Critical Considerations When Choosing A Contractor

The initial feeling of excitement when you decide to have your house painted is a rush for sure! Buuuuut it can wear off quickly. You begin to realize how many things need to be done between the moment you decide to paint and the moment the painting is completed. Fantasizing all the different color options is only one task on the list, and not the first! So first things first! You need to decide WHO will be handling your paint work for you. Step 1 is a huge decision! It will impact the whole process, so here are some helpful things to consider when you choose your contractor! 

Which Contractor Should I Choose ??? 😉 *** Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

Reputation and Stability

Most of us take the time to look at online reputation before we call for an estimate in the first place… but is that enough? The crucial question is “Which business page has the most Facebook likes?!?” Winner! Done! 😉 Kidding… If only it were that simple! While you can put some weight into the way a business interacts with the social community; it is much more important to see if they have actual references and reviews about the experience they provide to their customers. If they do not have online reviews; can they give you references in another format? 

Even a well liked business with lots of good reviews can be irresponsible though… And just because something bad hasn’t happened yet doesn’t necessarily mean they are prepared for it. Make sure the contractor you want to hire has a good business insurance policy and worker’s comp for all employees. If the contractor you want to hire uses sub-contractors; make sure they have these things too! A contractor whose stability is based off of more than social perception is critical!

Experience and Service

When we think of “experience”, we tend to just think of “how long” the contractor has been in business for. That is not the best way to look at it. Someone could be running a painting business for 50 years and only paint one house a month. On the flip side: Another contractor could be 5 years into their business, but have experience running 4 jobs a week. While you want to be sure that your contractor knows what they are doing, it is also important to ask about the “experience” they offer. 

Does the contractor provide a clear outline for the services they will provide for you? Do they have a warranty on their work or materials? To find out how to spot a good warranty; click here!  Is their communication with you going to make you confident that you are a part of the plan? Or will you be left in the dark, hoping they don’t finally show up for the project  when you’re in the bathroom. 😉 (A personal fear of mine haha!) The quality of your experience depends greatly on the quality of your contractor’s service and communication. 

Follow Up

It is pretty common in the trades for a contractor to come and go as they please. Everything happens on their time, with very short notice for you, in most cases. This can leave you under-prepared for the conversations you want to have with them, and frustrated with poor communication. They can leave just as quickly as they came and not really care either way whether you are satisfied with the service you paid for or not. The final bill can be hugely different from the quote you received, and you can’t expect communication to improve at this point.

Now not all contractors behave this way! But you definitely want to have a conversation with your contractor about what you can expect during the process; from the first estimate to the final bill. 

Click Here for our handy list: 17 Critical Questions for Your Contractor!

Thank you for your time! To schedule an estimate with Sir Paints A Lot, click here! Have an Amazing Day!

How to Prepare for your Interior Painting Project!

Interior Painting Season has officially arrived in the PNW! Getting a fresh application of paint is always exciting; both for the crisp clean feel and for the change of color! You’ve had your home measured and you’ve signed the estimate! What happens next?!? Here are 5 things you can do to make your paint project go as smoothly as possible!

interior painting

1. Respond to Calls and Emails from your Painter

In many cases; your painter will have a calendar that they will want to schedule you into as soon as possible. The better you are at keeping in communication with them; the more quickly you can move through the interior painting process! If you work with Sir Paints A Lot, one of the first things you will need to schedule (if you want it) is your color consult! Making the time to have one of our color specialists come out and help you choose a color scheme can really help you feel confident and happy with the paint you choose! Also: the sooner your painter knows which colors you are using, the sooner they can order paint and get your project started! If you’re curious about the color consult; check out this blog: Pros and Cons of a Color Consult!

2. Mark Your Calendar!

Once you get the estimated date for your interior painting project, Mark Your Calendar! Paint companies do their best to keep in contact with you to let you know whether they are on schedule for your project or if they are ahead or behind. It is important that you also keep track of when your project is supposed to happen so that you don’t plan other events too close to the time of your job. Allow a little wiggle room before making plans to host a family dinner, for example, so that you do not end up disappointed if the painters run into a little setback. Even though the date may not be “exact”, keeping track of it will help you be more prepared.

