A good exterior paint job does not only improve your home's appeal, it also adds a layer of protection to it and increases its value by 2 percent. Painting the interior of your home also has similar benefits as well as improves your lifestyle. 88% of American homeowners say that they have a greater desire to stay at home after having their homes painted. Though it may not seem like it, painting is a hazardous task that leaves you exposed to chemicals and physical dangers like working at heights. Between 2015 and 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded an annual average of 572 deaths caused by exposure to harmful substances, and 841 deaths caused by falls, slips, and trips, making them two of the leading causes of work-related fatalities in the United States.
Taking this into consideration, it is always a good idea to employ the services of a professional painting contractor nearby to expertly handle any painting projects that you have. Doing this saves you from possible hazards, guarantees quality home improvement, and ensures that your home is painted in compliance with industry standards and national safety regulations. The following questions have been designed to guide you in the process of hiring a suitable professional painting contractor near you:
Are You a Licensed Painting Contractor?
Whether or not a painting contractor has to be licensed and the requirements for this licensing generally depends on the state where these contractors are located. Twenty-eight states currently require state-level licensing for painting contractors. In the states that do not require state-level licensing like Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and New York, painting contractors may need to obtain local licenses in some counties, cities, and municipalities. As such, it is advisable to contact your state's licensing department or consumer protection agency to find out the licensing requirements for painting contractors near you. If a license is required, then make sure that your painting contractor has a valid one.
Note that if your home was built before 1978, then your painting contractor is statutorily required to have an EPA-issued certification on lead-safe work practices.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Painting Contractor?
As mentioned earlier, painting is a highly hazardous job. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 42 fatal occupational injuries and 2,730 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were recorded amongst painters in 2019. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that the painting contractor you hire is properly insured and bonded.
Working with an insured painting contractor near you protects you from having to pay any damages if a workplace injury occurs during your painting project and you are sued because of it. Request copies of your painting contractor's insurance certificates, make sure that they are valid, and that they include general liability and workers' compensation insurance plans. Similarly, working with a painting contractor that is also bonded protects you from having to pay for any losses that you may incur if your contractor defaults on the project. You can also request a copy of your contractor's bonding certificate and contact the organization that issued it to verify its authenticity. It is also a good idea to find out from your state's consumer protection agency whether any mandatory bonding and insurance requirements have to be met by painting contractors in your locality.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Painting involves a lot more than just applying paint to a surface. Painting contractors must consider several factors like the type of surface that has to be painted, the type of paint that is to be applied, and the type of tool to be used for applying this paint. There are various types and brands of paints available that you can use for your painting project. Generally, these paints can be divided into two groups based on their solvents:
- Water-based paints: water-based paints are the most common types of wall paints available. They are easy to use, do not require pre-treatment, can be easily cleaned, and can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces. However, they tend to delaminate from walls when affected by moisture and they are not as vivid or long-wearing as oil-based paints.
- Oil-based paints: oil-based paints can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. They are also long-lasting and they provide a rich finish. However, they produce strong fumes when being applied and can be messy to apply.
Paints can also be grouped by their components and uses. These include:
- Aluminum paint: aluminum paint is produced by mixing aluminum particles with oil varnish and it is commonly used for wood and metal surfaces like oil tanks, water pipes, gas tanks, and radiators. This type of paint is resistant to electricity, corrosion, and water exposure.
- Anti-corrosive paint: this type of paint is highly chemical-resistant and is made from zinc chrome, linseed oil, and fine sand. It is durable, affordable, and is commonly used for metallic surfaces and pipes
- Bituminous paint: this type of paint is not suitable for surfaces that are exposed to sunlight and it is commonly used for underwater ironworks, iron pipes, wooden surfaces, and concrete foundations. Bituminous paint is made from dissolved asphalt or tar.
- Casein paint: casein paint is available in both powder and paste form, and it is made from casein that has been mixed with white pigments. However, additional pigments can be added. This type of paint is commonly used for walls, ceilings, and wood surfaces.
- Cellulose paint: cellulose paint is made from amyl acetate, cellulose sheets, photographic films, and castor oil. It is quick-drying, hard, has a smooth finish, and easy to clean and wash. Cellulose paint has water, smoke, and acid resistance, and it is commonly used for cars and airplanes.
- Cement paint: cement paint is usually available in powder form and it has to be mixed with water before it can be used. It is durable and waterproof but has a long drying time. Cement paint can be used for rough internal and external surfaces.
