Why you need to hire a professional painter everytime
You probably hear all the time that painting is one of the easiest ways to make a huge impact on the look and feel of your rooms…
But I’m not sure I agree that painting is ever ‘easy.’ Just giving your walls a quick coat of any old paint in a color you happen to like isn’t necessarily going to create the gorgeous results you’re looking for. And believe me, whether you paint the room yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, the last thing you want to do when you finish the job is to have to do it all over again because you got it wrong the first time!
To shed more light on what’s important to consider when painting your own home, I asked one of my favorite go-to professional painters, Michael Madson, owner of Colorwheel Painting in Milwaukee, a few questions on the topic.
Here’s what Michael had to say.
MI: How long have you been in the painting profession?
Michael: I started working for a national painting franchise in 2001, then went on to work with a small paint shop in Colorado in 2003. Those experiences showed me that the painting industry really lacked well-run businesses that were also capable of providing great painting services (rather than just basic paint service providers who occasionally attempted business-like actions). I felt like the average client deserved so much better, so I created Colorwheel in 2004. All in all, we’re coming up on 14 years in business.
MI: Do you work alone or do you have a team?
Michael: We have a tremendous team of 8 highly skilled interior painters. All of these are actual Colorwheel employees working here exclusively (as opposed to us relying on subcontractors who come and go with no commitment to our company’s processes and standards). When looking at the team as a whole, our average experience level exceeds 17 years, which is an incredible figure for this industry. It’s also a key factor that enables us to consistently deliver amazing experiences to our clients.
MI: How long do you think it takes you to paint a single room (say, a living room) top to bottom, including ceiling and trim?
Michael: Generally speaking, one week. But of course, the dynamics of the space (including size/height, furniture/contents to protect, detail/profile of all the trim), the degree of preparation needed, and other factors from the color selected to the texture of the walls all play a role on the time investment needed. In painting, great results never come from rushing or skimping on the effort given to any detail.
MI: Over the course of your career as a painter, what do you think are the biggest changes you’ve seen in how homes are painted (use of color vs. neutral; how often people repaint; or whatever comes to mind)?
Michael: We’re seeing less faux finishes and more use of color overall, which is fun. Painted cabinets have become increasingly popular. We’re also doing a lot of changing out stained and finished woodwork for painted trim packages, which brings a lot of sophistication to a home’s look and feel.
MI: What do you think is the biggest mistake most homeowners make when it comes to painting their homes?
Michael: I’ll split this into two parts. I think the first is simply not hiring a truly qualified painter. Unfortunately, many people gravitate toward a low price, which is totally understandable until you consider that there are substantial differences between painting companies when it comes to the end results of the job and the customer’s service experience. Painting is definitely a service where ‘You get what you pay for,’ rings true every time.
Second, many people make mistakes with product selection. Quite simply, there are a lot of wrong options these days, which ends up being very confusing for the homeowner. What makes things even worse is that many of these products are being marketed as “all in one, do everything” types of solutions. Putting your primer and your paint together in one product is kind of like putting a glass cleaner together with a wood polish in the same bottle. Sure, you could do that, but the truth is, those ‘multi-tasking’ products seldom perform as well as they should!
MI: If a homeowner can only afford to have one room repainted in their home every year, what room should they start with?
Michael: The kitchen. Not only does it seem to be the new heart of the home (which means it’s getting greater wear and tear than other rooms); but color actually impacts our eating habits and our perceptions of how food tastes. Taking that even further, both the colors we surround ourselves with and how we eat have major impacts on our general well being. All of that means keeping the kitchen looking and feeling right is paramount to our leading good and healthy lives!
MI: What kinds of questions do you ask when you go into a home to talk about a project and give an estimate?
Michael: While this may be an unorthodox answer, we first ask if the homeowner has ever hired a contractor before (in particular, a painting contractor). We’re interested in understanding how that experience went for them and what more the customer wants in the “painting experience” with us from start to finish. By the way, the answers we get are really amazing. They reveal what homeowners most value, from wanting their pets to be better respected by the contractors, to getting better communication, to having their items better protected during the process, and so much more. My team and I love hearing these answers because they matter so much to us as we serve our clients, too, and I think it’s what tends to differentiate us from other companies. From there we ask more obvious questions to determine the scope of work needed and any product preferences the client may have.
MI: Do you think it’s important for homeowners to splurge on more expensive paint or do you think cheap paint is just as good?
