Consumer Reports News:

Most homeowners hire a contractor to repaint the exterior of their home. Follow our advice to help ensure a high-quality job, whether you’ll have your house painted this fall or next spring.

Meet the pros. Call in at least three different painting contractors for your job. (Friends and family are good reference sources.) And be home for the initial meeting with them. That way, you’ll know how much time each contractor took to assess the condition of your home. The longer he takes, the more realistic the estimate you’ll get. Even an experienced painter will need more than a quick walk around your house.
Also ask each contractor about the size of his crew and the members’ experience level.

State your expectations. The number of coats a painter applies isn’t the only factor in determining the quality—and price—of the project. Preparation is also key. If you want a surface that’s free of unevenness from past paint jobs, tell the contractors—and be prepared to pay extra. But if you can live with some imperfections, agree on what level of prep is acceptable and what isn’t.

Get estimates. Seek a written estimate from each painting contractor. It should include a breakdown of labor, material costs, the number of coats of primer and paint, the brand and model of materials, and a detailed description of the amount of surface preparation that will be done.

Check references and past work. Get a list of references from each contractor and call them to find about their experience with the pro. A history of positive references is a good sign. Also examine jobs the painters did several years ago to see how their work is holding up. Use recent projects to check the skill of their current crews.

Painting Contractor Calgary

Harding’s – Calgary Painting Company

Consider credentials. Before you hire someone, consider his credentials. Membership in a trade or local business group, for example, isn’t a guarantee of quality work, but it shows a level of commitment and reliability on his part. Also verify whether the pro has the appropriate license(s). Also check with the Better Business Bureau,  or a local consumer-affairs agency to learn whether the contractor has a history of unresolved complaints.

Obtain a complete contract. The contract should include all the contractor’s key information: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. Make sure the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job.
Get a copy of the painter’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates. If he doesn’t have coverage, you could be on the hook if, for example, the crew drops a ladder on your neighbor’s car or a crew member gets hurt on the job.

Ask for a guarantee. The painter should promise to correct any chipping, peeling, blistering, flaking, or excessive fading or chalking that occurs within two years after the job is done at no or little cost. If he tells you the paint itself has a warranty, remember that doesn’t include labor, which is a far more costly proposition than material.

Choose the paint yourself. Your painter might try to talk you into a paint he prefers, but use the finish you want. Just remember that your painter won;t be able to warranty owner supplied paint.

Look for lead. If your home was built before 1978, older coats of paint could contain lead. That means the painter might need to take extra precautions to avoid any hazards. .

Hold out. Finally, don’t make a large down payment and withhold the final payment, typically 10 to 15 percent, until you are fully satisfied with the job.

Check out our own video on Hiring A Painting Contractor.

33 replies
  1. Deb Pearl says:

    I would love to get my house repainted, but I don’t know how to find a great company to help me. That is a great idea to meet and call at least three different contractors. It would be nice to have choices of contractors, instead of going with the first one I find. Thank you for the tips!

  2. Earnest Watkins says:

    I really appreciate how you point out that references are helpful in looking at the experience level of a painter. I’m looking at hiring a painter to paint my home, so how many references do you suggest I ask for when determining which contractor to hire? I’d be curious to know since I want to make sure I hire the right person for the job.

  3. Tiffany Locke says:

    Your advice to call at least three different contractors and to be at home for an initial meeting is a good idea. When choosing who to meet with, it would probably be a good idea to look online so that you can research the different options and find one with the right specialization, such as offering commercial or residential painting services. This could also help you be more prepared when you talk to them so that you can ask questions specific to their services and your situation in order to determine if they’ll be able to provide the work that needs to be done.

  4. Kim Stone says:

    My daughter recently purchased a perfectly livable ’60s something ranch. She replaced all interior doors with custom ones that she painted barn red. Looks great.

  5. Ashley Turns says:

    I appreciate your tip to get a written estimate that includes details like labor and material costs so that we will know what we are paying for. My husband and I are planning on having our exterior painted, and we are wondering how to find the best service to help us. Since we’ll want to know exactly what services we are paying for, we’ll be sure to ask the exterior painting company we consider for a detailed, written estimate.

  6. Taylor Bishop says:

    I’m glad you said in the article that you should try to get a written estimate from the painting contractors. It’s good to know that this could have a breakdown of all the costs that would be entailed in the service. It also seems like a good way to know exactly what will be done and covered from their work so you can make additional plans if necessary.

  7. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    It’s good to know how to find a painter. We need to get our home’s exterior repainted, and I don’t want to mess with it myself. I’ll be sure to find someone with the credentials that you mentioned.

  8. Burt Silver says:

    I really like what you said about asking for a guarantee and how a painter should promise to correct any chipping, peeling, blistering and so on that occurs within two years after the job is done at no or little cost. This is important to me so that I can have confidence in getting a job well done. Hopefully, I can find a good painting service that can provide the kind of quality that I am looking for.

  9. Joy Butler says:

    I’m grateful for your advice about hiring a painting contractor. I definitely agree that we should look after their credentials. Just let me share a simple tip that searching online is your best source if you need a well-experienced painting contractor near you. However, when browsing online, review all the reviews; don’t just jump and stop at the nearest painting contractor you can find. And yes, better to choose the paint yourself.

  10. Emery Jean Chambers says:

    It sure was nice to know that painters may have preferences and suggestions, but I can still choose the color that I want. That is good though I think it is a good idea to let them decide. I mean, they are pros, so they know what color is the best. Anyway, all I am after is that the deck be finished in an elegant way. I do not really mind what color the pro use to make it look that way. Thanks.

