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Featured Project

The purpose of the Exterior Featured Project is to provide homeowners with an overview of both an average home as well as the common issues present resulting from years of poor quality painting and lack of maintenance. In addition, information is also provided to assist homeowners in the estimate comparison process.  

The owners of this 1940 home in Arlington, VA no doubt inherited troublesome issues with the existing exterior paint issues. Their goal was to “correct” these issues from a long-term perspective, not a “make it look it better for now” perspective.  Of course, the homeowner received several estimates, of which Progressive Painting’s was the highest keeping in mind that the goal was to “correct” not temporarily “mask” the unattractiveness. 

Progressive Painting approached this project with the following plan: 

1.    Power wash all surfaces to be prepared and painted with a biodegradable solution to remove organic matter and oxidation from the surfaces to be painted.
2.    Identify all peeling paint areas and remove the loose and peeling paint to include all failing caulk.
3.    Belt sand all siding and trim to remove additional paint and to blend in high areas of paint with the bare wood. 90% of the paint was removed from the surfaces to be painted.
4.    Replace rotten wood discovered during the sanding phase with PVC material.
5.    Full coat of primer on all areas to be painted. Scuff sand all surfaces to be painted.
6.    Apply caulk to all open seams and clean out all gutters.
7.    Prep inspection with the crew and homeowner.
8.    Apply two coats of high quality paint to all surfaces.
9.    Prepare, paint and install two new shutters. Install new brackets for cables. Clean all exterior glass on windows and doors.
10.  Final walk through with the homeowner and crew.

This project took 15 days to complete there were 6 total trips made around the house with ladders, preparations tools, and paint brushes. The results were two-fold, corrective, quality jobs that will last and added curb appeal and value to the home (see photos below).

From the homeowner’s perspective…..

In the summer of 2008 we completed a project to paint the exterior of our 1940’s single family home in North Arlington.  We were looking for a high-quality corrective paint job, fixing a significant amount of peeling paint, small areas of wood rot and to get an overall “new” look to a home that had many years of paint applied.  The painting company that we looked to select needed to be able to work a schedule that would allow a start painting after a window and exterior door replacement project that we had in process in addition to fully understanding our expected outcomes and be willing to meet them. 

We selected Progressive Painting for our painting project after soliciting 2 other estimates from highly rated painting companies. 

Progressive’s estimate was the highest of those received with the other two being $1,500 to $2,000 less.  It was difficult to do an “apples to apples” comparison of the 3 quotes given that the details of each were different, particularly in the details provided for the preparation work.  Progressive’s written estimate, as well as the detail given by Thomas during the initial site visit, made it easier for us to understand what would be done before painting even started.  We understood very well that the preparation work that goes into a project like this can only add to the longevity of the final results.  Additionally, the Progressive estimate included details on the products to be used where the other quotes only reference a color match to existing paint and number of coats of paint to be applied. 

Our decision to select Progressive Painting was based on the level of detail provided in the estimate, their stellar references on Angie’s List and from a friend who had used them on a project and the professionalism of Thomas during our initial meeting to discuss the project.  For us, it came down to selecting what we felt was a best value, not cost, for the significant investment we were making in our home.

Our Experience:

From the very start, it was obvious that attention to detail is a hallmark for Progressive Painting.  From when we called to schedule an estimate appointment, to the first day the crew showed up at our home, through the final walk-thru with Thomas the professionalism of this company showed through.

Thomas communicated to us very effectively the approach to our project and the timeline to complete.  When he came to the home for the initial walk-thru he pointed out areas that Progressive would prepare by sanding and scraping the old paint to get down to nearly bare wood and smooth out any raised areas that had come from years of spot paintings.  He also noted visible areas of wood needing replacement. 

The quote that we received detailed the specifics of this meeting in detail and also included a T&M component for the wood replacement that would be completed during the project.  This made it very easy for us to understand the potential total costs for the project and furthered our comfort level that we would not see the “cost creep” once we started the project with Progressive.  We signed the contract and set an estimated start date for the project.

On the start date (which ended up being a few days earlier than the original estimated date) the crew and Thomas arrived on time.  We once again walked around the home and discussed the details once again of the project to be sure everything that we wanted completed and were in the contract were understood by the crew.  At that time Thomas even showed us pictures from another in process project similar to ours that helped us to visualize exactly what the preparation work would entail.

Jose, the foreman, and his crew were great.  Can’t say enough about how hard these guys worked and how well they protected our landscaping and other areas of our home while they worked.  Joes was sure to let us know each day what was to be accomplished.  Thomas, also visiting the site on a regular basis, was always available to provide details or answer questions during the entire project.  Additionally, at the end of each day we received an email update from Thomas detailing the accomplishments for the day, plans for the following day and asking any questions that the crew may have had from that day’s work.  This level of communication was very reassuring.

The level of preparation (sanding, scraping, power washing, calk and patch work) far exceeded even what we though we understood would be completed.  Jose and his crew must have spent 75% of the project time just preparing the home for actual priming and painting.

