Paint Prep: What to Know Before Painting Your House

House Painter
Posted at 5:45 AM, Aug 25, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:58:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Does your house need a new paint job? You can cut corners, but it's still an expensive job.  

Spraying can be cheaper and faster, but is it better than an old-fashioned brushing? Are you liable if a worker falls off a ladder? Should you trust a quote over the phone? Answers to these questions and more in this Angie's List report.

The first priority in picking a painter is finding three reputable companies to come to your home to provide a thorough estimate. If they want to give you a quote over the phone, move on. Ask how they will apply the paint, which can make a big difference in the price.

"When getting your estimate on exterior painting, be sure to ask the painter what type of process they are going to use. If they plan to spray the home, it's going to use more paint. If they are going to roll it, it will likely take longer. This will allow you to compare apples to apples when comparing estimates," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Professional painter Todd Cartmel prefers brushing-and-rolling instead of a standard spraying. He says it lasts twice as long -- as much as 12 years when done with a premium paint.  A spray job can also be long-lasting, but only if properly applied.

"As long as the spray application is back-brushed and back-rolled and the paint is applied at the correct thickness, it's really no different than the brush and roll application only," said Cartmel.

Regardless of process, make sure the company you hire is actually the company painting your house. Cartmel estimates that 60 to 70 percent of all jobs are sub-contracted to independent companies, which could put you at risk.

"A lot of times, that crew doesn't have workman's comp insurance, doesn't carry liability insurance, which leaves the homeowner unprotected in the event that something may happen," said Cartmel.

And if you live in an older home, confirm that your painter is lead-certified.

"If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that your home has lead paint and there are federal regulations about proper procedures to use when painting your home. When you are hiring a painter and they don't bring up these regulations, you should get another painter," said Hicks.

Some contractors will offer to buy the paint for you, but ask if there's an additional charge for that.  You can also ask to use their painter's discount if you prefer to buy it yourself.      

Premium paint is best -- otherwise you could be doing it all again in just a few years.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.