Keeping track of your appointment time also prevents most complications where you would end up needing to reschedule. Not only does last minute rescheduling ruin other customer’s plans and schedules; but you also may end up having to wait longer than you expected, depending on how busy your painter is. No fun 🙁

3. Make Plans for Pets

Once you have a good idea of when your paint project will happen; make plans to keep your pets out of the area that will be painted. If your whole house will need painted and your pet cannot stay outside; ask a friend to help watch them or find an animal kennel you can bring them to. We have heard great things about Willamette Valley Dog and Cat Motel! No matter how friendly your pet is; paint is one thing you don’t want them getting into! The painters cannot be efficient at getting their work done if they are trying to keep your pets out of the paint. Or worse; cleaning up paint messes of cute paw prints tracked all over your floor! 😉

4. Remove Knick-Knacks and Pictures

You will want to remove all the pictures from your walls and any shelving or knick-knacks from the room. We also suggest removing rugs, TV’s and other electronics as well. Large furniture should be moved to the center of the room. The painter will cover it with plastic and drop cloths. You do not want to pile all of your things into a mountain in the middle of the room. Bring your things somewhere safe and make your walls ready for paint! You also need to remove clothes and other items from closets that need painted. You can expect painters to move large items for you like refrigerators, washers, dryers, couches etc… But please remove all your other belongings before the painters arrive!

5. Go Enjoy A Vacation!

Not to be rude— Painters love to chat with customers and get to know you! If you only are having one or two rooms painted and you don’t need to be in them all the time; that’s different! We would love for you to stick around and tell us about your life and your adventures!

But!I If you have scheduled a full interior painting project, join me on this imaginary journey…

The painters have been in your house all day and you just return home from work.

You’re feeling like you need a snack so you try to get into your masked off freezer for some pizza rolls. You glance at your oven and see it is also covered in plastic. A moment of irritation passes… You decide to leave and get some food somewhere else. Your fingers peel at tape so you can make your way through the doorway of plastic.

You return with your food. The daylight has faded away and you need to turn on the light. The switch is covered in paper. The light is dim and covered in plastic. The drive-through forgot to give you a fork…You complete the obstacle course of getting into your silverware drawer.

Now you want to relax and watch some TV. Then you remember that your TV is in another room covered in a drop cloth and so is your couch. You decide to go to bed. If you are lucky; that won’t be covered yet… You stare into the hazy paint dust and wonder what you are doing here….

That was enjoyable right?! 😉

Your house is not the place you want to be when you are having interior painting done! Trust us! Once your appointment time is confirmed; make plans to go anywhere but home! Stay at the coast or in a fun air-bnb or even just a hotel or friend’s house for the duration of your project! Almost everyone loves coming home after a getaway! Imagine how much fun coming home will be after a fresh paint job!

Keeping these steps in mind will make your interior painting experience much more pleasant! Don’t stress! Just remember to stay in contact with your painter so that you get updates regarding your project. Put your possessions somewhere safe and out of the way, and plan a fun getaway for yourselves and your pets! 😉

Thank you for taking the time to read this to be prepared for your upcoming interior painting project! If you have not scheduled with us yet and would like an estimate, click here, or call 541 600 2025! Have an Awesome Day!

When Should I Book My Paint Estimate?

When Should I Book My Paint Estimate?

Well first off- during business hours ;). This is a topic that has various answers in different parts of the country with different weather patterns and workforce balances; but here in the PNW we get so many calls for exterior work that people are hoping to get done sometime next week. They are very disappointed to discover that the soonest we can get them in is next summer.

Below I will cover some common misconceptions about when to book a paint estimate! Hopefully this will help you plan out your paint project without any major setbacks! Remember… These are misconceptions- the answer you seek is in the fine print 😉

1. I shouldn’t schedule an exterior paint estimate until my paint fails.

We all want to get the most life out of our paint jobs! (Unless the color is too hideous to behold 😉 ). However, if you wait until the paint is Already peeling, then you’re going to be paying extra anyway. The additional prep-work required to deal with peeling paint adds up! You’re also going to risk damaging your siding if you leave parts of it unfinished and exposed to the elements. (This also costs more…Especially if no one can fit you in until next summer). This is one of those situations where trying too hard to get the most bang for your buck can really backfire.

