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Painting Contracts: What should be included and why you should have one

painting contracts

Having a house painting contract is essential when hiring a painting contractor, but having a poorly written and vague contract will not protect you or your contractor. It is important for you to know what makes a good painting contract and how to spot warning signs that your contractor may not be on the up and up. Let’s take a look at some of the things that should be in your contract with your local Halifax professional painter.


The cost to paint a house

There are a few things that affect interior painting rates, residential exterior rates and commercial painting rates. Things like the labour cost, the size of the area, type of paint used, and which painting technique is best suited to the project. The two most important factors that affect the price are the painting contractor’s hourly rate and how long it will take to paint the desired area. Typically, this will be about 80% of the total cost. The more there is to paint the longer it will take to paint. The type of paint chosen will also affect the price. White and neutral paint colours cost less, while primary, dark, and bright colours require more tint to produce the right colour and therefore, will cost more. Similarly, high gloss and semigloss will be more expensive than a flat or matte finish. Lastly, the supplies needed to paint will make up the remaining 20% of the cost (including paint). This should be an easy-to-read list with each item and their cost in one line. Interested in what your painting project might cost? Request a quote from Sanford’s Painting.

Ensure the language here is detailed and precise. Your contract should say exactly what kinds of prep work are needed. For example, if there is dirt or mildew on the surface will you or the painter wash it and with what? Bleach or Borax? Does it need to power washed? If power washing is needed, will the person doing the washing have experience with power washers? Inexperience with power washers could have costly consequences, from a broken window to scarred siding or torn screens. Scraping removes peeling or chipping paint, so be specific which walls need scraping. Sanding smooths large ridges from scraping and scratches on the previous finish, which helps the paint penetrate and provide it more surface area for adhesion. The contract needs to clearly define the number of coats you want applied. Generally for quality house painting you want a coat of primer and two coats of the finish colour. This is where you want to be sure any repairs are explained in detail, along with the associated materials and labour costs

You want this section to be as clear as possible, so you know what to expect of your professional house painter and they will know what you expect of them.


Application technique

How will the paint be applied? Brush, roller or sprayer? This greatly depends; are you going to be interior painting or exterior painting, residential painting, or commercial painting? Usually brush and roller are the most common ways to paint in most situations. Sprayers are used when you have a large amount of painting, such as with large commercial buildings or large homes. When spraying, it is important to mask and tape anything that is not to be painted. This can add some extra time, but with large areas this time will be less time than it would take to brush and roll the same amount of square footage. The painting technique should be clearly described, as well how long it will take to apply and the minimum length of time for the paint to dry before the next coat. Applying the next coat before the paint or primer has cured properly, can cause brush streaks, running or sagging paint and other extremely noticeable defects.


Workplace clean up and protecting your house

Drop cloths are essential to anyone painting anything, as they protect any surface you do not want to get paint on. The material used for drop cloths can vary from canvas to old cotton bedding. As mentioned above, when spraying, masking, and taping around the area to be painted, with cardboard and painter’s tape, prevents overspray. The use of drop cloths or masking should be in the contract with a written plan to clean up paint spills, overspray and splatter on a variety of surfaces, such as your floor, driveway, garden, roof, and windows. There should be a section that talks about returning everything to the way it was before work began. The terms here should be straightforward and say exactly that will be done. Outlining whether they will clean the windows after, clean up the paint chips, move the furniture back, remove all the drop cloths and tape, dispose of garbage and debris safely is important. It should be stated clearly if any extra fee for this service will be added.


Handling the payment

Having the right payment structure is important to make sure you do not get taken advantage of by unscrupulous painters. You do not want to make a deposit on a painting contract of more than 10% and split up the remaining payment amount into thirds. The first third should be paid on the first day the work starts. The last two thirds should be paid after set milestones are reached, like having the prep work and primer coat complete. The last milestone being the two finish coats, clean up and when the painters’ gear has been removed. Before making the final payment, look around for any touch ups that may be required. It will likely be harder to get the painter to return after the last payment. This payment structure is not the only option, but most payments should be similar with multiple evenly distributed instalments.


Not many people enjoy reading contracts, but taking the extra time to ensure the right things are in your contract can save you a lot of time and money over the course of having your home painted. Make sure you ask questions about the contract if you do not understand something in the contract. If you notice things missing, bring it up to your painter and ask them questions. The painter’s response to these questions should give you a clear indication of what working with her or him over the course of the job will be like. If you are not happy with what you hear, do not sign the contract, and shop around more. When you choose Sanford’s Painting not only will you get professional local Halifax painters, you will get a fair and reasonable contract. View our past interior and exterior painting projects.

Check out my upcoming in-depth post about the warning signs you should look out for when hiring painters in Halifax.