How to Hire the Best Painter

Written by Greg Mrakich of Greg Mrakich Painting
Updated July 8, 2011
Knowing the difference between painting contractors is important when it comes to price. (Photo courtesy of Claudia Soisson)

Whether you're hiring an interior painter or a housepainter, do you know what to look for when hiring someone to paint your house?

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There is no shortage of painting contractors. How do you know which painter is the best for your job? Here are several key points to remember when making a hiring decision.

You get what you pay for.

Let’s say you are having your exterior painted. You get three bids ranging from $4,000 to $7,200. Why the huge difference in price? The difference is usually in the prep work. This is the same for interior painting as well. It might take two days to do the painting, but it might take four days to prep the rooms or exterior of the house for painting. The low-end bid might include the obvious prep work that is visible, but does it include the caulking of joints that you can't see from the ground? Does it include primer when and where necessary? What grade product is being used?

Different painters do different kinds of work.

You don't really want a new construction painter painting your furnished, currently lived-in home. These are two completely different jobs. New construction building painters are used to empty houses with no carpet or flooring. New construction painters are used to painting an entire 3,000-square-foot house in less than two days.

A seasoned, experienced custom home painter might spend one day in a bedroom making sure furniture is covered and safe, trim is masked off and two coats are applied by hand with a roller and brush, not with a sprayer.

Check for lead certification.

If your home was built before 1978, the EPA lead-safe rule requires contractors and painters to be lead-safe certified. It is a federal law, and any contractor caught doing work who is not lead-safe certified is subject to heavy fines.

When getting a bid, know who is doing the work.

Make sure they have experience doing the type of work you need done. Since new home construction building is down, there are many new home painters trying to enter the custom repaint market that may not be qualified or have the necessary skill sets that custom repaints require.

Don't feel shy about asking for referrals. You will be glad that you did.

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