Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
We will always try to answer your questions honestly and simply.
At CertaPro Painters, we want to help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing someone to work on your most valuable investment.
We don’t hide behind industry jargon or try to confuse you. We hope that the information on this page will answer many of your questions. If not, please call us anytime at 970-420-4706.
Q: How much will it cost to paint my house?
A: Contact us today for a free, no obligation estimate. We provide on-site and remote estimate options. As a way to ensure accuracy and to provide a customized proposal that ensures you have an extraordinary experience, we do not give generic square foot prices or “guesstimations.” We will evaluate the unique aspects of each project, we collect detailed measurements of included surfaces, and we determine what the actual price will be. We provide firm quotes and the only way to do that is by taking the time to get the details upfront.
Q: I have three estimates from three different painters. The prices are so different I have no idea what to think of them. How do I determine the difference?
A: It was a great decision to get more than one bid, but now you need to ask the right questions. Does the estimate include materials? What brand of paint/stain will be used? What specific paint with that brand will be used? Does the painter carry worker’s compensation and general liability insurance? Does the painter provide references? Does the painter provide examples of prior jobs? What about a written legal warranty instead of a postcard/flyer? What constitutes a change order or an additional charge? How long have they been in this local area? All of these factors can add considerably to the cost of the job. Make sure you are getting what you pay for.
Q: Will I save money if I buy the materials?
A: 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. If you have a specific budget in mind, we are happy to discuss what your options are in terms of paint/stain options to best fit your specific situation. We don’t try to push or direct every customer into using the same paint because each project is unique and may require different products.
Q: How much money do we need to put down for a paint job?
A: For residential projects, we don’t collect a deposit or down payment unless it’s a very large job. We may give progress invoices periodically on very large projects, and on smaller jobs we ask for payment upon completion.
Q: Oil or Latex?
A: Every job, no matter the age or condition deserves special consideration when choosing which products to use and how to apply them. We are very knowledgeable and experienced and understand each step of the painting process. We will choose the products and the application methods that give the best results. Additionally, in Spring 2020 new VOC regulations were implemented across Colorado that eliminated certain oil-based products. While some products have been replaced by a VOC-compliant version, others were not replaced so may not be available. We can help navigate the waters!
Q: Is there a difference between hand-brushed and sprayed paint?
A: Basically, both spraying and brushing are fine, as long as the paint is applied at the proper millage (thickness). In general, spraying will provide a smoother appearance. As long as the surface has been properly prepared, sprayed paint will adhere as well as if brushed. There are instances when certain substrates should be back-rolled or back-brushed if they are sprayed, and we review those during our estimate appointment with you.
Q: Is it true that I won’t be able to buy oil-based paints or stains in the future?
A: To a degree, yes – it’s already happening! A lot depends on the VOC limits the federal government sets when it implements a national VOC regulation. In Spring 2020, Colorado implemented new regulations at the state level. The oil-based products you’ll use in years to come will be different than the ones you use now. They’ll contain more solids and less solvent, and may apply and dry differently than current products. A color in the “old” oil-based stain does NOT necessarily have the same appearance as the newer modified-alkyd stain with the same color name/number. You might be surprised just how different oil-based products are from the ones being sold just 10 years ago. Waterborne products that are being developed dry to a hard film like an alkyd; but they’re non-yellowing, clean up with soap and water, and cause less odor.
Q: What does VOC mean?
A: VOC refers to “volatile organic compound”; some examples are paint thinner, mineral spirits, alcohol, gasoline, ethylene glycol, acetone and xylol. VOCs are harmful to both people and the environment. Most architectural paints contain some VOCs. The EPA is limiting the level of VOCs in paints, because when they evaporate into the air when the paint dries, they can contribute to low-level smog generation. When possible, we choose zero VOC or low-VOC products to do our part in protecting the environment. We also participate in paint recycling programs to make sure products are properly disposed of.
Q: Are more expensive paints better?
A: In general, yes, and if it fits in your budget, it is generally worth the upfront cost. It is important to evaluate the condition, needs, and budget for each project though. More expensive paints typically 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.
Sometimes more expensive paint isn’t necessarily recommended. An example is Sherwin Williams Duration, which is a high grade premium paint that can last a long time. However, it dries very tight and is not necessarily recommended for homes with lots of previous coats of paint because Duration may in effect pull off or lift the old coats. It also has different “breathability” than other coatings that may not be appropriate for your property. Again, working with CertaPro means that you will get the right paint specified and expertly applied by our experienced crews.
If you really want to save money, spend a little more on the right quality materials after getting the expert opinion of a qualified, experienced professional. Pricing across paint brands varies, so the “most expensive” at one brand does not necessarily equate to the “most expensive” at another brand.
Q: A contractor comes to paint my house and his employee falls off a ladder and gets hurt. Who pays for his injuries?
A: Contractors such as builders, painters or other tradespeople who work on or around your home are required by Colorado law to provide worker’s compensation insurance and any injury would be covered under that policy. If the contractor does not have coverage or has discontinued his/her policy to save on premiums, you would be next in line to pay for a worker’s injuries and/or disabilities that occurred on your property.
Q: I was told by a contractor that he would have to charge a lot more if he purchased worker’s compensation. He has assured me that my homeowner’s insurance policy would cover me in the event of an accident. It this true?
