Some contractors work on time and material others on a firm contract. I would never hire the former and am leary of the latter. A contractor may low-ball a bid to get the job planning to make a killing on change orders. If you say good morning to them, they charge you extra for that. If the contract is not very, very specific and extensively fleshed out or if they display their change order schedule prominently on top, show them the door.
This is another reason why you should always hire contractors who have employees and not those who use subcontractors. If the company you hire uses only subs to paint, they have no control over the training those subs receive. However, even if you choose a contractor with employees, this does not guarantee that those employees receive training. The sad fact is that training just isn’t in the budget for most contractors.
Climate is another factor to consider. Sunlight, wind, rain and salty weather can all wear out exterior paint. Oil-based paint is durable against wind, rain and temperature changes, but sunlight tends to degrade it. Alkyd paint chalks and sheds very thin layers when it begins to wear. Latex paint is the more durable option for very sun-drenched and relatively dry climate areas. Latex paint with high vinyl content should be avoided, however. Acrylic resin is by far the more durable binder for outdoor latex paint.
The quality of materials used on your project will impact how it looks and how long it lasts. There is a huge difference in quality among coatings like paints and stains. There are also many specialized coatings that should be used for specific applications. Differences in the costs of a $9 gallon of paint versus a $50 gallon of paint represent real differences in the ingredients, with higher-priced paint having more expensive ingredients that look better and last longer, such as resins, binders and even titanium.
"We used Next Door Painting for the exterior and one room on the interior of our house. Scott Finkelstein and his crew did an excellent job. They were reasonably priced, very professional, helpful with ideas and accommodating to our wishes and needs. I was contacted within an hour after my Thumbtack request, made an appointment for an estimate and was impressed with the knowledge and quality of the presentation. I definitely recommend them for the job and will use them again.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to imagine what a color will look like in your home before it has been painted. To give you a clear vision of what your space will look like in a new color, some painting contractors offer the ability to digitally paint a picture of the interior or exterior of your home. This is also a useful tool if you are unsure what color to choose or have a few options in mind. You’ll be able to compare your choices and make a confident decision.
Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
In some cases, professional painters may include additional charges for specialized equipment that homeowners can't purchase on their own. Because professionals have licenses and access to such equipment, it's simpler to let them get those themselves. But providing some of the smaller equipment and extras directly really can help to cut down on the total cost of your project.
State your expectations. The number of coats a painter applies isn’t the only factor in determining the quality—and price—of the project. Preparation is also key. If you want a surface that’s free of unevenness from past paint jobs, tell the contractors—and be prepared to pay extra. But if you can live with some imperfections, agree on what level of prep is acceptable and what isn’t.