So how can you tell when your house needs repainted? In general, once your paint has begun to fade, the next thing that happens is it flakes or peels. This blog goes into more depth if you are curious!

2. I should schedule an exterior paint estimate right before I want it done.

In an ideal world, we could talk about painting on the weekend and start the very next week! However, reality is far from that. With all the shortages in our current economy; workers and materials are not so quick to come by. On a good year, exterior season runs from May through October. If you call anytime in that time-frame; expect that you might not get on the calendar until the next May-October. Exterior work books 6-12 months out right now, so it is important to choose a contractor whose business is likely to be around another year. (free tip 😉 )

Sometimes you can call during the winter months (Nov-April) and get in for the upcoming summer. Occasionally you might get lucky and be able to snag a spot even if you call in early summer! Just keep in mind that if you put it off too long; you’ll be stuck with whatever painter you can get and it probably won’t be the one you want! The same rule applies if you have a particular set of dates you want your painting to take place on. If you take too long to book your estimate, you’ll be stuck with whatever dates we can fit you in for! Plan 6-12 months ahead when it comes to scheduling your paint estimate so You can choose the painter you trust!

3. I can use my estimate from 3 years ago to get on the calendar now!

This goes hand in hand with the misconception before this… Say you got your estimate ahead of time just like I advised, but you weren’t quite ready to commit and get yourself on the calendar… So you held onto it a couple years until you were sure you were ready! You call to get on the books annnnnd the unfortunate news is that 3 years is a long time for a paint job. The estimator will likely have to come back and assess the current condition of your paint. If your paint has worn down considerably, extra cost might need to be added for additional prep-work.

Not to mention all the rapid changes in our economy. Everything from wages we pay employees to the cost of our masking tape has gone up. Whatever your estimate had written down for cost of labor and materials is likely not the same. When you schedule your estimate you should be ready to commit to a project in the near future, but also be aware that it might not begin for 6-12 months. If you Are still holding onto an old estimate and you would like to work with that painter still; give them a call! Just remember that the estimate will need adjusted!

4. Interior work doesn’t have a long wait time!

While this is usually true, if you call in the wrong season it is a different story! Here in the PNW a good rule of thumb for interior paint work is to schedule it during the rainy season! If you call for interior work during the summer you will quickly learn that our calendars are filled to the brim with exterior work. We might be able to get you in on a rainy day if one shows up though, so don’t hesitate to call! Just remember the weather is out of our control! If you call about interior work in the rainy season, you can get on the schedule during that same rainy season. No problem.

5. I’m going to sell my house so I should wait until I’m ready to list it!

The Fresher the Better right?! Its common for people to repaint their house before selling to boost curb appeal and profit! Sometimes people know they will be selling their house and moving in the summer and would like a full re-paint (interior and exterior) but want to hold off on the interior work until they are out of the house. At the time of the estimate; they’re not exactly sure when that will be. I have Good news! Because we can not control the wind and weather, our schedule is “approximate” until its right down to go-time.

If you call and get on the books, we can move your project around here or there as needed. If you wait until you are ready to list your house to scramble and find a painter…. well… That is just added stress to an already busy time and we likely will not be able to help you even if we want to. Same rule applies! Try to plan 6-12 months ahead if you can!

Maybe the last time you had your house painted you didn’t have to plan so far ahead. Maybe you lived somewhere sunny and exterior work was a year round thing so it just didn’t occur to you. Hopefully this blog helps you see the current reality of the PNW painting season. We are doing our best at Sir Paints a Lot to keep up with demand! If you realized while reading this that it is time to book your paint estimate- click HERE to schedule with us! Thank you!

How to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

How to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

One does not simply paint their home’s exterior. Exterior painting is a process not to be taken lightly. Not all those who paint are painters… I could continue conjuring cheap jokes, but I shall allow you to read ahead and discover our process.

If you are going to paint your home’s exterior, a good process will take you far! There are always things that turn up that might need extra skills or information not provided here, but for most situations, this will be the map you want to follow if you’re looking for a beautifully painted home! If you need a rundown of some common painter’s tools- check this out!

1. Pressure Wash

First things first. Properly preparing your siding for paint requires this. You may not think you are a living in a witch’s cottage, but you would be amazed at how many cobwebs and spiders are hiding on surfaces that will need painted. Mildew, dust, and debris all build up on the outside of our houses over time. Even if you think your house is not afflicted by these things, it will only take a couple of seconds with the power washer on to realize that you were deceiving yourself.

