I'm an architect and my firm routinely specifies interior finishes for projects so I thought I'd contribute a professional's perspective on the issue of how many coats of paint are deemed "acceptable". The fact of the matter is the average consumer usually isn't a paint expert and can't be expected to know about all the factors that impact coverage. That knowledge is considered "means and methods" and in a court of law, the responsibility lies with the painter or general contractor, not the consumer. What the consumer should be concerned about is the final result-does it look good and is it what you expected? The simplest way to communicate this to your painter is to stipule in your written agreement that the number of coats will be "as required to cover". That way all the guess work about what kind of primer, how many coats, how color affects the scope of work, etc., is removed from the consumer's responsibility and resides where it belongs-with the professional. In the contract that's why retention is always a good idea-typically 10% is withheld from payment until the job is completed to the satisfaction of the customer. Of course in return you as the customer have to be reasonable about what constitutes a completed job. Just my $.02.
So sad that Angie's List requires the contractor be notified!! They have lost me as a client. If I'm dissatisfied and want to give an "F" rating (question/workers...I SHOULD NOT be intimidated into passing up an opportunity to explain my experience! There is NO WAY my contractor got an Aplus rating from over five hundred people....so someone was lying....yet I can't report that without the contractor knowing it? REALLY?
To solidify this response, we have been in business for over 30 years as a painting contractor. We didn't just paint a couple of houses 25 or 30 years ago, we paint approximately 900-1000 painting jobs per year and operate with 40 professional painters doing commercial, residential and industrial painting. This article on behalf of Angie's List is totally asinine! I was under the impression Angie's List was only carrying "legitimate" contractors with established reputations. This article written is primarily referring to bottom feeding, one man band operations, trying to hustle for a paycheck.
I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
When selecting a color scheme for the home’s exterior homeowners can choose color options that will correct flaws that they may feel exist with their home and property.  Some examples include utilizing two shades of a single color to make a home appear appropriately sized when the home may be too large or too tall.  To accomplish this effect individuals will want to place the darker tone on the upper level of the home’s exterior.  Smaller windows can appear more proportionately sized by trimming them in a lighter tone of paint.  Darker colors make a space or feature appear smaller.  The same effect can be obtained for homes positioned further away from a curb.  By using lighter tones the home will not feel camouflaged.
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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.
I did go with the highest bidder and it did not matter. They did a shoddy job and threatened to take me to court when I pointed out mistakes that they made based on their work standards stated on the quote. I have not paid them yet, just filed a complaint with the BBB. No money down asked, no contract signed. The boss stated I have to high of expectations just because I live in a 121 year old house!

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