Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some typical questions about interior and exterior house painting, and answers from D&S Painting & Remodeling experts.

Why should I hire a professional? Can't I just buy a sprayer and do the house myself?

You certainly can do it yourself, and it will be cheaper. However:

  • If you hire us, we will finish your job quickly (usually within a week) and you will get to enjoy your summer. (Some homeowners find it takes them an entire summer to complete painting a large house.)
  • Working on ladders or raised platforms can be dangerous. We have the right equipment and training to do it safely.
  • We have many years of experience that cannot be duplicated in a weekend. Preparation (sanding, caulking and priming) is an extremely important part of the job, and we will ensure that it is done right, and that the finished product looks great and will withstand the weather.
  • If your standards are high, you should hire a professional. We will guarantee the end result.

Is the owner onsite while painting is being done?

Steve will be onsite. He is usually the first one on the job and the last to leave.

Will you complete my job in a timely manner without interruption?

Yes, we schedule each job to be completed in consecutive days (weather permitting for exterior jobs.) We can usually paint an entire house in a day, and two rooms in a day.

Do you hire high school or college kids as workers?

No. We hire only qualified professionals. We pay them well and cover them with worker's compensation and liability insurance.

What kind of guarantee do you offer?

We offer a two year guarantee for exterior painting (e.g., against peeling, chipping, cracking). This is standard for our industry. If small areas do peel after the two years is up, we can prime and paint those spots for a small fee to keep your house looking fresh and crisp.

Do you charge a fee to estimate what my paint job will cost?

No, all of our cost estimates are free.

What kind of insurance you have?

We carry liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. Upon request (one week prior to the job), we will furnish a certificate of insurance.

Oil vs. Latex: Which should I use?

Latex paints are more environmentally friendly than oil based paints. With oil based paints, there are paint fumes to contend with, which can be particularly bothersome on an interior painting job. There is also a byproduct of dirty paint thinner that requires a trip to your local toxic waste disposal area. (We properly manage this waste for you as part of our work.)

There are other factors as well: latex primers and finishes have improved tremendously over the years and are very durable. For instance, a latex finish on an exterior painting job will remain elastic for years, whereas oil based paint dries to form a hard and more brittle film. Surfaces expand and contract with weather. While latex paint will move with the surface, the oil will tend to crack and peel sooner with this movement. The advantage of using oil paints is that it will give a smoother look, as it dries slowly and tends to lay out better on the surface, showing fewer brush marks compared to latex. Latex dries quickly. Also, as was already mentioned, since oil dries hard, it tends to be more washable.

What do you think of the new oil paints - is oil better than latex?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has changed what can go into oil paints, and the quality of newer oil paints is not the same. On the other hand, the quality and look of latex paints has improved tremendously in recent years. More info (link to other question.)

What finish should I use on interior walls – flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, satin or glossy?

It depends on how the room will be used, the look you want, and personal preference. For bathrooms, we recommend something with a bit of a shine, like eggshell or pearl, as it repels water better. We use a semi-gloss or satin on trim, doors and windows because it make them stand out from the walls. Benjamin Moore makes a matte finish that is great for walls - it has less shine than eggshell but more than flat, and is extremely durable and scrubbable. The matte also hides imperfections nicely, like those on older walls that can't really be fixed. Flat paint scuffs easily, but also touches up easily.

What brands of paint do you use?

We primarily use Benjamin Moore paints. They can match any color from any other brand or sample you have. The paint itself is only, about 10% of the total cost of a paint job - most of it is labor. That is why we believe in going ahead and using a quality product like Benjamin Moore.

Why do you prefer to use Benjamin Moore paints?

We have found that Benjamin Moore paints are high quality, go on smoothly, dry at a speed that allows them to level nicely, and offer better than average color-retention (against fading.) Their "Impervo" latex stain that we like to use on trim levels like an oil-based product. Although it is a little more pricey, it is really durable.

"Green" Paints: Are there green paints you can use?

If being environmentally friendly is important to you, ask about our no VOC and no odor paints.

Green paints

Can you give me color advice? What color should I paint my room?

