Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
A fellow (actually lives in the same neighborhood) by the name of Wayne Hickey (843-655-0366) painted the ceilings and most of the walls of our house in February 2017. He got paint all over my light fixtures, all over my trim around the doors, and had visible lap marks everywhere on the walls. He came back and rectified some of the problems, but not all, as I have noticed as I have had time to look more carefully at the work he and his assistant did. His assistant had no idea (not a clue) how to roll paint on a wall or ceiling. Some places were not covered. He said he would pull nails for pictures and then re-insert the nails exactly where they were. This he did not do as he promised. He painted over the nails. His assistant had no idea how to use a paint roller. I have painted all my life, and would have done this work myself, but I just had a full knee replacement and the other knee is in bad shape. I just could not do the work. Wayne is a pleasant and congenial individual, but he can not cut in a ceiling or wall to my satisfaction - not even close. He should have a putty knife and wet cloth with him all the time to correct any paint that might get applied where it shouldn't. That is something I always did as a painter. I would not recommend Wayne to paint anybody's home.
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.

If the point of hiring a well established, experienced, reputable painting contractor is to secure the professionalism and trust suggested to be inherent with that choice, then I would EXPECT that professionalism and experience to include the ability to make the proper and correct calculations for labor and materials for a fixed price quote, and there should be NO reason for the contractor to put the cost burden of their miscalculation on the consumer.
I would never suggest that one of my clients buy their own paint because A . They will pay an average of $20 to $30 more per gallon which could add up to $1,000 or more to a full repaint B. most times I'm in the paint store homeowners are kind of pushed to the foreground as they handle all the contractors in the store and C. Paint is heavy, takes up a lot of room needs to be left in it clean dry area and I hate to put a client to work when they are trying to hire me to do their job.
To paint a large section without leaving lap marks, roll the nearly dry roller in different directions along the dry edge, feathering out the paint as you go. After completing the entire length of the wall or ceiling, move to the next section and paint over the feathered edges. For the second coat, apply the paint in the opposite direction. This crisscrossing paint application sharply reduces (if not eliminates) lap marks.

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Even if you think you'll probably do the job yourself, it's good preparation to seek estimates from professional home painters, whether your painting the exterior or interior of your home. Then you'll have a financial point of comparison and you may benefit from what a home painting contractor has to say about the condition of your home, color choices and types of paint available. Let the painter make his pitch for a professional job before you decide what to do. You can still opt to do it yourself while having learned something worthwhile.
I was taught to paint by a professional and when estimating the amount of paint needed, I always allow for a second coat just to make sure of coverage. We interviewed a painter who tried to tell me I bought poor quality paint without knowing where I purchased it, and stated he would have to buy all new paint. He had not seen the cans and was just guessing so I asked him where I should buy paint from now on. It was the same place I had purchased my paint and he wanted to charge me an extra 20 a gallon more than what I paid for. Needless to say, I have interviewed numerous painters and they are not all honest.
We had a bad experience with an interior painter years ago, with the crux of the problem being him overcharging us at the end for "extra work" he didn't anticipate. One thing I'd strongly recommend is making sure it's in the contract that any additional work or growth work is estimated and communicated to the owner as soon as it is identified, otherwise the owner is not liable to pay it at the end.

Lastly, chose a sheen to match the needs of the space. Flat finishes hide imperfections well and absorb light which can make the paint look darker. Eggshells and satins are tough enough to be used in family rooms, kids' rooms, and hallways but don’t hide surface imperfection well. Semi-Gloss and high-gloss finishes are primarily used for trim because they accentuate woodwork details and clean up easily.

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