A illustrated guide to picking a painter in Rhode island


Whether you believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours philosophy or not, more time working on a craft usually leads to better technical skills, increased knowledge levels, and most importantly, a longer list of all the mistakes you shouldn’t make. While experience isn’t everything, it’s important to keep in mind when choosing a painter. You wouldn’t want a rookie tackling your $10,000 painting project, would you?

Years of experience, positive online reviews, and a photo galley of painting work are three things that should be at the top of your wishlist when choosing a painter. It means your painters are smart enough and talented enough to keep a client base and stand the test of time.


You’re not hiring a true professional painter if they don’t have a state-issued license, workers’ compensation insurance, and general liability insurance. These credentials prove that your painter is qualified for the job, and that they can protect their employees and your home if something were to go wrong on the job.

Actions speak louder than words on this front. Your painter can tell you they carry insurance, but if they truly have insurance, they’ll have no problem showing the proper documentation to you. They won’t blow you off, and they certainly won’t tell you they “can’t seem to find” the documents at the moment. If a painter pulls any of these tricks on you, it’s time to find a new one.

3. Choose a painting company that does the prep work

Prep work is what separates a good paint job from a great one. By sanding, stripping, cleaning, priming, and taping, your painters are setting the stage for a coat of paint that has clean lines and stands up to the elements.

Unfortunately, not all painting contractors take the time and effort to prep for a great paint job. They’d rather cut corners so they can charge the same price and get the job done quicker. This can lead to a paint job that is uneven, rough around the edges, or susceptible to premature aging.

Not sure if a painting company does all the right prep work? Ask them. A good painting  company will know their prep work processes inside and out, and they won’t hesitate to list of them off to you if you put them on the spot.


If your dentist couldn’t answer basic questions about oral health or dental work, you’d sprint out of that office before they picked up a dental tool. So why would trust a painter if they didn’t have the knowledge to get the job done right?

There’s nothing wrong with vetting a painter before hiring them. Ask them plenty of specific and theoretical questions about painting techniques, the best paint for your home, and how they take care of blemishes in current paint jobs. Their answers will give you an idea of their level of expertise, which is much more valuable than claims and ad copy on their website.


There’s a sweet spot when it comes to the price of hiring a painter. Some painters will use the cheapest paints, inexperienced employees, and lightning-fast painting techniques so they can offer the most affordable service possible — and if this is the route you choose, you’ll definitely get what you pay for. Other painters will charge exorbitant prices under the mask of “luxury painting services” or “the best painting products in the industry.” While using high-quality paints is important, there’s nothing luxurious about professional painting. We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we put our paints on one coat at a time. Ultimately, the final product you get from a luxury painter won’t justify the cost.

The best option for any homeowner lies somewhere in between: a painter that uses high-quality products and standard painting services for a reasonable, mid-range price. You’ll avoid the cost cutters and the price gougers, and you’ll end up with a great paint job when it’s all said and done.


Does your painter offer some sort of quality guarantee or warranty that’s backed by the company itself or the paint manufacturer? If not, you’re setting yourself up for headaches in the future. The best painting companies have hassle-free warranties, meaning they’ll come out and take care of any problems you’re having without a fuss. It’s excellent customer service that transcends any sort of warranty.


It’s important to look at online reviews and overall business ratings with a careful, even skeptical, eye. Consumers are more likely to leave to leave negative reviews to relieve some frustrations than they would be to praise companies with positive reviews — it makes consumers sound ungrateful, but it’s true.

Don’t worry if a painting company is lacking the perfect, five-star rating you desire. There will always be people leaving negative reviews. However, if you notice a series of negative reviews that allude to a certain pattern of behavior, it might be best to move on to the next painter on your list.


Travelling painters will go to the ends of the earth for an expensive paint job — they’re more concerned with making money or boosting profits, and less with fixing mistakes or providing excellent customer service. For the best paint job possible, you need a painter who has serviced your area for years — someone who cares about making your community a better place to be.

A helpful illustrated guide to the cost of painting in Rhode island

To update your home’s appearance and increase your curb appeal, painting the exterior of your home is a fast solution that also raises property value. Due to the large amount of preparation and the relative complexity of painting a property’s exterior, most owners choose to hire professionals to do the task. If you do it yourself, you could save a lot of money because labor costs are much more than the cost of materials and supplies. Most people spend between $1,700 and $3,700 when doing it themselves, but it greatly depends on your home. To get a better understanding of how much it will cost you, consider the factors discussed below.

Smaller homes (around 1,000 square feet) could cost as low as $1,200 to paint the exterior if you do it yourself with inexpensive paint. Houses with 3,000 square feet or more can cost $4,000. It could easily be $6,000 if you hire outside help. Expect to spend between $1.20 and $2.90 per square foot. Other important factors such as paint quality and construction materials will determine the final price tag.

Concrete siding requires more cleaning preparation, special primer, suitable paint and possibly the injection of sealants; therefore, it’s at least $2.00 per square foot to paint. Unless metal siding has rust or other damage, its paint cost is only about $1.50 per square foot. Stucco siding needs cleaning, crack filling and caulking; that’s why it runs about $1.90 per square foot. Finishing vinyl is quite tedious, so that is about $2.00 per square foot. Painting wood can easily be more than $2.00 per square foot.

