Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Importance of a Written Painting Contract

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

When a homeowner in the Scranton, PA area hires a painting contractor to perform house painting it is extremely important that the scope of the work and other agreed upon terms are spelled out in writing.  Whether it's a large exterior paining project or a small interior painting project of 1 or 2 rooms, have the painting contractor write the details out.

Look it over thoroughly and make sure you understand exactly what is on the piece of paper.  Are you a little confused about something on the contract?  Ask questions.  Maybe it will turn out to only be some painting "lingo" you didn't understand.  No biggie.  But, maybe you and the painting contractor unknowingly misunderstood each other during the estimate/walk-through about the some elements of the exterior painting or interior painting.  Now, that can turn into potential problems.  So, ask for clarification on any uncertainties you may have with the contract before you officially hire the painting contractor.

Also, make sure all of the work discussed during your meeting is listed on the contract.  For example, the painting contractor might forget to list the trim in the rooms for interior painting or a bilco door or porch ceiling for exterior painting.  The total price of the job should have all of the agreed upon work listed at the agreed upon price.  You don't want to get stuck with surprise "add-ons" which put the total cost up when you thought the items were already included.

I have heard many stories over the years during consultations with my Scranton, PA area customers who told me that they were unhappy with some type of past work that was done on their home by another contractor.  Usually, there is a common theme - the work was done without a written contract and was strictly a verbal agreement; or, if there was a contract, it was vague with ambiguous terms.

Keep in mind, even if your interior painting or exterior painting work will be performed by a close family friend or by a company who comes highly recommended by a friend/family/neighbor/co-worker, it is still in your best interest as the homeowner to get all of the details of the job in writing to avoid any possible confusion between either party.

Also, during the course of the painting, if the homeowner and the contractor mutually agree to modify any item(s) in the original contract, make certain the contract is updated to reflect these changes.

Included in the contract should be:
  • The exact scope of the work (the more detail the better and ask questions if unsure about something.)
  • Total cost and a payment schedule.
  • Warranty (warranties are usually included with exterior painting and good exterior painters always warrant their work.)
  • Brands of materials that will be used and whether or not they are included in the price.
  • Approximate start date and approximate time frame to complete the job.
  • The painting contractor's Home Improvement Contractor Registration # (ask for a copy to make sure it is up-to-date.)
It also doesn't hurt to ask for a copy of the painter's insurance and references.

Exterior painting and interior painting are wonderful ways for homeowners to express their creativity, project feelings of comfort, or strike a particular mood with colors to generate an amazing and satisfying atmosphere within the exterior or interior of their homes.

If you are interested in exterior painting or interior painting and live in the Scranton, PA area contact us today by visiting our website:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why Contractors Should NOT Pressure-Wash Wood Siding Before Painting

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

Most painting contractors in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas use pressure-washing as their magic bullet to cleaning wood houses before painting.  The loose and peeling paint will be lifted up and blow off right off the wood siding and trim from the "power" of the water.  Painting contractors often see it as a way to save time during a project and avoid the labor-intensive task of hand-scraping loose paint off a house board-by-board.

However, to achieve a long-lasing paint finish, the cleaning phase during the preparation process of wood houses must be approached differently than it would for other types of siding such as aluminum, vinyl, and masonry.

Why?  Moisture is wood's worst enemy.  Pressure-washing forces incredibly high levels of water into the wood's pores.  Even a pressure-washer set on a low setting is strong enough to push moisture into the existing film(s) of paint, into the wood pores, and reach underneath the backside of the wood siding itself which is a cause for concern with mold formation.  Several weeks of dry time is often still not enough time for the wood to become fully dry. Although the surface of the wood may feel dry to the touch, moisture still lays in the deeper levels of the wood.

So, what happens to the new (and existing) layers of paint after the house is power-washed?  As the home's wood siding heats up each day from being hit with the sun's rays, the lodged-in moisture will try to escape, and it will do so by lifting areas of the paint off in bubbles.  The appearance of peeling paint won't happen instantly on the freshly-painted home; but, very noticeable areas of peeling paint will be seen after only 2 years.

Well then, how should a painting contractor clean a wood house before painting?  The proper method of cleaning wood siding and trim is to apply a house cleaner, tsp, or bleach/water with a spray nozzle hose and scrub the siding by hand with a siding cleaner brush.  Next, rinse off the cleansing solution with a the gentle spray of a simple garden hose.  The wood siding and trim will be ready for the next stages of the painting preparations within a few days of dry time.

If you are a wood house homeowner in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas and would like your new paint job to last a long time, it is highly advisable to choose a contractor who does not use a pressure-washer to clean the wood surfaces before painting.  Yes, this may seem very hard to believe since pressure-washing has become extremely "trendy" around here the past decade or so.

Most home builders and carpenters would "cringe" at the thought of a painting contractor applying water from a pressure-washer to wood house, and so should you.

Bentler Painting specializes in wood house painting; if you have any questions for us, feel free to contact us via our Google+ page or our website, and we would be happy to help you out.