Read This Before Hiring a Painting Contractor
Photo: Paul Rocheleau
When it comes to home maintenance, exterior painting is a job best left to a professional. Painters have the experience and the manpower to get the job done properly and efficiently. They can also recommend the best paint for the project, taking climate and building materials into account. While you may be tempted to save money and turn it into a do-it-yourself project, your safety is important – professionals have the specialized equipment needed to get up and above all, their own insurance, that protects you from liability. But there is one downside: working with the wrong contractor. Make sure your contractor is insured, has a good reputation, and offers the best estimate to ensure you get the job done without a headache. We asked Benjamin Moore’s Craig Bunting and Farrow & Balls Josephine Rance for tips on how to find the right painting professional – so you can sit back and enjoy the finished product.
Calculate your costs.Once you have an idea of the cost of paint you will need to purchase, you can get quotes from a contractor. “Color coverage is based on how many square feet of surface a gallon covers,” says Bunting. “Most of the colors will cover about 400 square feet. Count this by multiplying the height of the wall in feet by its width, minus the windows and doors. “Determine how much paint it will take to complete the project. “To calculate the cost of a project, consider the daily rates, the size of the property, any architectural features, and the paintwork required,” says Rance.
Time the project right.Schedule painting in moderate weather. “The spring or fall seasons between April and October is the best time frame,” says Bunting. Rance agrees, noting, “Avoid extreme temperatures below 56 degrees Fahrenheit and above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.” Reschedule if it just rained or if rain threatens.
Ask your contractor.Before choosing a contractor, get three quotes to compare and ask the right questions. Bunting says you need to know: Do they have proper licenses, insurances, and bonds? Do you outsource the work to third parties? Do they offer written guarantees for their work? “Recommendations from friends and family are always a good measure,” Rance adds. “And ask for references from previous customers.”
Look for signs of a good contractor.Product knowledge and clear communication are the hallmarks of a good contractor. “Look for a professional who recommends high quality paint,” says Rance. “For a permanent paint job, finish and durability should take precedence over application speed.” And, notes Bunting, a good contractor will get back to you in time.