Consider purchasing supplies personally to save money. Ask the painter for a bid that separates labor and materials. Then explain that you'll purchase the materials and ask for a list of exactly what will be needed to complete the job. Caulking, for example, is an extra supply commonly used to fill any cracks or damaged areas in your walls -- and one that might be overlooked in an incomplete list.
Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Sure, it adds to your the total time and money spent on your project, but it's certainly worth doing the job right the first time. Otherwise, you'll spend additional time and money down the line on maintenance and repairs. To ensure proper preparation, follow this process before painting your home's exterior (keeping in mind that the process may vary based on exterior materials):
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In Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Tom tricks his friends into painting his aunt's fence. You probably won't get that lucky, but there are good reasons many homeowners keep their painting in-house. No building codes apply to interior decoration; if you do something dumb, you don't risk life and property as you would if you were, say, tackling a rewiring job; and because labor typically accounts for 80 to 85 percent of the price of a paint job, you'll save a ton by doing the work yourself.

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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.
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.
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.
A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labor and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.

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For years, Handy has been living up to its name by connecting busy customers with house painters. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a house or an apartment—you’re just a mouse-click away from booking top-rated residential house painters. Using Handy to find house painting services is a great way to save time and money! All you need to do is type in your zip code, enter a little information about your wall painting job, and within minutes, you’ll be connected to a top house painting professional in your area.  

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Natalie Miller is the Operations Manager for the Fort Worth Northwest and Southwest Territories.  She holds an associates degree from Brookhaven College. Mrs. Miller is most often the voice you will hear when calling the Fort Worth office. Her goal is to make your experience with Southern Painting one you will happily share with your friends and neighbors.
I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.

Climate is another factor to consider. Sunlight, wind, rain and salty weather can all wear out exterior paint. Oil-based paint is durable against wind, rain and temperature changes, but sunlight tends to degrade it. Alkyd paint chalks and sheds very thin layers when it begins to wear. Latex paint is the more durable option for very sun-drenched and relatively dry climate areas. Latex paint with high vinyl content should be avoided, however. Acrylic resin is by far the more durable binder for outdoor latex paint.
Start painting near the top of the house and work your way down. Apply paint to the butt or bottom edge of the siding first, then paint the broad surfaces. To avoid lap marks, always try to brush from one wet surface onto another wet surface. When that's not possible and you must paint onto a previously painted and dried surface, overlap onto the dried-paint surface by several inches. House Painting Wheat Ridge, CO
We had a bad experience with an interior painter years ago, with the crux of the problem being him overcharging us at the end for "extra work" he didn't anticipate. One thing I'd strongly recommend is making sure it's in the contract that any additional work or growth work is estimated and communicated to the owner as soon as it is identified, otherwise the owner is not liable to pay it at the end. Home Painters Wheat Ridge, CO

Oh, where to begin? Let me start with 'watered down paint'. 25-50% before the material gets to the site? Impossible. You would basically be painting with water at that point. It would be less of a hassle, and cost, to simply use proper material. You would be forced to apply three coats instead of two, as the coverage would be horrible. Whatever cost you think might be saved in materials would be lost in labor. House Painting Wheat Ridge, CO
To determine how much paint your house needs, measure the house's perimeter. Then multiply that figure by the height, excluding gable ends. Take the measurements with a steel tape measure, or reel out a ball of twine around the house and mark and measure the twine. If you will use a different paint on your home's trim, subtract 21 square feet for every door and 15 square feet for each typical window. Divide the final figure by the square-foot coverage specified on the can of paint to determine the number of gallons you will need for one coat.
I hired House Painters Inc. and set up a date for them to come.  The whole operation took about 5 and a half days from start to finish.  Sung and his crew were extremely conscientious of all our belongings and took great care preparing the house.  They showed up on time at 8:30 everyday, and were completely unobtrusive with our comings and goings during their week here.
Our workers will arrive promptly every day to commence the exterior house painting services and make sure to clean up the property at the end of each shift. The painters we work with are college-aged students who have received extensive training on house painting services and business management skills alike. They model their work after this five-step system that is proven effective:
Hi, I’m Luis. I have many yrs of experience and expertise doing some of the following jobs ; Handyman, Car Mechanic, Detailing, Pressure Washing, Deliveries, Towing and many others. I’m very honest and detail on what I do and you better believe that I personally take good pride on every single job I do. Thanks for looking at my Bio. Looking forward to help you with your needs.
hello, Eric I just wanted to thank you for the time and information you put in to this, Ive been wanting to start my own small paint business for a long time but I was like a lot of other people,i didn’t know how to get it started or even how to estimate a job.this information you give is very helpful and already learned a lot just from reading the material you provided on here and clicking on some of your links.you have been a blessing and gave me that extra push and know how to get my small business started. House Painting Wheat Ridge, CO
I hired House Painters Inc. and set up a date for them to come.  The whole operation took about 5 and a half days from start to finish.  Sung and his crew were extremely conscientious of all our belongings and took great care preparing the house.  They showed up on time at 8:30 everyday, and were completely unobtrusive with our comings and goings during their week here.

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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