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.
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.

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Interview your contractor.Before you choose a contractor, get three bids for comparison and ask the right questions. Bunting says you need to know the following: Do they have proper licenses, insurance, and bonding? Do they subcontract the work out? Do they offer written guarantees of their work? “Recommendations from friends and family are always a good measure,” adds Rance. “And ask for references from previous customers.”
If a company has a formal training program, it’s a safe bet that they have their act together. They can do training in-house through regular meetings of their employees.  They can have field training systems in place, usually coordinated with classroom training sessions.  They can also use trade associations, such as PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) or paint manufacturer’s representatives to stay up to date with the latest materials and techniques. 

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basic formula? single color exterior labor only ranges from $0.85 to $0.95 per sq foot as a BASE starting point. Prices go up depending on multiple colors, slope of surrounding areas, multiple stories..etc.Some painters charge per window to mask off. Ive seen $25 a window to $50.  Interiors without flooring can be factored the same way. When you start having to do multiple colors, cut ins, masking, room isolation...etc. the price jumps considerably. I always start with a base of $0.85 a sq foot and figure it out from there. the season plays a major role too. paint and materials are charged separatly and are typically marked up at a minimum of 15%. I always tell clients this. that way they pick the paint out they want and what quality they want as well. Anyways...thats your base. 1250 sq foot home @ .0.95 a ft = $1,187.50 (one color). Pressure washing, Add another $45-$55 per hour. a 1250 sq ft home is not going to take longer than 2-3 hours if its a single story. 

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Satin - Has a slight sheen as seen in Figure 6. This is our standard paint sheen unless specified otherwise. Satin is more durable and easier to clean than a Flat paint. It may highlight rotted or swollen areas in the siding more than a Flat paint. Scott's Painting & Staining Inc. can repair these areas prior to repainting. The house in Figure 6 is finished with Sherwin Williams SuperPaint in a Satin finish, which gives the house a brilliant sheen!

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Painters tend to establish a relationship with a particular store or brand of paint. If a painter is reluctant to use another product, it is fair to ask why. A potential contractor needs to be able to have facts to back-up why they use a certain brand. If you are being steered toward a low-cost product, find a different painting company. Most professionals do not use paint from the big box chain stores for many reasons and they know that you never get more than you pay for when it comes to paint.
Steve, not only did you come off with an edge regarding the article written for Angie's list but you came awfully close to being slanderous. The article was written if you will have read his bio by a very well established professional painter. The issue regarding the deposit was put in question by a responder. I have read your response in full as you suggested, and companies as large as yours are just as likely to use the tricks of the trade as the small guy as you suggest, if not more so. A large company has less oversight and workers get lazy with the boss not looking over their shoulder. I have had experience in this area, and thought that i was dealing with a very reputable company that had been recommended by a couple friends, my insurance company, and my adjuster who had dealt with the company. I had terrible problems with the company, who do full restorations and like your company paint in all areas. To finalize your statement that Established businesses do not cheat customers is completly false and is a very misleading statement. I am suprised that Angies list allowed you to post such an outragious comment. All you have to do is look in the Civil lawsuits section of the Established businesses that are being sued or are under investigation for fraud and cheating their customers!
Over time, even the best paint job needs a new coat. Old paint peels and fades and those colors that were all the rage ten years ago can start to look a bit dated. With your busy schedule, you've got no time to pick up a paintbrush, and you've just remembered that your in-laws are in town for dinner next week! We hear stories like this all the time, and our reply is always the same: don't panic! Book a painting professional through the Handy platform. Wall painting shouldn’t be stressful and when you use the Handy platform, it won’t be.
Hi Elaine, We would be happy to get you connected with a painting and wallpaper pro. You can submit a service request on our website: http://www.homeadvisor.com/ or browse reviews for local pros here: http://www.homeadvisor.com/c.html. We can also have a project advisor reach out to assist you if you send your contact information to [email protected] –HASupport
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.

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I totally agree with this as well. I think every time I have read Angie's List reports, they are inaccurate and not researched enough. I had COMPLETE faith in Angie but lately I am hesitate on reports. I would check your local hardware store or even your neighbors to get a recommendation for painters. If you liked what you saw, you can be stress free with your results. I live in Texas and I have borrowed my hardware store opinion bc that seems to be the place most of the contractors or painters come to buy stuff for the jobs. If your neighbors painters, contractors, electricians and plumbers have shown good results, stress free you. I have been stress free with results, glad I asked for other opinions.Don't forget, the Hardware Store knows if that person is trustworthy and honest, their accounts would be shut down.

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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.
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.

We are a Naperville-based house painting company offering professional, high quality painting -for interior painting, exterior painting, & deck staining, & powerwashing - without the high prices.  Each project is closely monitored by the owner, from the paint and color selection through to the last stroke of the brush.  We provide "one client at a time" service.

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