Hiring a Pro Painter

When you interview a painting contractor, remember that there is more than just the price to discuss. There is a considerable difference between the kind of discussion you will have with a professional painter and your average handyman–and those differences will be reflected in the quality of the final work.

(1) Ask how the painter will prepare the worksite.
Preparation makes a great chef and a great painter

Proper preparation makes both the chef and the painter great

Does the painter examine the condition of your walls, discuss whether repairs will be needed and offer to perform them? For example: If it is an interior painting job, does the painter discuss who will be responsible for removing the power, light switch, cable and phone wallplate covers? How will hanging light fixtures be handled? What furniture will need to be covered and/or moved, and who will do the moving? How will the painter protect any areas, such oak trim molding, that should not be painted? Does the painter suggest removing the doorknobs if the doors are to be painted?

(2) Discuss your choice of color and finishes with the painter.

A good painter will list not just every wall of your house but go through every surface and make sure you both agree as to what color paint should go where. Your painter should be knowledgeable about color design choices and be able to offer suggestions for how to transition between rooms, as well as being able to identify those areas where a more durable paint finish might be desirable. A good painter can also identify when a radical change in color will require applying a coat of primer before having to order extra (expensive) tinted paint for multiple coats.

(3) Ask the painter what brand and grade of paint they recommend using and how much paint they expect to use.

A good painter will likely have strong opinions because paint varies greatly in its quality by both brand and the particular grade sold by a manufacturer. Many of the less expensive paints would require multiple coats, and because time is money a good painter always prefers to use a high-quality paint that covers well. A good painter should also be able to explain clearly the differences between flat and enamel finishes, and will let you know that enamel paint finishes are not only more durable but tend to cover a much greater surface area than a flat paint.purple_wet_paint_sign

Does your painter suggest using a less toxic and more eco-friendly paint, particularly if you are already living in your home? A good painter can explain the pros and cons of the new low- and non-VOC paints that give off less unpleasant fumes, and predict how quickly the fumes from different types of conventional and alternative paints will dissipate.

(4) Make sure to discuss how the difficult spots will be handled.

Will the painter “cut in” where the walls meet the ceilings, or rely on tape? If a previous painter has made an error and painted the side edge of some wood trim, what solutions does the painter propose for handling those mistakes?

(5) The painter’s estimate (and contract) should specify the details.

Does the painter make sure to specify the start and finish dates, the working hours, how the painter will gain access to the interior of your home (e.g. a key drop, which doors to use/not to use, parking, etc.) and where the painter will clean and store their tools? The contract should specify who will supply the paint, tape, tools, dropcloths and any other materials, how any any excess paint is to be labeled and where it should be stored. And when it comes to money, make sure to specify the terms and schedule of the payments, including any bonuses for a job completed on-time or early.

Dining Room Into Kitchen and Office

Dining Room Into Kitchen and Office

(6) And finally, ask your painter for photos of previous work and references to past customers.

Look especially at any closeup photos which show the painter’s craftmanship in detail. Having a photo gallery of work done for satisfied customers is likely your best bet to differentiate a professional from an amateur painter.

Of course, if you choose Daniel Larsen’s Quality Painting to be your painting contractor, you’ll know you’ll be hiring the best!