The paint plays a major role in the exterior of your home. If you plan to live in your house for a while, or if you want to sell it someday, make sure that the paint looks clean and crisp.

Most homeowners will hire a professional to repaint their exterior or refresh it. Over time, paint cracks and fades. Rich Handel a paint project leader. He says that this is not only leaves the siding susceptible to damage, but it also looks bad. A fresh coat of paint in a modern color can transform your home from dull to dramatic.

These benefits are all dependent on a competent contractor. Follow our tips on hiring a painter to avoid disappointment and miscommunication. A little diligence can ensure that you get a quality job, which will boost the curb appeal of your home.

Hire A Painter: 11 Tips

1. Consult the professionals

Consult at least three professional painters to get the best price for your project. Referrals from friends and family members are a good source. Attend the first meeting. You can then note the time it takes each contractor to evaluate your home. The longer the time, the more accurate the estimate. Even an experienced painter of exteriors will require more than just a quick stroll around your home. Ask each contractor how many people are on his team and what their level of experience is.

2. State your expectations

The number of layers applied doesn’t determine the price or quality of the project. The preparation is equally important. Tell the contractors that you’d like a smooth surface, free from unevenness caused by previous paint jobs. Be prepared to pay more. If you’re willing to accept some imperfections, decide on the level of preparation that is acceptable.

3. Get estimates

Ask for a written quote from each contractor. The estimate should contain a breakdown of labor costs, materials, the number and type of paint and primer coats, as well as the brand and model.

4. Examine past work and check references

Call the references listed by each contractor to ask about their experience. It is good to have a history of positive referrals. Examine jobs done several years ago in order to determine how well each contractor has performed. Look at recent work to see if the crews are up to date.

5. Credentials are important

It’s not a guarantee that the work will be of high quality, but membership in a local or trade group shows commitment and reliability. Verify that the professional has the proper licenses. The Contractors License Reference site has the information you need. You can check with the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office in your state to see if the contractor has an unresolved complaint history.

6. Get a contract that includes all the information you need

The contractor’s name and address, cell and office phone numbers, license number, and any other details in the estimate. Be sure to include in the contract what the work includes and does not.

7. Get a copy of the painter’s workers’ compensation and liability insurance certificates

You could be held responsible if a member of the crew is injured on the job or drops a ladder onto your neighbor’s vehicle.

8. A guarantee is a must

Ask for a guarantee. Remember that if he says the paint has a guarantee, it doesn’t cover labor.

9. You can choose the paint

You might be tempted to use a paint that your painter prefers, but choose the one that you like. Handel says that good exterior paint will protect your siding against direct sunlight and moisture. This will help to reduce the likelihood of weather-related deterioration.

10. Search for lead

Older paints that were used on your home before 1978 may contain lead. The painter may need to take additional precautions in order to avoid any dangers. Learn How to determine if your home has lead paint, learn how lead paint can be identified, and what steps your contractor should take to remove it.

11. Wait

Do not make a big down payment prior to the start of a job. The amount of the deposit varies between contractors, but generally, 10 to 15% is a reasonable amount. Handel suggests that you pay in quarters as the project progresses. Before making the final payment, walk around to make sure nothing has been missed. Do not make the final payment until you are completely satisfied with the results.

The 3 Best Exterior Paints From CR’s Tests

Even the most talented painters will struggle to paint a wall with poor-quality paint. Our engineers evaluated over a dozen paints using a series of rigorous tests to find the options most likely to last. These paints have been tested to see if they can resist cracking, color changes, dirt, and mildew under extreme conditions.

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