Should You Hire a Painting Contractor?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Whether interior or exterior, painting projects are one home improvement task that nearly every homeowner is—at some point—tempted to tackle. DIY painting is something many first-timers are more than willing to attempt; however, those who have tried and were disappointed either with the aesthetic or financial results are often more than happy to leave this job to the professionals. There are many things to consider before you decide whether your particular exterior or interior painting project is worth spending money as a professional or DIY investment. Here are a few pointers that may make your options a little clearer.

Advice for Interior Painting Projects

Of the two, interior painting projects are easily the better option for do-it-yourselfers. Since interior painting is not subjected to the elements (or the eyes of passersby), there is a lot more leeway. There are several ways to make DIY interior painting more successful and get closer to professional results, including researching your paint choice, proper wall preparation, understanding good taping techniques, and purchasing or renting a professional grade paint sprayer.

Before you go it alone, get estimates from a few different contractors and compare them to the hours and material expenses of doing it yourself. While eliminating labor costs is bound to bring some financial advantage, when you add up the materials and the free time spent, you may be surprised at just how reasonable some professional painting quotes can be.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Advice for Exterior Painting Projects

Here is where a lot of homeowners really get into trouble. Exterior painting projects are far more demanding than their interior cousins. Not only will paint choice—even color choice—play a role in how long your paint job lasts, a few beginner’s mistakes left exposed to the elements can add up to premature aging as well as poor protection. Here, the cost of hiring a professional is far more justified for many reasons. Not only will the pros be better versed in which brands of paint hold up better in your area, the scaffolding, preparation techniques and professional sanding, stripping and spraying equipment they’ll bring to the job will make the entire project safer, faster, and more effective. In fact, because of the increased amount of extra work this project requires, the difference in price between a professional estimate and a do-it-yourself cost can be extremely small.

Exterior painting projects are a lot of work, and the tedium of doing this task well often compels homeowners to cut corners in order to save time. This, of course, is a mistake. Cutting corners, skimping on preparation and rushing through this project can lead to less-than-impressive results almost immediately, and when you consider the likelihood of having to do the whole exterior over years before a professional job would show signs of wear, hiring a pro right from the start make a lot of sense.

Find the Best Contractor for Interior and Exterior Painting Projects

Those who do hire a professional have every reason to make sure they hire the best one available. Since interior painting projects are often very different from exterior painting projects, it makes sense that many companies specialize in one or the other. When discussing your project with prospective contractors, make sure to ask about which type of painting they consider their specialty.

You also want to make sure the company you hire was chosen for characteristics other than the bottom-line price. Since painting projects are technically less demanding than other home improvement tasks, there is a much greater chance of running into companies with inadequate experience or poor business practices. For such companies, a low-ball estimate is really the only enticement they can provide. It’s also enough to lure in many homeowners.

When entering a painting project (especially an exterior painting project), hiring a company with a good reputation for service and performance is far preferable to hiring one based on a bargain estimate. The best painting companies often have to charge a little more to keep good help, equipment in good shape and get the job done right. Remember, if going with a low estimate leaves you with a paint job that fades or chips prematurely, you’re not saving any money at all.

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