Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Painting Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

There's no better way to augment the exterior beauty of your home than with a fresh coat of paint. A Diamond Certified painting contractor can rejuvenate your home's outward appearance by casting it in a fresh new color scheme. Photo: John Molloy Painting (2014) Topic: Finding High Quality Residential Painting Services in Marin County

SAN RAFAEL — You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a painting contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified painting company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated painting contractor and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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Eva Kissova is owner of Kiss Painting, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (415) 523-0015 or by email.

Eva Kissova

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Eva Kissova: Mastering a New Trade

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — After earning not one but two master’s degrees, the last thing Eva Kissova expected was that she’d start a house painting business, but that’s exactly what happened. “I have master’s degrees in education and environmental management,” she affirms. “Unfortunately, I finished college right before the economy crashed in 2008 and spent the next two years trying to find work, to no avail. Eventually, I decided to switch gears entirely and start a business with my father, who is a professional house painter.”

While Eva lacked hands-on experience in the painting trade, she made up for it with an aptitude for management, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. “I knew if my father and I combined our abilities, we’d make a good team,” she says. “The next few years were very busy for me. I’d spend the early mornings and weekends handling the business side of things, while my weekdays were spent in the field painting with my father and learning the trade. Seven years later, I’m still very busy running the business, but I have a lot more knowledge and confidence.”

Today, as owner of Kiss Painting, Eva says her favorite part of her job is creating positive transformations. “I enjoy taking something run-down and ugly and making it look nice again. In some cases, we’ll walk into a home where the walls are blank, and when we walk out again, they’re covered in beautiful colors. It’s very rewarding to create beauty where there was none before.”

A resident of San Rafael, Eva spends the bulk of her free time with her two-year-old daughter, Isabelle. “Before I became a mother, my main hobby was dancing—particularly ice dancing, which is like ballroom dancing on ice,” she explains. “These days, as a mom and a business owner, I don’t have as much time for that. However, if raising my daughter could be considered a hobby, I’d say it’s a beautiful hobby to have. When she’s older, I’ll have time for dancing, but for now I’m happy with this stage of my life.”

In her life and career, Eva attributes her success to a strong focus and a hardworking attitude. “If you want to succeed at something, you need to work hard and stay focused,” she affirms. “When I first started in painting, I knew nothing, but the more I worked and learned, the more confident I became. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t let adversity stop me—I just kept at it. Overall, this taught me to trust in myself and my abilities. It makes me feel like I’m capable of anything.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Eva says she would take a break. “I would go to Hawaii and just put my feet up for two weeks,” she laughs. “After that, I would get back into dancing. And if that wasn’t enough, I might start another business.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A: A cat person.

Q: If you could instantly pick up a new skill, what would it be?

A: I’d like to be really good at surfing.

Q: Music or talk radio?

A: Talk radio. I like to learn things.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

A: Christmas.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: I’d take a tour of Asia.

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Extending the Lifespan of Exterior Paint


SAN RAFAEL — Many homeowners think they’re getting “the most for their money” by waiting until their house paint has completely failed before repainting. However, in reality, this tactic doesn’t save money—it actually wastes it. A far more cost-effective strategy is to… Read more




  • Benjamin Moore

  • Dunn-Edwards

  • Rust-Oleum

  • Cabot

  • Behr

  • Armstrong

  • Sherwin Williams

  • Farrow and Ball

  • Penofin

Kelly-Moore Paints
Benjamin-Moore Paints
Glidden Paints
ICI Professional Paints
Ralph Lauren Paints
PPG Paints
Devoe Paints
Fuller O’Brien Paint
Milk Paint
Frazee Paints
Mythic Paint
Behr Paint
Cabot Paints
Dutch Boy Paints
Pratt and Lambert Paints
Dunn-Edwards Paint
Sherwin-Williams Paint
Krylon Paint
Kilz Paint
Dulux Paint
Valspar Paints

color consulting
wood preservation
new construction painting
decorative painting
commercial painting
textured painting
spray painting
elastomeric finishes
painting restoration
paint color matching
green painting
low VOC paints / no VOC paints
house paint
custom paint
exterior paint
interior paint
faux painting
custom refinishing

Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Forest Knolls
Kent Woodlands
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Point Reyes Station
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda


Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
Finishing Contractors Association (FCA) (www.finishingcontractors.org)
National Alliance of Professional Painters (NAPP) (www.thenapp.com)
National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) (www.paint.org)
Master Painters and Decorators Association (MPDA) (www.mpda.net)
Master Painters Institute (MPI) (http://www.mpi.net/)
Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) (http://www.pdca.org/)

Know What You Want
What to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Marin County Painting Contractor

Before talking with local painters in person or over the phone, outline some of the details of your upcoming painting project. For example, have an idea of the rooms you want painted, the color you’re leaning toward and the when you want the painting completed.

Think about these questions to get you started:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified painting company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Which areas of my home need to be painted?(List specific areas: kitchen painting, bathroom painting, hallway painting, exterior painting, whole house painting, ceiling painting.)
  • Are there any changes or repairs I’d like before the contractors start the job (repairing or replacing moulding and trim, repairing wall damage, new drywall, or popcorn ceiling removal)?
  • What is my budget?
  • Am I looking for decorative painting or faux painting services? If so, are there any I specifically want (venetian plaster, wood graining, sponge painting, rag painting, metallic paints, accent walls, etc.)?
  • Do I want the same color scheme repainted, or do I want bold paint or an extreme color change?
  • Do I plan to live in this home long-term? Or is this a house I plan to sell or a rental property?(In that case, you may choose different colors that appeal to a wider base of people.)
  • Are there any traits I want in my Marin County painting contractor that I’m not willing to compromise on? (This can include honesty, timeliness, good references, use of quality materials, etc.)
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What To Ask In Person
Interview Questions to Ask in Person When Meeting with Marin Painters

After you’ve researched and interviewed a few Marin County painting contractors over the phone, you will want to meet with one or more in person at your home or business where the painting services are needed.

This will give you a chance to meet them face-to-face and discuss the job, their company and their painting techniques. Giving them an opportunity to see your interior or exterior painting job may also result in more accurate estimates and more confidence on your part during the hiring process.

The following list of questions will get you started on your interview process.

  • How much time will it take to repaint my home or business?
  • How many coats of paint will you apply? Why?
  • How do you figure painting estimates (time & materials or flat rate bids)?
  • How firm is the original estimate? If the actual cost is more, who will bear the responsibility to cover the difference? And will I get a say in any changes you make to the initial estimate?
  • Will you do a pre- and post-work inspection. (This can save you time and hassle by helping to ensure the contractor sees any potential problems before starting to paint and notices any missed spots or drips and spatters after the work is done.)
  • Do you have any completed exterior painting projects in my area of Marin County that I can see from the street?
  • Will you provide warrantees on your work and products?
  • Will you guarantee in writing the grade of paint you will use and the number of coats of paint you’ll apply?
  • What can I do to make the painting process easier for you and for me and my family?
  • Do you have 10 recent customer references that I can call who hired you for jobs similar to the one I’m considering?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn About Previous Customers’ Experiences with Local Painting Contractors

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified painting company because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a painter in Marin County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online at for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified painter within your area of Marin County, you’ll have to do some independent research. Call some references provided by your contractor. But keep in mind that any references they give to you are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references are rarely randomly selected from all of a company’s customers. Instead, painting contractors usually just give out contact information for a few customers that they know were satisfied with their services. Avoid this by asking for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers.

    Here are some questions to get you started when calling on painting contractor references:

    • Were you satisfied with the painting services you received from _(painting company name)_?
    • What type of painting work did they do for you (interior painting, exterior painting, kitchen painting, faux finishing, ceiling painting, etc.)
    • Did the painters you hired finish the work on time?
    • Did the contractor keep you informed of the status of the project? Or did you have to call for updates?
    • If you live in a smaller town such Bel Marin Keys, Bolinas, Tamal, Sleepy Hollow, Point Reyes Station, Lagunitas, Forest Knolls or Inverness, did they charge extra to travel to your home?
    • Did the painters show up on time every day?
    • Did they clean up after completing the job? What about during the job?
    • Will you consider hiring this painting contractor again for repainting?
    • Would you recommend this painting company to others?
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  • Review Your Options
    Consider Your Painting Firm Options in Marin County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Once you’ve carefully considered your choices, answer the following questions to help you narrow down your final decision in a good Marin County painter:

