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choosing and hiring a contractor project guide

we rarely allow a tile, carpet, or wallpaper installer to choose the quality level of the materials they install. paint, caulk and wood coatings should be no different. product performance information is available from a wide variety of sources, so choose the best product for your project. many manufacturers or independent paint stores can guide you to certified or trained contractors for a variety of premium coatings and products. we can help you locate those local suppliers of premium proven paint and wood coatings solutions.

when considering hiring a contractor:

  • find contractors who use only premium finishes. you can usually find qualified, experienced contractors through your local independent supplier of the finishes you have researched and chosen. the contractor may assist you in making product choices for your specific job, based on his personal experience and research.
  • a contractor should always allow you to specify the use of a particular brand of material. encourage your contractor to bid labor and material separate. some painters are accustomed to "shopping price" on products due to miniscule profiteering, or due to budget constraints created by the bidding approach to a project. materials are many times 20% or less of the total job, so don't be tempted to lower the overall quality of a job by seeking the lowest-bid contractor, or allowing the contractor to save a few dollars per gallon on your paint or coatings. a qualified contractor will gladly use a quality product of your choosing.
  • get at least two detailed estimates for large projects. be sure both bids are very specific as to the work to be completed, protection of non-painted surfaces, jobsite cleanup, warranties, and products to be used. degree and level of surface preparation is the largest variable in most bids. be very specific about preparation expected. evaluate craftsmanship early in the project to insure you and your contractor have common expectations.
  • always get a copy of insurance certificates for liability coverage.
  • ask for references before signing any contracts. a reputable contractor will likely have numerous references if he has been in business for some time. the better business bureau can also be a source of reference when evaluating contractors for your project
  • the true craftsmen in a market are in high demand, and are usually "booked up" for a given period. we encourage you to begin your contractor search as soon as you are considering your project.

    your local independent paint store is usually the best source for quality contractors.

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the use of marine spar varnish and other polyurethanes on wooden entryways and doors leading to moisture entrapment, brittle film cracking, and guaranteed coating failure on exterior wood surfaces.