  11. Ashley Maxwell says:

    Thanks for mentioning how a paint company should have good expectations. I also like how you said that they should provide you with an estimate as well. My husband and I are looking for a paint company to paint our newborn daughter’s room.

  12. Bethany Birchridge says:

    Thanks for the great tip to get quotes from at least three painting services, as it will help you decide which one is best. My room is a strange burnt salmon color, so I’ve been wanting to repaint it. These tips will help me find a great professional to help me, so thank you for the great tips.

  13. Monica Chavez says:

    You make a great point that a painter should promise to correct any chipping, peeling, blistering, or any other problems that could potentially occur within two years after the job is done. My parents want to repaint their home because they want to get rid of the yellow color in the living room. It would be really helpful if they hired a professional painter so that they don’t have to worry about it themselves.

  14. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I need to repaint our living room soon, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about getting a guarantee from the painting company first. We’ll be sure to do this so we know the job will get done on time.

  15. Silas Knight says:

    These are great tips for hiring a painting contractor. We’re going to need one to help us with our kitchen remodel, so thanks for the ideas. I’ll be sure to check for the credentials and licenses you mentioned, and I’ll check the BBB too.

  16. Dino Violante says:

    I really appreciate it when you said that I can always choose the paint that I want for my house, however, the painter won’t be able to warranty it if I didn’t buy the paint from him. Thinking about the pros and cons made me realize that maybe I should let the professional choose the paint for me. After all, I am not experienced in choosing a paint color, and a warranty means a lot to me especially since the painting job is a big investment.

  17. Hazel says:

    Thanks for the tip about having three different contractors come to assess your home and use the one that took more time to assess it since that shows they will give you a realistic estimate. My husband and I just move to a new home but it was painted a dark tan color that we don’t really like so we wanted to get it changed. We’ll have to call in three different contractors and then watch how they assess our home so we can trust their estimate and work on our home.

  18. Katie Wilson says:

    I agree that you want to consider calling at least three different painters before choosing them. It would be good to call them because it would show that they are trustworthy. My husband and I are looking for a contractor to help paint the outside of our home.

  19. Hazel Owens says:

    Thanks for the tip about meeting with three different contractors and have them assess your home for an estimate so you can see which one actually took there time looking at your home and will give a more accurate estimate. My living room has really old light green paint and I really want to get it repainted to a nice warm yellow or tan to add more light to the room. I’ll have to contact multiple contractors and have a few come out o I can see which one will give me a good estimate and will do a thorough job when painting the room.

  20. Raymond Cooper says:

    I’m looking at hiring someone to help me paint my home. I appreciate your suggestion to meet with at least 3 different contractors before deciding on who to work with. I’ll definitely keep this in mind since I want someone experienced to handle my painting project for me.

  21. Sariah Meagle says:

    My dad thinks that our home’s exterior needs a fresh paint. It was discussed here that when looking for a painter, it will be best to ask for a guarantee and choose the color. Moreover, it’s advisable to hire professionals for quality exterior painting.

  22. Ellie Davis says:

    Thank you for suggesting that you should try and call at least three different painter services before choosing one. My husband and I are wanting to repaint our entire house. I’ll have to look into finding the best painting service in our area.

  23. Easton Memmott says:

    I really liked your tip to ask your painting contractor for a guarantee on their services. My wife and I have decided to paint our home a different color, and we are hiring a contractor to do the work. I will be sure to ask our contractor if they can make any guarantees to me and my wife.

  24. Katie Wilson says:

    I agree that you want to check the references of a painter before choosing them. Finding someone who has good references would also be helpful. My husband and I are looking for a painter, so we’ll have to check their references first.

  25. Amethyst Boheur says:

    It sure got my attention when you said that the person can choose the kind of paint that they want though it won’t be covered under the warranty of the contractor. That should be fine since what matters is that I get the kind of color that I want. If it is not available to the contractor, then I will just have to take the risk and look for the paint myself.

    • rhilditch says:

      The point here Amethyst is that as professional painting contractor’s we can get any colour the client may want. It’s impossible to warranty a client’s own paint as we have no idea what quality it is, how old it is or whether its been frozen or not. If we pick up client supplied paint directly from the store then we generally do warranty it.

  26. Joy Butler says:

    I think that’s a great idea to ask for a guarantee when hiring a painting contractor. There are so many mishaps that can occur when you get a painting job done. I will have to remember this the next time I hire a painter.

  27. Jim Beals says:

    Wow this article has it all dialed in where it comes to hiring a painter. Learned more than a few things myself. I have bookmarked the page and will be back again soon.

  28. Katie Wilson says:

    I agree that a good painting contractor has experience. Finding someone with the right level of experience would be really helpful. My husband and I need help painting our nursery, so we’ll have to consider their experience level first.

  29. Olivia Pearson says:

    I really like how you mentioned that when hiring a painting contractor, it is important to check their references and past work. I think that’s important also because if they are proud to show off their past work, it likely means that they will be proud of the work they do on your home, too. My husband and I are looking to paint the interior of our new home, but we don’t know any painting service in our new area. After reading this article, however, we will definitely look for a service in our area that has provided quality work for a long time and will therefore provide quality service on our home.

  30. Amy Winters says:

    Thanks for pointing out that we should talk with the painters about our expectations to make sure we agree on acceptable imperfections. My husband and I want to redecorate our family room and dining room, so we’re currently looking for a painting contractor to get the process started with a fresh coat of paint. I want the finished product to meet my expectations, so thanks for suggesting I discuss it with the contractor beforehand!

  31. Taylor Anderson says:

    My room is a really weird brown-pink color, so I’ve been wanting to get it repainted. It was helpful when you said that I should talk with my painters about my expectation and what acceptable flaws are. These tips will help me get a nicely painted room, so thank you for sharing them.

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