The decision to paint is full of emotions and excitement, and many homeowners living in Northern Virginia dive in quickly, anxious to get the project started so they can make important changes to their homes.
While we completely understand the thrill of a painting project (after all, we believe in Bringing color in your life!) we also think it’s important to take a rational approach. Painting is a process and if the excitement causes you to skip important steps, the end results will suffer.
To help you out, we’ve created this comprehensive guide with everything you need to know to plan and prepare for your next painting project. Use this guide to follow important steps in the process, and you’re sure to be pleased during the final walkthrough.
There are many home improvement projects to choose from, so why is painting one of the most popular projects selected by today’s homeowners? Some of the benefits of painting include:
The last benefit is what we like to call Bringing color in your life. The amazing transformation that a coat of paint can bring to your home means overwhelming joy and a renewed sense of pride in your home. New paint is the opportunity to start fresh and give your home a second life.
As we mentioned above, painting is a process and it should be taken seriously. Some of the main steps in the painting process are:
During the Project
After the Project
Throughout the rest of this document, we will look at each part of the painting process so you understand what to expect at each stage and can successfully execute your project.
The steps involved before the painting project begins are crucial in getting your project off on the right foot. These are the steps that homeowners are most likely to skip – of course because they are eager to jump right into the project itself. However, it is important that you take your time before the project begins to define the scope of your project, pick the right colors and designs, and hire the right painting contractor for the job.
At some point, something sparked your idea to take on a home painting project. It might be that it’s simply time to repaint, or you may feel like changing colors or designs, or you may have been inspired by a friend or family member who did a recent painting project. Whatever it is, you’ve decided to paint – and the first step is to design the scope of the project.
The main goals of this step are to define where you want to paint and how much work you want to tackle.
Defining the scope of your project is important because it will help you better communicate your needs to your painting contractor so you get a more accurate estimate and stay ‘on the same page’ regarding the project.
Now on to a fun step, getting inspiration. Sudden inspiration may be the reason you decided to start your painting project, but it’s now time to dig in deeper to provide more details about what you want. You may start out with some basic color/design questions:
When you ask yourself these questions, you may want to think back at why you wanted to paint in the first place – your wants versus how the current home is not meeting those wants can direct the project.
After you have some basic ideas about design, style, and colors, you can seek out inspiration on the more specific looks you want to achieve with your painting project. You can get inspiration by searching online, looking through magazines, browsing Pinterest, watching home improvement shows, getting advice and inspiration from friends, and more.
By now you have defined the scope of your project and gotten some basic inspiration. These steps are important because now you can communicate better with contractors – you can tell them exactly what you want to be painted and the look you are trying to achieve. Since you’re prepared to deal with contractors, now it’s time to research to find a few you’d like to pursue.
Like many steps on this list, researching contractors is an important step that many homeowners skip. Sometimes homeowners move fast (choosing the first contractor they find); sometimes they choose a contractor based on relationships (Company X is run by my brother’s friend); and sometimes they choose based on someone else’s experience (my best friend Mary used this contractor and she was happy with the results). These emotionally-based reasons can lead you to choose the wrong contractor, so it’s wiser to do the research first.
The point of the research is to determine what other people are saying about the company: do people recommend them, do they perform quality work and are they reputable. After conducting this research, you should be able to narrow down the candidates to a shorter list of painting contractors that you will request estimates from.
You will now call the top contractors on your list to get project estimates. During the estimate, you can give the contractor information that you gathered in previous steps, such as the project parameters and your design inspiration, so they understand your ideas and can give you an accurate estimate.
Remember that the estimate is a key point of contact before you choose a company and sign a formal contract. It is your responsibility to get all the information you need – and you’ll want to make your final decision based on more than just the final number in the estimate. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
In the “Researching Painting Contractors” step you were assessing the company in general; the estimating step is where you must assess their ability to successfully execute your specific project.
By now you have plenty of information – both from the researching phase and the estimating phase. It’s important that you use ALL of this information to hire the right painting contractor for your project.
It can be tempting to just look at the final numbers and select the contractor who gives you the lowest estimate. However, when it comes to painting work, you definitely get what you pay for. While the final estimate is an important factor, you want to look at everything together to find the painting contractor that has the right ‘package’ and who will do the best work.
You may be surprised that we saved the choosing colors step until now. It is quite possible that you decided on colors during the “Get Inspiration” step, but we saved this step until after hiring the contractor because these days many contractors offer assistance in choosing colors. Professionally trained color experts can consult with you to offer suggestions on colors that match your home, your tastes, and your preferred design style. This service offered by painting contractors takes the guesswork out of what is typically a daunting task.
If instead, you are choosing colors yourself, here are some tips:
Choosing colors can be overwhelming because there are so many colors to choose from. When you narrow down some of your choices, try using a color app, like those offered by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. These apps will allow you to take a picture of your room then use digital painting tools to see how new colors will look.
This section on what happens during the painting project will be decidedly shorter than the previous section. The reason is that in the previous phase you selected the perfect contractor for your project, so now it’s time to sit back and let them perform the work! However, even though you will not be actively involved during the project, it is important that you understand the general process that the contractor will follow to complete the work.
During the project, you should also have the following expectations of your contractor.
• The contractor and any painting staff will respect your home and your personal belongings.
• The project will be carried out in accordance to the signed contract.
• The painters will do their job by following the proper safety procedures and best practices of the painting industry.
• The contractor will engage in active communication, keeping you informed of any changes or issues and answering any questions you have.
Now that you know what you should expect from your painting contractor, it’s time to look at what is going on behind the scenes as they work on your project.
