GREAT Paint Contractors Give Professional, Detailed Quotes A GREAT painting quote includes a detailed list of ALL aspects of work to be done: FREE Power Washing Caulking, sanding and priming Trim repair - GREAT contractors will know what needs to be done Details of products and application - GREAT contractors know the right products for every job Touch-ups and clean-up In addition to the quote's content and accuracy, is it presented professionally?
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Is the quote printed on company letterhead? Does the sheet show the contractor's license number? Does he use a local land line phone number? (beware if only a cellular phone number is listed) TAX I.D. number? Work guarantee and relevant product warranties? Inexperienced contractors, using standard business forms purchased at office supply stores suggests they haven't invested much in their business and may not be properly licensed. Also, they may not be paying income taxes.
GREAT Paint Contractors Have an A or A+ Better Business Bureau Rating the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a trusted consumer rating body that grades businesses based on collective criteria. In addition to finding their grade, be sure to check how long the paint contractor has been a member. Also confirm that any complaints have been resolved. BBB will still afford a good rating if a business has addressed
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Congratulations! You've made the smart decision to improve your home's appearance and value with a professional paint job. Now comes the daunting challenge of finding a paint contractor. Not to worry! These 10 secrets will help you find a GREAT paint contractor who'll deliver a top-quality job at an excellent price and leave you with a satisfying home improvement experience.1. A GREAT Paint Contractor Presents Proof of Insurance While a good paint contractor may tell you he's insured, a GREAT contractor presents a copy of his policy, proving the amount of coverage he carries for both property damage and bodily injury that may result from the contractor's work. By nature, paint materials are highly flammable and, should a tragedy occur, you need to know your contractor is sufficiently insured.2. A GREAT Paint Contractor NEVER Asks for a Deposit While some paint contractors may request a deposit before beginning the work, well-established, successful painting professionals have sufficient operating income and can easily afford to purchase materials and make payroll. BE WARY of a contractor who asks for a deposit! If he is unable to purchase materials, he's probably unable to pay his staff. Every year, too many homeowners fall victim to contractors who walk off the job - and out of town - with the deposit in their pockets.If you agree to advance payment of any kind, be sure materials have been purchased and are on your property, leaving you some kind of leverage should the contractor default on the work. Bottom Line: GREAT painting contractors NEVER request a deposit. 3. A GREAT Paint Contractor Offers Great Warranties You can tell a lot about a paint contractor by his warranty. Well-known contractors with established reputations are respected by paint suppliers who, in turn, pass on extended - even lifetime - warranties on their paints because they know the product will be applied right. For any number of reasons, less experienced contractors may not have valuable relationships with suppliers. On the labor side, a GREAT contractor works with solid, experienced painters whose work he knows he can stand behind with an extended labor warranty.4. GREAT Paint Contractors Go the Extra Mile Because GREAT contractors have learned the value of a satisfied customer, they're able to focus on service and offer extras that shows you how important your business is to the contractor. Check to see if your contractor offers the following: Professional color consulting FREE color try-ons FREE power washing Two coats of paint - as a standard offering! 5. GREAT Paint Contractors Give Professional, Detailed Quotes A GREAT painting quote includes a detailed list of ALL aspects of work to be done: FREE Power washing Caulking, sanding and priming Trim repair - GREAT contractors will know what needs to be done Details of products and application - GREAT contractors know the right products for every job Touch-ups and clean-up In addition to the quote's content and accuracy, is it presented professionally? Is the quote printed on company letterhead? Does the sheet show the contractor's license number? Does he use a local land line phone number? (beware if only a cellular phone number is listed) TAX I.D. number? Work guarantee and relevant product warranties? Inexperienced contractors, using standard business forms purchased at office supply stores suggests they haven't invested much in their business and may not be properly licensed. Also, they may not be paying income taxes.6. GREAT Paint Contractors Have an A or A+ Better Business Bureau RatingThe Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a trusted consumer rating body that grades businesses based on collective criteria. In addition to finding their grade, be sure to check how long the paint contractor has been a member. Also confirm that any complaints have been resolved. BBB will still afford a good rating if a business has addressed issues in a timely manner. Questionable painting contractors will have either no BBB affiliation at all or a grade of B or below.7. GREAT Paint Contractors Care about Their Communities and Industry Associations Being active in local Chambers of Commerce, committed to area charities and having a presence in the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association (PDCA) shows that GREAT paint contractors have professional integrity and care about their communities. Fly-by-night contractors avoid connections to civic or professional organizations.8. GREAT Paint Contractors Provide References in Your Area - Both Old and New Good paint contractors may have references from local work that was completed in the past few weeks. GREAT Paint Contractors will provide multiple local references from both recent and past work. References from a year ago or longer show the paint job's durability and confirm that any necessary follow-up or billing issues were handled correctly.9. GREAT Paint Contractors Invite You to See a Job in Progress If a contractor is confident about the way they work, they'll prove it by asking you to judge for yourself. Things to look for: Work vehicles - are they clean, organized and professional? The painters - are they neatly dressed and groomed? Materials - are ladders, scaffolding, drop cloths and electrical equipment in good condition? Is work being done carefully so as not to damage landscaping or property? Bottom Line: GREAT Paint Contractors treat a home - and its homeowner - with respect at all times.10. GREAT Paint Contractors Have a Professional Website While it is certainly possible to be a good paint contractor and not own a Website, GREAT contractors are also successful business people who understand that today's consumer is looking for instant information. A GREAT contractor's Website will include all the details homeowners are looking for - references, before & after photos, details of services, contact information and history of the company and its owner and staff.
