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How to Prepare for a House Painting Project

Last modified: 2022-05-04 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

Need a bit of advice on how to get started on your house painting project? We met with Antoine LeBouc, one of our painting contractors, to give out a few of his best tips. To check out the video (in French with English subtitles), click here!

Here are our questions, as well as the answers provided by the expert: 

What are the most important things to keep in mind when planning to paint your house(interior/exterior)?

First of all, you should check if your contractor has all the proper licenses.

  • In Quebec, look up their profile on the RBQ website.
  • In Ontario,  you can check for their profile on the Ontario College of Trades website.
  • In Nova Scotia, make sure the painter you hire carries the Red Seal of approval as well as checking the NSCLRA for their profile.

Secondly, check if they have insurance and how many years they've been in the business. These are the two main requirements to make sure your contractor is qualified for the job.

What should a person do before contacting a professional painter?

Try to know what you want as much as possible. Which areas need to be painted? What type of paint should be used? What colour? What paint brand? What type(s) of paint finish(es) do you need? Most of not all of these questions should have answers before you meet with your contractor.

This way, you'll know what you want and what you don't want. If you feel lost and are having a hard time making choices, visit a paint store or a hardware store and get advice from the employees. Once you've chosen your contractor, make sure you are present when they come over to present their quote.

How many quotes do you need to have a good idea of the price range for your painting project?

More than three would be too much and if you only get one, you won't have the opportunity to compare prices. If you have other quotes on hand, you will have more negotiation power.

You will be able to tell the contractor that their price is too high or even too low (which could indicate problems in terms of time and quality). All in all, it's kind of a double-edged sword. So I'd say: get three quotes and take the one in the middle or the cheapest one.

Couple en train de peindre_couple painting room

What is the average price for a house painting job (per square foot)?

Prices may vary according to different factors. In general, the price per square foot will be around $0.60 per square foot for walls. Our calculations depend on the type of surface. For example, for a door, it might cost 42$, and go as high as a 120$ for a french door.

Every case is different. It mostly depends on the amount of preparation required to complete the work. It's hard to assess something without seeing it in person but if you really want an average cost to have a basic idea, stick with the $0.60 per square foot for walls and add extra for doors, radiators and mouldings.

How do you choose the right type of paint?

It's very important that you choose the right type of paint for the right type of surface. For example, matte finish paints work better for ceilings, velvet finishes are best for walls and pearl finishes are ideal for woodwork. Kitchens and bathrooms should be painted using products that are resistant to humidity. 

Each kind of paint has its own characteristics and they aren't suited for every type of job. A good painter will know exactly what type of paint to use for your project.

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Does the client need to talk to the contractor before choosing his paint?

Some people will prefer a matte finish on the walls. So yes, it is important to know which finishes you want. When the contractor comes to make a quote, you need to let them know which finishes you want. It all depends on your needs. 

A shiny finish on the walls is going to be washable but the disadvantage is that we're going to see a lot more flaws.  Matte finish covers flaws very well but this type of surface is not as easy to clean. Each product has its pros and cons but it's important to specify which one you need for the contractor.

Équipement de peinture_painting equipment

Who should buy the paint?

95% of the time, we recommend that the contractor buy the paint for them. We buy a significant amount of paint, so we have very good rates. And if something goes wrong during the painting contract, we always have an agent that can go to the worksite and check what the problem is. If you buy paint in a big hardware store, you won't get that kind of service. For example, the Home Depot employee won't come to your house if something is wrong.

Unless you really want a type of paint that we don't carry, letting us buy the paint for you is truly the best option. You won't save any money if you buy the paint yourself and you'll need to go to the store which will require time. Just choose the colours and the finishes that you want. 

Once the project is underway or after it's done, if there's a problem with the paint, the contractor will be held responsible. Otherwise, the contractor might tell you that it is your fault if things don't go right, maybe it wasn't the right paint for the surface, and you might get into an argument because of it.

Can someone paint their house by themselves? 

Of course! Anything is possible! It's all a matter of having the time and the right skills to complete the job. Everyone has their own strengths. For example, you can build a house by yourself but it's not guaranteed that you're going to get a good result. You could also repair your car without going to a mechanic. Most things can be DIYed, however, it's always better to work with someone who knows what they're doing.

Professionals also have better access to the right type of equipment. If some of the areas needing to be painted are located high up, it's better to hire someone to do the work. This way, if an accident happens, these people are covered (CNESST, WSIB). If the job is easy and located on ground level, I would say that yes, you can do it yourself. It all depends on your budget and your expectations.

Why deal with a qualified contractor rather than a handyman?

travail de peinture

Again, more often than not a handyman won't have the proper licenses.

  • In Quebec, it is important that they have insurance and are covered by the CNESST 
  • In Ontario,  they should be covered by WSIB
  • In Nova Scotia, they will be covered by the WCB
  • In Alberta, they will also be covered by the province-specific WCB

Therefore, it is best to deal with a specialized contractor, instead of hiring a handyman found on Kijiji that you're going to pay cash.

How to recognize a good painting contractor?

Check for three things: experience, licenses and insurance. Are employees covered by their province-specific coverage? Ask for references. Ask them what kind of work they have done in your area. Don't hesitate to contact former clients and ask them for their impressions.

In some cases, you can also verify a contractor's profile on the CAA At home website- where we are recommended. They do a client survey and they ask us for our client list every 3 years. They mandate a firm to verify all the customer experiences with a particular contractor. There is a website called CAA At home where contractors are recommended!

Do you have any other advice for clients that want to start a painting project?

You could write down a few things before meeting the contractor because sometimes we forget certain things. Write everything down so you won't forget; what to include, what to exclude; who is going to be on-site during the course of the project; the form of payment: will you be paying by cheque, cash or with a credit card? Just try to think of everything so that there are no troubles during the house painting job or at the end with the contractor.

Here is the interview!


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