13 Things Your House Painter Wishes You Knew
While hardened DIY-types may want to go it alone and invest their own time and effort (sweat-equity) in a house painting project, just about all homeowners will hire a professional painter at some point in their home ownership journey. This may be due to schedule pressure where they are preparing their home to move in, or for a sale, or perhaps they need a house painter to kick off a remodel with a new color scheme for the interior or exterior of their home.
Working with homeowners over the years, I have notice homeowners tend to get nervous around house painters. How do I know I have picked the right house painter? How do I know if they will do a good job? What if they spatter paint on the flooring or on the furniture? What if the colors you have carefully selected don’t work out? What if it peels?
Take a deep breath. You have hired a professional house painter! Here are 13 things we want you to know and how you can help us do the best job possible.
1. House Painting Is Skilled Artwork
House painting is more than just brushing, rolling or spraying paint on a surface. Think of house painting as not just a skill, but also an art form practiced daily over years by your professional house painter.
While this form of artistry will not turn your bathroom walls and ceilings into one of the world’s premiere masterpieces, like the Sistine Chapel, it is important to understand your house painter is a skilled artist.
Since a house painting project involves a lot of prep work and artistry, you’ve got to get a painter that seriously knows what they are doing, which includes a deep understanding of the products being used and does great prep work to prepare the canvas for painting. When you have found that house painter, you can be assured your home will have the utmost quality in workmanship and materials allowing you to rest at ease and feel secure in a job well done.
2. Find a Painter You Like
Always go out for multiple bids for your painting project, not only does this give you an idea on what the average cost for your painting project will be, it also allows you to meet with the painting contractors to get a feel for them and their business. While price is important, it is very import to find a company you are comfortable working with, and if at first you don’t find a good fit, by all means ask for other painting companies to walk through your planned house painting project and give you a bid. Repeat until you find the RIGHT House Painter, at a fair price for the job.
3. Compare the Specifics of Each Bid It’s tough to over-emphasize the importance of hiring house painters that provide detailed bids. Deciding between two, three or more painting contractors is hard enough, and it is made more difficult if you’re relying on pure guesswork when it comes to the differences between the bids. For instance, a bid that is “scribbled down on a napkin” or that is generic with no details is not even comparable to a complete and detailed bid.
Things you should look for in the estimate include, looking at the material costs. While you don’t need to go with the home painter that buys the most expensive paint or caulk, you also don’t want to go with the cheapest, either.
I know people often confuse price with value. If you go with the cheapest paint and you have to repaint your house twice as often, then it is not really a great value.
Painting is an art, the materials are its medium and yes cheap paint shows.
Also, look for completeness of the estimate; does it include everything you want to have done, including that Orange and Blue garage door you have been dreaming about? Oversights and misunderstandings do happen, make sure you have everything covered in writing so we both know everything the job entails!
The most common mistake people make when it comes to choosing a painter is hiring the cheapest guy, and then expecting too much. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and we are frequently called out to fix other painter’s messes where they didn’t know what they were doing or used a cheap product that didn’t give the homeowner the expected results. Sadly this costs you time and money to have things redone.
4. Estimate Flexibility If you’re comparing two bids and you really do want the more expensive painter, but your budget just won’t allow it, ask the painting contractor if they can work with you to get the paint project in line with your budget. This could include changing some of the parameters of the painting project or asking for a discount to reduce the cost based.
If there is a huge difference in price between contactors, you and your painter might not be able to find a comfortable middle ground. But it never hurts to try. Here at Final Touch Painting we try our best to come to an equitable solution that makes our customers happy while still being able to pay our employees a fair wage while we grow our business. Understand that business is also art, it’s worth taking the time to find a contractor you love at a fair price.
5. Don't Start Your Painting Project without a Signed Contract and Warranty Every job should have a signed contract specifying what you've agreed to. It helps avoid misunderstandings, disappointments, and unrealistic expectations.
A Painting Warranty protects you from additional costs if the product fails to stand up to the weather or due to oversights/poor quality workmanship by the painting company.
6. Is Your Home Ready to Paint?
Please don’t leave all the prep work to the painters. Things will go much smoother if you make sure your home is truly painter-ready, and on average, having your house paint ready could save you up to 10% of the cost.