Yes. We have a good feel for color and are more than happy to help. With many years of painting experience, we know what works and what doesn't. A small swatch of paint can look very different when it covers a wall or house. We will put samples right on your house or on cardboard. You can move the cardboard around and see the color under different lighting conditions. This is part of what you get with D&S Painting. We do not charge for this service. If you like, we can also refer you to an interior designer.

How can I select a good color for the exterior of my house – something that sets the house apart but is in good taste? Should I use a light or dark color?

We have lots of color samples we can show you of exciting, classy colors and combinations. You should also take into consideration the neighborhood you're in, and the color of the house next to yours.

When painting a house a dark color, keep in mind that the dark color will attract heat, causing the color to fade much faster than a lighter color would.

Spraying vs. Brushing House Exterior: Which is best?

An airless sprayer is fine to use, provided the siding stain or paint is back brushed (i.e., we spray first and then use a brush to work the stain or paint into the wood.) The sprayer will allow the stain or paint to be evenly dispersed, while brushing will work the product into the siding, giving the siding the best protection.

Paint vs. Stain: Which is best for the exterior of my house?

Each has advantages. Paint covers wood. With the expansion and contraction of the wood the paint will eventually peel. Stain penetrates wood. Stain is less likely to peel, but will eventually fade and dry out.

I have paint and want to switch to stain. Is this doable?

Paint will keep the stain from penetrating the wood. The paint must be stripped down, and sanded off first. This can require a lot of labor, which increases cost.

My house/room was originally painted with oil paint. Can I switch to latex?

Yes. We can put latex on top of oil paint. After sanding the oil finish to rough it up a bit, we use an all-purpose primer, as needed, to ensure that the latex adheres well to smooth surfaces.

Thinning: Do you need to thin the paint or stain in order to spray?

No. It is not necessary to thin paint or stain in order to spray, provided an airless sprayer is used.

Over spray: If you spray, will it make a mess with a lot of over spray?

If used properly, airless sprayers are very neat. The sprayer builds up pressure in the line when the trigger is squeezed. The pressure sprays the paint out in a very controlled manner, with minimal over spray.

Will pressure washing damage my siding?

We power wash with bleach to kill mold and mildew, and to rinse off dust and dirt before we begin painting. We do not use high pressure power washing in lieu of scraping to remove loose paint off the house. High pressure power washing can damage wood. We use disc sanders.

Will power washing kill my plants?

Even dilute bleach tends to bruise flowers, so we can cover them.

How can I tell if my house has lead paint?

If your house was built on or before 1978, chances are you have lead paint. You can also purchase a lead test kit at your local paint store.

How long will it take you to paint the exterior of our house?

A 3,000 to 4,000 square foot house will take about 4-5 days to complete, including preparation time. However, it can take longer depending on the condition of your house. During our consultation with you, we will evaluate your house and can let you know how long it will take to complete your painting project. We only work on one house at a time, so when we start your house, we will be there until your house is finished.

What kind of preparation do you do to the exterior of the house? What about interior paint jobs?

See the careful process we use for exterior painting and interior painting.

Do you repair holes or cracks in walls before painting?

Yes - see more information on the preparation process we use for interior painting. We do repair large and small holes in sheetrock or blueboard. We also tape and use joint compound on cracks in plaster or sheetrock walls.

Do you paint outside year round?

We paint outside from about April through October. If day or nighttime temperatures drop below freezing, the paint will not adhere properly. The drying process for latex paint actually takes several days, even though it may feel dry at the end of the day. Stain can be applied in cooler temperatures, but we don't like to push it.

I have new plaster walls – how long should I wait to have them painted?

If you are going to paint within 30 days, we recommend starting with either an oil alkyd primer or alkaline-resistant or masonry primer. Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) primers should never be used over a plaster finish as it will cause bond loss and paint delamination. After 30 days there are no special requirements.

How long will an exterior paint job last?

Five to seven years is typical. If your siding is stained (not painted), do NOT wait for it to peel. Stain fades and dries out when it needs a re-coat. If you wait for it to peel it is more labor intensive and will cost you more.

Do you use primer?

We prime all exposed bare wood. With cedar siding, we use oil primer if the house is new, because cedar "bleeds" and the oil primer blocks this. When using latex solid stain, you do not need to use primer.

How many coats of paint do you apply?

