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What Does a Residential Painting Contractor Do?

A residential painting contractor working.
A ladder used for painting.
A house-painting contractor will need to measure the area to be painted and determine the kind of paint for the job before giving an estimate.
A can of red paint.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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A residential painting contractor is a professional who paints interior and exterior walls, porches, or trim in homes. He may have specialized knowledge in choosing the right types of paint for a job and of adding details like texturing or borders. Some may also have equipment which allows them to reach high-up places like second stories or window shutters.

The primary job of a residential painting contractor is to provide paint application in homes. Most houses no longer require outdoor paint, thanks to the widespread use of vinyl paint-free siding, but some people still prefer the authentic look of wood and may require the use of an outdoor painter. Sometimes a painting contractor hires the work out to professional painting subcontractors, while other times he may do all the work himself to make a larger profit. Many contractors do both.

The benefits of hiring a residential painting contractor over doing the job oneself include less work for the homeowner, a more professional-looking appearance, and having the advantage of special tools or equipment which may allow the job to go by much faster and more smoothly. Examples include extensions for paint rollers to reach higher areas, specialized ladders or lifts, and the knowledge of how to do decorative details like wall texturing.

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In some areas, a residential painting contractor will have to take the same exam as general contractors. Sometimes they will need to take a separate exam. Tests are often given by the city or county, and books for study are available upon request. Once the exam is passed, the contractor will receive his license which will allow him to do business in his area. Additional licenses, such as business licenses, may also be needed.

Special training may or may not be required in order to become a residential painting contractor. Many painters learn while working in the job for a more experienced person as an apprentice or helper. Some areas may require a short certification program for painters, although this isn’t common in many locations.

Homeowners can find a residential painting contractor by checking their local phone directories or by speaking with friends or family members who have recently had their home painted. Home builders also frequently hire painters, so calling a local developer may also lead the way to a quality professional. It is important to ask for references and discuss any special aspects of the project, such as high spaces or special designs, ahead of time to ensure the contractor is able to handle the job.

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