Common House Painting Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that you don’t see in the FAQ? Call us at 865-470-0001 and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Commonly Asked House Painting Questions

It’s common to have some questions before starting your next house painting project. We have compiled some of the most common questions customers ask us on this page. Feel free to call us if you don’t see your question answered here. Follow any of the quick links below to skip to a category of questions. If you have a question you do not see on this page please contact us at 865-470-0001, we will be happy to assist.

General Questions About Paint and Preparation

Which is better – oil paint or latex paint?

While oil paint has traditionally been viewed as superior to water-based paints, the chemicals that made oil paints especially durable have been legislated out of use by the government. As such, oil paints are being phased out of the marketplace for residential painting. At the same time, the technological advances in 100% acrylic resin latex paints have improved dramatically.


What types of preparation need to be done to my house?

Each homeowner has a different vision for his/her project. This means the level of preparation will be tailored to meet the needs of each homeowner and unique project. Below is a description of the various types of preparation we usually perform. Your estimator will discuss with you what you hope to achieve with your project, tailor the proposal to capture that vision, and price the project accordingly.

  • Washing – New paint requires a clean, dry, and firm base to adhere correctly.
  • Scraping – All loose and peeling paint should be removed by scrapers, knives, and/or steel brushes. All areas should be scraped back to a firm edge.
  • Sanding – Sanding, depending on the condition of the substrate, is sometimes necessary to remove loose and peeling paint. Sanding can also help smooth out rough edges. Your estimator can help discuss the level of prep needed for your project.
  • Caulking and Sealing – We will caulk areas that have been previously caulked where the caulk is missing or failing. We will also remove any failing caulk prior to re-caulking.

Does all the old paint on my house need to be removed before it can be repainted?

No, not all of the old paint needs to be removed. It is important to have any loose, peeling, cracking, or degraded paint removed prior to painting. However, if you do wish to have specific areas of the building stripped of all old paint (such as entryways or front doors), please discuss this with your estimator. These services can usually be priced as an option, although this type of “restoration” can be rather expensive.


What is a ‘paint system’, and which is appropriate for my project?

A paint system is the combination of sealers, primers and paints that are developed to work together for different substrates to produce a durable and beautiful finish. Your proposal will have the paint system listed the estimator deems appropriate for your project.


What is the purpose of primer, and when it is needed?

Primers are specifically designed coatings used to prepare different substrates to accept top coats of paint. They solve specific challenges painters face: sealing out moisture, resisting bleeding of stains and chemicals from inside the substrate, and locking down chalky surfaces.

Substrates that have paint adhering to them, in good condition, usually do not need a full prime coat. Rather, spot priming is performed where the surface is bare, or preparation tasks have been performed. However, if an extreme color change is planned, it is often helpful to have a tinted prime coat applied to help the finish coats cover better.


How many coats of paint are appropriate for my project?

The durability and longevity of a paint job is affected more by the quality of the preparation than the number of coats of paint. In most instances, CertaPro Painters specifies two complete coats of paint for previously painted surfaces. New, raw surfaces usually receive a full prime coat prior to finish coats being applied. Additionally, very dramatic color changes often require a full prime coat prior to finish coats being applied. This is most often seen when covering deep reds, greens and browns and/or when re-coating with a very light color. Your estimator will consult with you and can provide an option for an additional coat in those areas.

If you are not changing color, and the existing paint is in relatively good condition, a single coat of matching color and sheen may suffice. Your estimator will discuss the pros and cons of such a paint system with you.


How long does it take the new paint to dry?

Most latex paints set up in 30-120 minutes but may take as long as 30 days to fully cure. For this reason, we recommend opening and closing newly painted windows and doors regularly during this period to avoid sticking.


Is there anything I can do to increase the longevity of my new paint job?

Here are three things: make sure you use only the highest quality materials and paints, have your home power washed every few years, and ensure the proper level of preparation is specified and performed on your project.


Will I save money if I buy the materials?

Not likely. In fact, we get better discounts than the employees of most of the major paint manufacturers. If you want the best materials for the lowest price, then let us get them for you.


Is there a difference between hand-brushed and sprayed paint?

Both spraying and brushing are acceptable application methods when performed by a skilled applicator. If the surface has been properly prepared, sprayed paint will adhere as well as if brushed.


What does VOC mean?

