13 Questions to Ask A Painter BEFORE You Hire Them

Is there something in your house that needs painting? Living in an older home there is almost ALWAYS something that could use new paint. I decided to tackle painting my son’s room, until I started the prep work.

Flash forward, I’m standing on a wobbly ladder that doesn’t really reach. After much internal struggle, I decided maybe it wasn’t a good idea to tackle the painting job myself. Did you know that each year there are 164,000 emergency room visits from ladder falls.

So, I went in search of an experienced professional painter or a reputable painting company. I called professional painters that I found on Thumbtack and Google. Read more about how to find contractors here. Two painters came and each gave e a free quote. The information about the painting process and the bids were drastically different, so this lead me to ask more specific questions. I hope this list of questions will help you find the right painter for your specific job.

paint tips

Here are the most important questions you should ask a painter before you hire them:

  1. How many coats of paint are included on each type of surface, wall, trim, door, ceiling?
  2. What types of paint and specific paint products will you use?
  3. How long have the members of your team been with the company, specifically those that will be in my home? How many years of experience have they had?
  4. If you are painting wood trim what kind of paint will you use on that? (read more about that below).
  5. Will I be able to leave furniture in the room?
  6. Exactly what kind of prep work am I expected to do? Take down window coverings, remove switch plate covers, take down art, remove rugs?
  7. Does your bid include patching/repairing any damaged places on the walls or wood trim or fixing rough wall surfaces?
  8. How will damage be repaired?
  9. What is the deposit? and how much will be paid upon completion?
  10. Is there a warranty and for how long? Does the warranty cover peeling, cracking, flaking or blistering? Be aware that any kind of warranty is not going to cover changes in the walls due to structural changes (like shifting foundations in Texas).
  11. How long will the project take from start to finish?
  12. If there are touch ups I notice after the work is complete, does your bid cover those?
  13. How will my floors be protected?
  14. Always be sure to ask for information about previous work for other property owners and referrals you can contact. Online reviews are nearly impossible to verify.

One Last Thing; Pro Painter Tips Worth Sharing

One-Coat Paints – There are lots of “one-coat” paints on the market now. When I asked both paint companies if this type of paint could be used they both responded that one-coat paints just don’t cover well UNLESS you are painting the same color.

Best Paint for Trim/Wood – When it came to painting the trim/doors I got wildly different information. One painter said that I MUST use oil-based paint because my house is old and there is no way that the existing paint is latex. Read more about how to tell if your paint is oil or latex.

The problem with oil-based paint isn’t the way it looks, it’s the way it smells. My windows don’t open and paint fumes can cause headaches, skin irritation and off-gasing. There is no way to get low VOC oil-based paint. Read more about the harmful effects of being exposed the fumes from oil-based paints.

The second painter I used suggested an alternative paint that is NOT oil based called Pro Industrial Alkyd Eurythane. This is a paint developed by Sherwin Williams to replace oil-based paint. I went to painter forums where the pros discuss different paints. The comments from real painters (with no skin in the game) supported this paint as a good alternative.

Knowing the right questions to ask may help you avoid a painting disaster whether you are tackling a DIY home improvement project or searching for experienced painters. I hope these questions and tips will give you a better idea of what you need to know to find the right company the next time you have a painting project.

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One Comment

  1. Great tips Andrea! I am indeed in the market for a painter, and these questions will save me tons of frustration! (I know, because I’m already getting a little frustrated in my search!) 🙂 SO appreciate you doing the questions research for us!

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