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?

Photo: The Painting Pros

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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Cleve Dayton is owner of The Painting Pros, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (408) 622-0418 or by email.

Cleve Dayton

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Cleve Dayton: True Calling

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LOS GATOS — Like many high school graduates in search of direction, a young Cleve Dayton had hoped to discover his professional livelihood in the academic realm. However, it wasn’t until he looked beyond the classroom that he found his true calling. “I was attending junior college, basically just trying to find my way, when I became acquainted with the owner of a local painting company,” he recalls. “After a while, he invited me to come and work for him. As a detail-oriented person, I found a lot of satisfaction in painting, both in performing the work and seeing the end results. After about four years, I realized I was a painter, so I got my license and started my own business.”

Today, more than 35 years after founding The Painting Pros, Cleve says that while he no longer performs the physical work, he finds equivalent satisfaction from handling the operational side of things. “I enjoy running and developing the business, from the sales and marketing aspects to interacting with customers and making sure they’re satisfied.”

A lifelong resident of Los Gatos, where he lives with his wife, Karen, Cleve enjoys being part of the community in which he grew up. “Los Gatos is my home—I’ve never found another place I’d rather live,” he says. “I’m very involved in the community, and I even serve on the Board of Directors for the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce.”

Outside of work, Cleve’s primary hobby is playing and performing music, an interest he’s pursued since his youth. “My wife and I play in a local rock band called Rusty—I’m the guitarist and she’s the singer,” he says. “Oddly enough, almost every member of the band is a past customer of mine. While on the job, I’d see a drum set or keyboard and we’d start talking. Next thing you know, we’re jamming together!” In addition to playing music, Cleve enjoys videography; photography; and spending time with his son, Daniel, and his three grandchildren.

In his life and career, Cleve has found that true success requires exceptional effort. “I once read that successful people think about what will get results, while unsuccessful people think about what will be easiest,” he explains. “That’s why my guys and I always go the extra mile to please our customers. I think that’s why we get such good reviews—our goal is simply to do the best possible job and make people happy.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Cleve says he’d take a trip that would incorporate several of his interests. “I’d book a photography safari and take my guitar with me. Traveling, photography and music—put all three of those together and I’d be fine.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: The Beatles.

Q: Which guitarists have influenced you the most?
A: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Viva! Neighborhood Eatery of Los Gatos.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Almonds.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: My long hair.

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How to Apply Water-Based Paint Over An Oil-Based Surface


LOS GATOS — While environmentally-friendly materials offer a healthier approach to home improvement, they aren’t always compatible when used alongside traditional ones. One example of this is using a water-based paint on an oil-based surface. While it may take a… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Knowing Your Painting Surface

Complete Video Transcription:

LOS GATOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: Prior to repainting a wall in your home, it's important to know the character of the existing paints surface.… Read more




  • Benjamin Moore

  • Dunn-Edwards

  • Rust-Oleum

  • Cabot

  • Behr

  • Armstrong

  • Sherwin Williams

  • Farrow and Ball

  • Penofin

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

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

Aptos Hills
Ben Lomond
Beulah Park
Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek
Camp Evers
Day Valley
Forest Park
Forest Springs
Glen Arbor
La Selva Beach
Larkin Valley
Live Oak
Mission Springs
Monte Toyon
Mount Hermon
Opal Cliffs
Paradise Park
Redwood Grove
Rio Del Mar
Riverside Grove
Rob Roy Junction
San Lorenzo Park
Santa Cruz
Scotts Valley
The Willows
Twin Lakes


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.pant.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
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Santa Cruz Painting Contractor

Before talking with local painters, you’ll want to have concrete plans for your painting project. For example, know which areas of your home you want painted, the colors you’re most fond of and the timeline in which you want the painting work done.

Ask yourself these questions to get you started:

Do I want a Diamond Certified painting contractor that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?

Which areas of my home need to be painted (i.e. bathroom painting, new kitchen painting, exterior painting, great room painting, etc.)?

Are there any changes or repairs I’d like to have made before the contractors start the job (new windows, popcorn ceiling removal, fireplace addition, texturized walls, drywall replacement, wall damage repair, nail hole cover-up, etc.)?

What is my budget for the house painting services?

Am I looking for decorative painting or faux finishing? If so, do I have a particular type of decorative painting in mind?