For interior paint jobs, make sure you’ve cleaned up all of the awkward spots, and picked up or moved any items that might get in the way of painting the interior. Something easy to do is to remove the switch plates/outlet covers and remove pictures from the walls, this goes a long way toward speeding up painting time, and painters’ time is (your) money.
For exterior jobs, we recommend trimming shrubs, bushes and trees next to the house, leaving at least 18 inches of clearance. Also, making sure your gutters and downspouts are in “tiptop condition” and that all the painting surfaces are in good condition can also speed up the painting process.
7. Painting Prep Can Take a Long Time
We find that at least 35-40% of a good-quality paint job will be prep time and that this is a place where less-qualified painters lower their bids. The differences between a rushed paint job and one done properly are enormous. No one wants paint on the walls and everything else; their favorite sofa ruined by misguided spatter, unfilled painted over holes and uncleaned walls that lead to a splotchy paint job.
Yes, it’s faster (cheaper) to not clean things, not to fill cracks and holes, not to put a dropcloth down or tape off everything, but this is far from professional and leads to home owner frustration. House Painters must take the time to prepare the surfaces and make sure paint doesn’t end up where it is not supposed to be. Keep an eye out for the painters that skimp on prep.
The best way to find detail-oriented contractors is to ask their previous customers for their opinion and referral. Get references from your house painter and follow up with these previous customers.
The amount of prep work we require also depends on how many moving parts a room has. Let's say it has chandeliers, fireplace paraphernalia, alarms, window locks. We catalog and photograph each item before either removing it or securing it from any damage. Then when we put everything back in place, it's an easy check to see if anything was damaged.
8. Tools of the Trade
Painters need a combination of all three painting tools: Brushes, rollers, and sprayers to do their. Some of it's logical, some a judgment call the painter makes during a painting project. For instance, you wouldn't use a sprayer on installed trim, but would on uninstalled trim. The key is to know when to use the brushes, rollers, and the airless sprayers, and also take the time to keep them absolutely clean. Dirty brushes or rollers will leave streaks, and a dirty sprayer will spray unevenly.
9. Premium Brands Paints
Premium brand paints are definitely worth the extra cost, and can make the overall project cheaper for the project since we don’t have to put more coats of paint on the house. These premiums spread more smoothly, cover better and adhere to surfaces better. They require fewer coats to get that nice uniform appearance and they tend to last longer. Further they are more resistant to the normal dirt and staining that comes from everyday life meaning they will hold up to repeated cleanings much better.
10. Your Paint is Probably Safe, Even if it's Not "Green"
Modern latex paints have come a long way and studies show the level of ‘toxic emissions’ in these paints is a negligible risk factor compared to other things in our homes. However, if you don’t want to take any chances, explore the use of low-VOC or non-VOC paint.
11. Don't like the color? Tell Us!
If the painter is midway through a job and you realize the color is all wrong, don't hesitate. Tell him. In most cases, he'll do it over for a minimal charge if the change isn't too extreme. However, if it's lacquered red and you decide you want white latex flat, that's going to cost you a bit more.
12. Ask for touch-ups right away
After the paint job is finished, always ask for a walk-through. Most painters should offer this regardless.
This is your time to pick us apart, take your time and make sure everything is done to your satisfaction. Like you, we want to get it all done while we’re there.
If you got your living room painted, sit down on the couch and stare at the walls, it is a great way to catch tiny missed spots that you might not see just walking through the room. After all, what you see when you’re painting it isn’t what you see when you’re sitting down, this is why look around in the areas from this perspective you’re going to notice stuff.
Once the painter has gone, feel free to call back about something you noticed only after they have left. Just understand that doesn’t mean painters are willing to provide endless touch-ups, though, especially if it’s not a result of their poor workmanship. So if you are calling them back to do a touch up for a wall you scratched while moving in your heavy dresser, be prepared to pay for a touch-up.
13. Our Best Work is Done with You, Not for You!
Be open to our suggestions. Make us feel like a partner, not an employee. While we need to make money to pay our bills, we also want to do good work for you, we want to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride and, yeah, even have some fun along the way. Tell us every once in a while, "Hey, that's really looking great." And when the job is done to your liking, say "Thanks.” If you appreciate our work, it also helps if you refers us to friends looking for painters, or go online and provide us with a review. These things makes a world of difference for us and allow us to continue doing what we love!