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How to Ensure the Best Exterior Paint Job

This guide will ensure you have the best exterior painting experience possible.

Painting the exterior of your home is one of the most beneficial projects you can do. Your elevated curb appeal will be enjoyed by your family, neighbors and real estate agent, if you ever choose to sell.

As you can imagine, exterior painting is a very weather dependent project, so you’ll want to plan ahead. Especially in the temperamental weather climates of the Northwest, professional painters will begin to book summer exterior paint jobs early in the spring time.

If you’ve not started getting estimates yet: request a free quote from a professional painting company.

If you’re getting estimates already, here are some questions you should be asking up front:

    • What is your company’s full name and physical location?nThis information allows you to vet how professional the painting company is by looking them up online, viewing their website, and by searching for reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, Facebook and BBB.
    • Are you licensed, bonded and insured?nPainters are required to be licensed, bonded and insured to operate legally in Washington State. This ensures that you are protected if the contractor doesn’t finish the job, damages your property or hurts themselves while working on your home. You should never hire a contractor that does not have a valid registration as verified through the Department of Labor and Industries.
    • When would you be able to start a project like mine?nThis question will determine the availability of the painting company. If you have a specific schedule you need to stick to but the professional won’t be available for a few months, it may be worth considering other options before requesting an estimate. On the other hand, if you need to arrange your budget before the project starts but the professional has a large job planned for the time that you’d like to start, you will need to know this.
    • Would you be able to provide examples of your work for previous clients?nThis is especially important with painting projects. Seeing the professional’s work is an extremely good way to determine if they do good work. If a professional cannot provide any examples of their work, it’s not a good sign. Tip: Ask for examples from at least a few years ago, so you’ll be able to evaluate how well the work holds up over time.

These are questions relevant to all exterior painting projects but you may have additional questions that are important to you. Asking questions gives the painter a better perspective of your priorities and will enable you to determine who may be right for your project.

Color Options If you a re-painting your home the same color as before, you’ll want to make sure you use the same paint that you already have on your home. This will ensure that the finished look is as uniform as possible. Using a “matched” color can often make it look significantly different. And applying latex paint directly over an oil based stain will cause cracking.

Painting your home an entirely different color not only gives you the option to change your pallet, but it can also allow you to change type of paint that your home is currently painted with. A lot of homes are painted with a solid-color stain but that isn’t always the best choice. [See the ‘Choosing Your Paint’ section of this article for more details.]

Costs and Budgeting It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of choosing a new paint color for your home and forget about the cost. If you are planning on hiring a professional painting contractor to paint your home, bare in mind that the cost will differ based on the season, location and the scope of work (quality of materials, any repairs needed, amount of trim, window frames and doors).

In order to plan your budget ahead of time, you can get a ballpark estimate by taking some measurements and plugging them into the calculator at To give you a rough idea, the average cost per 1,000 sqft. of exterior surface area to be painted is $2,560. This includes pressure washing, materials and labor.

Tip: One way to save some money on your exterior painting project is to pressure wash the siding yourself.

Choosing Your Paint If only your decisions started and ended with color samples. But no, there are many different types of finishes to think about as well. And the extensive selection of paints in a paint aisle can be daunting!

First, choose your paint type. Think about what type of siding is on your home and its condition. You also need to consider what type of paint it was previously painted with, and how often you want to re-paint your home to determine which paint type is going to be right. [See “How Often to Paint Your Exterior” for some helpful advice.]

Something that you also might want to consider when choosing paint is the warranty. Many paints offer a lifetime warranty, but what does that really mean? Consumer Reports answers this question.

Tip: Make sure you get the number of coats of paint agreed with the painter detailed in your contract.

Getting Estimates We advise requesting estimates from as many contractors as it takes to find one that is the right fit for you and your project. Many people suggest getting three, but some times that could be a waste of time, and others it might not be enough. While every painting company will have its own estimation process, any estimator should be able to give you an accurate estimate based on time and materials, and it shouldn’t be drastically different from the ballpark (mentioned above.) So, if you already have a general idea what a professional painting company should charge, then price shouldn’t be your first concern. Meeting with the contractors face-to-face allows you to get to know them and get a feel for how they plan to approach your exterior painting project. This is crucial to selecting the right contractor.

