When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
To win work, contractors generally have to bid against other suppliers. To make an accurate bid, they estimate the time and materials required to complete the job. They measure the area to be painted and discuss the type of finish the customer requires. They assess the quality of the surfaces to work out how much remedial work they must carry out before painting. They might have to remove old paint or wall coverings, or repair cracks and other damage. They also calculate the cost of any essential equipment, such as scaffolding for exterior walls.
Professional painters have done this before. It’s how they make their living. Through experience, they have learned tricks of the trade and the techniques used to get quality results. They are familiar with the type of paint to use in each situation, know what quality paint is right for each task and know how to achieve a perfectly straight edge – with or without the use of painter’s tape.
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.
Ours was a big job. We chose to work with three colors, one of which Sang and his partner painstakingly applied to all our window trim and grids. But before the colors came the preparation. The detail and precision of their work can not be understated. Even the taping of plastic was performed with purpose, each edge a clean line. Sang inspected all phases (patching, sanding, and power washing) with great attention and after three days of intensive work, it was time for primer and paint. Sang is knowledgeable and gave us great advice on how to best use our colors. Again, he payed close attention to detail, making sure that our house looked beautiful. We are extremely pleased!
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.