Hiring a Painting Contractor

Devise a gameplan for painting inside and outside your house and learn how to recognize a good paint job. Figure on spending more time planning the project than actually applying the paint.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

The closest thing to magic is the way a fresh coat of paint transforms a room or a whole house inside and out. Painting a room unifies the space with a splash of color and gives it a fresh clean look. A new coat of paint on the exterior of an ordinary home can make it a traffic stopper. To get the most out of hiring a painting contractor take some time to think through your goal and plan the project. Take notepad in hand and make a gameplan so you'll get the most accurate estimate and the best looking results.

Gameplan for Painting Rooms
  1. Decide how many rooms need painting and choose a color scheme. Find a paint retailer with color charts to get a feel for the colors you like. Use these as a reference when you're talking to a contractor so you have an example of the colors you like.
  2. Take a walk around the rooms and note if there are any stains, large holes or repair work that's needed. When talking with a contractor get their expert advice about any preliminary work that's needed.
  3. If your project is more complex and involves hiring other tradesmen, make sure the painter knows so all phases of the job mesh. Figure that painting the walls should be one of the last jobs scheduled after behind-the-walls work like plumbing and electrical are completed and before wallpapering.
Gameplan for Painting the Exterior
  1. Choose the color scheme in either of these ways. Paint manufacturers create brochures of coordinated color palettes, usually 3-4 colors that look good together. Pick them up wherever paint is sold. Go to their Websites where you'll find interactive tools to let you see what a paint scheme will look like with the click of your mouse. Scout neighborhoods and use a digital camera or your cell to take pictures of houses painted in colors that appeal to you.
  2. Plan ahead. Painting outdoors is determined by the weather so be flexible with timing. This is especially important in cold or rainy climates when the painting season is limited.
  3. A painting contractor can't paint siding without getting very close to the shrubbery and landscape material surrounding the house. Make sure you and the contractor agree on how they'll be protected from ladders and scraped paint chips.
Telltales of a Good Paint Job
  • To inspect an interior or exterior paint job, look at all the painted surfaces. The paint coverage should be even and have an overall consistent finish.
  • Where different paint finishes or colors meet like woodwork joining walls or a joint at the wall and ceiling, the line should be sharp and straight.
  • Look for signs of inadequate preparation, such as peeling and flaking paint or cracked window glazing.
  • good paint job leaves no telltales signs of paint splatters on the floor or outside on a driveway or shrubbery.
A good contract for a paint job includes the following:
  • 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 and start and completion dates

If you don't have the time or desire to paint, you can find a painting contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right. Click Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local qualified contractors.

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