A painter's rod, or pole, can help you paint ceilings more quickly — no climbing up and down ladders required. And there's no need to stand directly underneath the area you are painting, so you won't catch every wayward splatter. A pole is also great for walls and floors. The pros were split over whether the 4- or 8-foot pole is best for everyday use, but they all agreed that a telescoping rod is the best bet.

Most painters have no problem painting doors in place, but they recommend you lay the door on sawhorses and work horizontally. If you have a paneled door, start with the panels and work from the outside edges in toward the center. "Watch the corners — paint loves to puddle," warns Dixon. While the paint is still wet, lightly "tip off" the panel with an almost dry brush. (Tipping off is pulling the brush over the surface to level out the finish.) When painting the stiles (vertical) and rails (horizontal) just follow the grain of the wood. When the grain changes abruptly, for instance, where the rail meets the stile, don't stop your brush stroke — you'll only leave a lump of paint. Apply paint across the joint with a full stroke, and then tip off the overlapping section by pulling the brush in the direction of the grain. "Make sure the door is dry before painting the opposite side or rehanging it," says Maceyunas.
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.

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.

House Painter

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