- Emulsion paints: these paints are fast-drying, durable, alkali resistant, and can be easily cleaned. They typically contain driers like manganese and cobalt, with polystyrene and polyvinyl acetate used as their binding materials. Emulsion pains can be used for ceilings, interior walls, masonry surfaces, and wood surfaces.
- Enamel paints: enamel paints are waterproof and chemical resistant. They typically have lead or zinc added to them as a varnish, and they are used for walls, windows, stairs, wood trims, doors, wood flooring, and a wide variety of surfaces. However, they usually require a titanium coating applied to the surface before painting and they are slow drying.
- Oil paints: these types of paints use white lead as their base and are commonly applied on doors, windows, walls, and metal structures. They are easy to apply and easy to clean. However, oil paints take time to dry and they are also not suitable for humid areas.
- Plastic Paint: plastic paint can be used for a wide variety of surfaces including walls, ceilings, decks, and slabs. It uses water as a thinner, dries quickly, and also offers high coverage.
- Silicate Paint: this type of paint is commonly used for metal structures because of its good adhesion, heat resistance, and hardness. It is made from a mixture of silica and resinous substances that also make it chemically unreactive with metals.
- Synthetic rubber paint: synthetic rubber paint is made from dissolved synthetic resins and is commonly used for concrete surfaces. It is weather-resistant, chemical resistant, and also fast drying.
Finally, paints can also be classified based on their finishes and reflectiveness:
- Matte/Flat paints: these paints have the least amount of shine. They are also easily damaged and are typically used for surfaces that won't be touched much and low-traffic areas like ceilings and dining rooms respectively.
- Eggshell paints: these are commonly used for areas that have low or medium traffic like hallways, living rooms, and entryways. They typically offer a bit more shine than matte paints and they are also more durable.
- Satin paints: satin paints are commonly used for high traffic areas like playrooms, family rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They are also easy to clean and provide more shine than matte and eggshell paints.
- Semi-gloss paints: semi-gloss paints are shiny, reflective, durable, and mildew resistant. They are commonly used in areas that are prone to moisture and wear and tear like kitchens, bathrooms, and children's rooms.
- High-gloss paints: high gloss paints offer the most amount of shine and reflectiveness. They are durable, washable, and can be used for cabinetry, doors, and trim, as well as outdoor details like shutters. However, they require proper prep work before application.
Always make sure that your painting contractor is not only capable of applying the type of paint that is best suited to your home but also using the right tools to do so.
Who Will Do the Work?
The size of the area that requires painting typically determines the number of workers that will be required to do the job. If you are painting a single room, one painting contractor is usually enough to handle the job. However, if you are painting your entire house, your painting contractor might involve extra workers to speed things up. Regardless of the situation, you should always find out the specific number of workers that will be involved in your painting project. Request this information from your painting contractor before any work commences and make sure that the number is never exceeded without any prior notice from your contractor. You should also make sure that every worker involved in your painting project is properly insured, bonded, and licensed if necessary.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Before hiring a painting contractor near you, find out whether you will be offered a warranty for the job. A warranty is an assurance that the service you paid for was rendered in the best way possible.
Professional painting contractors typically offer workmanship warranties that cover defects in the contractor's workmanship. This may include cracking, bubbling, flaking, or peeling paint. These warranties specify a period during which they will be valid. Note that many professional painting contractors only offer warranties for exterior paint jobs. This is because interior paint jobs are not usually exposed to the elements like exterior paint jobs and so they have a reduced chance of having any defects.
Always request a written copy of any warranty that you are offered and make sure that it lists any terms, conditions, and exclusions that the warranty may have.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
A permit is an approval that must be obtained for any home construction, remodeling, repair, and alteration projects that will result in a considerable change in the home's footprint or structure. Generally, a permit is not required for painting, however, this is heavily dependent on your location. For example, in Belmont, Massachusetts, Dothan, Alabama, and Palatine, Illinois you do not need a permit to paint any part of your home. On the other hand, in Beverly Hills, California you need to obtain a permit for any type of exterior painting. Similarly, if your home is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, then you will also need to obtain a permit for any exterior painting.
Considering that permit requirements are location-dependent, it is always a good idea to confirm the painting permit requirements of your locality before commencing any painting project. You can do this by contacting the local building department office near you.
Will You Provide References?
You should never hire a painting contractor near you that cannot positively answer this question. Any reputable painting contractor should be able to provide you with a list of past clients that you can contact to get their opinion on the contractor's work ethic and professionalism. Based on the Federal Trade Commission's recommendations, this list should contain at least three names. It is also a good idea to independently get reviews on your painting contractor. You can do this via third-party review websites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Review.
