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Frequently Asked
Painting Questions

Having been in business for over 25 years, Cityscape Painting has answered just about every painting question imaginable. We have prepared selection of the most common questions, as well as some you might use when interviewing potential painting contractors.

Interior Painting Questions

Q: What kind of paint do you use?
A: We only use premium line products from local suppliers such as Sherwin Williams, Hirshfields, PPG and ICI.

Q: What if I found a color at a local Big Box store?
A: We prefer to work with products that we are familiar with, however we are open to using any product available. That said, if its simply a matter of color, our suppliers can custom match virtually any color imaginable.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare my home for painting?
A: Prepare the rooms to be painted as though you were going to paint them. Remove pictures from the wall and small items that could tip or fall easily. We can assist in moving large items from walls, however we do prefer this is done ahead of time.

Q: Do I have to patch my walls?
A: Absolutely not. Our bids will typically include any drywall repair or the necessary prep-work needed to professionally complete your project.

Q: Do I need to buy the paint?
A: Typically, no. Our bids will include the cost of the materials needed. The only time this might differ is if you have chosen to supply us with a unique product.

Q: I have seen painters advertise they would paint a bedroom for just $75. Can you match that?
A: It should take an average painter about an hour to prep a small bedroom and about 2 hours to cut in the corners and roll out the walls (one coat.) If he makes $17 per hour that equals $51 in labor costs. Then add in $20 for 1 gallon of premium paint and $15 for miscellaneous supplies (tape, spackle, plastic...) The total for all of this adds up to $86 (with no profit!) Obviously, using this logical approach, painters who advertise ridiculously low rates are either cutting a few corners or providing a low up front number and raising that as they start the project.

Q: Do I need to be home while you paint?
A: This is up to you. We are used to working in homes that are both occupied and unoccupied. We realize that many people stay at home during the day and should that be you, we will do our best to contain our work to one room at a time.

Q: Will the paint smell harm my children?
A: We can not answer that for you. While the paints we use are completely safe and non-toxic, if your family is sensitive to latex or other ingredients used in paint, we do have "No V.O.C.© paint options available for you. Only you and your family physician can determine if the presence of wet paint in your home poses a risk.

Interview Other Painters & Compare!

Q: How many years have you been in business?
A: Cityscape has been in business under the same name since we started over 25 years ago!

Q: Have you always been in business under this name?
A: Cityscape has been in business under the same name since we started over 25 years ago!

Q: Do you use your own employees or sub-contract your work?
A: We always have a staff of over 60 plus full time painters that are employees of Cityscape. While we do utilize sub-contractors from time to time, all of them are previous employees of ours who decided to start their own painting business. Many of our competitors solely utilize sub-contractors to perform their work. This means the people who actually perform the work on your home are usually getting a small percentage of the money you are paying. For example, you might be paying $4,000 to paint your home but since the subs are only getting less than half of that amount, you are actually only getting the quality of a $2000 paint job. By sub contracting exclusively to our former employees, we have far more control over the quality of our work. They have worked for us as employees so they understand our methods and our high standards of workmanship.

Q: Are you licensed and insured?
A: The fact is, in the state of Minnesota a painting contractor is not required to be licensed. This is because painters do not alter the physical structure of your home. We are fully insured and can provide specifics upon request.

Q: What is the average level of experience with your painting staff?
A: Our staff of painters has an average of 15 plus years of experience. Many of them have been with us since we started our business 25 years ago!

Q: What kind of warranty do you offer on your exteriors?
A: Cityscape was one of the first, if not the first, to offer a 5 Year Product & Labor Warranty over 10 years ago. If a painting company you are interviewing hasn't been offering their warranty as long as us, chances are they are only doing so because of us. Finally, our warranty is backed by our suppliers. This is one more level of confidence we provide our customers that most of our competitors can't.

Q: Does your bid include everything it will take to complete my home, from start to finish?
A: Our bids include everything it will take to paint your home. No surprises. Items (such as carpentry) are discussed in advance and billed on a time and material basis.

Q: What products do you use?
A: We only use the best products from the areas most reputable paint companies. We use what's best for your home not what's the least expensive or easiest to use. Sherwin Williams Super Paint and Hirshfield's House Coat are our 2 standard exterior coatings.

Q: Where do you buy your paint?
May I contact them as a reference?
A: We only use the best products from the areas most reputable paint companies. We use what's best for your home not what's the least expensive or easiest to use. Sherwin Williams Super Paint and Hirshfield's House Coat are our 2 standard exterior coatings. And yes, we would welcome you to call our suppliers to ask any questions you might have about us.

Q: Do you spray or brush your paint?
A: Our method of spray and back roll is not only the way the paint manufacturers recommend their coatings be applied, but we also use at least 30% more paint than a painter who simply brushes on his paints.

