Exterior painting: questions to ask, brands?

7 Replies

I am looking to paint our rental this summer.

It really does need it, was pointed out by the inspector. I figure the investment early on will save me headaches in the future.

  • Any thoughts on this?
  • Any suggested paint brands?
  • What questions should I ask the contractor/things that I should think about?
  • Approximate cost for an 1100sf, two story, SF?

Thanks, Chris

We always use Bear from home Depot. 

Depending on much prep work there is I would come in 2300 to 2800. My buddy and I paint on the side. 

If you are using a contractor, the contractor will most likely have a preferred paint and a contractor discount set up with their supplier. We've done exteriors with Miller, Sherwin Williams, Behr (from HD), Benjamin Moore, Olympic, Valspar, and the list goes on. Every brand has it's top end and low end. The better the quality, the easier to use, and better the results... well worth it. 

Contractors should be prepared to provide their own tools and their own safety gear.

They should be quite knowledgeable about how to do the work and have ample experience. Check references.

Be sure the contractor understands how to deal with lead-based paint if the building was built prior to 1978. 

Go with someone who is licensed, bonded and insured.... or accept the risk if something should go wrong. Any time there are contractors on ladders the risk goes up. 

Ask the contractor about their preferred method of doing the work. We notice if you ask a contractor to do something your way and it is not their preferred way of doing things, it's like swimming up stream. If your contractor shares your mindset or their preferred way makes sense to you, it is a breeze. Contractors like to work in their comfort zone, so find out what that is. In most cases you will get a better price and better results.

Have a signed contract that clearly explains the scope of the project and how payments will be made. If a contractor asks you to pay for materials up front, pay directly to the supplier. (We were cheated by a rogue roofer one time when we gave him money to buy materials and he disappeared.)

Try to be there when the work is being done. You will learn tons. Provide the lemonade. :-)

Are you looking to paint yourself or hire someone?

You're saying summer is it vacant now or does it come vacant over the summer?

On our rentals, we have been using the Glidden brand at Home Depot. It is cheap and has worked fine for us. I have a property Management company, so we get things done cheap. Sounds like that is a max 2 day job for 2 guys, we would pay $700 for labor for a crew without insurance. A little more if there was rotten wood to replace or scrape. With anything we do, I like to look at the hourly rate someone would be charging. 2 days worth of work for 2 guys, total man hours is 40. That comes to $17.50 a hour. Seems fair. 

Having been a professional painter ( union schooled and non union ) I feel that I should throw my 2 cents into this topic.
1.) DONT ever use an uninsured paint company or painter. You're only asking for problems if an accident happens on the property.
2.) I completely agree with Marcia Maynard's post.
3.) the cheapest bid isn't always the best bid. I've been underbid several times, only to have the customer call me to come fix the poor quality paintwork of the cheaper bid.
4.) If the paint company uses paint from lowes or Home Depot, especially the higher end products from the "hardware" stores, they seldom get a decent discount and they pass that cost on to you.
5.) cheaper is NEVER better.. Labor, materials, or insurance! 95% it will come back on you. I know, I've been there and done that!

@Marcia Maynard  

Thank you Marcia. Wonderful input as always.

@Justin G.  

I agree 100%. I will not be working with any uninsured contractors. I think that those who take the time/effort to get/maintain a license and insurance are worth the relatively minimal additional cost associated with the work. Thanks.

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