They painted our home exterior about 12 years ago and did the interior about 9 years ago as part of a major remodel. As it was time to re-paint the exterior again, we used James Lee again, and were very glad we did. In walking around to find 'punch list' corrections after they were done, there was pretty much nothing to find - they did a great job.
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With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.
Because it is next to impossible to find out information about local painting contractors on the Internet, the old adage “talk to neighbors” applies here. Some painting contractors display signs on the lawns of houses they are working on, but you find this more with general contractors and siding and replacement windows companies. So, other than the painter’s white panel van out front, you often do not know what is going on inside your neighbors’ houses.
Hate masking? Careful masking of windows and doors is mandatory if you are painting with a sprayer. There is no such thing as "cutting in" when using a sprayer. But if you have a steady hand, you can hand-paint around windows without even masking them off. As for preparing the landscape, all you need to do is lay a canvas drop cloth on the ground just below your work area. No draping bushes and outdoor furniture with plastic, as you must do with spraying. Paint-spraying requires maximum tarping, not just directly below the surface but well beyond.
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HIGHLY recommend this company. We needed to hire someone to paint the interior of our home. The owner came over initially to give a quote and was very nice. Talked to him about his family and his business. He is very experienced and takes pride in doing great work. They are licensed and have workers compensation insurance, which was really important for us. The actual painters included Sandy, who was amazing and helped me select the right paint colors for our house.
I am a painting contractor and have been since 2001. Make sure the estimate provides in writing: What is EXCLUDED as well as INCLUDED. It should state the manufacturer and type of paint going to be used. Estimate says ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. My estimates to my customers say "guaranteed coverage" eliminates the conversations of 1 coat vs 2 coat. I have my customers submit colors 5 days prior to start date. Customers need to inform me if they are going to use pure white, dark reds, oranges, and bright yellows they need to inform me in that 5 day window, so I can adjust my pricing for 3 coats. Although this more uncommon now than years past because a lot of paint manufacturers have primer with paint products. Let the contractor know if your doing accent walls. This takes longer to cut in straight lines and it requires the contractor to purchase more paint. If you add anything on the scope of work have the painter write out the description and cost prior to them doing the work. Have the estimate say how many days it will take to perform the work. Ask how many workers will be doing the job. Make sure to enforce that number of workers their everyday until the job is complete. Do not give final payment until you do a final walk through. Walk the job when its almost complete and point out areas that you want fixed prior to the contractors final walk through. Its best to do while the workers are still in that particular area as they will have tarps down and areas covered and it will be easier for them to take care of. Purchase a roll of blue tape and stick it to areas that you want fixed. This is called a punch list.
We've heard countless stories of people who have been let down by other house painting services. No one wants to take valuable time off of work to wait for painters who never show up. At Handy, we pride ourselves on connecting our customers with reliable and trustworthy residential house painters. They will arrive on time, fully ready to do your job.
If a quote seems high, ask the contractor what is increasing the price point. Perhaps it's something that can be negotiated, or maybe this business is just overpricing their services. On the other hand, be skeptical of any price points that seem unfathomably low. There could be a reason their prices are below the industry norm - perhaps their quality standards are uncommonly low, too.