Do I want to repaint with the same paint color, or do I want bold paint colors or a drastic color change?

Do I plan to live in this home? Or do I plan to sell or rent out this property?

What professional characteristics do I expect my Santa Cruz County painting contractor to have? (Examples may include good communication, honesty, work ethic, timeliness and dedication to keeping my house neat.)

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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask When Interviewing Local Painters in Person

When you’ve found a painting contractor who was able to answer your questions over the phone, you may want to invite them to see your painting project in person. Ask the following questions when meeting with the painters.

How much time will it take your company to repaint my home?

How many coats of paint will you apply?

How do you figure your painting estimates? Are costs based on time and materials or do you charge a flat rate for painting services?

How firm is the original estimate? What if the paint job is more complicated or takes longer than expected?

Will you do a pre-work inspection to look for potential problems and a post-work inspection and verify the work was done correctly?

Have you completed any exterior painting work in my area of Santa Cruz County that I can view from the street?

Will you repair any paint damage or provide warrantees on your work and materials?

What can I do to make the painting process easier?

Will you give me the names and phone numbers of your 10 most recent customers so I can call them as references?

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  • What To Ask References
    Hear What Previous Santa Cruz Painting Customers Have to Say

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified painting company because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other local painters can’t pass. When you want quality from a painter in Santa Cruz County and the greater South Bay, you will have confidence hiring a Diamond Certified painting company.

    Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, because all research is performed via live telephone interviews of actual customers. If you can’t find a Diamond Certified painter within your area of Santa Cruz County, you’ll have to do some research.

    Start by calling some references. Keep in mind, though, that references provided by painting companies are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references companies give to customers are rarely randomly selected from the entire client base. If you do call references, ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    The following are some questions you may want to ask painting company references you call:

    Were you satisfied with the painting services you received?

    What type of painting did this painting company do for you (interior painting, exterior painting, bathroom painting, basement painting, ceiling painting, etc.)

    Did the painters finish the work on time?

    Did the contractor update you about the status of the project?

    If you live in a smaller town such as Aptos, Ben Lomond, Live Oak, Majors, Selva Beach, Rob Roy Junction, Wildwood, Swanton, Mission Springs, Chttenden, Ellicott, Day Valley or in the rural Santa Cruz Mountains, did the painting firm charge extra to drive to your home?

    Did the painting company show up on time?

    Did they clean up after themselves?

    When you need new painting in the future, will you consider hiring this painter again?

    Would you recommend this painting company?


    Consider Your Options Before Hiring a Santa Cruz Painter
    Once you’ve carefully evaluated your choices, answer the following questions to assist you in choosing the right painting company in Santa Cruz County:

    Can the painting contractors in Santa Cruz County meet all of your needs?

    Are the painters knowledgeable about the paint and techniques you require?

    Will the painting contractors explain the specific needs of your job?

    Is the painting company sensitive to your budget?

    Do the painters offer written warranties on their work and materials?

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  • How To Work With
    How to Benefit from Painting Contractors in Santa Cruz County Including the Major Cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola

    Now that you’ve found the local painting company that meets all your ideals, it’s time to ask for a contract. This contract should include written details on the price, quality and paints to be used, the start date and completion date.

    Before you sign the contract, understand all terms and limitations. The contract you sign is binding, and should protect your property and your interests as well as those of your contractor. For this reason, never sign a blank or incomplete estimate.

    You are allowed to write into the contract special requests or any verbal agreements you’ve made with the painters. This will protect you and ensure you get the services you have agreed on. These add-ons may also include end dates and special instructions related issues that aren’t always covered by a standard contract.

    For example, some homeowners proactively protect their property by scheduling a walk through to conduct a pre-work inspection with the supervisor before work begins. If you do this, list or photograph your landscaping, home exterior and property and talk with a representative about reasonable steps you and they can take to protect your home and yard during the work. Both you and the painting contractor should sign and date the document. When the work is done, accompany the contractor on a final inspection and verify that your expectations were met.

    Get Ready for Interior and Exterior Painting Services
    Professional painters in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and throughout Santa Cruz County and the South Bay should be able to handle all preparations for the painting work. But there are a few things you can do before their arrival and during the work to help their job go more smoothly. You may even cut down on invoiced hours and avoid possible injury or damage to your home and possessions.