Do You Have a Business License?
Although your painting contractor may not be required to have a professional license, a business license is mandatory for any contractors that wish to conduct business in the United States. As of 2019, there are more than 30.7 million small businesses in the country.
Make sure that your painting contractor is legally allowed to conduct business in your locality by requesting a copy of this contractor's business license and verifying it with your state of residence's Secretary of State.Â
What Are Common Painting Problems?
Some problems that are encountered by homeowners that either tries to paint their homes themselves or hire unprofessional painters to handle the job include:
- Mildew/Mold growth
- Alligatoring and checking
- Gritty painted surfaces
- Sloppy finishes
- Low coverage
These problems can be avoided by employing the services of a painter near you who is a professional to handle any painting projects that you wish to undertake.
How Much Does Painting Cost?
Professional painting contractors typically charge an average rate of $2 - $6 per square foot. However, some painting contractors may charge you an hourly fee of $30 - $50 per hour. Regardless of the charging method that your painting contractor decides to use, the total cost of your painting will primarily depend on the size and location of the area that needs painting.
Some common painting cost estimates include:
Cost estimates of paints by type of primer per gallon:
Cost estimate by of paints by type of solvent per gallon:
Cost estimate of paints by type of finish per gallon:
Cost estimates by type of painting job:
Cost estimates for full interior painting by house size:
Cost estimates for full exterior painting by house size:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Painting?
The cost of painting is primarily is affected by the following factors:
- The size of the area that has to be painted: painting smaller surfaces like a single room requires fewer materials and less time, and will therefore cost you less than painting your entire house
- The nature and labor-intensity of the job: this involves the amount of time spent preparing the area like cleaning dirty surfaces, scraping off old paint, and moving furniture around
- The type of paint to be used: there are various types of paints used, and they all have varying costs. Note that it is never a good idea to select a brand of paint based solely on its cost.
What Qualifications Should Painting Contractors Have?
It is estimated that there are over 232,760 employed painters in the United States. There are generally no educational requirements for becoming a painting contractor and these individuals typically learn on the job. However, some painting contractors have high school diplomas or GEDs and they undergo three to four-year apprenticeship programs provided by organizations like the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and the Finishing Trades Institutes.
Painting contractors that wish to work on houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities that were built before 1978 must obtain mandatory certification on lead-safe work practices from the Environmental Protection Agency. Some professional painting contractors can also obtain voluntary certification from trade associations like the Painting Contractors Association and the Association for Materials Protection and Performance.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Painting Contractor?
Because handymen generally cost less than professional painting contractors, you may be tempted to hire one to handle your painting project. This is a bad idea. Painting may seem like a simple job, but it requires a lot of experience, skill, and expertise, something that the average handyman near you does not have. Hiring a professional painting contractor ensures that your painting project is done properly the first time and that it is done in line with the image that you had for your home.
What Are the Common Post Painting Expenses?
Painting does not generally incur any additional expenses once the project has been completed. This is because your painting contractor typically includes the cost of cleaning up any mess created and disposing of any debris created by the job in your bill.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Painting Expenses?
Your homeowner's insurance will cover your painting expenses only if your paint was damaged suddenly and unexpectedly by a peril that your policy covers. This means that if you are undertaking a painting project simply to increase the aesthetic appeal of your home, then your homeowner's insurance will not cover the cost of doing this. However, if your home's paint job was damaged by a fire or due to vandalism, then it is very likely that your homeowner's insurance will cover the cost of repainting.
It is estimated that property damage accounted for an average of 97% of all homeowners' insurance claims filed annually between 2014 and 2018. Some types of damages commonly covered by many homeowners' insurance policies include water damage, fires, wind and hail damage, lightning, and theft. Note that the circumstances under which an insurance company will pay for damages to your home vary, and so it is important that you read a homeowner's insurance policy very carefully before agreeing to it.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Painting Contractor?
More and more small businesses in the US today, including painters near you, are willing to accept digital payments. Cash, check, and money order payments are generally not as fast, safe, or convenient as digital payments, and this is why many painting contractors prefer them. The Covid-19 pandemic also served to increase their popularity amongst Americans as a widely accepted form of paying for products and services. However, you should always verify your contractor's preferred method of payment before commencing any project. It is also advisable to collect a receipt for any transactions that you have to pay for with cash, check, or money order.