Q: What should I look for when hiring a painting contractor?
A: There are several key things to look for when choosing a painting contractor. At the very least, check to see if they are licensed, insured, experienced and capable of completing work. Look for reputable companies with local references.
Q: How do I know you are licensed and insured?
A: Yes, we have been licensed for many years. And we are bonded and insured.
Q: Can I leave my home while your painting crew works?
A: Yes, Most people we work for are not home while work is going on. While you are at work or running errands, our crew will be busy painting. We are licensed and fully insured so there is nothing to worry about.
Q: Do you have references?
A: Yes, references our available upon request. You may also check our Google Business listing and Yelp for Reviews from our many happy painting clients.
Q: What kind of paint do you use?
A: We use the only professional quality paints from Sherwin Williams, General Paint, Benjamin Moore unless the customer requests a different brand.
Q: Do you offer a warranty on your painting work?
A: Yes, all of our work comes with a warranty. (Please see our warranty policy.)
Q: Why should I choose Alto Pro Painters for my painting project?
A: Alto Pro Painters has an established track record of consistently delivering what’s needed and wanted on a paining job (Needed with regards to painting process requirements on a particular job and Wanted as far as customer experience is concerned.) Our company motto is: ‘Great looking, long-lasting paint job. Guaranteed!’ Our mission statement is: ‘Create great looking, long-lasting paint jobs by consistently exceeding established painting industry quality standards, and to deliver friendly, reliable customer service. Our aim is to earn customers for life’
Q: I’ve decided to hire you as my painting contractor. Where do we go from here?
A: Thank you for choosing Alto Pro Painters. We are sure you will not be disappointed. To schedule your job, please send us an email. You can Email email@example.com . Someone will get in touch with you shortly to talk about colours, schedule, etc.
Q: What is the best season to paint?
A: It is best to have exterior paint work done in the spring Summer and fall. Interior painting can be completed year round.
Q: What can I do to help make my painting project go more smoothly?
A: One of our main goals is to complete your project with as little disruption to your life as possible. Before your project starts we will provide you with a list of things that you can do to help us to complete your project as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Q: Who will be there to answer my questions or to address any concerns I may have throughout the project?
A: Maintaining open line of communication with you is very important to us. Your job foreman should be able to answer most questions but please feel free to contact your estimator or contact our office staff at any time to address concerns or answer any questions you may have whatsoever.
Q: Do you charge for estimates?
A: We never charge a fee to provide an estimate for your painting project.
Q: How do you determine the amount you will charge for my painting project?
A: There are many things to consider including:
- type and size of the painted area
- type of windows and other trim work
- number and intensity of paint colors
- amount of protection needed for plants and furniture
- quality of paint used
- and the extent of needed paint surface preparation.
- All of those things will need to be considered in order to provide you with an accurate cost estimate.
Q: What do we do if you find dry rot?
A: In the process of a paint job our painters will touch every square inch of a the house and it can happen that find dry rotted wood. If this is repairable with epoxy, we may be able to do it in-house. If not and something larger is found, we will refer you to one of the carpenters we work with. In any case, if we find any dry rot, we will point it out to you and recommend the best way to proceed.
Q: How long will it take to paint my house?
A: The process can take as little as 4-5 days from the time we connect with you. However, the actual timing will depend on the condition of your paint surfaces, the type of work required, our schedule and weather conditions if the project involves exterior work. During our consultation with you, we can evaluate your situation and let you know how long we think it will take to complete your painting project.
Q: Will you complete my job in a timely manner without interruption?
A: Yes. We schedule each job to be completed in consecutive days (M-F.)
Q: What hours do your crews work?
A: We generally work M-F, 8-4:30 We can do work at other hours if needed, but these are our standard working hours.
Q: How will my personal property be protected from paint?
A: On interiors, after you have removed your delicate items, all areas or remaining items, will be covered with clean drop cloths or plastic sheeting. On exteriors, shrubs and surrounding areas will be protected so that no evidence of paint splatter or paint peelings remains.
Q: Do I need to move everything from the rooms before you paint?
A: Please move all small items and breakables. Unless agreed otherwise, we will move and protect all of the furniture and fixtures.
Q: What color should I choose?
A: Whether on an interior or exterior paint job, we will normally start clients looking at standard colour charts. A lot colours there are stock and the stock color paints tend to perform better due to the process of their manufacture. The exterior paint color chart will also have a nice variety of harmonious colour combinations to choose from. You may also want to drive around the neighborhood and find similar houses similar to yours to see what others have done with colours. We may be able to help you with color matching if you send us some digital photos. We can provide cardboard paint color brush-outs. Many clients find that this helps them to better visualize the final result.
Q: What are different paint sheens?
A: Sheen refers to the light reflectivity of the painted or varnished surface. There are varying degrees of sheen, from no sheen to high gloss. Though some paint manufacturers may refer to their paint sheens by different names, generaly, from lowest to highest, paint sheens correspond to these reflective degrees: Flat finish Eggshell finish Satin finish Semi gloss finish High gloss finish
Q: What are the advantages of flat and lower sheen paints?
