6 things to consider when hiring an interior painter

When hiring an interior painter, be sure to ask if the estimate includes additional costs, such as trim painting or moving furniture. (Photo by Wade Dowdy)

When hiring an interior painter, be sure to ask if the estimate includes additional costs, such as trim painting or moving furniture. (Photo by Wade Dowdy)

Interior painting is one home improvement project that can quickly refresh your home's interior for relatively little time and money. When hiring a contractor to paint the interior of your home, consider these six tips:

1. Check for lead paint. If you have a home built before 1978, hire a qualified lead expert to check it out before you begin any work. Some older homes still have lead paint in the original layers.

2. Prep for paint. Paint preparation is the foundation for the entire job — if done correctly your paint will perform to its fullest potential. If done incorrectly, the best paint will crack, peel, or chip easily. Make any necessary repairs before you start your painting project. Dirty walls should be cleaned, especially near the stove and sink. Greasy deposits and soap scum can interfere with paint's adhesion.

Related article: Planning is key for interior painting projects

3. Hiring a professional. The contract should include what will be done and the products used. This includes the type and amount of surface preparation, priming and type of primer, and the brand of paint. Also include how many coats of paint will be included.

4. Ask about extra costs. Removing heavy furniture may not be included in the painter’s estimates. If you can’t do it, ask if there will be an extra charge. Also, having to paint crown molding, baseboards or walls/ceilings taller than the average of 8 feet can also add to costs.

5. Pick a paint color. Keep in mind the perceived space of the room. Dark colors tend to make a room look smaller, while light colors open up the space. Test drive your color by investing in a quart-sized (or smaller) can of paint in the color you’re thinking of using before you buy a bigger (and more expensive) can. Paint a small portion of your wall and watch the color in different lights throughout the day so you don’t get stuck with a color that only looks how you want it to look in broad daylight. Stick with neutral colors if you’re planning to sell your home. Keep in mind that buyers want to be able to visualize their things in your home.

Related article: Some incredible interior painting tips to make your rooms rock!

6. Choose a finish. If you have many imperfections on your walls, consider a flat paint, but keep in mind flat paint is harder to clean. An eggshell finish has slight shine/gloss and is also good for walls, but holds up better with cleaning. A general rule is the higher the sheen, the better it will stand up to washing and cleaning.

Related article: Which is the perfect interior paint finish for your project?

 


Editor's note: This is an updated version on an article originally posted on Oct. 20, 2009.


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Comments

Nobody mentioned liability insurance and workman's comp / waver documentation. Is that not significant?

Make sure the painter you hire is ligitimate. I hire a painter, gave a deposit and he never came back again. Jeff Radziewicz from Plainfield Illinos. Please do not hire him.

I hired a local self employed company to do some repairs and painting. Everything seemed to fall apart soon when my job kept being pushed aside for other jobs. Eventually the crew that were working in my home finished and so did a few other items in my house.

While painting isn't rocket science there is a lot of job-aquired skill in paint which a professional painter/home remodeler has aquired. There are way to many "EXPERTS" in home repair now and also way too many homeowners that know everything about nothing. As a full home remodeler/repair with over 30 years in the industry most people need to hire a pro and several bids should be the norm for ANY project about to be undertaken. The low bid is hardly ever the best but then again with todays economy a lot of professionals are looking for work. Just BEWARE of any one that comes in and immediately starts talking about lead abatement and air quality as most of these type of "Professional" contractors was probably working as an engineer or a school teacher or some other type of professional last year. Always check references, ask for a list of satisfied customers going back at least ten years and find out how long the individual has been a professional home repair/skilled craftmen in the field of the project you are paying them for...

As in any construcion project, the prep work is 80% of the job! A well prepped project will always save you money and future headaches. Make sure that your job is done right the first time.

I've hired numerous painters over the years, and the last guy I used made me realize I had never hired a good painter before. He practically replastered the walls - took tons of time filling in cracks and dents, the walls looked amazing. NOW I know what I was missing in previous jobs!

As the homeowner, I've done all of our interior and most of our painting. Whenever you paint, preparation is truly key. Anyone can slap on a coat of paint and call it done. If you want something that looks good and lasts, take the time to clean the walls (also if there is a smoker in the house, nicotine sticks to paint), fill any holes, and take care of any imperfections in the surface. Also, tape off ceilings, door and window frames, and any other place you don't want paint to land. Depending on the size of the room and the number of doors and windows, it might take you 2-3 times the amount of time to prep as to paint. I've never had a contractor paint in my home, but if I did, the first question I'd ask is for a detailed list of how much preparation they would do. If it wouldn't be at least as thorough as mine, I wouldn't hire them. Also, ask about priming before painting, particularly if you're going to cover a darker color with a lighter one. There are now all in one primer/finish paints. If this is not going to be used, ask to have the primer tinted as close to the finish color as you can get.

Re: lead based paint - No need to make special arrangements to check for lead based paint in most instances. Just determine that the paint contractor is a Certified Renovator under the EPA (or state: 10 states so far) Renovation, Repair, and Painting) program. A CR knows how to minimize and contain dust when disturbing lead paint when found. (The CR can also test.) It's usually simple to do so. RRP will add to the cost of the job. The increase is notable for a full exterior paint job if lead based paint found. On interior work, the extra costs are relatively small: a few percent usually. RRP is ONLY about dust from DISTURBING lead based paint. That said, don't let kids near paint chips and dust, eh?

My husband and I are repainting our 100 year old bungalow interior. I'm also an indoor air quality specialist at a not-for-profit, and there are some good practices I follow in my own home with painting to keep the air we breathe as healthy as possible. Homeowners painting their home, whether it's a new coat or a new house, should ask their contractor about low-emitting paints. As the paint is applied and dries, it can release high levels of VOC's, chemicals that may be toxic to the air your family breathes (not to mention, they stink!). On top of that, these off-gassing chemicals can be absorbed by soft materials already in your home (carpet, furniture, pillow, fabric) and act as a new source to continue releasing harmful chemicals (known as "the sink effect"). There are tons of third party certified low-emitting paints on the market now for more competitive pricing and selection. You can find them listed on my organization's website at greenguard.org (those that we certify) or you can find more info from your contractor :) Happy painting!

We are constantly being asked by home owners the best painters in the Seacoast of NH area - any time we are applying a new roof.

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