Typically two. Some extremely vibrant interior colors like reds often need a third coat. When staining exterior siding and trim, we apply two coats.

How should I prepare the room for an interior paint job?

D & S Painting will start by first removing our shoes until we put clean drop cloths down. (We even clean our drop cloths at a laundry to provide the cleanest working environment in your home.) We move all your furniture to the center of the room and cover it with plastic. We finish painting the room at the end of the day, and then vacuum the carpet and move the furniture back. We paint about two rooms a day, so we do not disrupt your whole house all at once.

Do you remove wallpaper? Can you paint right over wallpaper?

We do not hang wallpaper, however we will prepare the walls. We remove old paper, sand and size walls. We can also refer you to a good paper hanger.

It is better to remove wallpaper rather than paint over it, and it is not that expensive to do it right.

Can aluminum siding be painted?

Yes, there is a special product that can be used to paint aluminum siding. If it is done right, it looks very nice, and there are many color choices. Since aluminum siding is smooth, it is very important to completely clean the siding first (removing powder and dirt.)

Can vinyl siding be painted?

Yes. We use an 100% acrylic product to paint vinyl siding. It must be cleaned well first. Very dark colors should not be used, as they can attract heat that actually causes the vinyl to warp and look wavy.

Do you paint floors?

Yes, we do paint concrete basement floors and wood floors.

Do you paint wood paneling?

Yes. We use a special primer that adheres to glossy surfaces.

I have a popcorn (textured ceiling) but would really prefer a smooth ceiling. Can you do this?

This is a good job for a plasterer. We do re-paint textured ceilings. Since the water in paint makes the popcorn dissolve, it must be painted quickly.

Do you do faux finishes?

No, we do not.

Can you paint wood porches?

Yes, although we prefer to stain them. Stain is less apt to peel. If your porch was initially painted, you need to continue with paint.

Can you paint brick walls a brick fireplace?

Yes, we use a special masonry paint. We vacuum the brick first, and then use special brushes and rollers to get it into the cracks.

Can you paint ceramic tile?

There are products out there that will adhere to a smooth ceramic surface. However, it is not a long-term solution, as they tend to chip with time.

I have old, stained kitchen and bathroom cabinets that look awful. Can you paint them?

Yes, we use a durable product that will make your old cabinets look fantastic and fresh again.

I just had my house painted and it is already peeling – why is this happening? How I can I prevent it?

More often than not, this is due to poor preparation. Peeling paint should not just be scraped off. We use disc sanders to grind it off, and then prime before painting. This can also happen if the wood was not dry prior to painting. We will not paint a house that is wet - it needs completely dry out first.

The paint on my interior walls keeps cracking – why?

There are a number of possible reasons. One is that the plaster wasn't dry when the initial coat of primer or paint was applied. It will peel forever unless it is completely removed. Settling cracks in walls can be caused by movement of timbers. We use mesh or paper tape and plaster over them, but the cracks may come back as the house continues to expand and contract.

The paint in my bathroom/kitchen keeps getting moldy. What can I do?

We clean off existing mold with bleach prior to painting. There are additives that can be put into the paint to prevent future mold growth. The best long-term solution is to improve the ventilation. In bathrooms, run the fan during and after a shower to get the moisture out of the room.

The paint on the interior of my old house is turning to powder – what is happening?

That is called "chalking," and can happen to oil-based products as they age. If this happens, we clean and sand the surface before painting. Latex products will not do this.

There are brown spots or dark stains showing through my freshly painted house. what happened?

When a house is being painted and then the paint gets wet prior to completely drying brown spots can rise to the surface. We watch the weather closely, and stop painting while the sun is still out and the temperature is warm enough for the paint to dry properly, to avoid this.

Sometimes people apply Kilz heavily, thinking more is better. Actually it is better to use multiple thin coats (which dry quickly) to keep water stains or knots in wood from showing through once the finish paint is applied.

Areas Served: What areas do you work in?

We are located in Raynham, Massachusetts, and work all over the state, including: Ashland, Bolton, Brookline, Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Framingham, Grafton, Hanover, Hudson, Hopkington, Milford, Natick, Newton, Northboro, Norton, Plainville, Raynham, Sharon, Southboro, Sudbury, Upton, Wellesley, and Westboro.