Selecting an interior house painter and a paint finish

I guess this is the appropriate forum for questions related to interior decorating.

We are in the process of selecting a painter to paint the entire interior of our house. The first guy: very friendly, measured each room, recommended eggshell paint (eggshell being a finish, not a color); said he’d email me a room-by-room estimate on Friday and also call; haven’t gotten email or call. Second guy: very, very personable (we liked him a lot); didn’t measure the rooms – flat rate of $250 a day; but, when I asked him about eggshell finish, he said no, he didn’t recommend it; that we should use matte. When I told him that the matte paint the original owner had used (c. 1982) came off when I tried to clean it, he said that advances had been made in matte paint and it is easy to clean now. He felt that any paint with any sheen (eggshell, semi-gloss, satin, etc.) would be more likely to show paint marks and dirt; he recommends matte for all the rooms.

I was impressed with the first guy – seemed knowledgeable and precise, but I haven’t heard from him. The second guy seemed knowledgeable and told us of his background, and we like the idea of a flat rate per day, and we’re leaning toward the him, but I’m confused about the various finishes. I just want to be able to clean the walls without the paint coming off.

Personally, I don’t like matte (flat) paint. We’ve got eggshell throughout the house, although I think we’ll do the bathrooms in semi-gloss because it’s easier to keep clean.

My concern with a flat per day rate - will he tell you how many days it’ll take? And how long is a day? I can’t offer any other insight since we do all our own painting.

I’d be very leery of the charge-per-day quote. At the very least he should give you a pretty clear estimate of exactly what he will do and how long the job will take. For example, will he include cleaning the walls and applying a sealer base coat? Does the estimate include several coats of paint? If your walls aren’t particularly grungy they probably won’t need more than a quick mop down with diluted TSP and a tinted base coat in your new colors. Will he handle the little plaster patches of nail holes, etc. or will you do that? It all takes time…and it this case, money.

The paint finish depends on your walls and what you like. Flat matte paint helps cover imperfections in walls. Eggshell really isn’t that reflective but it does have slightly more sheen than matte.

It’s a bummer that the first guy didn’t get back to you with a bid. It doesn’t speak very well of his responsibility. Frankly, if I were in your shoes (and have been) I’d keep looking. Painting is pricey enough, and has to last so long, that I want it done right the first time.

BTW, ask them what brand of paint they plan to use. There are plenty of reviews around but here is Consumers Reports rundown. At least it will give you an idea of relative prices. It always helps to know if they’re gouging you premium prices for cut-rate paint.

Good luck, Sycorax!

My dad is a painting contractor, so I don’t get to use pros to paint on the inside- I get to do it myself, with guidance! We have matte throughout, except for semi in the kitchen and bathrooms. Anything else in other rooms looks very odd to me. Cleaning is not a problem with good quality matte finish paint.

Part of the written estimate will be how long he thinks the job will take. He may also break it down by paint and labor, but probably not.

Sorry, I didn’t provide enough detail. The second (flat rate per day) guy said we’d be responsible for buying the paint, and he recommended a place. We definitely want to use high-quality paint. I will ask him (and others) about the issues you raised.
As for the kind of finish, I take it you think eggshell is a good choice. (I don’t care for matte, either.)

Thanks for the help.

**Porter hi-hide flat color ** is what my dad recommended to me for my interior. He has a successful painting business, so he knows what he is talking about. It’s really awesome combined with his discount, but I digress… :smiley:

Do be sure to ask them about the number of coats of paint, sanding necessary, minor plasterwork, etc.

