Hire a Pro Advice: Paint a Garage

Get help locating a painting contractor to paint a garage with advice about what should be in a written contract betweem a homeowner and contractor.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Even if you are considering painting your garage 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, type of paint and number of coats. You'll also get a pretty good idea of the number of man hours the painter's crew will require. From that you can judge how much time you will need to spend and compare that against the money saved.

Ask friends and neighbors if they know a good house painter. "Painting Contractors" are listed in the Yellow Pages and many paint dealers recommend paint contractors who are their regular customers. You can go online and find a painter at a contractor referral service or type "painter in (your city)" in a search engine like Bing, Google or Yahoo. Make sure the contractor has a certificate of insurance and workers' compensation insurance, if he has employees. Generally, the contractor will come to your house for an assessment of its conditions, before quoting a price in a written proposal or contract.

If the price seems reasonable and you are unsure about the painter's reputation, ask for several references and make follow-up calls to determine if the homeowners are happy with the contractor's work. These should be referrals for similar work. For exterior work, ask for a reference from a client whose house was painted 3 years ago to see the lasting quality of the workmanship. To inspect a paint job, 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.

Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract to paint a garage with a painting contractor.

  • Specific siding, windows, trim, surfaces, etc. to be painted
  • Total cost
  • Payment schedule
  • Start and completion dates
  • 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 clean up