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The first step in a quality exterior painting job, or in any painting project for that matter, is start with a clean surface. This means that you will need to power wash. You probably will need to rent a power washer - something you can do at any major hardware or tool rental store. You will need a ladder to power wash, depending on the height of your home you will need either an extension or step ladder. (or both)...you can rent a power washer for about $100 a day. You can rent ladders for about $40 a week.Once you have all of this equipment you should power wash every surface that you plan to paint, making sure to use proper technique so as not to leave wand marks due to the extreme water pressure. It is good to use a watered down mixture of bleach and sodium tri-phosphate to kill and prevent mildew and mold and to wash away chalking. Often people ask, what is chalking? This is that chalk like substance that sticks to your hand when you touch the unwashed parts of your home, that is most often present on homes that have not been painted in awhile. A photo of chalking on a hand is below. Chalking is always the color of the paint job and is the paint properties breaking down from sunlight.To repeat: One of the most important steps in painting is to clean the working surface; otherwise, paint cannot stick to the dirty surface and will peel within a year. You can hire a professional painter or power washing contractor to wash a home usually for under $200.Always be safe on ladders and roofs, it is very easy for someone to slip and fall. When power washing there is no need to get right up close to the surface, usually eight feet away, or so, is fine. Finally, it is very important to allow the surface to completely dry off, allow at least a day for the washed area to try, longer if there is rain or high humidity.Once you have allowed the paint surface to dry you can begin preparing the work surface to receive paint. First you need to caulk. It is important to use only siliconized latex caulk. It must have latex in it and say "paintable" on tube. Buy color caulk to match your paint color if you plan on only doing one coat of paint, but white colored caulk should be fine if you are planning on two coats of paint and is usually cheaper per tube than colored caulk. Make sure to caulk all gaps in the wood and joints. Do not caulk wood to stucco.The next step in prepping your painting surface is to scrape, removing all of the loose and failing paint, down to the bare wood if possible. You should then tape and lay down tarps in the area where you are standing to paint first, and then put a coat of primer on all of the surfaces you plan to paint. Primer color should be chosen according to what color you are painting (it is not always recommended to use white for darker colors). Make sure to cover everything but landscape bushes and plants. Putting tarps on bushes and plants can actually kill them due to the tarps' weight and the heat trapped around the plants, under the tarps. Set UpSet up is the next part of the job, though may already have done this before you even started your prep work. Once you have your paint color picked out you will need to measure how many square feet of surface, you will be painting. Once you have figured out how many square feet there are to paint, divide that number by three hundred; that is around how many gallons of paint you will need for the first coat.It is best to stick with a national paint store brand. One tip is to try not to go to the paint store on the weekends; they are always packed on the weekend with other do-it-yourselfers. If you go in the evening or in the day, during the week, they will likely have more time for a one-on-one consultation. It is usually best to ask for the store manager, he will have more experience and be able lead you the right direction, as far as what kind of paint and primer you should get, as well as help you with color, if you need it.Tools You Will Need To Paint Your Homeo Scrapero Case of caulk (you can return unused tubes)o Caulking guno Masking tapeo Cheap tarpso Your painto An extra empty 5 gallon bucket with lid (usually $5 or free if you ask nicely)o A bucket grido A 9 inch roller frameo A roller napo A brush (2.5 inch sash is best for beginners)o A bucket hook (for hooking your paint pal to the ladder)When purchasing your paint, buy the amount you determined from your square footage, minus about three gallons. You will always need to go back to the paint store, so don't overbuy. Once you purchase tinted paint it is non-returnable and good paint costs about $30 per gallon for