At the end of each day the crew meticulously cleaned up and stored ladders out of the way so we could continue to use our outdoor patio space.

During the project, Thomas and Jose recommended a number of items that they felt would add to the quality of the finished project.  This included areas of additional wood replacement, hiding the external cable and telephone wires and caulking around the basement windows.  To our amazement, most of this was completed at no additional cost to us and reflected how Progressive wanted one of their jobs to look upon completion.  Thomas was also the first to point out how the paint that they applied to the front entry door was not up to their quality standards and worked to correct it immediately.

Finally, the project did take longer than originally estimated due to a slight weather delay and the difficulty of the preparation work.  But again, from the daily communication from Thomas and the crew this was not a surprise and truly reflected the quality of their work.  It is significant that never did I feel like (or see) Progressive was going to cut corners to get themselves back on schedule.  

Progressive is an exceptional company.  When making a significant investment in a home improvement project the hope is to always find someone who takes pride in their work and looks to exceed expectations.  While we could have easily selected a company that provided the lowest cost, we selected Progressive Painting feeling they priced the job appropriately for the benefits we would receive over the long term for our investment.  From the level of workmanship to the customer service and the true dedication to ensure we were happy with their work I know we could have done no better than Progressive Paining.


Project Before and After Photos:


BeforeBefore (18)



AfterAfter (22)


 Exterior Project Estimate Example


The actual example demonstrated below is solely for the purpose of  providing homeowners with an illustrated, informative resource for the estimate comparison process. 


Exterior painting of a 1929 single family home in the Kalomara area of NW Washington, DC.
Progressive Painting estimate amount: $9,600.00
Company “A” estimate amount: $4, 500.00 
During our initial visit to this home, it was evident that there were dozens of coats of paint applied to all the painted surfaces on this 4000+ square foot home. The coatings that were applied over the years clearly consisted of varying degrees of quality and composition (Latex over oil and vice versa). The homeowner expressed a desire resolve to the following primary issues:

1.    Stop the very expensive process of seeking a painting company to paint their exterior every 2-3 years due to the continuous peeling and failing of the coatings. 
2.    Improve the aesthetics’ and the curb appeal by resolving the “chunky” appearance resulting from paint applied over peeling areas that had not been sanded smooth prior to previous paint applications. 

The peeling and chunky areas will require extensive preparations to achieve both a consistent appearance and correct the recurring peeling issue. 
If those areas receive only what is defined as ‘general preparations’, which is the standard approach, the finish result will simply add to the ‘chunky’ appearance; in other words it will be obvious that paint has been applied over previous problem areas. This is not only a sign of poor workmanship and prep, but is aesthetically unpleasing (as noted above).   
To correct these areas appropriately it will take a considerable amount of attention and time; often double the amount of time reflected in other bids received. Most homeowners that have taken the time to research the processes involved in a high quality paint job discover that it is ultimately the preparation phase that determines the longevity of a paint job. Simply put, a high quality paint job achieves more than just a temporary aesthetically pleasing appearance. Quite frankly, any paint company can make your home “look” great after applying a coat of paint or two and often explains why the preparation phase is the most common to be skimped on by many painting companies. It’s not “required” to make your home look great short term in and absolves the accountability that comes with the commitment to a high quality job.  This serves as one explanation for the cost discrepancy between companies who are quality driven, and those who are production driven. 

For example, if Company “A” had taken in to account the extensive preparation to correct the issues, their cost to complete the project would greatly exceed the estimate amount as outlined in the details below: 
*Three man crew average wage $47 per hour: 102 x hours= $4,799.00
Materials to include soft supplies:  $ 960.00
Cost of the project to Progressive Painting:$5,759.00

*Please note: The cost outlined above reflects labor and material only; no other costs have been factored (fuel, travel, insurance, taxes, etc).

A total of 10 days were spent on this project: 
The first six days were spent preparing the house for primer and paint. 
The remaining 4 days were spent applying the coatings.

This very simple outline demonstrates that the Company “A” estimate of $4,500.00 could have only included a very limited amount of time dedicated to preparing the house for paint.  Unfortunately, had the homeowner chosen Company “A” they would have received minimal prep if any and a coat of paint that “looks good” initially but no solution to the recurring and burdening issues. 

Simple questions to consider and ask any prospective painting contractor

1.    Are you licensed and insured (both worker’s compensation and liability insurance)? Request that the contractor issue a certificate of insurance for your project.  
2.    Do you use day laborers or sub-contractors?   
3.    Do you employ full time experienced painters year round?
4.    Can I expect the same crew everyday? How many crew members are in a team? 
5.    What level of preparations will be performed? Are the preparation details specified in writing and guaranteed by contract?  
6.    What brand and quality of paint will you be using? Please provide literature and specify on the contract. 
7.    Will any items or details that have been discussed also be put in writing?

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