The price of paint is between $25 and $50 per gallon, and one gallon should cover up to 200 square feet of the exterior. Standard materials include tape, cloths, paint trays and brushes for a total of around $50. Doing it yourself by renting other materials like a pressure washer can add $50 to $100 daily to your final bill. Additionally, you’ll probably need a ladder and scaffolding if you’re handling the project, and that can get expensive.

This price varies considerably, so expect to pay between $25 and $45 hour. Labor costs can average around $2,500 for a traditional three-bedroom home. Hiring contractors will at least double the cost of the project, but will ensure the job is done right and looks its best. Painting the porch, replacing rotting wood and filling gaps can increase expenses as well. In humid climates, you must take extra care to protect the paint from the elements, and that can mean more money as well.

Ready to paint? Contact Happy trees painting today to get your project quote and let our professional team of local painters handle the job for you.

A helpful illustrated guide to deck staining

Since decks encounter a lot of foot traffic, we recommend using stain not paint on decks.  PPG’s top of the line stain is ProLuxe (formerly Sikkens) and comes in a transparent, semitransparent, or solid finish.  It is necessary to clean your deck before applying stain as dirty wood will alter the color of the stain.

Pick a type of paint that provides a natural finish. A thick coating of oil-based paint helps you fill in cracks and gaps on your deck surface, creating a high-quality aesthetic. However, oil-based paints absorb UV rays from the sun, which means you need to apply a new coat to your deck every year so it is not the ideal option.

Don’t paint your deck if it’s recently been oiled, either. The paint won’t stick to the surface, no matter how hard you try. You’ll need to use a paint remover to get rid of the oil first, and then sand the wood before you apply a new coat.

Acrylic paint is a better option. It has a protective UV-resistant film, so it requires less maintenance than oil paint. Acrylic paint works great on all types of wood decks — from lumber to cedar to redwood — and if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wait for a couple of days for your deck to dry before you apply the second coat, you shouldn’t have any trouble. Clean up is a breeze when using acrylic paint, too. You won’t need any solvents, but just good old soap and water.

A type of paint with acrylic latex resins expands and contracts in different temperatures. However, the latex binder in the paint prevents it from cracking in hot and humid weather. The result is a better, longer-lasting paint finish for your deck. Acrylic paint is also mildew-resistant, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

You need to use a good primer before you apply acrylic paint to your deck. That’s because wood is susceptible to “bleeding,” a process where the surface of the deck becomes stained and blotchy because of water damage.

Ready to get started? Happy Trees painting is here to help you every step of the way.

A helpful illustrated guide to color selection

As daylight passes through a room over time, it changes in color. For east-facing rooms, which get bright, cool morning light, consider colors that are clear and sunny and made to work in both morning bright and evening dim. We’ve listed what we think are the best paint colors for east facing rooms.

East-facing rooms can have blue or green undertones, so keep this in mind when choosing colors, particularly neutrals. This transitional kitchen, painted in a light shade of gray, stays crisp no matter the light.

Duck-egg blue will really come alive in the morning sunlight. Pair with bright white trim for a beautiful, classic look.

Remember, when testing to see how a color works in a room, paint a couple of large test patches. Put one near a window, and another away from it, so you can visualize how the hue will change over time.

Let these color tips steer you in the right direction, and you can paint confidently, knowing your east-facing room will be beautiful from sunrise to sunset. If you like what you see here, use our top-rated Happy trees painting painters to get the same look in your home.

How to remove wall paper a helpful illustrated guide

No one enjoys removing wallpaper. There are many techniques of varying difficulty, but if you follow the steps below, removing wallpaper is actually a fairly simple process.

Prepare the Room

Since removing wallpaper involves the use of various liquids, you really want to invest in drop cloths to place at the base of the walls needing paper removal. You won’t have to worry about doing any sort of liquid damage to your floors and it allows for easy cleanup when the job is complete.

Score the Wall

A wallpaper scorer is a handheld tool that leaves small holes on the paper it is rolled across. This tool is vital for removing wallpaper because it will allow your solution to break down the adhesive attaching the paper to the wall. Gently roll the scorer over the wall to make sure you have plenty of holes in the paper. The more solution you can get to the adhesive, the easier it will be to remove the paper.

Prepare Your Solution

While you can buy many different prepackaged solutions in hardware or paint stores from Cranston to North Kingstown, it is often just as easy to make your own.   A simple mixture of hot water and vinegar or hot water and fabric softener can be poured in a spray bottle and applied to the wall. Let the solution sit for around 30 minutes and then move to the final step.

Paper Removal

Start from a corner of the wall and gently pull the paper from the wall. The solution should allow the removal of large strips at one time. Any small strips that are left over can be pried up and removed with a straight razor or a dull edge tool such as a putty knife. After the paper has been removed, gently wipe the wall down with warm water to remove any leftover adhesive.

If this is your first time removing wallpaper in your Jamestown or Westerly area home, practice on a small portion of the wall that is typically covered by furniture. Once you get a feel for the process, move on to tackling the entire wall. Keep in mind that the scorer can sometimes go through the paper and leave some small imprints on the actual wall. This typically only happens if you apply too much pressure when using the scorer. In the event this happens, a thin layer of wall putty can cover those spots easily.

If you are taking on a project that requires a significant amount of wallpaper removal, you can always contact a painting contractor. Here at Happy Trees painting we are happy to give advice or set up a consultation if needed.  Give us a call at (401) 297-6200

Let's Talk Now