Watch Out For These Professional Painting Hacks


When hiring a painting contractor, it can be tempting to go with the contractor that gives you the lowest bid or with the first contractor you come across because you just need to get the job done and a painting contractor is a painting contractor, right? Wrong. Many people call themselves a painter, but a painting contractor is a licensed, qualified, trained professional who has the experience and expertise needed to do a quality job. Unfortunately, there are many painting contractors that cut corners to save time or money but what you end up with is an inferior paint job that will not stand up to the test of time or even for one year. There are many hidden “tricks of the trade” that you may fall for without even realizing it – until it is too late.

Recently, American Painting Contractor Magazine discussed painting “hacks” that should be avoided. The problem is, many customers that hire painting contractors may not do their research and hire a painting contractor that cuts corners and skirts the law. Below are a list of painting hacks that American Painting Contractor Magazines, and we at Ghaster Painting and Coatings, recommend consumers avoid. Be sure to hire a painting contractor that does not use these tricks or you may be repainting again very soon.

1. Substituting Paint

  • The exact brand, type, gloss and color of the paint should be carefully researched ahead of time and agreed upon by the customer and the painting company. Painters who believe a different or lower-quality paint will perform equally well (or who have some leftover paint from a previous job) and substitute it without authorization may be setting the job up for failure. Paint is a delicate chemical mixture, and if the combination of binder, pigment and additives does not perfectly match the substrate and expected environmental stress, the paint may not cure properly and may fail quickly and under stress….Double-check before the start of the job to ensure all of the paint matches the description.

2. Not Enough Coats

  • PDCA defines a coat as “[a] layer of paint, varnish, lacquer or other material that is applied and then allowed to dry. To back roll or apply a wet-on-wet film still constitutes a single coat. One thick coat is not equivalent to two coats…Putting the paint on too thick interrupts this process, making it more likely to sag or to receive inadequate oxygen to form a strong film. Furthermore, the protection given by two independent films is far superior to that of one film, regardless of how thick.

3. Inadequate Prep

  • Prep is the single most important portion of a paint job. Without exception, inadequate prep will cause paint to fail. Good pressure washing, cleaning, patching and fully repairing all damaged areas are critical elements of preparation. Make sure the preparation process is fully listed in both the contract and the work order.

4. Covering Structural Flaws

  • The power of a coating is that it hides whatever is underneath it. However, when the surface underneath it is damaged or flawed, covering it over will only lead to problems later. A common example of this is to take wood that has been damaged and turn it around rather than replace it, or cover the flawed side with putty. While the damaged area may not be initially identifiable, the wood will continue to deteriorate underneath the coating.

5. Painting in the Wrong Weather

  • Paint will not cure properly unless it is in an environment with the proper temperature and humidity. Regardless of the importance of keeping a schedule, painters should never undertake a job when the conditions are not appropriate.

6. Improper or Nonexistent Contract

  • No matter how good the relationship initially seems between a painting company and the customer, a full and adequate contract must always be in place in order to protect both parties. Without a clear contract, when something goes wrong with the job, all parties will be bogged down figuring out what the agreement was and who failed to uphold it. By extension, the company needs to be fully insured and licensed, and the workers legal, legitimate and trained.

7. Playing the Change Order Game

  • Many contractors will give you a rock bottom price to get your job, but then they issue change order after change order during the job. This will result in you paying more than if you have hired a contractor who included basic items in their estimate. Make sure all bids you receive cover the same scope of work and utilize the same products and carry the same warranty. This will ensure you do not get hit with change orders during the job unless they are legitimate.