Interior and Exterior Painting

You often hear when you’re told how to to ask about the quality of the contractor’s work.

The definition of quality can be somewhat subjective. Yet, there are definite parameters that define whether you received a quality house paint job or not. You should be familiar with these seven things before you hire a painting contractor.

Paint Quality Tip #1 – Proper Protection from Paint

In most cases, a painting contractor isn’t working with an empty house. If you are painting the exterior of your house, protecting shrubbery and landscape plantings from paint is very important. Not only is paint ugly on your bushes, it can also harm the plants. Landscaping is an important aspect of curb appeal so you don’t want to have to reinvest in it after you’ve had your home painted.

If the painting contractor is going to be working inside your home, you want to be assured that your furniture and floors don’t end up with paint all over them. You also don’t want paint on light fixtures and doorknobs. You want paint to be where it belongs and nowhere else.

Paint Quality Tip #2 – Proper Pre-Paint Preparation

A paint job will not last if proper pre-paint preparation techniques are not used. Things like silicone, wax, polish, grease and dirt will prevent the paint from adhering properly. Things might look okay for a short while, but when bad weather arrives, it becomes apparent that pre-paint preparation was sloppy.

Before new paint can be applied, it’s important that all dirt and grime, mold and mildew and chalking or peeling paint be removed. This is important whether the painting is in the interior of the home or on the exterior.

Painting contractors may use water blasting as a pre-painting technique on exterior walls. Water blasting is a quick and easy way to clean off dirt and grime. It can remove mold and mildew. It can also remove paint that’s chalking or peeling. But it also has the potential for damaging exterior materials is too high pressure is used.

So how do you know you’re working with a professional? One sign is a professional will ask you to turn off the electricity to all the outlets and fixtures on the outside of the house. A professional will protect each outlet and fixture by wrapping it with plastic and securing the plastic carefully with tape.

A professional contractor won’t expect to come back the next day and start painting if you have wood siding. The professional knows that it takes several days for the wood to dry out. In fact a professional will use a moisture meter to make sure that the reading is 15% or less before painting.

Paint Quality Tip #3 – Caulking

You have the right to expect a painting contractor to caulk holes, window frames and other trim areas that typically require caulking. One of the goals of painting your home is to protect it from the environment. Caulking prevents water from seeping in behind trim and causing extensive damage.

On the inside of the home, caulking eliminates the home many bugs would like to make behind your trim work or cabinets. Caulking is all part of doing a quality job both inside and out.

Paint Quality Tip #4 – Clean Lines between Separate Paint Colors

We’ve all seen painting jobs where the junction between the ceiling and the walls looks messy because color from the walls slopped up onto the ceiling. No professional should walk away from a paint job where the lines between ceiling and trim, or ceiling and wall aren’t straight and clean.

Paint Quality Tip #5 – Neat Painting Around Windows, Doors and Trim

A painter who does quality work spends time masking. You have the right to expect windows without paint on them. If you use a different color to frame the trim around your windows and doors, you have the right to expect that color to only appear on the trim.

You should never have paint on doorknobs or hinges either. Only amateur painters fail to mask these typical door features. The same goes for light and electrical fixtures.

Paint Quality Tip #6 – No Drips

A professional never leaves a drip running down the wall. Any drips should be sanded down then retouched with another coat of paint.

Paint Quality Tip #7 – Even Coverage

The color of the paint should be consistent and even everywhere. You shouldn’t see any evidence of a previous color showing through. If it takes three coats of paint in some areas to accomplish this goal, that’s the responsibility of a professional painter. To ensure you’re happy with the level of coverage, you want to inspect the paint job under bright light. Daylight is usually the best, but bright artificial lighting is also useful. If you can inspect the paint job under both conditions, it’s a good idea before you pay that contractor.

Now that you know what to look for in a quality house paint job, you can use these tips as a checklist. They will help you select a contractor, and they will help you evaluate a contractor’s work before you make your final payment.