The final decision - Choosing your interior painter.

Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: Making sure you get the painting job you want.

Supervising the work being done is crucial to ensure the end result meets your expectations. However, overseeing an interior painter doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. In fact with a bit of upfront discussion, you will not have to micromanage the process.  Having a customer over their shoulder during the painting will make the painter nervous.

Clearly communicate with your interior painter:

At the time of the quote, sit down with your painter for a clear discussion about your expectations. This is the time to discuss:

  • The scope of the project, including which areas need to be painted, and any specific details – have the painter write these down on the contract as “includes.”
  • Which areas can be skipped (i.e., ceilings, trim, etc.) and do not need to be painted – have the painter write these down on the contract as “excludes” or “excluded areas.”
  • The timeline and working hours that suit your schedule and the painter’s.
  • Any household routines that might be important to share (i.e. “I pick my kids up from school at 2pm, so please don’t block my car in the garage.”)
  • The paint finishes and colors you’re considering as a starting point – the painter should be able to weigh in with their educated thoughts.  If they have a designer on staff, ask to work with them to get the colors just right.
  • Any prep work that needs to be done, such as furniture moving or wall repairs.
  • Protection for your furnishings and non-painted surfaces.

Get Everything in Writing

Hands holding a fountain pen writing something on white paper
Make sure all details are in writing so there’s no question what your vision of your finished space is.

A written contract is your best friend. This should detail the scope of work, materials to be used, timelines, payment schedules, and any other important details. It protects both you and the painter and provides a reference point should any disputes arise.

At the same time, be realistic – at some point everything that will be done to your walls will not be able to be written down.  Trust will need to be in place between you and the painter.

Color should be clearly noted on the contract so the painter doesn’t accidentally pick up the wrong color from the paint store.

Make sure your painter is insured. Ask for their certificate of insurance with you added as “additional insured” as a way to ensure their policy is paid up and not expired.

Daily Check-Ins

You don’t need to hover over the painter’s work but do check in at least daily. These brief meetings are an opportunity to:

  • Discuss the day’s goals.
  • Address any issues that may have come up.
  • Review the previous day’s work.
  • Stay informed about the project’s progress.

If you work and cannot be home for a daily check in, have the painter FaceTime you at the end of the day to let you know what was done, what they’ll be doing the next day and when they expect to be finished.

Make sure the painter is executing your contract details:

Double-check that the paint the painter is using is the same formula specified on your contract.  Here are some great paints for different areas of your home:

Mudroom or any high-traffic area (think of a hallway where toddlers ride their trikes):  Sherwin Williams Scuff Tuff.  This is the same paint they use in hockey rinks!
Bathroom:  Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa paint.  This paint (and most bathroom paints) stands up to humidity and has mildew resistance built in.
Interior walls of nursery: Sherwin Williams’ SuperPaint reduces (bad) VOC levels from carpeting, furniture, and other new furnishings.  Often, nurseries have lots of new furnishings in them, and the last thing a baby needs is to breathe in harmful VOCs.
Trim Paint: Most of the time, we recommend Sherwin Williams Emerald in Semi-Gloss.
Playroom, bathroom, nursery (or any place you’d like to reduce germs): Paint Shield by Sherwin Williams is often used in hospitals and medical settings because of its ability to kill harmful bacteria and stop the spread of germs.  Believe it or not, the paint keeps killing the pathogens for about 4 years and is completely washable.

Respect the Painter’s Space

CertaPro Painter in white shirt painting a high ceiling with a rollerIt’s important to hire a painter you trust so much that you can allow them the space to work without much oversight which can be counterproductive and strain your working relationship.

Inspect the Painting Regularly

Regular inspections are key, but knowing what to look for is even more important. Pay attention to:

  • Edges and corners – They should be clean and precise.
  • Coverage – Color should be uniform without splotches or streaks.
  • Overspray – There shouldn’t be any paint on the floors, windows, or trim (unless they’re being painted as well).

Painters often are so close to the painting that they can’t see places that need touching up.  Because of this, CertaPro has field inspectors whose only job is to drive around to different projects and inspect the work so these areas that need touching up are addressed.

Address Issues Promptly – even small ones:

If you spot a problem, don’t wait until the job is finished to bring it up. Politely point out any concerns as soon as possible so they can be corrected quickly.  Painters are used to this.

Small problems often become larger issues, so try to solve them when they are small.

If you don’t like the interior paint color:

This is a common problem and requires you to stop the painter from painting as soon as you have a gut feeling that the paint color is wrong.  This will save you hours of labor redoing the whole project.

Here’s a plan of action for an interior paint color you don’t like:

  • Stop the painter from painting – a professional will not take this personally.
  • Let paint in that area dry and ask the painter to paint another part of the project (assuming they’re painting with a different color paint) while the paint color you don’t like dries.
  • Once the paint is dry – see what you think.  Wet paint looks very different than dry paint.
  • If you still don’t like the color, you’ll need to choose a new color.
  • The good news is that only about 10-15% of the cost of the project is in the actual paint – so if you stop the painter soon enough, it won’t break the bank to choose a new color.  Labor is the most expensive part of an interior painting project.

Do a Final Walkthrough with the interior painter:

painter and customer reviewing interior painting projectUpon project completion, perform a final walkthrough with the painter. This is the time to:

  • Ensure everything agreed upon has been completed satisfactorily.
  • Review any final touch-ups.
  • Discuss proper drying times and any necessary aftercare for the paint job.
  • Ask for touch-up paint to be left – and have them label the paint’s cover with the room(s) in that color.
  • Make your final payment.


Chapter 6: Interior Painting Methods

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