Find the right painting contractor

Find the right painting contractor

Choosing the right painting contractor and materials for a painting job is essential for a project’s quality and success. In this episode, painters from St. Louis

 ,  West Palm Beach, Fla., and Cleveland Heights, Ohio, give you insight on what’s involved with a painting project and how to find a contractor.

written and produced by Twinkle VanWinkle

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Leave a Comment - 16




In my experience the key to a good paint job on any surface interior or exterior is PREPARATION. I agree with the comments about sanding lead based paint surfaces but the top coat is only as good as the bottom surface. Today's contractors are good at applying paint but poor at preparation. If you have lead based paint, it should be stripped down to bare wood if necessary, then the surface can be caulked and sanded safely. In some cases it might be cheaper to replace trim, baseboards etc than to strip them. If lead is not involved, make sure that your contractor plans to spend at least as much time in preparation as he does in painting.



I have been involved in 3 paintings as a homeowner over 32 years. I look up the best exterior paint from Consumer Reports. Then I bid the job telling the contractors I will supply the paint. If a contractor is not comfortable with the paint I select, get a different contractor. I figure paint is only 20-25% of the total cost of the job. By buying the best paint myself the contractor has no incentive to use inferior paint, dilute or stretch paint. This has worked well for me with paint lasting 15-20 years in the Cleveland area.



I was pleased to hear and see the text about lead-based paint and lead safe work practices. It was a scary, though, to see the contractors sanding and scraping the old paint that most likely was lead paint.



I'm with Christy. I need a good contract as well as a good painter.

Pamela S. Carle


Real specifics about how to paint and get straight edges, better to do trim first or last?
How to make painted surface (wall) look very smooth?



I agree - more specifics. This is too general. We were once "bitten" - the woodwork was fine, but the painter also managed to get paint on all the weatherstripping of a huge number of the rather expensive windows. Our insulation factor was greatly diminished, and the cost to replace the weatherstripping was prohibitive. The painter was not helpful and we're not the type to sue.



We used Women at Work to do the trim on our house. Fabulous group. The price was fair. They did it in two days, were neat efficient, cheerful. We'd recommend them to anyone in the Syracuse NY area.



This is very long on self-promoting Angie's List and very short on information or insight on what’s involved with a painting project. I'd advise you to do your own research and pay attention to prep work and quality of materials used if you want a quality job if not any good ol’ boy with a spray rig in the back of his truck can give you a headache and part you from your money.



If you can find an office for
Association of General Contractors or "(your locations)" Builders
Association they might be able to lead you in the right direction. Also, check your city's department that issues building permits or the city or county building code enforcement department - they might be able to tell you who to call.



I was hoping for more suggestions on interior planting.



I am going to echo Christy's comments. I would like much more in the way of specifics. This was minimally helpful

Ralph Scott


While this video at least mentions lead paint and the need to use lead-safe work practices for pre-1978 properties, it shows people engaged in unsafe practices working on old-looking homes. It shows dry scraping and the use of power sanders without HEPA exhaust filtration. No one is wearing a proper respirator or disposable protective clothing.

Two years ago, Angie's list sponsored a major lead paint safety educational program in cities across the U.S. What happened to all that good information?
Your video needs to show people using proper precautions.

Starting in April 2010, new federal rules will require contractors for hire to use trained workers and follow lead-safety practices when painting most pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities. More information about this rule is available at

IL Lead Program


We encourage safety when removing old paint such as using plastic to prevent contamination of the soil and protective gear for the contractors. It doesn't appear that either of these are being used in the video. Also, we discourage the use of power sanding when removing paint, again due to the exposure to the contractor, residents and contamination of the soil. It is important that people are aware of the dangers of exposure during renovation activities and know that lead safe work practices are imperative to prevent exposure and contamination. Look for a certified and licensed lead abatement contractor who will issue the residents the Renovate Right booklet required by EPA for disclosure before renovation activities begin in a pre-1978 home or facility where children frequent and those who will use lead safe work practices.

Michael Hughes


If you want to know for sure that your contractor is covered by worker's comp and liability you can have a certificate of coverage provided to you by the insurance company. Tell your painter to have it mailed or faxed to you. It is merely a phone call for him. Also, in reading the contract, be sure it spells out the procedure, how many coats of primer and finish, caulking and putty if necessary and the exact products being used. There are many products offered by the paint companies. Some are excellent and a bit more pricey and some are junk. Just because the contractor says he uses Ben Moore doesn't mean he uses the better lines.



This podcast seems to be more about exterior painting than interior painting (although contract tips are similar for both). I'm interested in more specifics on what to look for in the contract - what kinds of things are most likely to "bite you" later if something goes wrong. Also - how do you actually check if someone has liability and workmens comp insurance coverage? Or that subs have been paid?



looking for a painter

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