The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.

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Next, undercut the trim to create a gap (Photo 3). When you’re done, scrape any dirt or gunk out of the gap with a putty knife and blow out the dust using a vacuum or air compressor. To avoid staining the concrete, run at least three layers of masking tape under the wood. Apply repellent to all bare wood (Photo 4) including the underside (Photo 5). Bend a putty knife in a vise to make a handy tool for reaching into tight areas. Remove the tape right after application.
The house bath may reveal nails that have popped out of the siding or rusting nail heads that have left streaks of rust on exterior walls. If so, use sandpaper or steel wool to clean the nail heads. On clapboard siding, use a nail set to recess the nail head about ⅛ inch below the surface of the wood. Dab on a coat of rust-inhibiting primer (unless the nail is aluminum or nonrusting galvanized steel), and let it dry. Then fill the nail hole with spackle or putty. When the filler is dry, give it a coat of primer. For flathead nails, which cannot be recessed, sand the heads until they're shiny, and coat with primer.

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If you talk with a painting contractor long enough, you’ll inevitably hear; “There’s no good help out there.” It’s easy to hide behind this excuse, but it’s not true. There are plenty of reliable painters out there, business owners just don’t take the time to find them. It takes TIME to find good people, time you wouldn’t have if you were busy painting.

Of the two, interior painting projects are easily the better option for do-it-yourselfers. Since it is not subjected to the elements (or the eyes of passersby), there is a lot more leeway. There are several ways to make DIY interior painting more successful and get closer to professional results, including researching your paint choice, proper wall preparation, understanding good taping techniques and purchasing or renting a professional grade paint sprayer. Before you go it alone, get estimates from a few different contractors and compare them to the hours and material expenses of doing it yourself. While eliminating labor costs is bound to bring some financial advantage, when you add up the materials and the free time spent, you may be surprised at just how reasonable some professional quotes can be.


Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.

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Stacee, I agree with you completely, from adding water to latex paint to taking whites from job to job. This article makes all painters look like scam artists. You get what you pay for people! There is no denying that there are scammers out there but in my experience, most painters are under paid any ways so if you want a good paint job, you are going to pay for it. If you just want a new color on your walls real quick, and that is what you pay for then that's what you pay for people. Most painters get the crap end of the stick and are left with making an entire house look good when it took a lot more than a painter to build the house in the first place. Good painters do not get enough credit. They are not all scammers who are cutting corners!
Not only did they paint our home- they also helped reattach a drain pipe that had partially come off the home, removed a small bee or wasps nest hanging off a side of the roof (this was SO nice of them and totally unexpected), and painted over some railings that were in serious need of TLC but were not included in our quote (we didn't ask for them to be painted when James came to meet with us). David asked my husband first about the railings and only painted them when he gave them the okay- it looks so much better and we appreciated this so much! While the painters were working we also had a termite inspection and contractor come over to look at something in the kitchen- David's team had no problem with this and were very accommodating.

Meet the pros. Call in at least three different contractors for your job. (Friends and family are good reference sources.) And be home for the initial meeting with them. That way, you’ll know how much time each contractor took to assess the condition of your home. The longer he takes, the more realistic the estimate you’ll get. Even an experienced painter will need more than a quick walk around your house.

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Comment: Due to foundation problems, I have a room with many cracks and detached crown molding. I need the crown molding reattached and recaulked and the wall cracks repaired and painted. No rush on this; I'm currently just getting bids. I'm reluctant to hire a handyman for this because I want to be sure the repairs are done correctly by an experienced painter.

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You can save a bundle by doing the labor yourself. The biggest DIY expense is paint. Other expenses include buying or renting supplies and equipment, like caulk, primer, brushes, rollers, tarps and ladders or scaffolding. Freeman advises applying paint with brushes, not a sprayer. “If you overspray all the window frames and overspray your shingles and your sidewalks and the brick on the front of the house, you do damage that is not easily fixed,” he says.
As you scrape, you may find that the wood has turned gray or black in some areas. Check for rot by probing these areas with a nail. Spots that are discolored but firm are simply weathered. Weathered wood doesn’t hold paint very well, so sand away the gray surface. If you find soft areas, you’ve got rot. Small, shallow soft spots can be dug out and repaired with a two-part filler such as Minwax High Performance Wood Filler. But when rot is deep and widespread, it’s best to replace the entire piece of wood.
Paint will be your next-biggest cost, at anywhere from $20 to $70 or more per gallon, depending on the sheen, the grade you’ve chosen and any special features. Some paints, for instance, are mold resistant. Others suppress smells or require fewer coats. Some have a lifetime warranty. Paints with warranties, however, may not be worth a higher price. In Consumer Reports tests approximating nine years of wear, only a few exterior paints and stains with lifetime warranties held up well. But “you’ll grow tired of the color long before a good-quality paint wears out,” Bancroft says. House Painting Wheat Ridge, CO
"We used Next Door Painting for the exterior and one room on the interior of our house. Scott Finkelstein and his crew did an excellent job. They were reasonably priced, very professional, helpful with ideas and accommodating to our wishes and needs. I was contacted within an hour after my Thumbtack request, made an appointment for an estimate and was impressed with the knowledge and quality of the presentation. I definitely recommend them for the job and will use them again. House Painting Wheat Ridge, CO
The article was well-intended, but it makes it sound like painters are the crooks and consumers are innocent victims. That is blatantly un-true. Maybe there should be a follow-up article that educates consumers how not to be shysters by expecting a ton more than they said at the start, or not paying the balance of the job unless something else is done that was not in the contract. Tradesmen have a rough road when dealing with consumers that have short arms but long lists of by-the-way items. No, I'm not a painter...

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