A: They provide even light reflection and give the surface a softer, more uniform look. They don’t highlight surface imperfections like higher sheen paints, so they usually don’t require as much surface preparation (like patching, texturing or sanding) prior to painting. They are much less likely to show ‘lap marks’, so they are generally easier to apply and touch up than higher sheen paints. (When one painted section dries before the next section is painted, the two sections won’t flow together into a uniform film, resulting in a ‘lap mark.’) They don’t need to be sanded or de-glossed before repainting, unlike higher sheen paints.
Q: What are the disadvantages of flat and lower sheen paints?
A: They are less stain and scuff resistant than higher sheen paints, so they should not be used on surfaces that will be handled, washed or scrubbed frequently. They are less moisture resistant than higher sheen finishes, so they are not the best choice for areas that are exposed to high humidity levels, like in bathrooms, or on any surfaces that will be washed frequently.
Q: What are the advantages of higher sheen paints?
A: They have better stain resistance, so they resist dirt pick up and stay cleaner longer. They have better scuff and wear resistance, so they’re good for high traffic areas and on surfaces that are handled, washed or scrubbed frequently. They have better moisture resistance, which makes them ideal for surfaces and areas that are frequently exposed to high humidity levels.
Q: What are the disadvantages of higher sheen paints?
A: They tend to highlight any surface imperfections. They are harder to touch up than lower sheen paints, because the higher sheen tends to highlight the slightly raised surface of the film where the touch up was done. They usually need to be sanded, de-glossed or primed prior to repainting, to ensure good adhesion of the new paint.
Q: Oil or Latex?
A: Latex paints are more environmentally friendly than oil based paints. With oil based paints there are paint fumes to contend with that can be particularly bothersome on interior painting jobs. There is also a by product of dirty paint thinner that requires a trip to your local toxic waste site. (We always get rid of this waste as part of our work.) There are other factors as well: Latex primers and finishes have been improving tremendously over the years and are very durable. For instance a latex finish on an exterior painting job will stay elastic for years, where oil based paint dries to form a hard and more brittle film. Surfaces expand and contract with weather. While the latex paint will move with the surface, the oil will tend to crack sooner with this movement. The advantage of using oil paints is that it will give a smoother look as it tends to layout better on the surface and so not show brush marks as much as latex. Also, as was already mentioned, oil dries hard so it tends to be more washable than latex.
Q: What is Elastomeric?
A: Elastomeric Waterproofing System is normally used on exterior stucco and often when the surface has a lot of hairline cracks. Elastomerics are formulated to be applied in very thick coats. When applied correctly, due to their high elasticity, they have a special capacity to span hairline cracks permanently. Instead of these cracks reopening on your stucco, the Elastomeric would stretch and keep them sealed up. This then keeps water out and protects your home from damage. Elastomeric looks much like any other paint and it can be tinted to most colors.
Q: What are paint VOC’s and why do I care?
A: All paints, varnishes, and solvents contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Exposure to VOCs can trigger asthma attacks, respiratory problems, eye irritation, nausea, or dizziness. Because of these health concerns, a number of paint manufacturers have introduced Low or No VOC paint alternatives.
Q: What is a Low VOC Paint?
A: The Environmental Protection Agency states that, to qualify as Low VOC, latex paint must contain no more than 250 g/L and 380 g/L for oil paint.
Q: What is a No VOC Paint?
A: The term No VOC or Zero VOC for the paint is actually a misnomer. The No VOC labeled paint will actually contain some (less than 5 g/L) VOCs. Adding pigment to the paint will likely add another 2-5 g/L to the total.
Q: Are you an EPA Lead Certified Company?
A: Yes, we are EPA Lead Certified Company and have painters who have been certified.
Q: How do I know if I have lead paint?
A: If your house was built prior to 1978, chances are it has lead paint on it. A lab test can be done if you want to make sure.
Q: How is lead paint dealt with?
A: There are procedures set by Lead Paint Ordinance on how any work involving lead paint is to be done. These procedures are worked into our approach to the painting work and our painters are trained on all the necessary steps to take. We start with having a containment barrier to ensure that the paint chips do not go where they’re not suppose to, that being onto your or your neighbor’s property, or the inside of your home. We clean up daily and bag the paint chips for proper disposal.
Q: Can I leave my home while your painting crew works?
A: Yes. Most people we work for are not home while work is going on. While you are at work or running errands, our crew will be busy painting. We are licensed and fully insured so there is nothing to worry about.
Q: What if I want to change something about the job or need some additional work done while the paint crew is already at my home?
A: Please let our office know about it or feel free to contact your estimator directly. Most of the time it is more cost-effective for us to make a change or do additional during the course of the project than to have us come back after the project is complete.
Q: When I get different bids from several companies, they are never the same, some high, some low. Why is there such a price difference?
A: The cost of a job is usually determined by the level of thoroughness, attention to detail, and quality desired. It costs more to properly prepare a surface for painting than to just pressure clean and scrape the surface. The majority of the cost of painting is in the surface preparation and the labor involved in the application of the paint and not the actual cost of the paint itself. As with most other industries, generally you get what you pay for.