    Remove furniture and other items from the rooms to be painted. Before the painters arrive, remove all furniture, accent decor, rugs, curtains, blinds, and other objects from the rooms that will be painted. You may want to store any heirlooms or expensive items that are in high-traffic areas of your home to prevent them from being broken or damaged. Anything that’s not removed should be moved away from the walls and covered with drop cloths or heavy plastic. Some painters will move and cover furniture, but there may be an additional charge for this service. Beforehand, ask who should prepare the room for painting, and, if the painters offer the service, how much they charge. It may be worth it to you to have them do it, or you may be able to save time and money by doing it yourself.

    Provide ample clearance and parking space for painting trucks. Some painting work trucks require more clearance and parking space than standard vehicles. Contact the Santa Cruz painting company you’ve hired before the start date and ask them how much parking space they’ll need and whether their trucks are oversized. It may be helpful to walk through the site with your contractor before the crews arrive for work so the supervisor can point out potential clearance issues and hazards.

    Trim plants and bushes. If you’re hiring a Santa Cruz County painting company for exterior painting, you can often save time and money by trimming back trees, vines, shrubs, bushes and other plants that are growing on or near your home’s exterior. Ask your contractor about the amount of space they require around the perimeter of the job.

    Keep children and pets away. Your contractors will be focused on the work and shouldn’t have to watch out for children and pets. Barricade off the rooms to be painted and keep pets and kids away until after the work is done and the paint is completely dry. This will prevent accidents, injury and the expense of touch-ups and repainting.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Be a Good Painting Company Customer In Santa Cruz County

    It’s your painting contractor’s job to use the best quality paints and the best possible painting techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your new paint, too. Here are a few easy steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Santa Cruz County painting company, including those in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Scott’s Valley and Capitola.

    Let the company representative know what you want from your new paint job, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.

    Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way, especially when there’s conflict.

    Before you hire a painting contractor, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to your understanding of the contract. Most problems occur because of communication breakdowns. But by being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.

    Ask your contractor if he will call you with updates about your job.

    Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times. The work will move along more smoothly if the company can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or additional work authorization.

    When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the painting on schedule.

    Pay your painting contractor on time.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Painters appreciate customers who are straightforward, open and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and contributes to a good working relationship. The job may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Review the Invoice and the House Painting Work

When the new painting is completed, most good painters will give you a written invoice for the completed work. This usually includes:

The contractor’s name, business address and license number.

A list of all services completed.

An itemized list of all paint and painting supplies; including brands, quality and amount.

The total cost for painting services, including the amount charged for labor.

Any relevant warrantees or guarantees provided by the paint manufacturers and the painting company.

It’s smart to compare the completed work to what was promised on the official invoice. Ask your painting company representative to walk through the job site with you and show you the work. During the walk-through, ask if there are any instructions for maintaining your new paint. If you have questions about the work that was done or the materials used, now is the time to ask.

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Written Warranties
Get Warrantees in Writing from Santa Cruz County Painters

Most good painting contractors warranty their work or the materials they’ve used. All warranty details should be provided to you in writing during the contract phase or at the completion of the job. This written warranty should include:

The painting contractor’s name and physical address.

The products and services that are covered under warranty, including whether the contractor will replace or repair your paint in the event of failure.

Your liability if you file a warranty claim (i.e., if you have to pay for labor, materials, or a prorated amount).

Terms, restrictions and exclusions.

If the warranties transfer to the new owner if you sell your home.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests for Painters in Santa Cruz County

The top 10 requests for residential painting services in Santa Cruz County including those in Scotts Valley, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville and the surrounding areas are listed below. The paragraphs below the table define each painting service request.

Paint Selection
Paint color selection is a service many larger painting companies in Santa Cruz County offer. Paint selection involves potential paint color choices, existing colors in the home and overall room and decoration scheme. Paint matching services may also be available in cases where homeowners want to match new paint to an existing color.

Exterior Painting
Exterior paint is applied to the outside of homes and buildings. Exterior paints must be more elastic and fade-resistant than interior paints so they’re able to stand up to harsh weather conditions and fading from the sun.

Interior Painting
Painting on the interior surfaces of a home is referred to as interior painting. Interior paint for walls and ceilings comes in many colors and finishes, including faux and decorative finishes, wood stains, clear finish, matte paint, glossy paint and texturized paint. Many modern interior paints are available in ecologically aware formulations that are less toxic than exterior paints.

