Painting Contractors - Consumer Reports
A painter working on an interior wall in a house.

Painting Contractors

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No formal training or education is required to become a professional house painter. So experience and reputation go a long way in distinguishing an average painter from a great one. Whether you’re hiring for interior or exterior work—some companies offer both services—the interview process is the same. Here are five key steps to hiring the best painter for your project.


Determine whether the painter is busy, because the good ones always are. The warmer months are the most popular time of year for painting exteriors in regions with cold, wet winters. Days with temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees are best. Even in mild-weather regions, a spring and summer with little or no wind are best for tackling exterior paint jobs. Interior painting jobs can be done year-round.


Find out how long the painting company has been in business. A reputable one will have been in business at least five years and will have no problem providing you with a list of references. Many pros will furnish photos of past projects. You're looking for clean lines where two paint colors meet, precise transitions from painted to unpainted areas, and an even application of paint over large surfaces.


Avoid a painting company that uses subcontractors, because their work may not be guaranteed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but make sure that the painter is insured and that the warranty covers the work to be done. You can also check the Better Business Bureau and social media websites.


Get an accurate estimate for the job. Most professional painters start with a free, in-home consultation to discuss the specifics of a project. Walk around the project area and talk about the prep work needed, indicating exactly what will be painted (trim, windows, doors, eaves, porches, etc.). That way, you will get an accurate estimate of the job’s cost and how long it will take to complete. Your contract should include which paint brand and line will be used, and the painter's promise to correct—at little or no cost—any chipping, peeling, blistering, or flaking that occurs within two years after the job is done.


Do a test patch of paint (whether you’re painting an interior or exterior) to be sure you truly like the color. A professional painter supplies all necessary materials for the job. If your house was built before 1978, assume it has lead paint, and be sure your painter is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to handle any lead remediation. That goes for exteriors, too.

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