    • Can the painting contractors in Marin County meet your needs for scheduling, paint choices, paint finishes, customer service and length of experience?
    • Are the painters knowledgeable about the brands and methods they recommend for your job?
    • Is the house painting company sensitive to your budget?
    • Will they offer paint brands and services to match your finances? Many of the best contractors will give you bids for good, better and best painting options that include choices in paint brands and standards, number of coats, and services.
    • Do the local painters you interviewed back up their work and products with written warranties?
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  • How To Work With
    Sign a Contract with Good Painting Contractors in Marin County

    Now that you’ve found a good local painting company, it’s the perfect time to ask for a written contract. This contract should include written details on the price, quality and materials to be used, as well as the job start date and intended completion date.

    Before signing the contract, carefully read and be sure you understand all the terms and conditions. The contract you sign is binding, and should protect your property and the interests of you and your contractor. You should never sign a blank or incomplete estimate, for your own protection.

    When signing the contract, you are allowed to write in individual requests and verbal agreements you’ve made with your painters.This will protect you and help make certain you get the services you have settled on. Along with project end dates and special instructions, these additions may include issues that aren’t always covered by a standard contract.

    For example, even if your contractor is careful, rutted lawns, damaged shrubs and crushed flowers are often unexpected results of exterior painting jobs. But you can help protect your property by being proactive. Go on a walk through with the painting company supervisor and conduct a pre-work inspection of your property. List or photograph the condition of your landscaping, home and property as it exists before the work, and talk with a company representative about reasonable expectations for protecting your home and property during the work.

    When you’ve reached an agreement you both are happy with, you and the painting company representative should sign and date the document. When the work is done, do a final inspection together to verify that the contract was upheld.

    Plan for Your New Interior and Exterior Painting
    Professional painters in Marin County, including those in the major cities of San Rafael, San Anselmo, Novato, Mill Valley and Larkspur are able to handle all aspects of their work. But there are a few things you can do to prepare for their arrival and even while the work is in progress to speed up the work. You may even be able to cut down on billable hours or limit any damage to your home and belongings by preparing carefully.

    • Remove furniture. Before the work begins, take out all furniture, decorations, curtains, rugs, paintings, art and other items from the rooms scheduled for painting. Anything you can’t remove from the room should be moved to the center of the room and carefully covered with drop cloths or plastic. Your painting contractor may be able to do this for you, but it might cost extra or be added onto their billable hours. Other painters offer this preparation service as part of their contract, so ask what you should do to prepare for their arrival.
    • Secure valuables. Temporarily store heirlooms, antiques, important or expensive items that are in high-traffic areas of your home to prevent them from being broken. Even items that are not in the rooms to be painted can be accidentally damaged or knocked over if they’re in areas where painting company employees will be frequently walking through.
    • Provide ample clearance and parking space for painting trucks. Some painting companies have large work trucks that necessitate additional clearance and larger parking spaces than average vehicles. Contact the Marin painting company you’ve hired before their scheduled start date and ask them how many work vehicles they’ll be bringing to your job and whether the vehicles are oversized or need special parking areas.
    • It may be helpful to walk through the site with your contractor ahead of time so they can point out potential clearance issues or hazards you can deal with before the painting begins.
    • Trim plants and bushes outside your home before exterior painting. If you’re hiring a Marin County painting company for exterior painting, you may want to trim trees, bushes and other plants that are close to your home’s exterior. Talk with your contractor about the amount of space they require around the perimeter of the job. Some painters will do the trimming for you, but if you’re particular about how the trimming is done or which plants are trimmed, you may want to arrange to have it done before they arrive on the job.
    • Keep children and pets clear of freshly painted rooms. Your painters shouldn’t have to watch out for children and pets before, during or after the painting. Block off the rooms that are to be painted and keep pets and kids away until after the work is done and the paint is fully dry. This will prevent accidents, injury and the expense of touch-ups and repainting. Also be aware that doors, gates and garage doors may be left open by necessity or accident during the work and take extra caution to secure pets that may escape or young children who may wander through open doors.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    Easy Ways to Be a Good Painting Company Customer

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County painting company.

