Question on exterior painting

We are in the process of interviewing painters and we came across a painter that sounds pretty good in the respect that he's willing to guarantee his work when none that I've talked with were willing to do so. However, he claimed that spraying the paint on was better than brushing the paint on. I'm not sure of this. He also mentioned that primer doesn't need to be used over the entire house - only on bare wood - however, he stated that he will most likely use primer on our entire house. I'm not sure this is a good idea either. His other methods were sound (pressure washing, scraping). Anybody have experience with paint being sprayed on and it's longevity when applied in that manner.
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Pressure washing can cause problems if done from below. Water is driven up under the shingles. Find out how he plans on doing it, and how long he'll be letting the shingles dry before painting.
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Do get three different estimates. If possible, ask around your neighborhood and see if anyone has had their house painted in the past three years and if, yes, perhaps you can get their number. (Assuming, of course, they are good) Word of mouth is usually best way to find out about how good a job they do and if it lasts. Paint stores tend to recommend their customers - for obvious reasons.
If you have a consumer protection bureau in your county, be sure and check with them before hiring anyone. See if any complaints have been filed against the painter you want to use....make sure that he (they) is licensed and insured.
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You've all brought up very good points. Thanks very much for your information and help.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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The key to any paint job is preparation - Cleaning, removing loose paint, priming bare spots, etc. Pressure washing can introduce too much water and take a long time to dry out. If things are completely dry before paining then its OK. Well adhered paint does not need to be primed unless there is a major color change. Spray is fine, brush is fine. One is not better that another. Brushing can leave brush marks, spraying can leave over spray. Spray is usually faster, depending obsticales. Use a good quality paint.
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There is nothing wrong with spraying except overspray which will travel and hit anything. Depending on what you use and temps it could hit a car parked 25-100ft away. I would be concerned with brand of paint, weather, not painting in sun or a hot surface, etc etc. Read a paint can for instructions, go to a real paint store to talk to pros. You should have 3 bids from contractors that guarntee their work, not one. You should pick the brand of paint and be sure they do the job as it needs to be done.
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In Charleston SC, usually hot & humid, pressure washing is standard practice. It does have to be done carefully to guard against water intrusion. Time must be given for the wood to dry before priming or painting if the paint is to adhere. TB
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