Angie's List: Tips for hiring a painting contractor

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- When it comes to home improvement, painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to dramatically change the look of a room.

Change, as they say, can be a good thing.

"Recently, we had Pinnacle paint our mantle. Before it was stained wood. We really thought that was what we wanted when we initially built the house, but we really decided we needed a change so they painted that. It's been a great difference for our living room," said Brad Stutler, a homeowner.

Professionals painted the mantle and the kitchen in Stutler's home, and he plans on having more painting done this year.

"Like everyone else, I’ve got three little kids so there are many stains and scratches and nicks on the wall,” said Stutler

Painting is a great way to boost your home's value and the color can change the look of a room.

Experts say there are certain colors that are popular today.

"Seeing a lot of grays and blues, but the grays aren't traditional grays, they are more earth-toned grays, a little softer than just a steel gray, so it's a little warmer finish," said Sean Eichenberg, a painting contractor

Once you've picked the perfect color, you'll have to decide on what type of finish you want for the space.

"If you have a bathroom that's a high humidity area, you'd want a higher sheen paint, an eggshell or a satin, that way it would be moisture resistant and clean up a little bit better," said Eichenberg.

The key to a great paint job is to prep the area properly. Fix any imperfection to ensure your painting job holds up well.

"A lot of times people tackle this project themselves, but you need to understand when you're over your head because a good paint job is dependent on the prep work,” said Angie Hicks of Angie’s List. “If you have walls that need a lot of repair or resurfacing hiring a professional may be well worth the money. If you have tricky trim work, that might not be the room you want to test on."

Consider these elements when obtaining a painting estimate: number of coats, square footage, and prep work.

Get three bids to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.

A good contract will include the type of finishes and colors as well as the number of coats and the pricing for additional coats.

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