Homeowners should plan ahead to find out how much it will cost to paint their house. House painting contractors may give different estimates depending on their work schedule. In colder cities like Boston, asking for a quote during the Winter, when business is slow and contractors are lining up jobs for the Spring, may save some money. The cost of painting the same house may rise in the Summer and Fall when painting contractors are busiest.
A bit of education will reveal that house painters may come up with different approaches to the exact same job. Knowing what those approaches are will help determine your costs and allow you to intelligently evaluate a house painting estimate.
Exterior house painting can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Some house painters will prefer to spray the paint on, and others will rely on brushes or rollers to paint the same walls. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages. Painting contractors using the spray method may be faster, but often create a mess if windows and trim are not protected from the spray. Rollers will give a fast job without the mess, but are best suited for painting stucco, concrete and brick. Brushes are the slowest application, but experienced house painters will often rely on them for the best results, especially on shingle and houses with clapboard or other siding materials.
Before calling a contractor for your first quote, be aware of the condition of the walls of your house. Is the paint peeling, bubbling or cracking? Is there mold, mildew or moss growing on the walls? A good painter will not paint over unstable surfaces. Preparation requirements like scraping off old paint, priming raw wood, and caulking imperfections, gaps and cracks will affect your estimate.
For Interior house painting, the approaches are similar to exterior. Faster jobs, especially in new construction and vacant properties where mess is not a big factor, could be spray-applied. Finer interior work will be accomplished with rollers and brushes. In all cases, painting contractors should be protecting windows and furnishings from any contact with paint, so be sure to inquire how your contractor plans to do that. Ruined carpets and windows with paint on the glass are things you should never have to deal with.
Your house painting estimate will also depend on your choice of paint. This includes both the quality of the paint and the color. Obviously, the best quality materials will cost more. Decide in advance if you want a cut-rate job, or a first-class one. Then be sure that quotes are for similar quality paints and the exact same colors.
Painting contractors will know if the job will require one coat of paint, or multiple coats. If you are trying to hold costs down, choose a paint color which is the same as the old color. Painting white over white may involve only a single application, but painting a light color over a dark one may require three coats. Since you will be paying for each coat of paint, be prepared for the cost.
Finally, with all this in mind, approach two or three house painting contractors, and then compare the costs. The estimates will give you a good idea of cost and value.