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