When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
When calculating total cost of your project, one of the most important factors to consider is the paint itself. Paint costs will be determined by the quantity of paint and primer required to complete your project, as well as the quality of the paint you choose. You can use this paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need.. Once you have an idea what you're working with, go to your local home improvement store and compare the costs of a gallon in person. Painting professionals can also quote average prices from their years of experience working with different paint qualities.
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Stucco is a specialized material that requires extensive preparation work (cleaning, caulking, filling in cracks, etc.). Additionally, paint suitable for rolling or brushing over stucco varies greatly depending on location and climate conditions. Some stucco paint varieties will chip and peel away in certain climate conditions, so painting professionals won't recommend them. These factors make stucco one of the more expensive siding materials to cover. You can expect to pay anywhere from $900 (~500 sq. ft.) to $3,000 (~1,500 sq. ft.) to have stucco revitalized with paint, depending on how much is needed to cover the home exterior.
I agree with Jeff below, these prices are far below what I see on the market in the Portland Or. area. When one uses the term "paint the house" what exactly does one mean? Any fool can buy an airless paint sprayer and put paint on a house. New homes built with fiber cement siding paint clean and easily but older homes built with wood require much prep work.
To paint a large section without leaving lap marks, roll the nearly dry roller in different directions along the dry edge, feathering out the paint as you go. After completing the entire length of the wall or ceiling, move to the next section and paint over the feathered edges. For the second coat, apply the paint in the opposite direction. This crisscrossing paint application sharply reduces (if not eliminates) lap marks.
Prep. For new work the painter accepts the finish done by the drywall or plaster and once he accepts the work and starts painting he owns any wall repairs. Existing work is a different thing. I take a high intensity light and circle the kinds of defects with chalk so we are all in agreement before they start. Sometimes this results in a higher price and we have to compromise on how much to do...
Painting professionals might charge more or less to paint your home's exterior based on its construction material. Some materials cost more to paint than others because of their texture, the paint required to properly cover them, and whether specialized materials are required to prepare them for painting or the elements. Find more information on the various types of siding available, as well as how much it might cost to paint or prepare each.