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What To Expect From A Professional Painter

What to expect from a professional painter

Getting To Know Your Painter

As you go about finding estimates from different house painters, in many cases those figures will be varied.  Some professional painters will give you a written estimate in a formal manner or on a piece of paper and others will give you a verbal estimate with ball-park figures.  While all this is well and fine, make sure of what you’re purchasing.

Here are some things or questions you can ask to help you understand what you’re getting.

Know what’s being painted and not being painted.

When comparing estimates, if you look closely, you often find comparing estimates is comparing apples and oranges. Some painting companies may be painting the gutters on your soffits, some may not.  Some painters may prime and some may not. Some painters won’t caulk wood joints where the caulk is failing, some will. Some painters will paint the window trim or door frames, some will not.  

So when you are looking to compare estimates, know what they’re painting and what they’re not painting.

How will they paint?

By “how will they paint”, I’m referencing things like priming vs spot priming, using brushes, rollers or airless sprayer. What kind of prep work will be performed?

Not every painter is the same… just ask some of your neighbors and they may have a horror story to share.

A good painter will spend a lot of time in their prep work to ensure the paint they apply will adhere properly to the surface being painted. So ask your painter how will they paint or what kind of prep work is involved in the project?

What products do they plan on using?

By “products” we’re discussing the type of paint they intend to apply.  

sherwin-williamsMany painting contractors will use Sherwin-Williams or PPG (Porter-Paints) for their painting.  But realize that these companies have different types of paint with different characteristics.  Some paint is good for colder weather or higher moisture levels, while other paints are not ideal for those conditions.  Some painters are self-priming, while other paints are not.  BUT let’s get the secret out – there is no such thing as a paint+primer. It’s basically a marketing gimmick, to be honest.


What type of sheen does the painter plan to use or recommend?

In all, your painter should be able to explain the type of paint they’re using and why they feel that type of paint would be best for your particular project.

Is your painter protecting surfaces not being painted?

There are, unfortunately, a lot of painters out there that do not protect the customer’s property during the painting process. A good painter will use drop clothes, paper, tarps, masking tape, etc to protect various surfaces from and possible splatter or drips that can occur.  

Furthermore, when it comes to exterior painting, whether it’s commercial painting or residential, the painting contractor should be aware of possible overspray.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to move any equipment or vehicles far enough away from a painting project to ensure what’s not being painted does not get any paint on it.

Is your painter insured?

You would be surprised the number of painters who do not carry insurance in the event something should happen.  Accidents happen, that’s why they call them accidents.  Be sure to check if your painter carries liability insurance not only for their protection but for your protection as well.

Does your painter offer a labor and materials warranty?

1-year-labor-material-warrantyA good house painter or commercial painter will back their work with a warranty. Whether their warranty is a 1-year or 2-year warranty is irrelevant – do they back their work?  A good painter is proud of their craft and every good painter will back up their work with some type of warranty.  They want to make sure that when they’re done, they have a satisfied customer who will call them when the customer is ready for another project. I haven’t found a single company that wouldn’t like repeat work, so check to see if they offer a warranty.  In many cases, they will let you know during the initial consultation, but if they don’t it’s a good idea to ask.

How long has your painter been in business?

This shouldn’t be a “make or break” type of question but it is interesting to know.  What’s their story? How did they become painters? What have they painted?

There are a lot of painting companies that formed because those who started it were dissatisfied with their previous employer or felt it was time to move on. Sometimes you will have large painting companies that end up pushing some of their good painters out of the business for cheaper labor and sometimes that’s not the case. Gage with your painter and get a feel for how they feel about their craft.

The moral of knowing how long they’ve been in business is to get the story of your painter to understand what they can bring to the table for you. 

What do their online reviews say?

The thing about online reviews that some may not understand is that a company cannot delete online reviews. Whether it’s a Yelp, Google, Facebook, Thumbtack, Houzz, Porch, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, whatever – a contractor cannot change the review, they can only rebuttal/reply to the review.

But use your best judgment. Keep in mind that sometimes a company can receive a review from a customer that was never actually a customer.  Sometimes a customer was unreasonable when the contractor did their best to satisfied that customer.  We’ve all been there. Read the reviews and use your best judgment. At the end of the day, whatever painting contractor you choose is your decision.

If you’d like more feedback or have questions on what you should ask your painter, send us a quick message and we’ll do our best to assist in any way we can!

Looking for a quality painter in Indianapolis?

Folks, if you’re looking for a quality house painter or commercial painter in Indianapolis, IN, consider Legacy Painting.  We’re a small company and we focus a lot of our attention on producing a quality job for our customers. We love what we do and our craftsmanship is a reflection of that.  Call us at (317) 426-7228 or simply send us a quick message.  We will do whatever we can to help answer any of your questions.


Professional Painter, Husband, Father, Christian.

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