Prepping the area is an important step that all professional painters begin with. Prep includes:
• Cleaning the surface to remove any dirt or debris.
• Removing wall hangings and moving them to a safe area.
• Moving furniture out of the way.
• Taping and putting paper or plastic on areas that are not to be painted.
• Covering the floor to protect it from paint drops.
Prepping the area is important because it will protect your home and belongings from any damage, and it gets the surfaces ready for priming and painting.
Priming is the process of adding a special coat of paint (called primer) to the surface to get it ready for the colored paint that will follow. In some cases, priming is not necessary, but often times it is a necessary step. For example, you should always prime new drywall, unpainted wood, patched drywall, as well as when you’re painting over glossy paints, covering stains or odors, and making major color changes. You should always rely on the expertise of your contractor to decide if priming is necessary. If they say it is, don’t try to cut costs by skipping it because it will likely impact the final results.
Painting is the step you’ve been waiting for, and the reason you may have wanted to skip all the other steps and jump right into things. We hope you understand the reason why the other steps are important, though – because by the time you get to this step you can be confident that you’ve selected the right color and will have it applied professionally by the contractor of your choice.
Painting may involve the use of various brushes and rollers, and it may involve one or multiple coats. How long the painting will take will depend on the specifics of our project, but reputable contractors will make sure to clean up daily and minimize any disruption to your household.
After the paint has been applied, inspected and any necessary touch ups have been made, the contractor will clean up the area. The cleanup step involves removing all tools and materials, taking the tape, paper, and plastic down, moving furniture back, and rehanging wall décor.
Your painting project is now complete, and here is the moment you’ve always been waiting for – viewing the stunning transformation of your home and returning to life as normal where you can enjoy your home and see it in a new (and beautiful!) light. In addition to the project walkthrough, this section will also cover important information on maintaining and preserving your painted surfaces.
The walkthrough is the final step where you “tour” your home with the contractor to view the work that has been performed. Most homeowners are thrilled with the final results of their painting project, and a walkthrough is an exciting event.
During the walkthrough, you will want to inspect the work to check the quality as well as to make sure that everything in the contract was completed. If you have any issues, now is the time to bring them up with the contractor. Professional and reputable painting companies want to please their customers, so they will likely try to resolve these issues.
If you’ve followed all the steps in this document, you are likely to be quite pleased with the results! After the walkthrough (or after any final issues are addressed) you should make the final payment if you have not done so yet. If you are happy with the work, it is also a kind gesture to offer to be a reference for the company or to complete online reviews. Remember that back in the “Researching Painting Contractors” step you used reviews to select your pool of potential contractors. After the walkthrough, you can ‘pay it forward’ to other homeowners by leaving reviews of your own.
Many painting companies offer warranties or guarantees on their work. This should have been something you asked about in the “Getting Estimates” step and it also might have been something that was brought up during the walkthrough.
Painting contractors sometimes offer warranties on the materials or on the work they performed – and sometimes both. If your contractor offers a warranty or guarantee, make sure you get it in writing and save the documentation in a safe place.
Now that you’ve said goodbye to the painting contractor, it’s important that you do what you can to maintain your painted surfaces. Typically your surfaces only need a periodic cleaning to be kept in good shape.
• For interior surfaces, use a soft cloth or towel and mild soap to make sure you do not scratch or discolor the paint.
• For exterior surfaces, power washing is the easiest and most effective solution.
Over time, your painted surfaces may get chipped or scratched from the regular household activity. Unfortunately, touching up paint is hard to do because it is hard to get the exact color match. DIY experts recommend keeping the rest of the can of original paint (as there is typically a little leftover) and then diluting it 5-10 percent. Touching up the paint can be a risky venture, though, so you may consider calling the painting company, moving furniture or décor to block it, or simply living with the imperfection until you paint again.
Some painting contractors offer annual inspections of your painted surfaces after the painting project is complete. If your contractor offers this service, make sure to take advantage of it – but if not, you can conduct your own annual inspections.
In the “Defining the Scope of the Project” step, we recommended walking around your home – room by room inside and section by section outside – to take note of the condition of the paint. This is a good practice to do each year in order to keep your painted surfaces well maintained. From your inspection, you may notice areas that need cleaning or pressure washing. You also may notice chipping, scratches, bubbling, peeling or other issues that indicate you need to repaint. Conducting the inspections annually will allow you to submit warranty claims and help you predict when it’s time to repaint.
MEDIAS PAINTING (540)670-3022
We hope that the information in this guide is useful to you in planning and proceeding with your next painting project. After 25+ years in the painting industry and over 2000 completed painting projects, we understand that painting – although an emotionally joyful event – is also a process that you should take seriously.
For those of you who live in our service area (which includes Spotsylvania County, Fredericksburg City, Stafford County, King George, Prince Williams County, and Caroline County), we’d love the opportunity to work with you on your next painting project! We offer:
At MEDIAS PAINTING 540-670-3022, we have worked hard to develop a reputation as the best painting contractor in Virginia. All of the photos in this guide are past projects of ours, and you can view even more in our portfolio.
Contact MEDIAS PAINTING (540)670-3022
Hopefully, the resources in this document will help you plan and execute your next painting project. Medias Painting (540)-PAINTER provides painting services to homeowners in the Fredericksburg and Stafford VA area, including Spotsylvania, King George, Prince William and Caroline County. If you’re looking for a professional residential painting company you can trust, give MEDIAS PAINTING (540)PAINTER a call today.
MEDIAS PAINTING (540)-PAINTER
4936 Trade Center Dr. Suite B
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
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