do-it-yourself pricingo Always start at the top left and work your way to the right. Painting in direct sunlight makes things more difficult when you are doing the work by yourself because it dries more quickly and, of course, is hot and brighto Usually you will want to start on the front of the home. That is the toughest side of the home to paint because it is the most decorativeo If you are painting a home with siding, make sure to paint each siding slat all of the way across, then start back at the left on the next slat, like writing a line of text. This is a lot of work, but it allows for minor differences in paint color from can to can (which, though it is not supposed to happen, does). In the end, though it makes the job more difficult, it will give you a more even looking color because the divisions in the slats will hid any minor color differenceso Try not to overlap a wet edge of paint over a dry edge, this is called flashing, and it leaves overlap marks once everything is dry. This will happen especially with only one coat applications. This is the most common error made by do-it-yourselfers. Remember, two coats are always best! Not only do two coats look a lot better, but the paint will last twice as longo Your dry time will vary, taking in to account weather and humidity. Usually two to four hours after applying the paint, it will be dry to the touch and your second coat can be applied. On hot, dry days, the drying time is even shortero Professionals figure materials will usually be about 20% - 30% of the cost of a paint job....this is just an fyi for you when pricing materials and laborSprayingA professional can spray a perfect finish, which fills cracks and holes; it also has a nice even coat. You cannot. It is much tougher than what it seems to get a nice even coat of paint with an industrial sprayer. To rent a sprayer, it cost about $80 per day. It will speed up your painting by at least four times. If you choose to spray, you'll need to watch out for overspray, you do not want to accidentally spray your roof, cars or neighbors. It can be a very costly mistake. We do not recommend buying the cheaper Wagner series of paint sprayers at your local hardware. It is best to rent the professional model.Spraying is best for painting big areas on your house like aluminum siding, wood siding, stucco, and so on. It is not for trim areas like your eaves and fascia, doors, frames, or garage doors. Only a professional can do this. Stick with a roller and brush for your trim areas...it will save you time, reduce headaches and you have less risk of overspray damage. So How Much Can I Save by Painting Myself?You will save about 65% of a professionals painting quote if you do it yourself. However studies have shown it will take a DIY 6x the amount as a professional. They have the tools, equipment, and experience.Ask yourself these two questions as you weigh the pros and cons:o Do you want your evenings and weekends to be spent painting you home?o Is it worth the savings to you?SafetyPeople fall of roofs and ladders every day. Is your home higher than two stories? Don't paint that section, it's not worth it. Falling more than 16 feet can be lethal. Hire professionals to paint the higher sections of your home. However, people are often surprised by how much they DO NOT SAVE when they choose to paint the lower section themselves. You should be able to get a quote for entire house painting and just second story painting, in order to budget for this.Most falls occur when ladders are on a road or a slicker surface like a driveway, patio, or concrete walkway. Make sure you tie down your ladder, that way it cannot kick out from underneath you, and you can paint in relative safety.The Final Product Often homeowners are happy with their final product. Others are not and they end up hiring a professional to finish the project. Usually, if you are looking to sell your home in the near future, a do-it-yourself paint job will be critiqued by a potential buyer or realtor. But there is satisfaction and savings in painting your home by yourself, when done properly. Hopefully, this information helped you in your decision.Conclusion So, if you like being outside, you are not afraid of heights, you can be safe, you have a lot of free time on your hands, you like to save money and will be satisfied with your final product, then you are a do-it-yourselferIf getting injured is not an option, you like things perfect, you like your free time, you are afraid of heights, you want to know that your paint will last, you like having a warranty, and want the best paints for the surface of your home, then hire a professional.
