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Are There Painting Industry Standards?

Painting is somewhat unique in the contracting industry in that there are no established certifications to get licensed or quality standards that every company is supposed to follow. In the state of Washington for instance, the only thing needed to get a license is a bond and insurance coverage. So, how are you supposed to know that the painters that show up to paint your home are properly trained, or that they even know what a quality paint job is supposed to look like? The answer might surprise you.

Most painters learn to paint on-the-job. Ideally, this should be part of a formal training program that includes extensive study of fundamental painting techniques such as those contained in the Painting & Decorating Craftsman’s Manual, along with practical application that is checked out and certified by a quality manager. They should progress along until they have reached a level of certified professionalism that allows them to meet the quality standards for all aspects of the type work they are doing.

nUnfortunately, not all painting companies have such a program. Some painters may have no formal training. Often the only experience that painters get is through their peers or by trail and error. While this certainly is a valid way to learn, this typically takes longer to teach quality painters, and it doesn’t offer any standards that can be counted on industry-wide. Ultimately, this can lead to a large variation in the actual skill level of the painters that will work on your project.

nAnother thing to consider is the warranty on the paint itself. Most paint company warranties do not apply if there was “improper surface preparation or application of the coating.” This can be a problem if your paint job starts to blister or peel prematurely due to faulty craftsmanship.

nAs a solution to this, the Painting Contractors of America (PCA) developed Industry Standards to make the painting industry transparent to both contractors and consumers.

The PCA Industry Standards:

  • Provide the measure by which the quality of painting work can be evaluated by the consumer.
  • Establish limits on the extent and verifiable uniformity of a project.
  • Protect the consumer by requiring work that is free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations of coating applications.

These standards cover a range of issues that commonly become the subject of misunderstandings, or in extreme cases, contract disputes. They provide guidance for both the contractor and the consumer concerning how such differences can best be avoided, and save time and money when used and referenced in painting quotes and contracts.

All participants in the architectural, design, construction, and painting industries benefit from the use and circulation of such standards. And all consumers benefit from their use by ensuring that they are provided with the best value for their painting expenditures.

Arclight Painting is a proud member of PCA and adheres to the Industry Standards. We also use these as part of our extensive apprenticeship program. In this way you can rest assured that we will always provide you with the highest quality paint job that meets or exceeds these standards.


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