There is a huge difference in painters' ability, skill level, knowledge and professionalism. Often times people remark that painter "X" is expensive while painter "Y" is cheap. Many times there is a reason for the prices painters charge; often the more expensive painter is the better painter. Inexpensive painters often don't know how to adequately factor in all their costs and usually price the job too low. When this happens, the customers pays the price because the painter has to rush off the job, will use low quality materials and/or will not return your phone calls or return to the job if there is a problem.
Call three competent painters:
Don't call out ten different painters and get estimates from each one, that wastes everyone's time. Know what type of painter you want before you call people out to your house. If you want an inexpensive paint job, and you are willing to compromise on quality, tell the painters that. If you want a high quality job and are willing to pay a fair price for it, tell the painters that also. Know what you want and be direct with the painters. This saves everyone's time.
Call the painters and interview them by phone first. Listen as they speak to you. If the painter doesn't sound right, don't invite him over for an estimate. Phone estimates are your first phase of information gathering. Invite the painters who sound competent to your house for an on-site estimate. Ask the painter to speak to a few of their past customers. If they cannot supply these names for you, consider that.
Ask for a painter recommendation from your local paint store:
A great place to ask for painter recommendations is your local paint store. Paint store managers know their painters. They know about the painter's professionalism, skill and quality level. They see the quality products the painter buys and whether or not they pay their bills, if they show up at the store drunk or sober, if they are responsible, and if they know the painting trade.
Beware of using low-end paint from cheap painters:
Often, cheap painters use low-grade paints and products in people's homes and the customer has no way to check on this. This is unfortunate because the cost difference to the customer between the best and worst paints is only about $20 per galon. A small price difference, but the difference in quality and how well it will last in your home is significant. Expect the cheap painter who low balls your bid to buy the cheapest paint.
Homeowners should have the painter specify the specific paint product they will be using. It is not enough for them to just specify the paint manufacturer. Every major paint brand makes several grades of paint ranging in quality from low to high. Expensive paint costs more money but is worth it.
You can buy the paint yourself but you don't have to:
Some people think that to get the best paint they have to buy it themselves. If you verify that the labels on the buckets match the store receipt, you can have the painter get the paint. If you want to purchase the paint yourself, ask the painter to give you a bid for the labor portion of the job and materials separately. Pay the painter for the labor only. The painter will tell you how much paint to get. Another advantage of this is that the paint store will typically track your purchase history and then can look it up for you years later when you need to touch-up. Don't count on your painter to keep track of this for you.
Just because your friend/neighbor got a "good" job, doesn't mean the painter is good:
Using a reference from a friend is the most common way of finding a painter. And while sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Your friend may not have had any problems or may not know of any problems they do have. It is fine to consider their recommendation, but make sure you check additional references and use your instincts. Know the type of job you need. Friends and neighbors think they know a good painter from an unskilled painter. My experience has shown me that they don't a good painter from a bad one. They form their opinion on one being a good painter based on if he was cheap and if the house looked clean when the painter finished. That isn't the way to determine quality house painting.
Important questions to ask your house painter:
1. How many men will work at the house and for how many days?
2. Is the painter licensed and insured?
3. How long has his painters been working with him?
4. What brand of paint will be used? What specific grade level of paint will be used? All manufacturers have many grades of paint. They run from high quality/expensive to low quality/inexpensive
5. What are the bathroom arrangements for the workers?
6. Will you be priming the surfaces before you paint?
7. How many coats will you be applying?
8. Have you included everything in your estimate or could there be additional charges for work?
9. How will you dispose of the trash and old paint?
10. What type of paint is currently on my house? Will the new paint stick to it?
11. How will you clean the house prior to painting?
12. What are the payment arrangements?
13. Is there anything else I haven't asked that you should tell me?
Painting preserves and beautifies. Painting your interior can liven up living spaces for very little money. It's easy to do good interior painting by following simple but important steps in both preparing the work surface and painting it whether it is a room or a whole house.
If you aren't planning to do the work yourself, do yourself a favor and hire a licensed painting contractor especially one accredited by PDCA's contractors college. There are no guarantees offered, but your chances of getting a good job done by a reputable painting contractor are much better than hiring a cheap painter off the street or getting a recommendation from your buddy "Bob".
Expert results in painting depend largely on the thoroughness of preparation work, especially pre-paint cleaning, crack filling and sealing. All decorations, curtains, blinds, pictures, and other items nailed or screwed to the walls should be removed prior to the start of work. Carefully remove plates from around wall switches and outlets. Tape over them to protect them from paint. Clean and dry the plates before replacing them.
A professional appearing job generally (but not always) requires the removal of hardware from doors, windows and cabinets. When moving and replacing appliances, it is best to have a trained appliance mover handle that. If you plan to move them by yourself, check with the manfuacturer and follow their safety rules.
Paint should never be applied to a dirty or greasy surface. Dirt and grease must be washed off prior to the begining of the painting process. Any glossy surfaces must be dulled to insure adhesion of the primer or paint. Here are some of the first things you should do. Note to DIY'ers. The best person to accurately answer your paint questions is the Paint Store Manager. In many paint...