    • Be clear and upfront with the company representative. Explain what you want from your new paint job, the outcome you’re expecting and ways they can satisfy your goals.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way in creating a positive working atmosphere.
    • Before you hire a painting contractor, reiterate to the painting representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with Marin County painters occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your painters if you should call them or if they will call you with regular updates.
    • Give your service representative a phone number where they can reach you at all times for updates, questions or additional work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the painting on schedule.
    • Pay your painting contractor promptly once the work is done.

    Why would you want to be a good customer when dealing with Marin County painting contractors in Novato, Mill Valley, San Rafael, San Anselmo and other cities? Good painters appreciate customers who are fair and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior helps set the tone and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship, setting the stage for smoother work and few problems.

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Check The Work
Review the Invoice and the Work with the Marin County Painting Company

When the painting is completed, you should get a written invoice that details the completed work. This invoice should include the following:

  • The painting firm’s name, physical address and license number.
  • A list of all services performed.
  • An itemized list of all paint, materials and painting supplies purchased for your job.
  • The total cost for painting services, including the amount due for labor.
  • Any applicable warrantees or guarantees provided by the manufacturers and the painting company.

It’s smart to compare the finished work to what was promised on the initial contract and written invoice. Ask your company representative to show you the work that was done. During this walk-through, check what was done against the invoice. Ask if there are any special instructions for maintaining your new paint or keeping it looking new. If you have questions about the work that was done or the materials used, this is the time to ask.
You may also want to ask your painting contractor to write down for you the brand, paint color and any other details you may need in case you want to have more of the same color of paint mixed in the future.

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Written Warranties
Get Warrantees for Marin County Painting Services

Most good painting contractors in Marin County and the Bay Area warranty their work. Some even provide guarantees for the paint they’ve used.

No matter what type of guarantee you’ve been promised, all warranty details should be given to you in writing and should include the following:

  • The Marin County painting contractor’s name and physical address.
  • The painting contractor’s state license number. (You can verify their license is active and has no active complaints against it by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov/.)
  • What paint products and services are covered. This should also include whether the painting company will replace or repair your new paint if it chips, peels, fades or cracks prematurely.
  • Your responsibility if you have to place a claim on the warranty (i.e., whether you must pay for labor, purchase the new paint or materials, or if you are required to pay a prorated amount).
  • All terms, limits and exclusions on the paint, materials and workmanship.
  • If the warranties cover the new owner if you sell your home.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests for Marin County Painting Contractors

The most common painting requests for residential painting companies in Marin County are listed below.

Interior Painting

Interior painting his any painting done on the interior surfaces of a home, office or commercial building. Interior paint for walls and ceilings comes in many colors and finishes for customizable results. Many modern interior paints are available in environmentally-friendly formulations and as low VOC paints that have lower toxicity than exterior paints.

Exterior Painting

Exterior paint is that which is applied to the outside of homes and other buildings. Exterior paints must be more flexible and fade-resistant than interior paints to stand up to changing weather conditions and the fading effects of the sun. Many exterior paints can be sprayed on for fast, even application and contain additives that help them last longer than interior paints.

House Painting

The term house painting can include interior and exterior painting, and often takes into account the entire process from color selection, prepping, taping, priming, painting and sealing. Many painters specialize in painting homes, while others paint commercial buildings, industrial buildings and government buildings.

Decorative Painting Techniques

Also known as faux finishing and faux painting, decorative techniques such as tromp l’oeil, sponge painting, ragging, venetian plastering, paint marbling, stripe technique (paint striping), color washing and color washes, paint pickling and liming, wood graining, verdigris (aged patina) and antiquing paint techniques are popular methods that add a custom touch to newly-painted surfaces.

Painting Services

Painting services is a term that encompasses all services offered by local painting companies. Common painting services include house painting, interior painting, exterior painting, residential and commercial painting, paint preparation, spray painting, paint rolling and high-volume painting services.

Faux Painting

Like decorative painting techniques, faux painting is a technique that adds a faux finish to the surface. Venitian plaster, suede painting, faux marble, marbleizing and wood graining are examples of popular faux painting in Marin County.