Commercial Painting Companies
Painting for commercial buildings, stores, schools, office buildings, museums, public structures and hospitals is known as commercial painting. Some contractors do only commercial painting, while others provide a combination of services for commercial, industrial and residential painting.

Low VOC Paint
Low VOC paints have lower quantities of volatile organic compounds, or potentially harmful chemicals. Low-VOC paints are often used in homes and offices where people spend a large amount of time. Low-VOC and no-VOC paints may help improve indoor air quality and avoid toxin-related illnesses.

Industrial Painting Services
Industrial painting services in Santa Cruz County paint large industrial and commercial buildings. Industrial painting is often done on metal building interior and exteriors, ceilings, walls, floors, metal siding, metal roofs, office buildings and large professional buildings, parking garages, factories, manufacturing plants and storage warehouses.

Painting Services
The term painting services encompasses all products and painting specialties offered by local painting companies in Santa Cruz County. Popular painting services include house painting, interior painting, exterior painting, residential house painting, commercial painting, preparation, spray painting, paint rolling and high-volume painting services.

House Painting
House painting can include interior painting and exterior painting, and often takes into account the entire process from color selection, paint prepping, taping, priming, painting and sealing. Many painters specialize in painting homes, while others paint commercial buildings, industrial buildings and government buildings. You may want to consider hiring a house painter that has experience in the types of materials, techniques and methods you’re looking for.

Decorative Painting Techniques
Also known as faux finishing and faux painting, decorative techniques including tromp l’oeil, rag rolling, venetian plaster, sponge painting, marbling, stripe technique (striping), color washing, pickling, liming, wood graining, verdigris (aged copper-like finish) and antiquing are fashionable methods that add a custom look to homes.

Faux Painting / Faux Finishing
Like decorative painting techniques, faux painting is a technique that adds a faux finish to the surface so that the wall or ceiling appears to be made of something else. Examples of popular faux painting are: Venitian plastering, faux suede, faux marble or marbleizing and wood grain faux effects.

Top 10 Brand Requests


Dutch Boy

Kelly-Moore Paint

Glidden Paint


Sherwin-Williams Paint

Olympic Paint

ICI Paint

Benjamin Moore

Dulux Paint

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Painters

Acrylic paints are water-based synthetic paints known for performance and long-lasting color. Acrylic paints are water-soluble when wet but become flexible, durable and water-resistant once dry. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and can be mixed together to create new paint colors.

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

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 and are often used on furniture, accent walls and room trim to complement décor.

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

cutting in
The painting technique that creates a neat 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, cut-in paint

eggshell finish
Eggshell finish is a type of paint finish that has a slight sheen and appears mildly shiny. It often has the same appearance as an eggshell, hence its name.

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

elastomeric finishes
Elastomeric finishes are thick, flexible and waterproof rubberized paints. Elastomerics create a waterproof barrier on almost any surface, including masonry and stucco. Elastomeric paints are generally used on home exteriors and are available 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 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

faux finishing
Faux finishing encompasses a wide range of decorative painting techniques used to make one surface appear like another. Some faux painting creates an illusion of depth or texture. Common faux finishes include: texturizing, color washing, paint combing, marbleizing, wood graining, stria, 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
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

flaking paint
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

flat finish paint
Flat finish is the most common paint finish used for interior painting. Flat finishes reflect the least amount of light, and have no sheen or gloss. They are common interior and exterior paint choices.

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

gloss paint finish
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, high gloss paints, demi-gloss finish, gloss paints, semi-gloss

Lacquers are fast-drying, clear or lightly-pigmented varnishes. Lacquer dries as solvents evaporate and often requires a curing process to develop a hard coating. Lacquer is most commonly applied to 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

paint curing
Curing is the time it takes for paint to fully bond and become dry and stable. While the surface of paint may dry quickly, making the surface appear dry, most paints take up to two weeks to dry down to the base. Care should be taken not to scratch, dent or scar curing paint. Ask your painting contractor how long your new paint should be left to cure.

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

paint fading
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

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 slight glossy finish. They are also known as eggshell finishes. Satin finish paints are hard-wearing and easy to clean.

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

Stains are water-based or oil-based glazes that are applied to surfaces to add color. Unlike paint, which sits on the top of the surface, stain is absorbed into the surface. Stain is often used on wood and is generally covered by a clear laquer or varnish.

