Painting FAQ

Should I hire a professional painting company or can I paint my home myself?

  • You certainly can do it yourself and it really may be less Expensive. But be prepared to spend most of your weekends painting over the entire summer.
  • If you decide to have Total Service Pro Painting produce your Exterior or Interior  Painting project we will finish your work in a professional and timely manner (typically within 1 – 2 weeks).

Why is timely completion important (what is your free time worth)?

  • Many homeowners find out the hard way. That it takes most or many of the weekends over several months to paint their home’s exterior.  Even a small/medium-sized house may consume most of your free time over the nicest months of the year.
  • Working up high with tall extension ladders or raised platforms can be dangerous. We have the proper insurance, training, and equipment to do it professionally, safely, and timely.
  • We have many years of experience and have painted hundreds of homes in the Capital District, NY. This experience cannot be duplicated in a weekend or a summer full of weekends.

The estimate seems higher in cost than I imagined – why is that?

  • The keys to longevity in a properly painted home come down to knowledge of paint systems/failures and good old fashion elbow grease aka: proper surface preparation (power washing, scarping, caulking and priming). All are vital to provide a great looking and long lasting finished project.
  • If your standards are high, you value protecting your home you should get a Detailed Written Estimate from a professional painting company. Moreover ask and see if they will guarantee their workmanship (we do)?

Will you complete my job in a timely manner without interruption?

  • Yes, when we book and then schedule each exterior project, your project will become part of our seasonal Production Schedule. We use man hours and we know what we can historically produce each season. Ask us about this at your free estimate.
  • We don’t just paint a few homes a season. Actually we provide hundreds of estimates in and around the Capital District each season. We strive to produce the most quality work we can while the weather and season permits. We’ll never sacrifice the quality of workmanship to rush your project, but it’s in our interest too to start your project and return each day until the work is completed (baring any rain or weather delays for exterior.). Typically we only have 6-7 months to complete all our exterior work. We like to meet our Production Schedule goals. So we strive for timely completion, quality workmanship and your high level of satisfaction. Remember we don’t get the final payment until your project is complete and you’re satisfied we have completed the work as per the details of your written contract. So a timely completion benefits both you and Total Service Pro Painting.

Who do you hire for employees?

  • We hire and train all our painting staff in all paint systems and failures. So we employ both seasoned painters but we also will hire & train the right people to be a part of our winning team.
  • Once we hire and train an employee we always cover our employees with worker’s compensation and liability insurance. This insulates all parties to any liability, should an accident ever occur. This is why we teach and promote a culture of “Safety First” as one of core beliefs – it is part of our mission.

Do you guarantee your workmanship?

  • We provide a two year *warranty (see: updated details). This is almost unheard of in our industry. We stand behind our workmanship! Rest assured if painting has been done improperly it will fail in the first year or two, especially with the climate and weather extremes in the Capital District, NY. This allows both you and Total Service Pro Painting to feel comfortable that quality workmanship goes into everything we produce.

Do you charge a fee for our estimate?

  • No, we still provide complimentary Detailed Written Estimates. Typically we like to schedule your estimate at a time that is convenient for you. Then we like to introduce our selves, meet with you and go around the house or project to be estimated. This way first we can address all of your painting questions, needs & concerns.

What kind of insurance you have?

  • We carry liability and full worker’s compensation insurance. Upon request we are happy to furnish a certificate of insurance for your review. Its important to us that you feel comfortable having our crew working on your home or project.

Does Total Service Pro Painting stay current in paint advances: Latex or Oil?

  • Yes, Latex paints and stains make up most of the available coatings available for sale in theUnited States. Moreover water based latex Paints and Stains have undergone much technological innovation over the last several decades. Today advanced latex coatings are much more environment and painter friendly than the oil or alkyd based paints of yesterday.  We are happy to discuss the proper coating in detail at the time of your estimate.

What is the best coating or paint for my project?