Low VOC Paint

Low VOC paints have lower quantities of volatile organic compounds, or chemicals that may be harmful to human health. Low-VOC paints are often suggested for use in homes and office buildings where people spend a great deal of time. The use of low-VOC and no-VOC paints may help improve indoor air quality.

Commercial Painting

Any painting in commercial buildings, including stores, schools, offices, museums, public buildings and hospitals is referred to as commercial painting. Some contractors only offer commercial painting, while others provide a combination of services that includes commercial, industrial and residential painting.

Industrial Painting

Industrial painting services in Marin County provide painting for industrial and commercial buildings. Industrial painting is most commonly done on metal building interior and exteriors, office buildings, ceilings, walls, floors, parking structures, factories, manufacturing plants and warehouses.

Paint Color Selection

Paint color selection is a service offered by many painting companies in Marin County. Paint selection considers possible colors, existing colors in the home and overall room scheme. Paint matching may also be available in cases where homeowners want to match new paint to an existing color.

Top 10 Brand Requests

  1. Sherwin-Williams Paint
  2. Benjamin Moore
  3. Valspar
  4. Dutch Boy Paint
  5. Kelly-Moore
  6. Olympic Coatings
  7. Glidden Paint
  8. Dulux Paint
  9. ICI
  10. Behr Paint
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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Professional House Painting Terms

acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is a water-based synthetic paint known for high performance and long-lasting color. Acrylic paints are water-soluble when wet but become flexible and durable once dry. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water to thin them and can be mixed together to create different colors.

Also known as: acrylic house paint, acrylic latex paint, acrylic enamel, acrylic interior paint, acrylic exterior paint

antique finish
A specialized finish usually applied to furniture and woodwork to give the appearance of age and antiquing. Antique finishes may appear worn, cracked, rough or hand-rubbed.

Also known as: antiquing, antiqued wood, faux antique finish, antique oil finish, shabby chic finish, antique painting, distressed paint, distressing, aged-look painting, country-antique finish

Curing is the time it takes for paint to fully bond and become dry and stable. While the surface of paint may dry quickly, most paints take up to two weeks to fully dry internally. Care should be taken not to scratch, dent or scar curing paint.

Also known as: paint curing, paint drying, drying paint, high-temperature paint curing

cutting in
Painting contractors in Marin County refer to the painting technique that neatly creates a line where two edges or colors meet as “cutting in.” When cutting in, painters usually use a trim brush with beveled or angled bristles to apply a finished-line edge.

Also known as: cutting, cutting in paint, cut-in, cut-in walls, cutting-in ceilings

eggshell paint finish
Eggshell finish is has a slight sheen.

Also known as: egg shell finish, eggshell paint finish, satin finish paint

elastomeric paint
Elastomeric paint is a thick, flexible and waterproof rubberized paint. It can create a waterproof barrier on almost any surface, including masonry and stucco. Elastomeric paints are generally used on home exteriors and come in almost every brand and color.

Also known as: elastomeric exterior paint, elastomeric masonry, elastomeric stucco paint, elastomeric rubberized paint, rubber paint, elastomeric coatings, waterproof paint barrier

enamel finish
A type of household paint that dries to a hard finish. Enamel finishes may be flat paint, gloss paint or semi-gloss paint.

Also known as: enamel interior paint, enamel exterior paint, hard enamel finish, glossy enamel paint

epoxy paint
Epoxy is a type of paint that is made from tightly-binding chemicals. Epoxies resist standing water and extreme surface conditions, so epoxy finishes are a good choice for industrial painting and other areas that need a tough, protective coating.

Also known as: polyester epoxy, fusion bonded epoxy powder coatings (FBE), epoxy resin, powder coatings, two-part epoxy coatings

Paints that are exposed to high amounts of light, heat and weathering can experience fading. Fading can be postponed by choosing higher quality paints, choosing lighter colors and applying more coats of paint.

