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When selecting a painter consider your budget perimeters; based on satisfactory work and the level of home you are updating.  We normally request two bids on behalf of our clients from previous companies we have worked enjoyed working with and experienced an excellent outcome.  Normally one bid will be higher but both bids should be really fairly close in price or you have to question the level of service included in their bid also called a “scope of work”.  Once we have narrowed down our preferred contractor, we also visited several of the contractors’ recent jobs to confirm the quality of work and client’s experience working with the painter.

The last and most critical consideration you require from your painting contractor is to receive written liability insurance, workman’s compensation, and contractor licensing. (Note:  Not all states require painters to be licensed; please check your specific state for requirements.  Additionally, your county may also have licensing requirements.)  If you choose to hire a contractor without liability or workman’s compensation you may take on the contractor’s responsibility should a worker be injured or if damage occurs it will be under your status as a homeowner. (Again, check your particular state laws for specific information.)

A good paint job will not be inexpensive.  The man hours required to do an excellent paint job is extensive.  The size of the rooms to be painted, total square footage and ceiling height will be calculated into the final price.  For example; a larger home with a number of rooms to be painted with 16 foot ceilings will require more labor and materials therefore more an expensive painting project.

This is how to the breakdown the cost of painting:

1/3 of the job of painting is in the preparation and cleanup at the end of the day.  Prep includes protecting the surrounding area, covering the air conditioning ducks, caulking all the seams, filling in holes, dents, cracks, sanding any remaining rough areas.

1/3 of the paint job is the level of paint which makes a huge difference.  Paint manufacturers offer everything from builder grade which some painters cut with water to get it to go through their spray guns to highly pigmented paint which is a lot more expensive than builder grade and is easy clean with soap and water.  We recommend to our clients a higher grade of paint to get the best quality finish within the level of service we are providing.

1/3 of the paint job is in the application.  A premium paint job for doors and trim includes priming and sanding between coats to get the best finish possible otherwise you can experience orange peel and/or brush marks on the wood which is less than satisfactory.  Walls and ceilings should received two coats of paint, be smooth, without lap marks or “holidays”. New surfaces or those with existing dark finishes may need a coat of primer prior to painting to get the true paint color.  Don’t be surprised if painting new surfaces cost more since the labor and material requirements will be higher.

A few examples of lack of preparation:

Improper preparation which including primer and preparing a surface including preparing wood properly can create an area that is unstable.  Refinishing a built-in or trim not properly sanded, cleaned, caulked, and primed prior to painting can create a finish that will lift and not holding up under use.  To fix the problem the surface will require the surface be stripped, and/or sanded down and repainted which would be more expensive to do than if the finish had been applied correctly in the first place.

The wall surfaces should not have runs, cracks, imperfections, or lap marks.  Also check your walls level of perfection or imperfection to determine if you would like to do more repairs prior to hiring a paint contractor.  Sometimes we recommend to our clients a complete skim coat to smooth out the majority of imperfections to get our best paint job.

Sheetrock preparation comes in several levels; the highest being Level 5 which has no imperfections.  Level 4 has a few imperfections.  Level 3 more imperfections, etc.  We normally recommend a level 4 or 5.

If you see a low ball bid the question to ask yourself “what is not included in their scope of work?” or are they cutting corners.

New paint colors and finishes can transform your home; brighten, freshen, refresh, and give you a new outlook.

Marilyn McGaw