VOC stands for “volatile organic compound” and refers to the chemicals that are off-gassed into the environment as part of the drying process. Some of them may be toxic and have a bad odor. The government has limited the types and amount of VOC’s that can be used in paints. Some examples of VOC’s are: paint thinner, mineral spirits, alcohol, gasoline, ethylene glycol, acetone and xylol. Most architectural paints contain some VOC’s.


Are more expensive paints better?

Generally, yes. More expensive paints contain more durable pigments and resins. The resins, along with the binders, give you the quality of finish. The way the product is produced can also impact the quality. Better pigments mean less coats of paint. Your estimator can help recommend the product best suited for your specific application.


What if dry rot or other carpentry issues are discovered during the estimating process?

We regularly perform basic carpentry repairs that are commonly found as part of exterior painting projects. These include removing and replacing rotten window trim, door casing/trim, siding boards, etc.

Your estimator will provide you with a separate price to complete any wood repairs we find during our inspection.

Occasionally, additional repair needs are uncovered during the pressure washing process or when our carpenters access areas that are difficult to access or clearly see during the estimate. We will consult with you, as soon as possible, when additional repairs may be needed and will get your approval for additional work before it is performed.


I’m concerned about water leaks into the house. Will painting solve these issues?

Water intrusion can occur for many reasons: poor draining from gutters, rusted or damaged window and/or roof flashing, rotted siding or trim work, or damaged roofing, just to name a few. It is difficult to determine the exact point of water entry because water follows the path of least resistance once it enters a structure. This means it may come in at one point, travel along an interior joist or other hidden structural elements in the home and come through drywall or plaster in an area far from the point of entry.

The caulking and sealing that are part of the normal preparation process of painting often solves leaking problems. However, if the root of the leaking problem is from some other source (for example, a damaged roof or gutters) the painting process probably will not solve the problem.

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Questions About the Access, Colors Selection, and Lead

How is the crew going to reach the difficult areas of my project?

All our crews have been trained on the safe and proper use of extension ladders. We are also experts in the use of scaffolding, lifts, and booms to reach areas inaccessible by ladder.


How is interior access to my home handled

This decision is all about your comfort level, and we will accommodate your wishes. Some homeowners give us the garage door opener or front door key and let us come and go as needed. Others do not want any work done while they are not present. Let us know your desires, and we will work within those guidelines.


Is there lead paint on my house, and if so, how is it handled?

Lead paint was outlawed for residential use in 1978. If your home was built before then, it may contain lead paint even if it has been painted several times since 1978. The paint closest to the substrate is what we are concerned with. By law, we must either assume homes built before 1978 contain lead, or we must test for the presence of lead. However, testing is not a simple process and can be expensive to perform correctly. Moreover, if the presence of lead is confirmed the owner must disclose this upon sale of the property, which might reduce the home’s value. Consequently, for pre-1978 homes we simply assume there is lead paint present and take all the necessary precautions to insure the safety of the residents, general public, workers, and the environment.

Rest assured that we are an EPA-certified firm and perform all work using lead-safe work practices in accordance to federal regulations.


I’m not sure what colors I want to use. How can CertaPro Painters help me?

We realize color selection and placement decisions can be a source of anxiety for some homeowners, and we recommend visiting your local paint store to look at color selections.
Color charts are available, and your estimator can guide you through what colors are popular and/or fit your preference.

For more in-depth color consultations, we recommend a color consult from Sherwin Williams to help with design ideas. Our relationship with Sherwin Williams allows our homeowners to receive a consult for $45 instead of the regular rate of $90.


What if I am already working with a color consultant?

CertaPro Painters regularly works with color consultants and designers hired by our customers. Our experience has been that most designers are very good at what they do, and the results are usually very attractive. Simply provide us with the color palette and placement information developed by the consultant and away we go. We will ask you first if there are any questions about the palette or placement, then the consultant if necessary


What if I am not happy with the colors once they are applied to the building?

CertaPro Painters requires that you confirm your color selection before we order the paint for your project. If you wish to change the colors after they have been confirmed, there may be additional charges for any additional paint and labor required to accommodate the requested changes.


How many colors can I pick for my project?

Our standard proposal includes up to 3 different colors on your home. Depending on the project, there may be an added charge for each additional color after that.


Will CertaPro Painters leave me with touchup paint?

We will be happy to leave you with clearly labeled paint for future touchups

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Questions About the Process and Our People

I’ve met with the estimator, reviewed the proposal, and would like to proceed. What do I do next?

