Tips For Hiring a Painter

Recently we spoke with a homeowner in dire-straights about what to do with a mild catastrophe involving hiring the wrong people to paint her trim and crown moulding in a home that is just over 10yrs old. In her initial messages there were some sad words that stood out such as “I fired them after the third day” and “I wake up in the morning wanting to cry”. OUCH! So upon arriving a couple hours later it was easy to see what the problem was…

Instead of assessing the situation and gaining full knowledge of what the home owner wanted and expected they started painting almost immediately she said. No prep - Red Flag #1. Instead of spraying the trim, crown moulding and casing around entrances the hired “painters” rolled everything. With better knowledge, that may not have been a bad thing, but they used the wrong roller cover causing major stippling and creating texture on what is supposed to be a smooth surface. Turns out they were sent over by a friend of her husbands who is from out of town. Red flag #2. To top it off, she wanted a satin ceiling in the dining area, but that was a down right failure. She said she “could hear them rolling the ceiling dry” which causes bad roller lines. Red flag #3 - bad technique.

This is a sad case of hiring the wrong painters to do a job in a nice home which is still looks great with fine finishes. Coincidently enough, the sad case which lead me to write this post. Just one of many. We’ve even rescued a client after her drywall contractor started drinking on the job. It was a mess to say the least. Read about it HERE.

  • Are your thoughts and expectations understood by the painter you’re about to hire?

  • Do they fully understand them?

  • Are you willing to invest and pay for your expectations to be met and not go with the cheapest hire?

  • What type of products do they use? Are they proud to talk about them?

  • Do they carry themselves like a professional?

These and similar questions are worth asking when inviting someone into your home for a home improvement project. Below are some key aspects to look for even when a painter has started the job.

  1. What Kind of Prep Work Do They Do?

    A good contractor will take the time to prepare floor and furniture protection by way of drop cloths, rolled paper and even plastic. Other than that, do they take the time to prepare the walls? Filling in any nicks and gouges is being a good painter 101. Good preparation should take equal the amount of time to paint if not more.


Prep work is a must!


2. Do they remove light switch and plug covers?

Another preparation essential is removing any plates from the switches and plugs as well as vents. If a painter says they can just tape them or paint around them, their skills will not only be championed by their brush technique but also in gluing them to the walls for someone else to have to pry off later.

3. Take the time to do the little things

Does your painter take the time to do the tedious little things in preparation prior to having fun rolling a wall? Caulking and filling nail holes is one such essentials to providing a good value of service to you - the home owner. It adds a little something extra and once you’ve seen a good caulk and spackle job, you’ll know “that just looks right”. Many times, we’ve followed behind “the family handyman” or “someone” somebody else knew whose really cheap that’s been “painting for 30yrs”, only to correct their work which unfortunately only results in being more expensive in the long run.


it’s the little things…


As mentioned at the outset, we wanted to write this post to keep you (the home owner) informed of what to ask a potential painter and what to keep an eye out for during the course of their work. Especially on day one! Any good contractor who is confident enough in their skills and putting their name behind their work as well as having the ability to back it up will not mind. They’ve earned your trust AND your dollar. In the end, both of you should be happy and satisfied with the final outcome.