You are right on with this - why do people leave switch plates on when it's just so easy to take them off? Another thing that happened to us - we had the popcorn ceiling taken off and the ceiling painted white. When the job was done and I later went to change out all the fixtures/fans, they had left every fixture in place, so there was a large patch of popcorn and unpainted ceiling left behind - it just didn't dawn on me to specify that they take those down before scraping and painting. It was kind of a mess.
To win work, contractors generally have to bid against other suppliers. To make an accurate bid, they estimate the time and materials required to complete the job. They measure the area to be painted and discuss the type of finish the customer requires. They assess the quality of the surfaces to work out how much remedial work they must carry out before painting. They might have to remove old paint or wall coverings, or repair cracks and other damage. They also calculate the cost of any essential equipment, such as scaffolding for exterior walls.
Second: all the tricks of the trade in regard to "cheating" customers is for hustlers and cheaters and NOT established businesses. At the end of the project the job should come out looking professionally painted as specified in the contract. A selected color that takes multiple coats that was not calculated by the contractor should cost more money. It's not the fault of the painter.

Unless you like textured walls, don't paint over dust. Wash the walls with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a mild cleaner, like Jasco's TSP No-Rinse Substitute. For smoke-stained walls, Toto uses a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. To clean a wall, use two buckets. Load up your rag or sponge from your cleaning-solution bucket, and scrub. Before redipping, rinse the sponge in a second bucket filled with clean water.


Lap marks are those ugly stripes caused by uneven layers of paint buildup. They occur when you roll over paint that’s already partly dry. (In warm, dry conditions, latex paint can begin to stiffen in less than a minute!) The key to avoiding lap marks  when doing DIY wall painting is to maintain a “wet edge,” so each stroke of your roller overlaps the previous stroke before the paint can begin to dry.
My house is a mess. Virtually everything needs serious work. Dixon gives me the confidence to tackle one project after another. His writing style is straightforward, reassuring, inspirational. He tells you everything you need to know to complete a job and be happy with it. Every painstaking stage of prep, helpful tips on additives, priming, carrying out each stage of painting process under every possible circumstance. I borrowed Dixon's book from the library so often that I spent more than the cost of it on overdue fines.
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After painting the ceiling, work from the top down: Start with the crown molding, then do the walls and then paint the casement molding around the windows and doors. Do baseboard molding last. "Painting the baseboards last keeps dust and grit from traveling off the floor, onto the brush and then up onto the freshly painted casements," explains Weeks.
Remember: You want to get the highest quality paint your budget will allow to ensure its lasting beauty. You'll also need painting supplies like primer, brushes, rollers and painter's tape. A professional will have these items on-hand. According to statistics, paint and other supplies account for about 15 percent of a professional painter's total cost; labor will factor into 85 percent of their charges.
The best time to tackle windows is in the beginning of the day, when you're fresh," says Doherty. "But it still takes me an hour to do a standard window." For double-hungs, begin by raising the inner sash and lowering the outer sash until their positions are almost reversed. Paint the lower half of the outer sash first, then the entire inner sash. Once the lower sash is dry, return both to their normal position, but leave them slightly open. Finish painting the outer sash. "Windows take too long to tape," says Doherty. When painting, overlap the glass by 1/16 inch to seal the wood.

Keep in mind that color can impact the way a room appears in many ways. Light colors may help brighten a darker space. Cool colors will recede visually from the eye, and make a small space appear bigger. Warm colors contract visually, which can make larger spaces appear smaller or more cozy. Combining cool and warm tones in one room - like with accent walls - can visually change the shape of a room, making rectangles look more like squares.


Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat.

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