Q: Do you caulk between siding boards?
A: Horizontal joints between siding boards should not be caulked. Water and moisture vapor is meant to exit through the bottom of each board. While paint does tend to somewhat glue these pieces together, caulking them is never advised as this can cause water and moisture vapor be trapped in the substrate. This can cause paint bubbling and other moisture related problems down the road.
Q: What is surfactant leaching?
A: The term surfactant leaching is used to describe spots or streaks of sticky brown or colorless material that appears on the surface of freshly applied latex paint. Surfactant leaching is a common paint problem that may occur with any brand of latex paint. The spots or streaks caused by surfactant leaching, while unsightly, are not harmful and do not affect the performance of the paint. Surfactants are ingredients in paint that are critical to the performance properties of the paint such as its color, stability, flow, and leveling. These materials usually evaporate in good drying conditions, or they are locked into the paint film. The staining occurs when drying conditions cause the paint to dry too slowly, allowing the surfactants to rise to the surface of the paint. The spotting and streaking occur when moisture condenses on the fresh paint and draws the surfactants rapidly out of the paint film. Heavy condensation will cause streaking from the run down of surfactant-rich water. Surfactant leaching usually occurs during the spring and fall when the daytime temperatures drop below the dew point rapidly, or when temperatures are low and humidity remains high. In costal areas, such as San Francisco, the marine layer can suddenly increase humidity and cause surfactant leaching any time of the year. Surfactant streaking can be washed off but one should be careful not to damage the fresh paint finish while doing so. If left alone, the streaking and discoloration will disappear after a first good rain.
Q: How to test if paint is oil or latex?
A: First, scrub a small area with a solution of household detergent and warm water. Rinse well and towel dry. Then soak a cotton ball, Q tip or soft rag in alcohol and rub it back and forth over the cleaned area. If paint comes off, it’s latex. If not, it’s oil based. In either case, proper prep is key.
Q: How to Prevent Paint from Sticking (Blocking)
A: Paint blocking is an adhesion problem that occurs when two freshly painted surfaces stick together when pressed against each other. This often happens between a door and frame if closed before paint has completely cured. When separated, the paint may peel or leave a mark. One way to prevent paint stickiness is to place wax paper between the door and the door jamb. The wax from the paper creates a barrier between the two surfaces. Don’t immediately stick the paper in the door frame. Instead, wait for the door to dry for one to two hours. Then place the wax paper between the two surfaces before closing the door for the night. Another wax method is to rub a white candle over the edges of the door after the paint dries. This gives the freshly painted door some protection from the newly finished jamb.
Q: What if it rains while you are painting my house?
A: We keep a close eye on the weather and weather forecasts. If it start raining while we are in the middle of a painting job, we simply stop and return after it drys up.
Q: How long will it take for the paint to dry?
A: Acrylic (latex) paint dries much faster than Alkyd (oil). Usually a couple of hours is plenty of time. Oil paint though should dry overnight. Flat paint may dry faster than semi gloss.
Q: When do I pay you?
A: A payment schedule is outlined in our contact. We will invoice you accordingly and will expect to be paid at that time.
Q: How long will my exterior painting job last?
A: Generally an exterior painting job will need to be redone every 5-10 years. Stucco tends to last longer, wood on the other hand expands and contracts more with changing temperatures which loosens the paint sooner. It is best not to put off your exterior painting until the house is badly peeling. When it gets to that condition, it will end up costing you more in preparation time and possibly dry rot repair work. If however the property is in a bad condition when you get to it, do yourself a favor – go the extra length and ensure that thorough surface preparation is done. The idea is to create a sound surface for the new coats to adhere to. This requires more time but is necessary for the paint job to last.
Q: What should I look for in a painting contractor?
A: All painting contractors are definitely NOT created the equal. There are many factors that should be considered when choosing who is going to work on your home or business. You can save yourself a good amount of aggravation if you choose the a good one.
Q: How do I maintain my exterior painting job?
A: On a regular basis you should walk around the exterior of your home looking for dry rot, water penetration, cracks, and chalking. About once a year it is a good idea to pressure wash your home to remove the accumulation of surface dirt.
Q: How do I maintain my interior painting job?
A: Interior paint typically gets dirty in many situations: hand prints around switches and knobs; splashes in kitchens and bathrooms; marks on hallways and corridors; ‘soot’ accumulating above electric lamps and other heat sources. Removing dirt before it accumulates not only improves appearance, it reduces chances of it getting permanently embedded in the paint film. Check for dirt periodically and assume it will be present in and near cooking areas (airborne cooking oil) and at all places at hand height. Always initially clean the surface with a mild detergent using a sponge or a soft cloth. Resort to harsher cleaners only when necessary, recognizing that alkaline cleaners can dull the sheen or gloss of oil based paint. Abrasive cleaner will burnish nearly any paint and will dull the gloss of satin, semigloss and gloss products. Washed surfaces should be rinsed thoroughly because residual cleaner can interfere with adhesion of paint applied later.