Whether sprucing up your house for sale or remodeling it for yourself, almost every homeowner at some point hires a painter or a dry wall contractor. How do you find good ones?
A good dry wall professional’s work is virtually unnoticeable. Why? If he or she has done the work well, the interior walls are continuous, smooth expanses without a sign of a seam or a screw head. Dry wall work is rugged, yet there is an element of exact detail to it. The 4-foot by 8-foot pieces of sheetrock must line up perfectly and be cut precisely to align squarely. Seams are then “taped” and screw heads “floated” to remove any trace of their existence. Texture is applied. The final result is a smooth, pristine surface for painting.
Painting also requires attention to detail. Indoor paints should coordinate from room to room and finishes should reflect each room’s usage — with washable and more durable paints used in bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms. Outside paints should be durable and colors should provide the home with drive-up appeal. Painting also requires lots of prep work, including cleaning, sanding, masking, and priming.
Many painting professionals also do drywall work, which can be convenient for homeowners. Whether you use one contractor, or separate contractors, make sure they clean up after themselves and dispose of waste properly.
Finding a good painter or drywall expert requires doing your homework — just as it does when you’re hiring any contractor to work in your home. Seek out personal referrals from friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and then use the internet to vet the companies. Use sites like Home Advisor, Yelp, Trusted Pros and Angie’s List.
The Better Business Bureau is also a stalwart source of information, which you can find at www.bbb.org. Look for contractors who are part of the bureau’s “accredited” program, meaning they have agreed to the group’s standards for handling customers with integrity. You will also be able to see how long companies have been in business, their complaint histories and how they’ve handled them.
Longevity in business is a good sign, because poorly run businesses don’t last. A contractor in business for decades is doing something right.
Check to see if your potential painter or drywall expert carries liability insurance and worker’s compensation if employees will be on your job site.
Several online sites provide consumer reviews, but exercise caution when reading these. Comments, both pro and con, are often not verified for accuracy.
Obtain three written bids from contractors. The cheapest and most expensive bids are not necessarily indicators of which to choose. Be sure to get an estimate on how long the job should take. Ask yourself if you’ll be happy working closely with one of the contractors.