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VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are gasses that are emitted by paint that are potentially harmful to your health. To explain in layman's terms what VOCs are...when you apply wet latex paint to an interior wall or trim surface, that paint will usually dry within 30 minutes. As the paint dries like glue to the wall it releases gases from its liquid form. In non ventilated areas, those gases over time can be harmful to human lungs. Most higher quality level paints now dry with very low gases that enter the air. So, with a professional painter using good quality paint, you can be assured that the air you breathe before and after applying paint is safe. Paints with low or no VOCs also allow families to quickly enjoy their freshly painted homes without having to wait for strong odors to fade away.Painting your home "green" does not necessarily mean a higher price. Your paint contractor should be willing to work with your budget to suit your family's needs and your concern for the environment.Tips for "Green" Painting: Only buy as much paint as you need for your project. To clean your brushes after use, use a container of water rather than under a running faucet. Avoid pouring excess paint down a drain. It could potentially harm a stream or other area of water. If your paint container is almost empty, let it dry out completely, without the lid, before throwing it out. Give your excess paint to someone who can use it, such as a neighbor or a non-profit organization.
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A GREAT Paint Contractor Presents Proof of Insurance While a good paint contractor may tell you he's insured, a GREAT contractor presents a copy of his policy, proving the amount of coverage, he carries for both property damage and bodily injury that may result from the contractor's work. By nature, paint materials are highly flammable and, should a tragedy occur, you need to know your contractor is sufficiently insured.
As with many things in life, often there is a silver lining in the cloud that's raining on your parade. Many homeowners suffered loss during the 90s from having to replace the faulty Louisiana Pacific wafer board siding on their homes. While some homeowners were rewarded money for their losses some unfortunate homeowners who arrived late were rewarded noting. As frustrations rose to a deafening level during the nineties, most barely noticed the new product that was just entering the market.During this period of time a new type of siding entered the market that offered the durability that most homeowners demanded. It was perfect timing for a cement based siding to enter the market. Many homeowners and builders rushed to buy HardiePlank to replace the decaying siding that plagued the housing industry. Finally a siding existed that would probably outlast the owner. Most folks viewed this siding as an answer to prayer.Most painters in our industry welcomed the siding. Not having to deal with swelling siding that wouldn't hold paint, certainly made our job easier. While most homeowners and painters were excited about this new long lasting siding, most weren't aware that keeping it caulked would become the new problem that everyone would talk about. The problem was and still is: How do you keep HardiePlank caulked? For homes that have exposure to sunlight and widely varying temperatures, keeping HardiePlank properly caulked is a challenge. HardiePlank expands and contracts a lot under these conditions. Most caulks simply do not have the elasticity to handle the expansion and contraction.I have seen the expansion and contraction of HardiePlank siding pull fresh caulk apart within 24 hours after application. It's great siding to have on your home, but you better know what you're doing when it comes to caulking all the joints.You certainly can't be economy minded with your purchase of caulk when HardiePlank is involved, or you will be doing the job over again. Many painters and homeowners alike seem confused when selecting caulk for this siding. It has been my experience that you should be using caulks that comply with either ASTM C 834 or ASTM C 920. Applying a caulk that falls in this category is doing so within the manufacturers written instructions.I personally prefer using an elastomeric caulk on my customer's homes. Elastomeric caulks are made for masonry substrate surfaces. Sherwin Williams carries a product called Shermax Super Stretch Elastomeric Caulk that I find works well with Hardie Plank Siding. It has the elasticity to handle the constant expanding and contracting of Hardie Plank. All my crews are required to use this product and I see few problems with caulk separation. One common problem that many homeowners find is the Hardie Plank itself was installed improperly. At least a 1/8 inch gap between siding and trim should be left by the installer to allow for a proper amount of caulk to be applied. The 1/8 inch gap is in accordance with caulking manufacturers written instructions. (leave 1/8" gap between siding, trim and butt joints so adequate caulk can be applied.) If less than 1/8 inch gap is available to apply caulk, then the caulk is too thin to handle the amount of stretching it must endure. I have seen Elastoplast Caulk separate where less than a 1/8 inch of a gap existed in the siding joints. Owens Corning also sells a very good caulk for this type application. The last point I want to make is there are solutions to this common annoyance. As a painter it is your responsibility to deliver a product and service that will last. As a homeowner make sure you discuss your painter's plans on how he is going to solve this common problem with Hardie Plank. This action will go a long way toward avoiding loss of time and money.