Before the scrubdown, protect nearby plants by misting their leaves and saturating the surrounding soil with water, pulling them away from the house, and shrouding them in fabric drop cloths. (Plants will cook under plastic.) Lay more drop cloths along the base of the walls to collect any falling paint debris. Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather.
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.

First off, the picture on the top THAT IS A HOME OWNERS PAINT JOB. If you here a school kid or your neighbor, this is what you get. I was a painting contractor for the better part of 40 years and never saw a PAINTER (even the worst painter) leave a mess like that. Maybe the electrician or the carpenter but, that is not something a painter could even do if they tried.
Skip the do-overs and pick the perfect paint color the first time around. No matter what space, shade, or aesthetic you're looking for, we've got ideas. And then we've got some more ideas. We compiled all our best paint color advice in one place to make it even easier. By the time you're done with this story, you'll have your paint woes all solved.
Brighten up your home. From DIY lighting that adds both value and light to your house, to unique painting ideas that go beyond picking out paint swatches, our real-life homeowner stories and expert advice can illuminate every room. What house painting tips can make the job go quicker with fewer mistakes? Which lighting ideas can create just the right ambiance?
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