  • We are happy to discuss this with you. It depends but where happy to talk with you about this at your complimentary estimate. Some factors are latex vs. oil primers and finish coatings that are self priming as these have improved significantly over the years. Today’s advanced water based coatings are very durable. This is especially important with the climate extremes of the Capital District, NY.
  • For instance the correct latex paint a home’s exterior will remain elastic for years and allows for the transference of moisture. Where as Oil based paint dries to form a hard more brittle coating and does not allow moisture to pass through it. This is a significant problem with oil based paints where applied on a home designed with poor ventilation. A House’s siding surfaces expand and contract with changes in temperature and weather. While latex paint will move with the surface, the oil will tend to crack and peel sooner with this movement and moisture release. The advantage of the older oil based paints was that in some instances where moisture, expansion and contraction were not significant issues (i.e. an outdoor fence). Then oil based coatings often could outperform even today’s most advanced latex paints.
  • However, for most surfaces latex or water based paint is superior in so many ways. Suffice it to say that latex dries quickly, can flex and breathe with movement and moisture transference. Current latex paints are excellent for coating most home’s exterior surfaces.

My family is sensitive to strong odors can you still safely paint in my home?

  • Yes, we realize Painting fumes or odor can be particularly bothersome on any interior painting project. Fortunately today there are many Low and even some “No” VOC (odor) interior paints are available on the market. These low or no odor Interior Paints make for a much more pleasant experience while Total Service Pro Painting performs any of your interior painting needs. Please if this is a concern we are happy to address any questions you may have at the time of your complimentary estimate.

What finish should I use on interior walls – flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, satin or glossy?

  • It can depend on how the room will be used, the look you want, and personal preference. For kitchens or bathrooms, we recommend something with some sheen (shine), like an eggshell or satin, as it repels dirt better and can be wiped down. We recommend and often use a semi-gloss or satin on trim, doors and windows because it makes them stand out from the walls.

What brands of paint do you use?

  • We primarily use Sherwin William’s and Glidden paints and stains. Typically we can match any color from any other brand or sample you may have picked out. The paint itself is only, about 15-20% of the total cost of a paint job – most of it is skilled labor. That is why we believe in using a quality coating like Sherwin William’s or Glidden.

Why do you prefer to use specific brands of paints?

  • We have found that Glidden and Sherwin William’s paints are high quality go on well and have excellent durability! For example “Duration” latex is a much higher end coating and it lays down almost twice as thick as regular latex paint but does so in just one coat. Although it is more expensive it is a very durable paint that provides excellent color duration and long lasting coverage.

How can I select a color for the exterior of my house? Should I use a light or dark color?

  • We can often provide of color samples we can show you and talk to you about colors and color combinations. You should also take into consideration the neighborhood you’re in, and the color of the house next to or near your home.
  • When painting a house a dark color, keep in mind that the dark color will retain heat, causing the color to fade faster than a lighter color might. Darker colors also can have the effect of reducing the size or appearance of the size of the home and lighter colors tend to make it appear larger.

Spraying vs. Brushing vs. Rolling: Which is best?

  • An airless sprayer is fine to use, provided the siding stain or paint is back brushed or rolled (i.e., we spray first and then use a brush or mini roller to work the stain or paint into the wood or substrate surface.). The sprayer will allow the stain or paint to be evenly dispersed, while brushing and rolling will work the product or coating into and onto the substrate or siding, giving you the most coverage, protection, longevity and quality workmanship you’re looking for.

Paint vs. Stain: Which is best for the exterior of my house?

  • Each has advantages. Paint covers wood and stain penetrates the top layer of the wood. If stain can be used often we prefer to use a stain if a viable choice, as stain is less prone to peeling than paint.

I have paint on my surface can we switch to stain?

  • No, the paint will keep the stain from penetrating the wood. The paint must be removed or scraped off first. This process would require significant time and labor which will increase the cost greatly. We will always be happy to recommend what we feel will be the best options for you and your project.

My house/room was originally painted with oil paint. Can I switch to latex?

  • Yes, we can put latex on top of oil but not vice versa.

Do you need to thin the paint or stain in order to spray?

  • No, it is not necessary to thin 99.8% of today’s paints or stains. Most coatings can be applied in their original factory designed thickness.

If you spray, will it make a mess with a lot of over spray?

  • No, not when used by one of our properly trained and experienced painting technicians. The sprayer builds up pressure in the line when the trigger is squeezed. The pressure sprays the paint out in a very controlled manner. There is minimal over spray and dries very quickly. If there is a small amount of overspray it usually lands as a light dried dust on our some of our well used drop clothes. We are always conscious of any potential overspray and know the right instances when it can be employed. This is important and often it helps us with reducing costs.