Here are a few questions you should make sure you ask the estimator during the first meeting:

    • What is the payment schedule and process?
    • What guarantees do you offer for your workmanship?
    • How many painters work on your painting crews?
    • How long do you expect my project will take?
    • What is your process if the weather turns bad?
    • Is pressure washing included in your estimate?

Remember: The estimator’s purpose should always be to help YOU make the best decision for your home and your piece of mind (not the contractor’s.) What should set one apart from the rest is if you can trust them to provide the best overall experience.

Contract Once you’ve accepted a quote from your painter, you’re well on your way to starting the project. Before any money is exchanged, make sure you have a written contract.nThe most important things to look for in your exterior painting contract are:

    • A payment schedule
    • Details of materials used with their separate cost
    • A detailed Scope of Work

Tip: Ask if their contract includes any standards requiring work that is free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations of coating applications.

Preparing for your project to start Now that you’ve scheduled a time for your exterior painting project to start, make sure you prepare your home for the contractor’s arrival. The Exterior Pre-Painting Checklist will assist you in being prepared for your home to be painted, and it will also help complete your project with less disruption to your daily routine.

When the project is completenOnce your project is complete, make sure to do a thorough walk-though to ensure that the painter covered the full scope of work that was agreed upon. Also, consider asking your contractor for recommendations on how to maintain your newly painted home.

If you’ve followed these steps and found a great painter, then you’re well on your way to a stress-free painting experience.


What Our Customers Are Saying

Agnes Felicia
Agnes Felicia
Arclight did exterior painting on our house. Shawn did our initial appointment and he explained about how they would do the job and what makes them different than others. He is very detailed and humble that my husband was hooked and did not want to choose other company although there are other companies with lower bids, but you’ll get what you’ll pay for. Jean and his team did the actual work and they were courteous and always gave us update. They had to climb tall ladder because we have 3 stories house and they did couple patch on our doors and walls. Overall, we can recommend Arclight for your painting needs.
Tana Ingersoll
Tana Ingersoll
Arclight just completed a full exterior job on our home and we couldn't be happier with their service, the quality work and the value. The house looks like a brand new home!
Mary King
Mary King
We were very pleased with the work and professionalism of the Arclight team. They were thorough, tidy, and not intrusive at all.
Canice Poon
Canice Poon
Thanks Stanley and team! I have no idea what I’m doing with house maintenance so it was great to have you coming by after the paint dried and checked that everything looked up to your standards. I won’t forget your statement of “well that’s not going to sell” and making sure you had a chance to come back and fix the issues you saw. Of course getting it in the first visit is nice, but having a professional check things over makes me trust your team a lot. Highly recommended!
Adam Lamb
Adam Lamb
We had a really good experience with our client. He did a professional job on time and on budget.
George Monica
George Monica
The guys who worked on my project were great!
Anand Sankar Bhagavandas
Anand Sankar Bhagavandas
Excellent and professional service.
Mark Pepitone
Mark Pepitone
We are really happy with the job Arclight did with the exterior paint on our house. We did schedule the job out for a year, which was really helpful. Throughout the job, they were very honest, had a good eye for detail, and were quick to touch up even after the job was completed. They also have a 5-year warranty on their work, which makes me feel really confident in their work.
Dave (OV)
Dave (OV)
Just got an exterior job done by Dan, Colby/Cody from the Arclight team. They were respectful, detail oriented and communicative throughout the several days work. Our neighbor was also impressed with their diligence and hard work and meticulous nature as they stripped the weather and wear from some of the wood exterior before coating and refreshing it for the next few years. They did work on our cedar fences to brighten things up from the dull gray wear over the last few years of winter rains. Clean up and walk-through was efficient and thorough, which they did to make sure we were fully satisfied with the work. Highly recommended and will seek them out again in the future for any interior or exterior painting needs.
Kathleen Cissell
Kathleen Cissell
I highly recommend Arclight Painting for your exterior home. They did a wonderful job of upgrading our paint job, including trim and 2 coats everywhere. Our house is two story on a hill, so they did a lot of ladder climbing. We are so grateful we did not need to climb ladders ourselves! They were always on time, kept us informed at all times of the schedule, did exceptional masking and preparation work, and were good to clean up afterwards. In other words, practically perfect! Thanks, Arclight painters!


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