Painting FAQ

Painting FAQ

Q. What should I look for in a painting contractor?
A. With any painting contractor gathering information that provides you with their track record (references or samples of their work, such as homes and commercial building that you can visit to check on quality). Be sure that the estimate you are receiving is detailed and includes everything you’ve discussed with the estimator. Finally, be sure that the contractor you consider is fully insured with General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance.

Q. Is application by brush better than application by spray?
A. No. A qualified, experienced painter can achieve a consistent quality finish with either application method. Often spray application is the most effective way to achieve the desired finished results.

Q. Should I use oil based or latex based paints?
A. Many years ago oil based paints were considered to be of a higher quality and greater durability than latex paints. Due to trends toward environmental concerns, paint manufacturers are no longer using many of the ingredients in oil based products that provided these advantages. Recent improvements in acrylic technology have made latex products equal to, and in some cases better than, oil based products.

Q. Should I use flat, satin or semi-gloss paint?
A. The sheen would depend on the result you wish to achieve. Flat paints have great touch up capabilities. Satin and semi-gloss finishes are more washable but they also tend to show more imperfections on the surface of the object painted.

Q. Does it cost anything to receive an estimate from K.L. Smith, Inc.?
A. Absolutely not!

Q. How should I store my leftover paint?
A. There are at least a couple of important reasons to properly store your leftover paint: the first is that you can use it for minor touch-ups in the future and the second is that you can use the paint cans as reference in the longer term future. If you have at least half a can (less than that will likely dry up and solidify rather quickly) of leftover paint, it should ideally be stored in a room that will prevent it from overheating or freezing. The temptation is to store it in the garage. The problem with this is that most garages are unheated causing the paint to freeze in the winter and rendering it unusable.

Q. How long will my exterior paint job last?
A. There are several factors that contribute to the longevity of any coating: surface preparation, type and quality of sundries utilized (primer, caulking, wood fillers, etc.), composition of substrate, exposure to the elements, etc. Environmental factors include climate, weather, and geographic location (i.e. homes at the top of a hill are more exposed than those nestled in a valley and surrounded by trees and other houses). Arguable, however, the biggest factor that will contribute to the life of the paint job will be the paint itself.

Q. How is my interior or exterior painting estimate calculated?
A. There are a great many variables that contribute to the calculation of a proper estimate. Among the most important are square footage, condition of surfaces, number & distribution of colors, level of difficulty, and products chosen. For exteriors, the most influential factors are size and condition of the property. Suburban homes tend to be bigger than inner city homes but are typically newer and in better shape. Some older homes in historic districts can be complex in the distribution of colors and may contain lead paint. K.L. Smith, Inc. uses a method similar to those utilized in real estate appraisers: a combination of comp generalization, mathematical formulas that take into account differing variables, marker prices, and historical experience. The important thing to remember is that a bid from K.L. Smith, Inc. will always be fair, accurate, and reflective of true conditions.

Q. How should I dispose of unwanted paint?
A. Latex (water based) paint can be disposed of like regular garbage. If you have more than a gallon we suggest letting it dry hard first (it takes about a week of exposure to the air). Your paint will dry faster by mixing it with cat litter. Alkyd (oil based) paint cannot be disposed of like regular trash as it is considered an HHW (hazardous household waste) by the EPA. These paints are flammable, toxic, and contain harmful solvents. For more information on how to properly dispose of oil based products, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Resource website.

Q. What if I want to use a color from a different paint manufacturer?
A. Today’s technology can match any color you choose to any paint you want. All we need is a physical sample of a swatch. Note that there always remains a small change of color incongruity when matching or crossing over colors. The safest bet is always to pick colors from the brand of paint you’re choosing for your home.

Q. How will I know it’s time to paint again?
A. The 4 most important signs that it’s time to paint your home’s exterior are caulk failure, paint failure, chalking, and wood rot.

Q. How much difference does an upgraded paint really make?
A. Outside of proper surface preparation, the type and brand of paint you choose will be the most important factor in determining the life of the coating. While more expensive, premium products are formulated to last. A standard paint will last about 7-8 years. You can expect an additional 2-5 years of life with upgraded products.

Q. What else can I do to extend the life of my exterior paint job?
A. Once your home has been professionally painted, the best things you can do to maintain the integrity of the coating are re-caulking visibly open gaps and re-coating areas of failed paint. You’ll likely begin to see slow signs of both about 6 years after the paint job.