Beware of the Low Bid

A quality paint job can save you money and headaches in the long run.

Before you contract for painting services, consider the professional who will extend the life of your paint job through proper preparation techniques, quality materials and extensive experience. It can save you money and headaches in the long run.

Here are some tips to help assess your needs:

Tin Roofed
Get up on your roof and check the paint for cracking, peeling, flaking, “alligatoring,” or surface rust. Problems such as these are often associated with multiple layers of paint that can no longer expand and contract due to deterioration or improper application of one of the underlying coats. Depending on the severity of the problem, removal of the old layers of paint may be the best remedy. Mild or severe signs of paint deterioration require immediate attention because the paint should be protecting your expensive tin roof and other exterior substrates. A proper paint job can save you thousands on tin roof repairs and replacements.

Historic Windows
If you have installed storm windows, check for two vents at the bottom of your storms which allow moisture to escape. Trapped moisture destroys wooden windowsills. If you don’t have vents, drill holes in the bottom of the storm frame.

Painting Exterior Brick
Check the mortar for sandy holes and other signs of deterioration. Before you paint, consult your paint contractor about “spot pointing” to repair the mortar damage completely. Be aware that the appropriate mortar mix is used to protect older bricks. Proper repair will prevent costly water migration into the masonry and will allow stronger paint adhesion to the brick surface.

85% of the real work involved in providing a quality, long-lasting paint job is in the preparation of all the surfaces to readily bond with the new paint. The common surfaces on Washington DC and Virginia homes are masonry, wood and metal. Preparation includes labor-intensive tasks including scraping, sanding, priming, cleaning, caulking, patching, glazing and more. How much prep and how much the job will cost is due largely to the type or types of surfaces being painted. Beware of the lowest estimate because, over time, this may become your worst nightmare.

How To Select A Paint Contractor
Ask which other Washington DC and Virginia homes this contractor has painted. How long ago were these properties done? Go to each one and compare the results between Hill homes painted 2 and 6 years ago. How closely do they compare? A quality contractor’s work will hold up through the years because of the better preparation, more experience and better materials.

Check that the contractor is licensed, bonded and that he has Public Liability Insurance as well as Workman’s Comp. The contractor should be well established in Washington DC and Virginia due the historic significance of these buildings. Check references to ensure that the contractor’s staff follow strict guidelines in respecting your property as part of our national heritage. Your neighbors are going to be your greatest help in making this important decision.