The best thing to do is to call or email your estimator to let him/her know you would like to proceed with the project. Once your estimator receives your confirmation to proceed, our operations team will be notified. You will then be contacted by our operations team to schedule your project and will receive a Next Step Letter with information and instructions to help prepare for the start of your project.


What experience and background do the foremen and painters have?

It is important to know that our painters are career painters. We take great pride in attracting, training, rewarding, and retaining experienced professional painters. Most have been with us for many seasons. This culture of development and growth has allowed us to have very low turnover in a trade that is notorious for transient labor.


How do I address any concerns I may have throughout the project?

It is important to discuss with your estimator any specific concerns you have before your project starts.

If you have a question during your project, each crew has a dedicated Job Site Supervisor to help guide you through the process. Additionally, each project has an assigned project manager to ensure your project goes according to plan.


How long will my project take?

When we start a project, we stay until it is finished – meaning that our goal is to minimize the disruption painting causes to your normal routine. However, weather may play a role on when your project is able to start and, if it’s an exterior project, how long it takes to be completed. Your estimator will be able to give you a pretty good idea of how long your specific project will take.


I plan on being out of town during part or all the project. Is this okay?

We will work around your schedule as best as possible. Some customers allow us to work on the project while they are away. Others do not. We will make any necessary accommodations but request that you notify us as early as possible if you plan to be absent once the work begins.

If we are requested to pull out of the project entirely (i.e., remove all equipment, paint, materials, tools, drop cloths, masking, etc.) and are required to return at a later date to finish, we charge a small fee to cover the cost of this additional tear-down and setup.


What about inclement weather?

On exterior projects, there are several tasks that can be performed in light rain or fog, such as power washing and scraping. However, we cannot apply sealants, primer or paint in wet weather. In these instances, we must wait for the home to dry out.

Rest assured that we will wait the proper amount of time to ensure the coatings we apply leave you with a quality, dependable finish.


How is payment handled?

We do not require any payment until the project is completed on most residential projects. Once completed, the balance is due in full.

We prefer payment by cash or check. However, we accept major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, Discover) with a 3% service fee.


Does the crew expect a tip at the end of the job?

Our crews are professional painters and are compensated accordingly. They do not expect a tip and will not solicit one. Occasionally clients want to thank the Job Site Supervisor or the entire crew for going ‘above and beyond.’ Feel free to tip if you are delighted with the quality of the work and the customer service you received. However, do not feel obligated or that it is expected.

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We can assist with professional color consulting services. Our color consultants know the latest color trends and will work with you to find colors you LOVE.

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Questions About Insurance and Liability

Does CertaPro Painters carry workers’ compensation and general liability insurance policies?

Yes, and at your request we can provide insurance certificates that name you as the certificate holder.


How do I know for sure if a contractor carries workers’ compensation insurance?

Ask for a certificate of insurance, and check with the carrier before work begins to verify the policy is still in force.


Why is it important for a contractor to carry insurance & workers’ compensation?

Contractors such as builders, painters or other tradespeople who work on or around your home are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Any injuries suffered during the project would be covered under that policy. If the contractor does not have coverage, or has discontinued his policy to save on premiums, you would be next in line to pay for a worker’s injuries and/or disabilities that occur on your property. Therefore, it is important to only use contractors who have workers’ compensation policies in place.

Will my windows be clean when the house is pressure washed?
No, we do not pressure wash window and door areas, those painted surfaces will be hand cleaned to avoid water damage. We suggest having your windows cleaned after your home is painted. Pressure washing of your home can cause water spots on your windows.

Why did my gutters not come clean?
Depending on age of gutters dirt and mildew can stain the finish of your guttering system. Well aged gutters can be mildew treated and painted.

Why do I still see cob webs if my house has been pressure washed?
Webs are not normally removed with water pressure, but we will remove them with a dusting brush before painting.

Should I choose to have 2 coats of paint?
A 2nd coat is necessary when you are changing colors, changing sheen, have new or raw wood, or if you have badly worn paint.

Is it too cold to paint?
All of the paint that we use is low temperature paint and can be applied at temperatures as low as 38 degrees.

What is sheen?
The level of “shine” that the paint will have when dried. The more sheen you have the more washable the paint is. Eggshell and Satin are our most used sheens.

What is the difference between white caulk and silicone?
White caulk is for previously caulked areas that are painted. Silicone is to be used when caulking un-paintable surfaces.

How and when do I pay for the project?
We accept Master Card, Visa and Discover, and checks. We ask for payment in full when the job is complete.