We had our main and second floors (walls + ceilings + trim) painted by Home Painters Toronto a couple of months ago. Thinking about writing this review has been on my mind for a while now and I'd been struggling with whether or not to air my frustrations, but finally figured I should just get it out.
TL;DR if you don't want to read my wall of text is that I'm VERY glad we had our house painted and it looks 10000% better than before, but if offered a do-over, we likely would not use Home Painters Toronto again. The process itself was incredibly stressful for a few reasons, took longer than expected (6 or 7 days? I forget - instead of the 3-4 days originally estimated), and the paint job itself was just fine (not exceptional and not as detail-oriented as I expected/hoped) for the cost. The expectation was perhaps my own fault though - not 100% sure since I have no comparison. They were one of the first contractors we've used so an expensive lesson to ourselves to clarify expectations prior to making a decision.
Brian sold us on the fact that because he was the owner and we were dealing him directly (during our quote) that we should feel confident in our decision to go with Home Painters as he would stand by the job. While he was somewhat accessible during the project, I did not feel that he was ever actually managing it directly. When I raised a few concerns, he told me to address concerns with the lead painter instead. While this could have been fine, it wasn't, because no one on the job site spoke English, including the lead painter. This lead to an extremely frustrating experience the entire week. Any time I wanted to communicate something, it had to be done through Google Translate. This also led to a few things being lost in translation.
An example of this is that we tried to be accommodating by suggesting that when our 2nd floor was painted, some of the prep work could be left in place (in the 2nd bedroom which wasn't being used, and in our office, which we could just work around). When they left on that first day, our master bedroom was still covered in plastic, which was not what I originally suggested. I also thought that allowing them to leave all of the paper/tape/plastic everywhere would speed up the job and help them out, but it STILL took double the quoted time to complete the job.
The breakdown of communication due to language barrier was a key theme throughout the whole process and what made everything particularly frustrating. Any time I found an area where I was not completely satisfied with the paint job, and tried to communicate it, it was a huge struggle. By the end of it I was so frustrated that I kind of just gave up and let it go (in hindsight perhaps not something I should have done since it's been bothering me several months later - but I really just wanted everything to be over with at that point). The other reason for me no longer bringing up these concerns was that every time I did, he would say that it's not his job/fault because it was the previous bad paint job, but he would do it as a favour. So I just felt bad any time I brought it up. Which leads to the other disappointment...
We were also sold that the reason they were so expensive was the amount of prep work done to ensure a great paint job. While for the most part they kept paint off the floors and other things that should be kept paint-free, there were a few areas where this wasn't the case, e.g. our foyer floors which they didn't cover with the taped down paper (they used the cloths or whatever?). And there are definitely a few areas where the floor and baseboard connect where you can see paint on the floor. These aren't a huge deal to me though.
The main area where the job did not align with expectations was that I had to specifically ask for spots on the walls or baseboard to be sanded down (these were from the previous terrible paint job before we moved in - e.g. blobs of paint on the wall or baseboard that make for a not so lovely texture). Perhaps this was a lack of understanding on my part of what their prep work should entail, but I was expecting this was something done without me having to ask for it. Again, by the end of the week, I was so tired of having to ask for it in specific areas that I just stopped. I was by no means expecting perfection, but I WAS expecting more attention to detail.
Another annoyance - perhaps again just a matter of too high of expectations and my own naivete - is that many of our walls required a 3rd coat of paint to be fully covered. This is something that I did have to discuss with Brian during the week of the paint job. The annoying part is that I specifically asked about the requirement for a 3rd coat during our quote and what would happen in that case. I was assured at that point that given the previous colour of our walls, we should not worry about that. Instead what should have happened during that quote is a discussion of what we should expect (cost/time wise) if a 3rd coat is required. In the end, we paid an extra $500 incl tax to do a 3rd coat on the main floor. This was for about 5-6 gallons of paint, I believe, which he claimed was only the cost of paint (and which I find very hard to believe because we used Ben Moore paint which we as regular consumers can get for about $70 per gallon). Which is fine, whatever, just kind of annoying. The unfortunate thing here is that there is still one large wall in the foyer that doesn't have the third coat, and on days where the sun shines brightly through our front window, you can see the line at the top of the wall, along the ceiling, where cutting in was done with brushwork (so it's a heavier coat) while the wall has the 2 coats with the previous grey just peeking through. So it's not blended in and uniform. Fortunately, I only ever notice it when it's super bright and sunny.
Another super minor thing (but maybe not minor for some, so putting it out there) is that we had requested Benjamin Moore Oxford White paint for our walls and trim. For some reason they did use Oxford White for the walls but then brought Decorators White for the trim? Don't understand why that happened.
Also some areas of trim they forgot about but I don't care too much and I think they would probably come in to resolve it if I brought it up. But it's kind of minor to me so haven't bothered, since I only see it when I'm working out and facing up (it's the underside of the trim). Actually that reminds me that one thing that does bug me more is there's a ledge where the trim was painted and there's some weird texture issues going on. Not sure what's going on but it's just not fully smooth/satiny looking as trim/baseboards normally are (see the last two photos). They are NOT just dirty because I noticed it right after the painters left on the last day.
All in all, disappointing that I had to advocate for ourselves for high quality rather than it just being an expectation of the job and for someone from the team doing that themselves. Again, a large contributor of added stress.
Anyway these thoughts have been festering in my mind and I thought it might help someone with decision making so there you go.