By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Even if you are considering painting your house yourself, it's generally a good idea to get a couple of estimates from reputable painting contractors. If nothing else, you will find out what they recommend, in terms of preparation, the type of paint and number of coats to use for your job. You'll also get a pretty good idea of the number of man hours the crew will put in. From that you can judge how much time it would take you; then compare that against the money saved. Expect to pay $25 to $50, the national average hourly rate for a painting contractor.
A friend or neighbor is probably the best source for a referral of any professional. And you can find one online by typing "painting contractor (in your town)" in a search engine and you'll be directed to local contractor referral services. Paint retailers and home centers often recommend painters who are their regular customers and they are listed as "Painting Contractors" in the Yellow Pages and advertisements in your local newspaper.
Generally, the contractor will come to your house for an assessment of its conditions, before quoting a price in a written proposal or contract. Here are the basic points that should be included.
- Specific rooms, siding, windows, surfaces, etc. to be painted
- Paint and primer brands with grade, colors, gloss and base; how they'll be applied; and the number of coats
- Type of caulk to be used and the extent of caulking to be done
- Specific preparation and repair work (i.e. wall cracks, broken glass panes) to be completed
- How the site will be protected from spills, splatters and over spray and who is responsible for removing them
- Who is responsible for moving furniture and cleaning up
- Total cost
- Payment schedule
- Start and completion dates
If you can inspect their work before hiring them, look for signs of inadequate preparation, such as peeling and flaking paint or cracked window glazing, paint splatter and poor workmanship, including paint splatters on a surrounding driveway or shrubbery.
Click Painting/Finishing to compare how much it costs to do-it-yourself with hiring a painting contractor for 32 projects.