Painting an interior or exterior wall is one of those jobs that seems like it should be a breeze. It’s just a lick of paint, right? What else do you need but a brush and the paint itself?
Of course, if you’ve ever actually tried to paint a wall by yourself you’ll know that it’s a heck of a lot more complicated than that, and the risk of making an unsightly hash of it is pretty high. Unless you have years of experience in scraping, priming and painting it probably makes sense to call out the professionals.
But how do you know which professional painters actually deserve that title? In most cases the only obvious way to tell two painters apart is by looking at the prices they quote for the job, and of course you’ll be inclined to choose the firm that leaves the most money in your pocket. It makes sense, but there may be a good reason to avoid the painters offering you an unusually cheap quote.
Why It Doesn’t Pay to Cut Corners
Painting, you see, takes time. Lots of time. When it’s done right, the painting itself is only the final step in a long, laborious process that begins with an assessment of the condition of the wall.
The existing paint job may need to be primed, and at the very least the wall needs to be closely examined for flaws that could affect the new paint job.
Light fixtures, curtains, rails and power outlets must be removed and protected, masking tape needs to be carefully applied to borders to prevent overlaps and – most importantly – the wall needs to be cleaned of even the tiniest piece of dirt or hint of grease to ensure the paint adheres properly.
All of this must be done before the first lick of paint is applied, and all of this takes time.
When you receive a suspiciously low quote there’s a real chance that painter won’t spend the time it takes to correctly prep the surfaces for painting. Cheap painters have no choice but to cut corners, and the result will be a paint job that may look great at first but will quickly deteriorate as underlying flaws in the substrate begin to show through.
The upshot, of course, is that you’ll find yourself paying all over again to have the sub-par job fixed in the future. Cutting corners is a false economy, plain and simple.
How to Find a Great Painter
Ask for References
Any painter worth his or her salt will be able to reel off a list of addresses of previous jobs on request, giving you the chance to see the quality of their work. Obviously this is easier when you’re looking for an external wall to be painted, but in some cases a previous customer may be willing to allow you to check out an interior wall.
Ask for Details
A good painter will be able to tell you exactly what he or she plans to do to prepare your wall for a coat of paint. They’ll be able to point out problem areas that require special measures to ensure a good covering, and they’ll be happy to talk you through the process and schedule of the job.
Check the Progress
Before the job commences you should read up on the correct procedure to prep a wall for painting, and once you’ve chosen your painter and the job is underway you should check in periodically to make sure the project is going as described. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to raise them. This paint job should last for many years without fading, cracking or peeling, so it’s important the corners aren’t cut.
It always pays to shop around for a painter and consider multiple bids, but you should remember that ‘cheap’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’. When it comes to your home it pays to invest in the best.