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When it’s time to spruce up your home, either inside or out, paint is the obvious choice for making major improvements in its appearance. Although paint can be effective for making dramatic changes, a high-quality paint job can be a labor-intensive project.
Once you know you want to hire a painter, get organized and approach the task logically to hire the best professional possible.
1. What does a Professional Painter Do?
Painting pros handle projects of various types and sizes, both inside and outside your home. While painting walls, ceilings, doors, and trim is a common scope of work for most painters, there are many other areas that can benefit from a pro’s touch.
Many painters offer finishing services for fences, decks, garage floors, cabinetry, and even furniture. Keep in mind that paint isn’t the only medium a pro can work with; the application of texture, stain, faux finishes, and clear coats are usually part of a painter’s repertoire.
Besides the obvious application of paint, stain, or coatings, professional painters can complete the prep work necessary to ensure you get a flawless and lasting finish. Preparation is often the most time-consuming aspect of a painting job, and whether that involves a simple sanding and cleaning, patching several dings, holes, and scratches, applying a primer coat, or the complete removal of an existing finish, a professional painter can identify and complete the right steps for the job at hand.
2. Why Hire a Painting Contractor?
Painting is a great DIY project for most homeowners, but there are cases when it makes sense to call in a pro. A large-scale job can be exhausting and time consuming, so if your time and energy is short, trusting the job to a pro can ensure it gets done quickly.
Safety and accessibility can also complicate an otherwise simple job. A pro will have access to all the ladders, staging, or other equipment needed to complete the work on high ceilings or upper levels.
One of the most compelling reasons to hire a painting contractor is to achieve an excellent finish. Whether there is a high-level of prep work involved, you’re refinishing a treasured piece of furniture, or you have a tricky job that requires specialized skills or materials, hiring a pro can help ensure you get a paint job that looks perfect and will last.
3. Tips for Hiring a Quality Painting Contractor
Painting requires a certain amount of skill and expertise, so finding a good painter will be paramount to the end result of your project. But, since painting is a trade with little regulation, it can be difficult to verify the credentials of a painting contractor. Be sure to ask for references from candidates so you can speak with past clients about the quality of their work.
Don’t hesitate to ask painters for photos of their work or for examples you can see for yourself. This is particularly important for projects that require a high level of skill or precision, such as refinishing cabinetry and furniture, painting detailed trim profiles, or restoring historic buildings.
4. Characteristics of a Good Painter
Good painters will make themselves known even before they raise a brush to apply a drop of paint. Observing a painter’s demeanor, attitude, and actions can help you discern the person who will provide you with an exceptional painting job.
Look carefully at the person who arrives to speak with you about your painting project. Does this person appear to be a professional? Does the person have a professional, confident demeanor, and does the company appear established and legitimate? Is the professional courteous and respectful in conversation?
Get a feel for the painter’s schedule–a good painter probably has a full schedule with lots of projects, but should be responsive and organized. Does she return your calls and provide a detailed bid to you in a timely manner? When you scheduled an appointment to interview the painter, was she punctual and prepared to conduct the interview?
Good painters will be able to supply you with enough references to give you an idea of the type of work they will deliver. Good painters also supplies a warranty on workmanship–make sure you read this document before you hire anyone. Good painters carry any licenses or permits required by your city or state, as well as liability insurance to cover any damages that might occur to your property and worker’s compensation insurance to cover any possible injuries to their employees during the project.
5. Signs of a Bad Painter
As you assess a professional, there are warning signs of a bad painter that should steer you away from someone who might deliver questionable work. A painter who arrives in shoddy clothing, driving a vehicle that appears battered and worn, does not portray a legitimate and respectable business. A painter who does not return telephone calls in a timely fashion or who arrives late for an interview appointment may not be professional.
A painter who does not have the equipment and supplies necessary to perform a quality paint job may not be capable, and a painter who seems to have a free schedule without many obligations may not have a reputation for doing high quality work. If a provider cannot supply a list of references or does not receive positive feedback from past clients, it may be a sign of poor workmanship or lack of professionalism.
6. Types of Jobs for a Painter
There are a number of projects around the home that are suitable for a painting contractor, both large and small.
- Interior Painting: A professional painter can complete the prep and finish work necessary to transform the inside of your home--walls, ceilings, and trim.
- Exterior Painting: From scraping and patching to applying primer and paint, a pro can make over the outside of your home to protect and beautify--without you having to climb a single ladder.
- Cabinetry Painting: Cabinets can be the focal point of a room and define its character. When they become worn or dated, professional painting or refinishing can give cabinets new life and redefine the entire space.
- Deck Painting: Painting or sealing your deck is an important maintenance step needed to protect it from rot and damage. A pro can make sure your deck gets a finish that can stand up to use and the weather while looking great.
- Garage Floor Painting: Painting or epoxy-coating your garage floor is a great way to improve the look of the surface and make it easier to clean and maintain. A pro will use the right techniques and materials to ensure the floor can withstand whatever you throw at it.
- Fence Painting: Like decks and other outdoor structures, your fence may need a paint job to provide protection from the elements, or just to improve curb appeal. A painting contractor will know the best approach to keep it looking great.
A professional painter can bring new life to just about any area of your home by reviving or transforming furniture, floors, doors, trim, and even fireplaces and other features.
7. What is the Cost to Hire a Painter?
The cost of hiring a pro to complete a painting project depends on the nature and scope of the job. Contractors often price interior and exterior painting by the square footage of the surfaces to cover. The amount and difficulty of prep work, accessibility of the site, number of coats, and type of paint used can affect base rates, but prices commonly range from $2.00 to $5.00 per square foot.
Speciality projects are likely to be charged according to the time and materials needed for the job, while trim features are often priced by the linear foot or element (such as a door or window). Visit our Painting Home Guides for more information on managing and pricing your painting projects.
8. Find Local Painters
If you are ready to hire a painter but would rather skip the legwork, submit a job request for your painting project today. We have already screened professionals in your area to help you find qualified, established contractors for all your home improvement projects. Review their profiles, choose a few to connect with, and wait for them to give you a call and make arrangements to check out the job.