusted the price to that of a 3-sheet package.