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Hiring a painter? Plan ahead

By Alan J. Heavens
Philadelphia Inquirer

Q. What is the best month to have interior rooms painted?

A. Professionals, especially the really top-of-the-line painters, typically aren’t restricted to any particular time of year, although most don’t like painting interiors on hot, humid days when drying can be a problem, especially in homes without air-conditioning.

They do tend to be busier in spring and autumn, however, so arranging for their services then might require you to wait a bit. In summer, many painting contractors hire college students to help – that’s how I learned the craft – so their availability could be better then, despite the stickiness.

Good painters are rarely available and can pick and choose jobs. They are the ones who will, quite rightly, charge you more for the work. You get what you pay for.

For do-it-yourselfers, April and May are the best months to paint interior rooms. Natural light increases as the days get longer, so the accuracy of wall and ceiling coverage is at its peak. By summer, the light can be blinding. In winter, there’s not enough light.

You may have more time for painting in the winter, but artificial light – even the best halogen models – can cast shadows that give false impressions of how well you have covered a wall or ceiling area.

If you plan other improvements, paint before removing the carpeting. It will be disposed of anyway.

Ventilation is crucial. Even with today’s top-performing no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, opening windows and doors to keep air circulating and paint drying properly is key to a good job.

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