A: Absolutely not! Your homeowner’s insurance is not likely to offer ANY coverage in this event. It is more likely that your policy specifically excludes it. Alternatively, if your homeowner’s policy does cover it, your premiums are likely to be impacted by the claim. Contact your insurance agent for more information.
Q: I was told by a contractor that he is not required to carry worker’s compensation insurance because he only has one employee. Is this true?
A: There are some cases where this may be true, but ultimately you could be left with the bill for injuries that happen on your property. Protect yourself and your assets by only hiring contractors that are adequately insured.
Q: How do I know for sure if a contractor carries worker’s compensation insurance?
A: Ask for a certificate of insurance and check the date issued as well as the policy expiration dates. You can also check with the carrier before work begins to ensure that the policy is still in force.
Q: Does CertaPro Painters of Fort Collins carry worker’s compensation and general liability insurance policies?
A: Yes, and at your request we can provide insurance certificates that name you as the certificate holder.
Q: Does all of the existing old paint on my house need to be removed before it can be repainted?
A: No, not all of the old paint needs to be removed. It is important to have any loose, peeling, or flaking paint removed prior to painting. Areas that are bare after this preparation process will be primed before being repainted.
Q: Does my whole house need to be primed before being painted?
A: It is very rare for an entire house to need to be primed. After power washing and hand scraping, any bare areas do need to be primed. Sometimes this can amount to a large portion of a home needing priming if the existing paint was in poor condition. Most often, spot priming is needed only in those specific areas where the existing paint warrants.
Q: What is elastomeric paint?
A: Elastomeric paint is a special coating designed for stucco and masonry surfaces experiencing certain issues. The primary issues where an elastomeric coating should be a consideration are where water intrusion has been an ongoing problem and when there are multiple hairline cracks. Depending on the specific elastomeric coating, it can require a special primer and two complete finish coats to create a very thick film between the building and the environment. As the name implies, this coating has a very elastic nature that helps it to bridge underlying hairline cracks in stucco and masonry surfaces. The costs for a repaint with an elastomeric coating are higher than with latex paint due to a much lower spread rate and the difficulty of working with this product.
Q: How long does it take the new paint to dry?
A: Most latex paints set up in 30-120 minutes, but can 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 so that they do not stick, as well as adjusting sprinkler heads so they are not directed at the new coating.
Q. How much do drywall repairs cost?
A. We are happy to provide drywall repair services for our clients. Each repair is different and the complexity, time involved, and cost depends on the specific circumstances. If the damage was due to a door knob hitting the drywall, the repair is very straightforward; however, if the damage is from a water leak, more evaluation is necessary to determine how much drywall needs to be cut out. Texture and finish also can make a difference. For some projects we can provide firm pricing, and for others it needs to be charge on a time and materials basis because it’s impossible to know exactly how much work is needed until we get into the damaged area.
Q. How much does it cost to remove existing wallpaper?
A. The only realistic answer to this question is… it depends. Similar to drywall repairs, it isn’t always possible to know enough about the adhesive, the drywall condition/finish behind the paper, etc. to be able to definitively know how much work will be involved in the wallpaper removal process. In order to keep our customers’ costs lower and only charge for the actual work required, this often is charged on a time and materials basis. Our estimators can certainly give guidance during your on-site or remote estimate appointment based on our evaluation of your specific project.
Q. Is it ok to pick a color from one paint brand but use paint from a different company? For example, if I pick a Sherwin Williams color but use Benjamin Moore paint, how do I know it will match?
A. Paint manufacturer’s generally have access to each other’s paint color formulations. This means that a paint store will have a “crossover formula” already in their system for colors from other brands. This will get you very close to the original manufacturer’s color. If you are looking for a very specific hue or shade and want it to be perfectly exact, you have two options: 1) use a paint from the same brand that you picked the color from, or 2) have your painter get the store to do an exact custom match from a paint sample or color swatch.
Q. Is there a way to see what my house will look like with new colors?
A. Yes! Visit our website at https://certapro.com/fort-collins/color-visualizer/ where you can upload pictures and digitally impose new colors on different surfaces to get a feel for the new colors you’re considering. We always suggest that you don’t rely just on the digital renderings as they rely on the quality of your screen/monitor, the brightness display settings, the angle, etc. It is a great way to get the process started though, and you can move on to real physical paint samples after you have narrowed things down a bit.
Q. How long will my paint job last?
A. This is a loaded question. In general in Colorado, exterior repaints should last from 7-15 years. There are many factors that contribute to where your home will fall within that large window of time. How old is the home? When was it last painted? Was the caulking and preparation done well? What quality / grade of paint was used? How much UV and moisture exposure does it receive? What colors are you choosing? The list goes on, and we discuss all of these during our free estimate appointments so we can make the best professional recommendations for your home and budget, as well as give you guidance on what your specific expected repaint cycle is likely to be. Paying more for a higher grade paint or for a company that will do more thorough/better preparation is likely to save you money in the long run because your paint job will last years longer.
Q. What paint brand is best?
A. Each brand has a variety of paint offerings for both interior and exterior applications. These offerings vary in quality, price, and expected durability, among other factors. We specify and use Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams in most cases. Our paint recommendation and specification is specific to each project and even each substrate in some cases. The paint used on your walls should not be the same paint used on your cabinets, regardless of brand.