Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Paint & Preparation

What types of preparation need to be done to my house?

Each customer has a different vision for their project, and that means the level of preparation will be tailored to meet the needs of each customer and their unique project. Below is a description of the various types of preparation we usually perform. Your estimator will discuss with you what you hope to achieve with your project, tailor the proposal to capture that vision, and price the project accordingly.

  • Wash: new paint requires a clean, dry, and firm base to adhere correctly.
  • Scrape: all loose and peeling paint should be removed by scrapers, knives, and/or steel brushes. All areas should be scraped back to a firm edge.
  • Sand: sanding is a beautification process and does not add longevity to the paint job. As such, this is one point where you must discuss your desires with the estimator. Often, sanding is focused on high visibility areas.
  • Wooden Windows: windows with putty holding the glass in place will have old, dry, and crumbling putty removed, the edge cleaned, and fresh putty applied.
  • Divots: dents and dings in wood trim items (doors, windows, molding, etc.) are filled with putty or an auto body filler and sanded smooth. The extent of this work is dependent upon what you discuss with the estimator and what is included in the proposal.
  • Caulking & Sealing: gaps, cracks, and crevices in siding, and around doors and windows will be sealed and caulked. Different substrates require different caulks and sealers, and we will use the correct product for each specific circumstance. Please note that horizontal and vertical seams in most siding substrates are not designed to be caulked, and should remain open to allow the house to breathe.

Does all the old paint on my house need to be removed before it can be repainted?

No, but it is important to have any loose, peeling, cracking, or degraded paint removed before painting.

If you want specific areas of the building stripped of old paint (such as entryways or front doors), please discuss this with your estimator. Keep in mind that this type of “restoration” can be rather expensive.

What is the purpose of primer and when it is needed?

Primers are coatings designed to prepare different substrates for top coats of paint. They solve specific painting challenges, like sealing out moisture, resisting stain and chemical bleeds from inside the substrate, and locking down chalky surfaces.

Substrates with paint in good condition usually do not need a full prime coat, but if an extreme color change is planned, a tinted prime coat will help the finish coats cover better.

Is oil paint or latex paint better for my home?

Although it is commonly considered to be more durable than water-based paints, oil paints are being phased out of the marketplace for residential painting. Government regulations have banned the chemicals in oil paint that make it effective, and in Orange and Los Angeles counties, there are strict regulations on the level of solids allowed in paint. Advances in 100% acrylic resin latex paints have improved dramatically, taking the place of oil paint in the marketplace.

How many coats of paint are appropriate for my project?

The durability and longevity of a paint job is affected more by the quality of the preparation than the number of coats of paint. New, raw surfaces usually receive a full prime coat before a finish is applied. Very dramatic color changes often require a full prime coat prior to finish coats being applied.

If you are not changing color and the existing paint is in relatively good condition, a single coat of matching color and sheen may suffice. You can discuss the pros and cons of such a paint system with your estimator.

What is elastomeric paint?

Elastomeric paint is a special coating designed for stucco and masonry surfaces where water intrusion is an ongoing problem. It can require a special primer and two complete finish coats to create a very thick film between the building and the environment.

As the name implies, this coating has a very elastic nature that helps it to bridge underlying cracks in stucco and masonry surfaces. The costs for elastomeric paint are much higher than latex paint, due to a much lower spread rate and the difficulty of working with this specialty product.

How long does it take the new paint to dry?

Most latex paints set up in 30-120 minutes, but may take up to 30 days to cure completely. For this reason we recommend opening and closing newly painted windows and doors regularly so they don’t stick.

How long should the new paint job last?

The longevity of the paint job depends on the quality of the preparation. Some customers ask us to skimp on the prep to save a few dollars (i.e., they just want to clean the house up for sale), while other customers want a level of preparation that will last ten years or more.

Other aspects that will affect the longevity include the types, age, and condition of the substrates, their exposure to the elements, and how protected a building is by other near-by buildings.

Bottom coats often fail before top coats, because they are the oldest coats on the house and their resins degrade. When this happens, the top coats don’t have anything solid to adhere to, and thus begin to peel and crack.

Is there anything I can do to increase the longevity of my new paint job?

  • Make sure you use only the highest quality materials and paints
  • Have your home power washed every year
  • Ensure the proper level of preparation is specified for your project

Einstein’s Paining offers an extended warranty that includes annual power washes. Please ask us about your warranty options while we plan your project.

Will I save money if I buy the materials?

Not likely. In fact, we get better discounts than the employees of most of the major paint manufacturers. If you want the best materials for the lowest price, we’ll get them for you.

Is there a difference between hand-brushed and sprayed paint?

Spraying and brushing are both acceptable application methods, so long as the paint is put on at the proper spread rate (square feet/gallon) and performed by a skilled applicator.

Spraying will provide a smoother appearance and less chance for mildew to get into brush marks and grow. As long as the surface has been properly prepared, sprayed paint will adhere as well as if brushed.

What does VOC mean?

VOC stands for “volatile organic compound” and refers to the chemicals that are off-gassed into the environment as part of the drying process.

Many VOCs can be toxic and have a bad odor, so the government has limited the types and amounts that can be used in paints. Some examples are paint thinner, mineral spirits, alcohol, gasoline, ethylene glycol, acetone and xylol. Most architectural paints contain some VOCs.

Are more expensive paints better?

Generally, yes. More expensive paints contain more durable pigments and resins. The resins along with the binders give you the quality of finish. The way the product is produced can also impact the quality. Better pigments mean less coats of paint. If you really want to save money, spend a little more on quality materials.

