Paint Contractor FAQ – Most Common Questions for Hiring a Painter

Is it time to get my house painted?

When it comes to Paint Contractor FAQs, this one comes up a lot. There are specific things to look for. The three questions below are not the only three questions to ask but are three key questions.

How long has it been since your house was last painted?

The national average for a paint job in the United States is seven years. This seems to hold pretty true, depending on your climate. The more sun exposure your home has, the quicker the coating will deteriorate. If you live in a coastal environment, the coating will deteriorate more quickly due to the salt in the air.

Is your house faded? 

Once the coating has started to fade, the film thickness, in most cases, has deteriorated. An old car is a good example. We’ve all seen a car with the color still intact, but the clear coat has started to break down, making the car look unsightly and inconsistent. Once this happens, the color will inevitably begin to peel or fade rapidly. This also makes it accessible to other contaminants such as rust or rot, depending on the surface material.

Is there peeling paint? 

Once the paint has started peeling, it no longer protects the substrate. Wood rot or rust is inevitable, depending on the substrate. Beyond the obvious unsightliness, the substrate will begin to deteriorate rapidly.

During which part of the year or weather conditions should I get my house painted?

In most situations, heat is not a factor. In very isolated cases, we have experienced bubbling or blistering of the coating due to the heat. Again, this is rare – in most cases, it was an item that could not be moved out of direct sunlight and painted a dark color such as black. The main concern is that if surfaces are painted at temperatures below freezing, it can affect the adhesion and the coating’s finish. Usually, as long as the paint feels dry to the touch once it has fully dried, you’re in good shape.

Do colors affect the price?

This is a question I am asked on almost every estimate. The short answer is “no” unless you want polka dots or stripes. In some cases, contractors may charge additional for extra colors above and beyond their normal allotted amount (typically three). This is generally justified by the idea that switching between colors and cleaning your tools takes time. Although this is true, it is a relatively minor time addition. We apply two coats of paint on all surfaces to ensure the longest-lasting finish (see below for more information about two coats); therefore, coverage is not an issue. Regardless of the color, we will apply two coats.

Should I apply one or two coats of paint?

In almost every circumstance, we recommend two coats of paint. Two coats of paint are going to give you the longest-lasting paint job. Two coats of paint are going to provide more durability and color retention. As discussed above, once the film on the coating breaks down, the color will begin to fade and not protect the substrate. Although it is possible to apply one coat of paint cosmetically to make a surface look good, it will not provide the durability needed. When analyzing closely, you will see imperfections.

Should I supply my own paint?

If you are working with a professional paint company, it will make more sense to have the paint contracting company supply it. Even with the discounts that many paint stores offer (20-30%), you will still pay more for the material than the paint contractor will pay with his contractor pricing. 

Although the paint store may tell you that you’re getting contractor pricing, there are different contractor pricing levels, and it is unlikely you are getting the same price that your painting contractor would pay. In almost every scenario where a homeowner purchased paint and hired us, they spent more on the material than we would have. If you do not trust your contractor to purchase the right material, you do not have the right contractor.

Should I give a deposit to a painting contractor?

I do not recommend giving a deposit before the work begins. Very few painting contractors will be paying cash for any material purchased for their job sites, nor will they pay their painters until the end of the job or at least the end of the week. If a company does not have enough resources to get through a residential painting project, just be aware that they are likely a very small company, and you share the burden with them. 

If the painting contractor is unable or unwilling to complete the job, you may be out of the money that has already been paid. Few contractors will come in behind another contractor and finish their work without adding extra cost because it is a more difficult situation. 

If you decide to give the contractor a portion of the payment upfront, I would highly recommend waiting until the end of the first day and paying just the amount for the purchased material. I would clarify that this is a one-time payment for material purchased, and no other money will be given until the job is finalized and completed 100%. This will help avoid any issues or miscommunication. 

I am a third-generation painting contractor and never ask for money before the project begins. 

P.S. Remember that our points above apply to residential repaint projects, which may not always apply to new construction or commercial projects.