Michael: In no way is cheap paint “just as good.” Paint quality is dictated by the quality of its contents and the ratios they’re blended in, especially the pigment. Higher priced paints offer better coverage, greater ease of use, more resilience (meaning they resist normal wear and tear better), and longer lasting color retention. In the long run, they are worth every penny!
MI: What about color matching from one paint brand to another? Do you think it’s usually accurate?
Michael: No, it’s close at best, but definitely not perfect. In light of that, you need to consider whether close is “good enough” or if true color precision is essential for what you’re trying to achieve. At Colorwheel, we prefer to trust the eye of a professional interior designer to select colors, and then go with a paint made by the same company that produces the given color choice. That said, most designers choose colors from very reputable paint companies that offer great colors and high-quality paint anyway, so it’s a win-win for the homeowner.
MI: What do you wish every homeowner understood about working with a professional painter?
Michael: I believe it’s important for homeowners to know that while a lot of painters are capable of painting something just fine (straight lines, coverage done well), their entire “investment” truly encompasses so much more. A homeowner should always be treated with respect and communicated with responsively and pleasantly. Also, a well-detailed professional contract should be part of any project to ensure everyone knows exactly what to expect throughout the project. Finally, all the painters (not just a project lead) should be capable professionals who are worthy of being in the client’s home.
MI: How is working with an interior designer as your client different vs. you working directly with the homeowner?
Michael: In our experience, excellent designers like Mohindroo Interiors are the key to creating highly coordinated, synergistic designs. They bring an unmatched level of sophistication to every project, in contrast to the good-faith efforts put forth by most homeowners (and even professional painters operating without a designer). Simply put, we (myself included as the owner of Colorwheel) just don’t bring the same background and experience with design and style to the table that designers do! In terms of implementation, projects also tend to run more smoothly with a designer in the mix. That’s because the designer is accustomed to providing a painting contractor with the exact information needed for efficient turnkey success. That means the occurrence of color mishaps are greatly reduced, thanks to their expertise. For all these reasons, Colorwheel is elated when a client involves an interior designer and we will always advocate for their use!
MI: What finish(es) so you recommend for most home applications?
Michael: We commonly specify matte finish. It offers a nice balance of softness and warmth, but with durability and mar resistance. Second to this would be flat for a kid-free home, or eggshell for a home that has kids and/or pets. For cabinet painting, satin finish takes the cake.
MI: What are your most and least favorite rooms to paint and why?
Michael: The least would be painting a kid’s bedroom in a solid color. While the homeowner’s decision goes, I think painting any child’s room in all one color is a missed opportunity to inspire and positively influence their cognitive development (can you tell I’m a fan of the psychology of color?!). Conversely, the most fun is a well thought out, creatively designed kid’s room, because seeing the child’s reaction and knowing the impact it will have on them is really rewarding!
MI: What’s the craziest paint color or pattern you ever did for a client?
Michael: To be honest we don’t consider anything to be crazy if it fits the space! But to entertain this thought, on one occasion we did a 55’ long, 7 color stripe, with each color painted in a different width. We’ve also done some very geometric configurations with diamonds and triangles extending across walls, onto the ceiling, and in one case even onto the wood floor. As for what really takes the cake, I’ll plead the fifth!
MI: What’s the hardest painting mistake to fix from someone who painted before you came onto the job?
Michael: Removing paint from beautiful stained & finished woodwork. It’s just so unfortunate to see this, and yet it’s very common.
MI: Have you seen the Pantone Color of the Year for 2018? If a client asked you to paint a room that color, would you want to advise them against it or encourage them to go for it?
Michael: I’ll be honest – I had to Google it just now to see it because we normally pay attention to the major paint manufacturers’ color-of-the-year selections more than anything. As for the second part of your question, if this purple is the direction a customer wants to explore, I say go for it. To me, color and design are so unique to the client and the space, but properly selected color offers such reward that I think it should always be explored. (Oh, and I suppose after founding a company by the name of Colorwheel Painting, I’d better give an answer like that, right?!)
We hope you found this information as enlightening and helpful as we did. Many thanks to Michael for sharing his insights and expertise with us!
Also, if you’re in the Milwaukee area and having trouble selecting paints for your new construction, renovation, or redecorating project, reach out to get more information on – our Peace of Mind Color Consultation Package. Contact us today to schedule a service with us.