Access & Lead

How is the crew going to reach the difficult areas of my project?

All of our workers have been trained on the safe and proper use of extension ladders. If it is called for, we are also expert in the use of scaffolding, lifts, and booms.

How is interior access to my home handled?

This decision is all about your comfort level and we will accommodate your wishes. Some customers give us the garage door opener or front door key and let us come and go as we need. Other customers do not want any work done while they are not present. Let us how to proceed and we will work within those guidelines.

Is there lead paint on my house, and if so, how is it handled?

Lead paint was outlawed for residential use in 1978. If your home was built before then, your home might contain lead paint, even if it has been painted a number of times since 1978 – the paint closest to the substrate is what we are concerned with. By law, we must either assume that homes built before 1978 contain lead paint and take specific measures to protect residents, the general public, our workers, and the environment, or we must test for the presence of lead, and take all necessary precautions only if the tests are positive.

Testing is not a simple process and can be expensive to perform correctly. Also, if the presence of lead is confirmed the owner must disclose this upon sale of the property, which might reduce the home’s value. Consequently, for pre-1978 projects we simply assume there is lead paint present and take all the necessary precautions.

The Process & Our People

What experience and background do the foremen and painters have?

It is important to know that our workers are career painters. We do not use day labor/casual labor. We take great pains to attract, train, reward, and retain experienced, professional painters. Most of our workers have been with us for many seasons – we have very low turnover in a trade that is notorious for transient labor.

How do I address any concerns I may have throughout the project?

Many questions or concerns can be addressed by the foreman. All of our foremen have received training on addressing your concerns quickly and professionally. They will also give you periodic updates on the progress of the job, which is always a great time to raise any concerns you may have. Also, you can always contact Matthew by phone or email for immediate assistance.

How long will the project take?

When we start a project, we stay until it is finished – our crews are not juggling a handful of projects concurrently. Our goal is to minimize the disruption painting causes to your normal routine. However, weather may play a role on how long it takes exterior projects to be completed. Your estimator will be able to give you a pretty good idea of how long your specific project will take.

I plan on being out of town during the part or all of the project - is this okay?

We will work around your schedule as best as possible. Some customers allow us to work on the project while they are away, others do not. We will handle it however you wish, but request that you notify us as early as possible if you plan to be absent once the work begins.

If we are requested to pull out of the project entirely (i.e., remove all equipment, paint, materials, tools, drop cloths, masking, etc.) and return at a later date to finish, we charge a small fee to cover the cost of this additional tear-down and reset.

What about inclement weather?

On exterior projects, there are a number of tasks that can be performed in light rain or fog, such as power washing and scraping. However, we cannot apply sealants, primer or paint in wet weather. In these instances we must wait for the home to dry out.

As a rule of thumb, if the streets are dry, the house is dry enough to paint. In many instances the building will take a little longer to fully dry. Rest assured that we will wait the proper amount of time to ensure the coatings we apply leave you with a quality finish – that is our primary goal.

I'm concerned about water leaks into the house. Will painting solve these issues?

Water intrusion can occur for many reasons: poor draining from gutters, rusted or damaged window and roof flashing, rotted siding or trim work, or damaged roofing, to name a few.

It can be difficult to determine the exact point of water entry because water often “runs” once it enters the structure, meaning that it may come in at one point, travel along an interior joist or support beam, and come through drywall or plaster in an area far from the point of entry.

The caulking and sealing that are part of the normal preparation process of painting often solve leaking problems. However, if the root of the leaking problem is from another source (for example, a damaged roof or gutters) the painting process probably will not solve the problem. 

What if dry rot or other carpentry issues are discovered during the painting process?

We regularly perform basic carpentry repairs that are commonly found as part of exterior painting projects, such as removing and replacing rotten window trim, door casing/trim, siding boards, etc.

However, we stay away from repairs that require advanced skill, such as hanging doors, replacing wood that involves touching roofing/plumbing/electricity, etc. For example, we do not replace wood that requires the removal of window flashing or messing with an exterior hose bib.

Typically, carpentry repairs are not part of our initial proposal for painting, because we usually cannot tell the full extent of the required repairs until we have performed the prep work and poked around a bit.

Insurance & Liability

A contractor comes to paint my house and his employee falls off a ladder and gets hurt. Who pays for his injuries?

Contractors and tradespeople who work on or around your home are required by law to provide worker’s compensation insurance and any injury would be covered under that policy. If the contractor does not have coverage or has discontinued his policy to save on premiums, you would be next in line to pay for a worker’s injuries and/or disabilities that occurred on your property. Therefore, it is important to only use contractors who have worker’s compensation policies in place.

I was told by a contractor that he would have to charge a lot more if he purchased worker's compensation. He has assured me that my homeowner's insurance policy would cover me in the event of an accident. It this true?

Absolutely not! Your homeowner’s insurance is not likely to offer any coverage in this event. It is more likely that your policy specifically excludes it. Contact your insurance agent for more information.

I was told by a contractor that he is not required to carry worker's compensation insurance because he only has one employee. Is this true?

There are some cases where this may be true. However, just because he is not required to have it does not mean you want him to work on your property without it. You could be left with the bill for injuries that happen on your property unless you protect yourself and your assets by only hiring contractors that are adequately insured.

How do I know for sure if a contractor carries worker's compensation insurance?

Ask for a certificate of insurance and check with the carrier before work begins to ensure that the policy is still in force.