We get asked many questions from people who are comparing our quote with other painters or general contractors and we welcome them. Below are just a few of the questions that were invitations for us to clarify how things ought to be done.
The other painter said it needed two coats. Couldn’t I get away with only one?
Depending on the color that’s on the wall now, you may be able to get away with one coat, but it’s unlikely. There is a limit to how much paint you can put on a wall in one application. One coat is not usually enough. Besides, even if the one coat ‘covers’ over the old one, the underlying color will show through enough to effect the actual color you’re trying to achieve this time around. Any job worth doing is worth doing right. So our personal standard is that we won’t promise anything with one coat unless we're painting the exact same color again.
Why do the walls need a washing first?
Depending on the condition of the paintwork, the walls may need a good wash so the paint will stick. Cooking grease, hand prints, scuff marks, dust and general dirt can make it more difficult for the paint to adhere.
Besides, if you skip this cleaning part, some dirt will lift off the wall during painting and then stick somewhere else. What you end up with is lumps, bumps, chunks and bits of fluff right in the paint surface.
The other painter insisted that I supply Brand “X” paint only. Does it really matter?
That’s a difficult one. On the one hand, most brands of paint are better than ever, so there really isn’t a bad brand of paint out there any more. But really cheap paints, (less than $30.00/gallon), are thin and will require more coats to get the same result. So if we’re doing the painting, the cost saving in paint is offset by the increase in labour cost.
That said, different paints do perform differently and some professionals develop favourite brands that they like to work with. If we buy the paint, I’ll be very particular. If you buy the paint, we’ll paint with it; it’s that simple.
The other point on paint is to ask yourself what you want, not what we want. You see, manufacturers claim the more expensive paints last longer, hold colour longer, resist fading, and are easier to clean. So those benefits accrue to you the home owner over time, not the folks doing the painting. If those things are important then buy better paint.
If you need a second opinion on it just remember that you usually get what you pay for and generally, more expensive paints are easier to work with and as such make it easier for us to do good work.
I want to save money, so can we just skip the ceiling?
Possibly, depending on whether or not you’re painting the same color. We may suggest that a ceiling be painted so we can ‘cut in’ the new color up to the ceiling for a better finish. Take a minute to look closely at the room you’re considering. Does the existing paint colour show up on the ceiling in spots? No cure for that without painting the whole ceiling.
And no, we can’t touch up of the edge where the ceiling meets the walls. The reason is that all paints, even white ceiling paints have a different color base formula so unless we have the can of paint that was used to paint the ceiling, you’ll notice where it was touched up. We humans are outstanding in our ability to notice subtle differences in shades and tones of color.
Another reason to paint the ceiling is a matter of practicality. Ceilings get dirty from general living, cooking grease, furnace particles, dust and grime. If it’s been a while since the ceiling was painted, a touch-up will be noticeable. You’re having the room painted anyway, why not do it right and get the whole thing taken care of at once.
Why can’t you quote me a price over the phone?
We customize all of our work to your specific needs. In order to gain a better understanding of your vision, we will meet with you and tour your home or business.
I want this job finished in a rush. Why is it going to take so long?
If we're available, we’ll do everything we can to help you out, but we can’t make paint dry faster. We can’t put masking tape over fresh paint, and plaster has to be completely dry before it can be smoothed, ready for paint. We're painters, not a magicians. As Scotty always said to Captain Kirk, “I’ll need more time!”
The water leak is fixed. Can you patch the ceiling tomorrow?
Nope! We get this question more than any other. The leak may be fixed but a good contractor won’t even repair a wall or ceiling until it’s completely dry. There’s going to be water soaked into the floorboards and ceiling joists. Any residual water will either drip down or seep through a wall or ceiling and swell the drywall and/or the tape and plaster. Give it time to dry out completely and the paint job will be the final step in the repair. Do it once, do it right.
Why is the price so different between these quotes?
There can be a number of reasons for this. Usually it’s due to the various interpretations of what you asked for. Some of the contractors may have heard you more clearly than others. If you’re concerned, call up the highest bidder and the lowest bidder and get them to explain to you, what they understand the job to be. A low bid could spell disaster for a contractor if they haven’t understood the scope of the project, or if they aren't properly licensed or insured. A high bid may be a contractor adding extras that you may have indicated that you wanted but don’t actually need.
Also, be weary of the “low-ball” quote. Some contractors will bid low on a job in the hopes of getting more work down the road. Or worse, once they get to your home and start working they claim that the things you expected or understood to be part of the job all of a sudden are extras at additional cost. This doesn’t happen often but I still hear stories like this from time to time.
Lastly, some painters will quote a job high as a way of getting out of doing it. It may simply be a face-saving strategy to bid themselves out of a job that they either don’t want to do or aren’t able to do.
So in the end, there’s more to selecting a contractor (like me) than simply buying on price alone. Get to know the person you’ll be working with. They’ll be in your home for a while!
I just want the place cleaned up a bit, so can you quote on a basic job?
We can do anything you want, we are here to serve you and we customize our services to fit each clients needs.