What should I expect with paint product and service warranties?

Warranties greatly vary depending on the project and the substrate being painted. The easiest substrates to paint are synthetic wood surfaces, such as Hardiboard, compressed wood, etc. Stucco surfaces are also fairly easy to paint. Surprisingly, real and pressure-treated wood are more difficult, and the finishes do not last as long. 

Pressure-treated wood is treated with chemicals designed to stay in the wood for an extended period to prevent rotting. These chemicals slowly seep out of the wood as the heat from the sun draws them out. When the sun draws out the wood’s moisture, it will force the coating off, resulting in peeling paint. 

Dry wood is rarely used on new construction homes; therefore, it is common to see peeling paint on new construction homes within a couple of years. Real wood, like Cedar, has similar issues but is less problematic. Although it is somewhat better than pressure-treated wood, the wood’s natural oils are still slowly drawn out of the wood, causing the coating to peel.

Small cracks in the wood also provide openings for water and other moisture to penetrate the wood, resulting in peeling paint. We typically offer a 5-year or 10-year labor warranty depending on the coating used, with exclusions regarding wet wood. A synthetic surface, as referenced above, will hold up very well through these timeframes.

Can I trust online reviews?

I think reviews are a great resource and a helpful gauge for a painting company’s quality, especially for the painting industry. Anytime you can work with a painting company or contractors with dozens of reviews, it is a good indicator of what kind of experience you will get. Everyone can have a couple of good jobs, and everyone will have some bad jobs.

Although some people may be concerned with a company that only has 5-star reviews, I would not be alarmed as long as it is a decent number of total reviews. Great tools help companies resolve issues and prevent unhappy clients from leaving bad reviews. With that said, if you see a contractor with bad reviews, be sure to read the bad reviews to 1) determine what the situation was and 2) see if the contractor responded to those negative reviews.

Specifically, in a service business, you will have customers that misunderstand or have different expectations regardless of how well the contractor tried to lay out their process and set expectations. For instance, I have had a one-star review given me by someone who never hired us because we have a $1,500 minimum.

This is insightful, and if you have a very small job, we would probably not be the right painting company for you. But you would find that out once you got on the phone with our company and the requirements were stated upfront. However, if a customer had left a bad review, upset about the $1,500 minimum because they were not made aware until after the work had begun, that would cause concern! That might imply a lack of communication and perhaps integrity.

What does it look like to get a painting estimate?

In most cases, the painting company requires a site visit to inspect the surfaces that will be painted. This may not be necessary for some smaller jobs, but in most cases, you want to meet with the contractor to discuss the project and get an impression of the painting company working on your home. Here is a quick breakdown of standard procedures within our industry:

  • Discuss any areas of concern or questions.
  • Discuss the timeline to get the project completed. 
  • Discuss color options.
  • Discuss the process in detail.
  • Discuss expectations of when the estimate will be received if not completed at that time. 
  • Discuss payment options and terms, if any.
  • Discuss any requirements for the homeowner to give access to certain parts of the project, such as removing a camper or boat to give access to the front door, etc.
What insurance requirements should I have for a painting contractor?

Liability insurance is the biggest thing you want to look for when hiring a painting contractor. This way, you will be sure that you are protected in case of damage to your property. Please consult your legal counsel for more specific requirements for your unique situation.

Do you paint interiors?
Do you paint exteriors?
Do you paint cabinets?
What are your service areas?

This is perhaps one of our more common Paint Contractor FAQ topics. We serve a wide area from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. Please call us if you don’t see your service area listed below, as we constantly expand. Our common service areas include:

  1. Arvada, CO
  2. Boulder, CO
  3. Broomfield, CO
  4. Colorado Springs, CO
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Erie, CO
  7. Fort Collins, CO
  8. The Frontrange of Colorado
  9. Lafayette, CO
  10. Louisville, CO

Note: Please call us if you do not see your area listed above but are in the Colorado Frontrange area.

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