Make sure to move outdoor furniture, grills, or any other objects away from the house. We begin at the highest points and work our way down. If you like to do everything twice, begin at the lowest points. 😉 Make sure to use a surface cleaner in your pressure washer and mix it as directed.

A Sir Paints A Lot squire having a blast with the pressure washer on a shed! 😉

2. Repair Damaged Siding or Trim

Unfortunately; there are no short-cuts with this step either. Not even duct tape can save you here. What rotten luck. If you have any rotted pieces of siding or trim, you will need to replace them before painting. If you are not sure how to identify dry rot, click here! This is also a great time to make sure that any protruding screws or nails are dealt with.

When you hire us, we will identify these issues and take care of them for you!

3. Scrape, Sand, and Caulk

We don’t like wasting time! Skipping these first few steps makes everything else a waste of time. If you want your work to look nice, you will need to use a paint scraper to scrape any areas with loose or peeling paint to a point where they are no longer flaking off and you can sand them smooth. You will need to caulk (remember to use paint-able caulk) around windows and doors and often corner-boards or places where two different materials meet.

Remember to smooth out the caulking into the creases! This is sometimes the most painful part of the process. I do mean literally. There are exceptions though; such as falling off of your ladder, or an encounter with a wasp nest.

Quality artwork by Yours Truly… In honor of all those who have fallen off the ladder Because of the wasp…;)

4. Mask

If you’re a lone wolf, you will want to mask off all windows, doors, and trim and anything else that will not be painted first. This often includes bushes and plants alongside the house. In some cases, these will need to be trimmed back so they are not touching the house. You could always paint them too… but only if you want them to die. If you could use some extra tips for masking, check out this blog! Unmasking the Secret to Successful Masking!

If you have a helper though; you should work together to mask off the first side. After you have the first side masked; send the masker ahead to the second side while you begin spraying the first, and work your way around the house in this way. ***Start with your primer!

At Sir Paints A Lot, we like to make our 1st side the “sunny” side. Whichever side will be hottest later in the day is where we begin. Unless you enjoy being drenched in your own sun-boiled sweat, we recommend you implement this free tip.

5. Paint

Begin with a small spray tip to do your “cut-in” around windows and tight corners or smaller areas. Then use a larger spray tip and work your way steadily across the wall in the direction of the siding. Most often this will be horizontally, and it is best to begin at the top. Aim for about 40% overlap with each new row. A common mistake is to try and drench the wall to avoid having to do the second coat. Do not do this. Even if you do not like doing things twice, (insert laughter), applying 2 coats of paint is the best way to achieve smooth, even coverage.

After you have finished your two coats of wall color you can turn your focus to trim and fascia. There are many ways people go about painting these areas and it is very dependent on circumstances. In many cases, you can put a finer tip on your paint sprayer and use a paint shield as you go about painting the gutters. (You remembered to pressure-wash those right?!?)

Be very careful to avoid over-spraying onto your wall color or roof. For doors, we hang new masking around the outside of the door so it can have a smooth sprayed finish as well. Using a brush and roller on window trim and any other trim is usually the most efficient way to finish your trim work. Don’t forget the 2nd coat and to watch for paint runs! Paint runs are much easier to fix if you catch them right away!

6. Inspection/Touch Up

Once all the masking is removed; go back to the beginning and slowly look around for any spots that may have some overspray or paint drops or anything that may have been missed. Take your time here. This is the fine tuning that really polishes all your hard work.

7. Clean Up

If you own the house you just painted; proceed any way you want.

If you do not own the house you just painted; wash all brushes and equipment in a logical place (Not the kitchen sink or all over the driveway). A good way to avoid having any mess to wash away is to wash your brush in a 5 gallon bucket with water in it. A final step, which I regard as being nearly as important as good prep-work, is to make sure you don’t throw all the trash in their dumpster. Take it with you and dispose of all paint and cans appropriately.

We hope this helps with your exterior painting project! If you’d like Sir Paints A Lot to handle the work, click here to book an estimate now! Or call 541-600-2025! Thank You and Have a Wonderful Day!