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

textured paint
Textured paint has grainy material within the paint or that can be applied with brushes, rollers, trowels or other tools to create special effects. Textured paint effects are often used to hide flaws, imperfections, accent furniture and decor, or hide stains and wall damage.

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

A clear coat that covers paints, stains and other layers. Varnish protects the wood underneath and adds a shiny topcoat to the surface. Varnish is often layered over stains or woodgrains to seal in the color below

Also known as: varnishing, clear coat, stain cover, clear varnish

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions for Painting Contractors

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Painting Contractor in Santa Cruz County?
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: Can I paint my house myself?
A: As with many home improvement projects, it is possible to apply new paint to your home yourself. If the area you want to paint is small or you have experience painting, you may be up for doing the job yourself. However, painting is often 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 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 for years longer.

Q: Does it matter what quality of paint I choose?
A: With paint, you usually get what you pay for. Top-quality paints are more expensive, but they often have better components that make them smoother, more durable and last longer than cheap paint. You’ll have to repaint less frequently and your home will look better between painting.

Q: What is the difference between paint finishes?
A: Exterior and interior paint is labeled according to sheen and gloss. The higher the sheen, the more light reflects off of the paint and the shinier it appears. Your choice of paint depends on the area and surface, the color of paint and whether you’ll need to clean the painted surface or hide imperfections.

Matte and flat paints have very little or no gloss. They are often used on walls and ceilings and hide surface imperfections. Eggshell finish has a slight sheen and 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 shinier, glossier paint. It is easy to clean and resists staining. However, the glossier a finish is, the more likely imperfections in the paint will be noticeable.

Q: Why do the cost of painting estimates vary so greatly?
A: Painting contractors base prices on labor, the time needed for preparation and repairs, the quality of paint and the number of coats. Cheaper bids may signal lower quality work or less knowledgeable painters. However, you’re wise to ask the contractors when one bid is much lower or much higher than the others you’ve received to make sure the painting company is bidding on the same project and same details within the project. You can avoid most of this uncertainty by requesting detailed bids that are itemized to include quality and brand of paint materials, details about paint application and number of coats.

Q: Why is my exterior paint is peeling?
A: May types of paint will peel when overexposed to moisture and weathering. Paint also peels when it is the wrong type of paint for the surface, it was applied poorly, or the surface was not properly prepared before the paint was applied. If your paint is peeling, there isn’t much you can do. The peeling paint will need to be scraped and removed, the surface sanded and prepared, and a new coat of paint applied. If you hired a local painter in Santa Cruz County, call them back to address the situation. Good painters will usually stand behind their work, and they may repair or repaint your home based on the warranty they promised when they first did the job.

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 Santa Cruz 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 are volatile organic compounds, or chemicals that emit potentially harmful gasses over time. Paint, lacquers, varnishes, paint thinners and paint removers often contain these chemicals. Paints with lower concentrations of these toxic compounds have become available recently.

There are also some paint brands that offer products with no VOC content. These natural paints and finishes are durable, cost effective and less harmful. Talk with your painting contractor and ask if they are familiar with low-VOC paints and whether they would recommend them for your home. Most customers who chose low VOC paints or no VOC paints do so because they are concerned about indoor air quality or have children or pets they want to protect over the long term.

Q: What is lead paint?
A: Lead paint is the leading source of lead poisoning in children and adults, which can cause brain damage and slow physical development. Lead-based paints were applied to interior and exterior surfaces of older homes before 1978. Lead paint contamination isn’t usually a problem if the old paint is covered with new, lead-free paint. However, when the old paint chips, cracks, peels or is scraped, lead paint underneath can become exposed and pose a threat to children and pets.

If your home painting contains lead, your contractors legally need to take precautions when removing it. These containment procedures usually include sealing off the rest of the home, wearing respirators while removing the paint, disposing of the clothes worn while removing lead paint, and using filtration systems and post-removal cleaning procedures to remove all lead particles from the home and area surrounding the home. If your contractor doesn’t use proper lead paint removal techniques, you can legally be held responsible for contamination.

Q: How do I know if my home was covered in lead paint?
A: Most homes built before 1978 were painted with lead paint. An easy lab test can prove if your paint contains lead. Some painting contractors in Santa Cruz County will test for lead paint, and lead paint tests are available at most hardware stores for DIY lead paint testing.

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