I am a remodeling contractor,but in the beginning(early teens and on…)I painted,and I mean A LOT! I also worked in various paint stores when I was in high school,and learned most of what I know from “old school” guys that had already been around paint for 30 yrs+,when at first all you had was lead paint and eventually oil based paint,fortunately one is now outlawed and the other is becoming pointless considering todays advancements in paint technologies…blah,blah…I could go on and on…but,I’m even starting to bore myself,so…1)DO NOT!! go to a home store for your paint(BEHR,dutchboy,sears,the junk at menards etc.) 2)Do go to independents(j.c.lichts,pathmann paint,epco etc.) in these stores you will find BENJAMIN MOORE paintsnoteSherwin Williams has some decent top of the line paints and they are a little less expensive,but they don’t last anywhere near as long. 3)Use benjamin moore,it is the best interior paint on the market.The finishes break down like this,all finish names are preceded with the word "REGAL"which denotes the paint “LINE”(top of,in this case),and has nothing to do with finish distinctions.#1-WALL SATIN,a true flat paint,meaning it reflects NO light,whether looking directly at it or looking from standing at an angle to the surface,be it slight or sharp,you will see NO shine this is a true flat.#2-MATTE(purple label)this is basically a flat finish that has a SLIGHT side sheen and MINIMAL washability,good for places out of the reach of most human contact,you can gently “wipe” this paint with warm water,you can’t "scrub"this paint ,because it is basically a flat finish,it will leave shiney spots everywhere you attempt to do so.These first two paints are great for walls that have a lot of defects to hide,but are not very durable against wear and cleaning #3-AQUA-VELVET,eggshell finish this has the direct appearance of a flat paint,but a considerable side sheen(looking from an angle,or down the length of the wall)I recommend this paint for most areas of the home,it has a nice warm look and throws light around the room that is usually pleasing to the eye,I say usually because the walls need to be in pretty good shape(noticeable tape joints,cracks,nail “pops”,holes etc.)need to be repaired or they will show when the lights are turned on,a painter worth his/her salt will include these things in figureing the estimate.You can wash,scrub and touch-up this paint very well.The next finishes are pearl,semi-gloss,gloss,high-gloss etc.I can tell you all about these,if you would like,just ask.So remember a few things;Appropriate paint for the right area(see above),ALWAYS use top of the line paint,it is expensive but in the long run,well worth it,Do not be afraid to ask questions and voice your concerns over something displeaseing you are the boss.Don’t fall for a"tailight warranty"most good painters should be willing to come back for touch-ups,fixing mistakes done by said painter, for at least 6 months and usually longer.Get it in writing.I hope this helps a little,you just happened to hit on topic I know a lot about,so I’m happy to help.

We’ve only ever painted our rooms ourselves (and that includes stripping wallpaper, too). We love Manor Home by Pittsburgh Paint ( ). You can scrub and scrub and scrub this paint and it will never come off. The house was painted 17 years ago when we moved in and we only changed it 2 years ago because we wanted new colors. The paint still looked very very nice.

Is there something like this available? My sister-in-law painted her place with that and it is absolutely kid-proof. Her son has just discovered how to draw, but his artwork just rinses off the walls.

My parents have a lot of silk type finishes on their interior walls, and as for marks it isn’t worse than matte paint- however, the texture of the paint means that silk or eggshell finishes are slightly harder to paint with, and it is easier to see marks from the brush or roller, and unevenness in the walls. If the second guy doesn’t want to use that finish it could be because he is not as good a painter as the first guy, or because he wants to take short cuts on prepping the walls before he paints.

The benefit of a silk finish is that you get a little light bouncing off the walls, which can help a room look bigger, warmer and brighter (my parents live in an old house, which is why they chose the paint they did).

The Partner Slip and I repainted the inside of our house with “matte” finish paint (Ralph Lauren). We have no kids (except the three kitties), so figured that it wouldn’t be a large problem.

Well, adults occasionally get clumsy too :slight_smile: We have put a couple of scuff marks on a couple of walls. The Magic Eraser is pretty good at removing light marks without the “shiny” spot, but otherwise we just repaint and feather.

Next time, I think I’d pick eggshell.

I prefer the look of matte finish and most of our house is matte, but it does show scuff marks and they don’t always come off with cleaning. We have eggshell in one room and it looks a little odd to me, but I’m getting used to it.

I would be wary of the by-the-day contractor, especially if you won’t be around the entire day to make sure he gives you 8 hours (or whatever) of work.

Do you have credible research-based cites to back your claims? Consumer Reports has scientifically tested the major brands and, last time I read CR, they though much more of Lowe’s paint than Benjamin Moore’s. True, BM’s paint is nearly THREE TIMES the price of Lowe’s paint and is a favorite of many designers, but a lot of the appeal is simply savvy marketing. Consumer Reports rigorously tests their paints. BTW, I think designers are attracted to Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambert because these paints are expensive, not because these designers are armed with even a scintilla of data to suggest the paints perform better.

Paying $46 for a gallon of Bemjamin Moore satin paint, when I can get a similar coating at Lowe’s for $19 a gallon doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not interested in a paint lasting 10 years. I will likely have the colors changed sooner than that.

Matte finishes hide wall imperfections better than paints with more luster. If you need to later spot paint a wall, anything other than a matte finish will be visible, due to the second coat of paint’s added gloss.