Frequently Asked Painting Questions

Exterior Painting Questions

Q: What kind of paint do you use?
A: We only use premium line 100% acrylic products from Sherwin Williams, Hirshfields, PPG and ICI. Our standard product in your bid will be a 25 year warranty paint (usually Sherwin Williams Super Paint or Hirshfields House Coat.) We do offer upgrades to various "Lifetime Warranty" products as well, which we will typically discuss with you during our free estimate consultation.

Q: Do you use primer?
A: Yes. There are various types of primers we use. Which primer we choose really depends on the type of siding on your home and its current condition. We usually will spot prime all the bare areas, however there are certain situations which will require a full prime coat. We will typically discuss what is needed on your home during our free estimate consultation.

Q: What application process do you use?
A: We love this question! We apply our coatings exactly how the manufacturers suggest - Spray & Back Brush / Back Roll. There are many painters out there claiming that they apply paint the "old fashioned way" which is by brush or roller. The fact is, they will use up to 50% less material by doing this! A sprayer is simply a tool we use to get the paint from the bucket to the siding. You can build a far thicker coat by applying paint with a sprayer than brushing or rolling alone. That said, it is imperative that the paint be either brushed or rolled out after it has been sprayed, to insure it is properly worked into the substrate. Be cautious of anyone claiming to either apply paint by either brush or sprayer only.

Q: Can I save money if I power wash my house over the weekend?
A: No. This will not only void our warranty, it could end up causing your paint to prematurely fail, ultimately costing you more.

Q: Will you paint just the weathered sides of my home?
A: This is up to you. A lot of our cost is in the prep and set up of a typical job. Many times, there isn't a drastic price difference between a partial and full paint job.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare my house?
A: Not much. We only ask that if possible, you would move any furniture or planters away from our working area.

Q: Will you paint just the high areas of my house?
A: While we wont paint just the peaks of a home, we would be happy to bid that entire side.

Q: Will you cause damage to my vegetation around my house?
A: The products we use when power washing and painting are safe for vegetation. We always rinse the area before and after our power wash process. Finally, we would always wrap or tie up to protect anything that is too close to the house.

Q: How long does it take you to power wash my home?
A: Obviously, this varies by the size and style of your house. On average, we spend a full day power washing your house. We use extension ladders and lifts (when needed) to insure the high areas of your home get washed just as thoroughly as the low areas. We have actually witnessed "painters" washing a house with a garden hose prior to painting a house!

Misc Painting Questions

Q: Your bid is higher than others I have received. Why?
A: Chances are they are cutting a corner. We have been finishing homes for 25 plus years and in that time we have never claimed to be the cheapest, however our work is among the best and our prices are fair. Many competitors utilize a low bid tactic to get you to sign a contract. Then once they start, they inform you that many of the things your home needs is not included in their bid and will end up costing you more. We have even seen competitor bids that indicate they are "allowing you" a certain quantity of gallons for your home. If your home takes more than that quantity, you are responsible for the cost of those additional gallons. Tactics like these are ridiculous. Our bids are always complete and have no hidden surprises.

Q: How long will my paint job last?
A: Many things can impact how long a paint film will last. It has been our experience that a good quality paint job will last about 7 years, maybe a little more. In fact, this is also the opinion of the U.S. Department of Agricultures Forest Products Laboratory. In their publication titled Finishes for Exterior Wood, they indicate a high quality 100% acrylic coating should last between 7 and 10 years.

Q: What is the best product for my deck?
A: For horizontal areas (deck floors) we only suggest the use of penetrating, semi-transparent products. These will typically last about 2 years and are easy to maintain. For vertical areas (railings) you can use the same type of product or get longer lasting results with solid stains and paints.

Q: Can you paint my deck floor?
A: Many people ask us if we can paint the deck floor and while we can do that, we strongly discourage it. Deck floors are constantly saturated with water. This cause's severe movement which most paints and solid stains cannot tolerate, eventually causing them to peel. Once this happens, the maintenance of your deck floor becomes much more difficult and costly.

Q: Which is better, oil or latex paint?
A: This depends on the siding and the look you are trying to achieve. For most homes, using a 100% acrylic (latex) paint will provide the longest lasting finish. 100% acrylics tolerate more movement in the wood and retain their color much longer than an oil based paint.

Q: The paint can says "25 Year Warranty." Does that mean my paint job will last 25 years?
A: Absolutely not. First of all, most paint manufacturers apply warranties to their products knowing that the average home owner relocates once every 7 years, which is why their warranties are typically non-transferable. Secondly, their warranties only include a refund or replacement of the paint, if it is found to be defective. They never include the cost of labor in their warranties. That said, paint warranties are really an easy way for you, the consumer, to measure the quality of their product. We only use a 25 year warranty product or better on our exteriors.

Q: How do I pay you?
A: e usually require 1/3 of the total once we have power washed and the final 2/3's when we are done and you are completely satisfied. We accept cash and checks and for your convenience, we also accept Visa and Master Card.

BATC Builders Association of the Twin Cities

MHA Minnesota Multi Housing Association

NARI National Association of the Remodeling Industry, MN Chapter

BBB Better Business Bureau