Also known as: paint fading, residential paint fading, faded paint, paint fade restoration, sun faded paint, sun fading paint

faux finishing
The term faux finishing encompasses a variety of decorative painting techniques used to make the painted surface appear different. Some faux painting creates an illusion of depth or texture. Common faux finishes include: texturizing, color washing, combing, marbleizing, wood graining, rag painting, stenciling, metallic paints, glazing, plaster of paris, sponge painting, faux brick finishes, wall murals, smooth finishes, and other similar wall treatments.

Also known as: faux painting, faux finishes, faux finish painting, faux paint texture, decorative painting, decorative faux finishes

finish coat of paint
The final coat of paint applied to walls, ceilings and other structures is referred to as the finish coat.

Also known as: finishing coat, final coat, top coat, finished coat

flat finish paint
Flat finish is the most common paint finish. Flat finishes reflect the least amount of light and have a pleasing appearance. Flat finishes have no sheen or gloss and are common interior and exterior paint choices.

Also known as: flat paint finish, flat finishes, no-gloss paints, flat paint

gloss paint
Glossy paints have a shiny sheen and reflect light. Gloss finishes are shiny and durable, although they may be more prone to scratching and flaws than flat paints. Glossy finishes are generally used as accent paints on cabinets, trim and furnishings.

Also known as: glossy paint, glossy paint finish, gloss finish, gloss paints, semi-gloss, high gloss paints, demi-gloss finish

Lacquer is a fast-drying, clear or lightly-pigmented varnish. It dries as the solvents evaporate and often requires a curing process in order to develop a hard coating. Lacquer is most commonly used on wood and furniture.

Also known as: lacquer spray, gloss lacquer, clear lacquer, lacquer sealant, lacquer sealer, shellac, varnish

latex paint
Latex paint are synthetic, water-based paints that dry quickly and are easy to clean. Latex paints are opaque and are easy to paint over with another latex-based paint.

Also known as: acrylic paint, acrylic latex paint

Metallic paints are interior paints that have metal flecks in them. The metal flakes are reflective and create a shimmery, luminous appearance.

Also known as: metallic paints, polychromatic paint, metal flake paint, metal paint, metallic-finish paint

paint flaking
When paint fails and small pieces flake off, the paint is said to be flaking. Like peeling, cracking and blistering paint, flaking paint occurs when a layer of paint detaches from the surface it has been applied to. Once a paint job starts flaking, the best fix is to completely strip and sand the surface and reapply a better quality paint.

Also known as: paint flakes, flaking paint, chipped paint, peeling paint, paint flaking off

paint thinner
Paint thinners are solvents used to thin and clean up oil-based paints. Many paint thinners are made of toxic or potentially dangerous chemicals. Paint thinners should be used carefully and sparingly. Using a water-based paint will make it unnecessary to use paint thinners.

Also known as: paint solvent, acetone, mineral spirits, turpentine, naptha, touline, xylene, MEK, DMF, liquid thinner

peeling paint
When a layer of paint detaches from the lower layers of paint, it is referred to as peeling paint. Paint peeling can be caused by moisture or poor adhesion due to improper preparation. Peeling paint must be stripped, sanded and reapplied to a clean surface.

Also known as: paint peeling, interior peeling paint, exterior paint peeling, fixing peeling paint, peeling house paint, peeling bathroom paint, peeling paint texture

Priming is applying a coat of primer paint to a surface before applying paint and finish coat. Primers assure a strong bond and prevent paint from peeling, chipping and flaking.

Also known as: primer, paint prepping, preparation, primer coat, wood primers, primer sealer, primer spray

satin finish
Satin finishes have a rich texture and a slightly glossy finish. Also known as eggshell finishes, satin finish paints are durable and easy to clean.

Also known as: satin wall finish, satin interior paints, satin finishes, satin-finish paint

Stain is a water- or oil-based material that is applied to surfaces to add color. Stain is often used on wood surfaces and is absorbed in to permanently stain the surface. Unlike paint, which sits on the top of the surface, stain is absorbed into the surfaces.

Also known as: wood stain, staining, interior stains, exterior stains, surface stains

textured paint
Textured paint is paint that has texturizing material within the paint or paint that can be applied with brushes, rollers, trowels or other tools to create special effects. Textured paint effects can be used to hide flaws in walls, imperfections in surfaces, accent furniture and decor, or hide stains and damage.