Will pressure washing damage my siding?

  • No, Total Service Pro Painting started out first as a professional House and Roof Washing company centrally located inBallston Lake,NY. Therefore we are very experienced in all phases of power washing. We know the correct solutions to use in preparing a home to be painted. We understand that prior to painting we must thoroughly clean the surface and rinse off as much of the old coating’s chalking and clean off any dust, dirt, mold and algae before we begin painting. We do not primarily use power washing to remove loose paint off the house. We do power wash in order to properly clean the surface to be painted. We use the proper cleaning solutions and then rinse it off thoroughly. Of course some loose or peeling paint may come off. However this is only a side effect of a properly cleaned surface that is too be painted.

How can I tell if my house has lead paint?

  • If your house was built on or before 1978, then chances are very good that your home contains lead in the original paint. If appropriate a lead test kit can be picked up at your local paint store which can be used to test your home to determine if lead paint is present. One of our Lead Certified Paint technicians can help make this determination and take the proper steps if Lead is present or assumed present in your home.

How long will it take you to paint the exterior of our home?

  • An average sized home takes about 1-2 weeks to complete – start to finish. It may be shorter or longer depending on the condition of your home’s current Paint and its state of repair. During the estimate we will evaluate your home and can let you know how long approximately it will take to complete your project. We only have one crew work on one house at a time, so when we start your home, we will be there everyday (weather permitting) until your project is finished.

Do you paint outside year round?

  • No, we typically paint outside exteriors from approximately April through October.

How long will an exterior paint job last?

  • Six to ten years is typical for most painted surfaces. If your siding is stained (not painted) it may last longer. However both paint and stain can fade and dry out if the surface is exposed to significant amounts of the Sun. So when your home’s paint or stain needs attention Total Service Pro Painting will be happy to estimate any of your exterior painting or staining needs.

Do you use primer?

  • We do prime exposed bare wood for proper finish coat adhesion. With cedar siding we can use oil primer if the house is new and is to be painted. This is because cedar “bleeds” and the oil based primer locks out such “cedar bleed”. However when using a stain, you do not need to use primer.

How many coats of paint do you apply?

  • Typically 2 coats are preferred but not always. For a color change on your home or project 2 coats is usually required to achieve the proper color change. Some extremely vibrant colors (some deep red colors, etc) or extreme color changes like often require a third coat. When staining is appropriate then same holds true for color changes they usually require 2 coats.

Do you remove wallpaper? Can you paint right over wallpaper?

  • Yes, but we will remove wall paper. But we do not hang wallpaper. However we can remove old wallpaper, sand and prepare your walls. We can also refer a good wallpaper hanger.
  • Yes, often you can paint over existing wall paper but it is better to remove old wallpaper rather than paint over it. Removing the wallpaper first often yields a much better looking end result. Removal of old or existing wall paper is not typically that expensive.

Can Aluminum or Vinyl siding be painted?

  • The short answer is yes. What makes it a worthwhile process is proper Preparation and installing a proper paint or finish coating. If it is done right, it will last for a long time usually longer than repainting wood siding. It also depends on the type and character of the vinyl or aluminum siding but many times it looks great and can even appear to be a factory applied finish once we are finished with it. Just remember it is very important to properly prepare the siding first if you are to going to do this yourself!

Do you paint wood paneling?

  • Yes, we use a special alkyd based primer that adheres to glossy surfaces first then we can paint these surfaces for you.

Can you paint wood porches?

  • Yes, it just depends on what if any coating has previously been applied. Any questions like this can better be answered by Totals Service Pro Painting at the time of your scheduled Complimentary Estimate.

Can you paint brick walls?

  • Yes, the key here is the age of the stone or brick and proper preparation. This coupled with applying the proper finish or coating.

I have old stained kitchen and bathroom cabinets that look dated. Can you paint them?

  • Yes, we use a durable primer product and finish coating that will make your old cabinets look great again.

The paint in my bathroom/kitchen keeps getting moldy. What can I do?

  • We clean off existing mold with bleach prior to painting. There are additives in many of today’s paints that can prevent future mold growth. The best long-term solution is to improve the ventilation with the installation of a fan.


House & Roof Washing – Serving Upstate New York

House Washing Clifton Park, NY