How to choose a painting contractor

Spring is here and it’s time to get out and look at your home and see what needs to be done.  If it’s time to paint your home, you’re probably wondering how to choose a good painting contractor and like most people, you’re concerned about cost.

So how do you find a good painting contractor without breaking the bank?  Well first of all, sorry to say, price should not be your primary focus.  A badly done paint job that saved you a few hundred dollars this year could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.  Prep work and product selection is key and you want to be sure to use a contractor with a history of doing good work.  Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find such a contractor. A contractors years of experience really does matter. Ask at the local paint store, they usually know who is good and they hear complaints from customers who have had bad experiences.   All prep should include pressure washing, scraping, sanding, and spot priming or a full prime.

Many exterior painting contracts include materials in the price without specifying the exact product and I stress exact.  Many painting contracts will include for example “Ben Moore” paint, but which Ben Moore paint? Is it the contractor grade, SuperSpec or is it high end Aura?  The price difference and quality is significant, gallon price of $20’s vs $60’s.  A swing of $40.00 per gallon on an entire home can make a big difference in your overall pricing ($400.00 to $600.00)  Each painting contractor has a preferred product that has worked best over time so be sure to ask.  Job longevity is an important factor.  You should expect to get 3-5 years on a stain job and 5-7 on paint.

Method of application is another factor that makes a difference in cost.  Spray applications are usually less costly than hand painting.  There are homes that should be sprayed, but most homes will have the best result if they are hand painted.  Why?  Because spraying is all about the guy behind the gun.  If he is experienced and does his job well, great, but if he doesn’t, the result will not show up immediately but will show up as the job ages.  Uneven spraying will show up as areas of high and low paint builds.  Hand painting is the best way to insure even coverage.  The method is a bit slower, but we believe it offers the best result.

For more information on paint, paint quality, color and design, check out The Paint Quality Institute at

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