Also known as: texture paint, texturized paint, paint texturing, applying texture to paint

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ About Marin County Painting Services

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Painting Contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a painter with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only painting companies rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified painting company.

Q: Is lead paint a danger?
A: Lead paint is a leading source of lead poisoning in children and adults, and it can cause brain damage and slowed physical development. Lead-based paints are found on interior and exterior surfaces of older homes, primarily those built before 1978. This isn’t usually a problem if the old paint is covered with new, lead-free paint. However, when the paint chips, cracks, peels or is scraped off, the lead paint underneath can pose a threat to children and pets in the home.

If your home does contain lead paint, your painting contractors legally need to take precautions when removing it. These containment procedures may include sealing off the rest of the home, wearing respirators to avoid inhaling the lead, disposing of the clothes worn while removing the lead paint, and using special filtration systems and post-removal cleaning procedures to remove all lead particles.

Q: How do I know if my home has lead paint?
A: Most homes that were built before 1978 were painted using lead paint. A simple lab test can prove if your paint contains lead. Some painting contractors in Marin County will test for lead paint, and lead paint tests are available at most hardware stores.

Q: Can I paint my home myself?
A: As with may home improvement projects, it is possible to paint your home yourself. If the area you want to paint is small or you have experience painting, you may be up for tackling the job yourself. However, painting can be time-intensive, messy work. And depending on the size of your project, you may be wise to hire a professional to do the job. Professional painters already have the knowledge, skill and the tools to do the job right. Most will also guarantee their work, so you’ll be more assured of getting a quality paint job that lasts.

Q: Does the quality of paint used matter?
A: With paint, the old saying usually holds true: You get what you pay for. Top-quality paints are more expensive, but they often have better ingredients that allow them to go on smoother, be more durable and last longer than cheap paint. Over the long run, you’ll have to repaint less frequently and your home will look better between painting, meaning you may save more money by spending a little more at the outset.

Q: What is the difference between paint finishes?
A: Interior paints are broken down into different categories based on their appearance. The higher the sheen, the more light reflects off of the paint and the glossier, or shinier, it appears. Your choice of paint will depend on the area and surface you’re painting, the color of paint you’ve chosen and the need to clean the painted surface and hide imperfections.

  • Matte and flat paints have very little to no sheen. They are generally used on walls and ceilings and are best for hiding imperfections in the surface.
  • Eggshell finish has a slight sheen and has a lustrous appearance. It is often used on interior walls.
  • Satin and silk finish paints have a finish that is in between that of eggshell and semigloss. They are easier to clean than flat paint.
  • Semi-gloss finish is a shinier, glossier paint. It is easy to clean and resists staining. However, the glossier a finish is, the more likely it is that imperfections in the paint will be obvious.

Q: Why can painting estimates vary so widely?
A: Painting contractors base their prices on a number of factors—the cost of labor, the time needed for surface preparation and needed repairs, the quality of paint applied and the number of coats needed. Cheaper bids may reflect a lower quality of work or less experienced painters. However, it’s smart to question the contractors when one bid is much lower or much higher than the other bids you’ve received to make sure the painting company is bidding on the same

Q: My exterior paint is peeling. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?

A: Paint can peel when exposed to moisture and weathering. Your paint may be peeling because it is the wrong type of paint for the surface, it was applied in a poor manner, or the surface was not properly prepared before it was painted. If your paint is peeling, there isn’t much you can do about it. The peeling paint will need to be removed, the surface sanded and prepared, and a new coat of paint applied. Your best course for dealing with peeling paint is to remove the entire coat of paint, not just the peeling area. That’s because the rest of the paint will most likely also fail, since it was applied in the same way to the same surface. Contact a local Marin County painting company to assess the damage and advise you on your specific situation.

Q: What are low-VOC and no-VOC paints?

A: VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that emit potentially harmful gasses when applied and over time. Paint, lacquer, varnish, paint thinners and paint strippers often contain these chemicals. In recent years, paints with lower concentrations of these toxic compounds have become available. Some paint brands offer products with no VOCs. These natural paints and finishes are durable, cost effective and less harmful than paints with toxic components. Talk with your painting contractor and ask if they are familiar with low-VOC paints and whether they would recommend them for your home.

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