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Painting is one of the easiest ways to refresh or transform a space from the inside out. Although just about anyone can dip a brush in a pan and apply the paint, executing a clean, professional-looking paint job that will last isn’t as easy as it looks – which is why many turn to professionals for a quality paint job. 

So what happens when the “professionals” don’t deliver the results you expected – and more importantly – paid for?

Unfortunately, not every commercial painting company executes to the level expected. However, the good news is that you can still salvage a lousy paint job if you catch the mistakes quickly, which means knowing how to identify errors and poor execution. 

This extensive quality painting checklist will help by showing you how to check the quality of your commercial painting projects, including the red flag mistakes commonly associated with a bad paint job.

Quality Painting Checklist 

A poorly executed paint job isn’t always obvious at first glance, especially if you don’t know what to look for as the project unfolds. Most painting mistakes are correctable when caught in time. That’s why we’re outlining the most important steps to follow to quickly identify mistakes as your commercial painting project progresses. It’s better to catch these mistakes early, so the commercial painting company can correct them before wrapping the job.

Is the Paint Color as Expected?

The first rule of quality painting is to get the color right. If you notice that the color doesn’t look as expected, speak up immediately. Off-looking color can result from incorrect paint mixing, lack of primer, etc. Commercial painting services should deliver the color as promised and stick to the selected color scheme. Catching a color imperfection early will save everyone time and money, which is why checking the color tops the checklist. 

Is the Paint Coverage Even?

Uneven paint looks unprofessional and sloppy. If you notice that the coverage isn’t even, alert the paint contractor immediately so they can fix the issue. We suggest examining the newly painted surfaces in different lighting when possible, which will help illuminate any imperfections in paint coverage.  

Is There Any Paint Bleeding Around the Edges?

One of the primary reasons to hire a commercial painting company is to avoid unsightly bleeding along wall edges. High-quality painting contractors know how to execute seams without bleeding, so don’t settle for this mistake. 

Are All of the Walls Smooth?

At a glance, your newly painted walls may appear smooth. However, bubbling or drips may not be noticeable at first in certain lighting. So, we recommend taking a closer look at your walls as they are painted – even running your hand along the surface to ensure the coats are evenly applied for a clean and smooth finish.

Are There Any Holes, Gaps or Other Imperfections?

Like paint bleeding, holes, gaps, and other imperfections are a big no-no in the professional painting world. Quality commercial painting services know how to avoid these rookie mistakes and should be more than willing to correct them immediately. These imperfections may also indicate another issue, such as poor paint prep before application.

Is the Paint Coming Off in Any Painted Area?

There is a problem if newly applied paint is coming off in any area. It either wasn’t applied correctly, or there is an issue with the painted surface. If you notice paint coming off an area that was freshly painted, bring it to the attention of your commercial painting company immediately. 

How To Recognize a Bad Paint Job?

Although it’s easy to assume your paint contractor will inspect the project and check paint applications throughout, it’s always best to personally eyeball the progress so potential mistakes can be identified and fixed promptly, i.e., before the professionals wrap the project. 

The reality is that hiring professional commercial painting services does not always guarantee a quality paint job – and “professional” bad paint jobs can happen, which is a very frustrating experience. However, you can protect yourself from poor-quality painting services by recognizing these red flags, which indicate they are probably cutting corners as they work.

Paint is Peeling Off the Walls

Peeling paint is a common enough problem for businesses. From expired paint to incorrect surface prep, there are many reasons why paint can crack, bubble, or peel off the surface. However, it can be avoided with a quality paint job by an experienced commercial painting company.

Old Caulking Wasn’t Removed

Caulking prevents any water from getting into your place of business – but it also helps ensure a smooth, even paint application around seams and joints. However, beware of commercial painting services that try to apply new caulk over old caulking, which is lazy and sloppy.

Paint Bleeding

Paint bleeding typically occurs at joints and edges, and it’s one of the easiest ways to distinguish a quality paint job from a sloppy one. Executing clean even edges around seams, joints, baseboards, door trim, and window frames is high on the painting quality control checklist for a reason – the imperfections are easy to spot and easily avoidable by skilled professionals.

The Painted Surface Isn’t Smooth

If your painted surface isn’t smooth upon project completion, you are likely dealing with contractors that cut corners with their pre-paint prep work. It doesn’t matter how high-quality the paint is or how experienced the painter claims to be – if the surface isn’t carefully prepped prior to painting, it is unlikely that the results will be smooth.

Paint Color is Uneven

Uneven paint color is a big no-no in the world of professional painting, and it can be a noticeable eyesore on the surfaces of your commercial property. It’s often the result of a hasty one-coat application when a second or third coat is necessary. If you are investing in quality painting contractors, this issue should not occur.

Excess Paint Found Around the Painted Area

If you spot excess paint in any area of the project, take it as a sign of poor workmanship. A skilled professional commercial paint contractor should correct paint pooling during the application process so the painted surface appears smooth and even.

Existing Damages & Imperfections Weren’t Repaired

There is more to painting than simply applying a coat or two of paint, as the process requires pretty extensive prep work to achieve professional-looking results. Even if a professional contractor promises express quality painting, the prep work should never be sacrificed for the sake of time. A bad paint job red flag is neglecting to repair existing damages and imperfections prior to applying a fresh coat of paint.

Tips On Choosing the Right Commercial Painting Company

One of the easiest ways to avoid these red flags and ensure your commercial building is beautifully painted is to hire a proven commercial painting company. Fortunately, this is a more straightforward process than you may think. Here are the three top qualities to look for when selecting quality painting services.


It’s not enough for a commercial paint contractor to assure quality painting – ask for proof. Whether it’s customer reviews, awards, or testimonials, this kind of feedback is excellent verification of quality painting services.


Quality painting contractors typically have plenty of experience under their belts. It’s always wise to check a company’s work portfolio to ensure they have the expertise your project requires.


Although professionalism may not necessarily affect the painting results, it will definitely affect the process. Commercial paint projects often occur during business hours, which requires careful scheduling and coordination. An unprofessional commercial painting company may not care how your business is disrupted – or worse, have little care for safety and cleanliness. 

Selecting the right commercial painting contractors is the first step to ensuring professional, stunning results. A quality paint job requires more than just painting skills – it also requires professional management and customer service skills. That’s why PPD Painting places heavy emphasis on recruiting highly skilled professionals and rewarding their effort. As a PDCA accredited and award-winning commercial painting company, we deliver peace of mind knowing you are working with the best.

Call us to quote your next commercial painting project in the Chicago or Cincinnati areas. We are committed to outstanding customer service and professional commercial/warehouse/HOA interior and exterior painting and commercial floor coating services. 

We offer a large, full-time staff of professionally trained painters complimented by full-time project managers and supervisors to ensure all projects are executed on time and budget with courtesy and professionalism.

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