Painting the exterior of your home is an essential maintenance task that can be challenging, time-consuming and extremely messy. The fastest and safest way to get the job done right is to hire a professional exterior painting contractor. A pro will have the right tools, equipment, and experience for the job, will be able to recommend the most effective paints for your particular project, and can handle the necessary prep work to ensure a lasting finish. They will also select the best time to paint your home to keep the project within your timeline and budget.
Good contracts include descriptions of prep work and repairs; paint specs by brand name, type, color and product number; the number of coats; and a full description of the work, including frequently omitted items such as cabinet interiors and shutters. Minimize delays by specifying that, weather permitting, work will be continuous. Get a payment schedule that minimizes the down payment — the more payment you can withhold until the end, the more leverage you'll have to get the job done well and per your specifications. Insist that contractors provide proof that they carry both general liability and workers' compensation coverage.
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O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology. (For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."