Dear PoPville – Exterior Painting Recs and Does Paving a Driveway need a Permit?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

My fiance and I are looking to get the exterior of our house repainted this spring, but are unsure of who to hire. Does anyone on Popville have any recommendations they can share? Also, and this might be a silly question, but does anyone know if we would have to get the city to approve a color change or are we free to do what we’d like? We are located in the Atlas area. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!”


“Dear PoPville,

Do I need a permit to pave my backyard to make it a patio/driveway? I assume that I do, but I’m not sure where to start with this process. I have a row-house in Northeast DC. Thanks in advance for your help!”

24 Comment

  • “Dear PoPville,

    Do I need a permit to pave my backyard to make it a patio/driveway? I assume that I do, but I’m not sure where to start with this process. I have a row-house in Northeast DC. Thanks in advance for your help!”

    Yes, DDOT public space permit most likely required. This means it goes to your local crazies at the ANC. Bend over and take it like a man/woman. They will not be kind.

  • I did mine without a permit, without a problem….

  • I would love recs for an exterior painter who could help with color selection. I can figure out the main color but the trim decisions are killing me!

    • justinbc

      Sherwin Williams actually has a pretty cool image editor now that recommends complementary colors to match your primary. I was just playing with it the other day 🙂 In terms of recommendations, I’m currently awaiting a proposal from Optima Designs for our exterior, I’ll post back how they compared to others.

      • I don’t know if Optima Designs is the same company as Optima Kitchens and Baths, but the latter promised me a proposal “by the end of the week” following a Monday or Tuesday site visit, didn’t respond to my e-mails after that time came and went with no proposal, and then coughed up a proposal out of nowhere a week and a half after the original target date. (And it was a very expensive estimate too.)

  • Have you looked into what is required on the DCRA website?!?!? I promise that it is a great place to start you search, followed by a phone call to DCRA if you are still wondering. An early AM visit to DCRA is also recommended…

  • Use semi-permeable pavers. Will be cheaper than dropping a load of concrete back in your yard and probably easier to get through the permitting process since the city is actually subsidizing people to install them.

  • Something else to keep in mind – I’m not sure how often this is enforced, but if you decrease the permeable surface of your yard, as in going from dirt to solid concrete, you might get hit for an increase in your impermeable surface fee that’s tied to your property tax, or something.

    • houseintherear

      Yep. For my neighbor’s yard, which I’d guess is 400 sq ft, it’s about $300/year, and it’s billed by DCWater. They use google earth to check on this, so there’s not getting around it, I’m afraid! (They billed me by accident but fixed the problem over the phone by looking at our yards online.)

  • We just had the CAPCS school/church around the corner pave over 2 acres and only after a civic association vote and ANC vote did DCRA even bother to care and just slapped them with I think a 2k fine. So go for it, DCRA won’t care

  • We used Innovative Inc Painters (found on Angie’s List) to do the exterior of our row house. It included detail work on the dormers and trim. They did a really nice job and the owner is nice to deal with. Their prices were pretty competitive too for the amount of work they did (which included pulling aluminum siding off the facade).

    • How much did it cost?

    • I love myself some PoP, but I’m not sure why so many homeowners turn here for recommendations, rather than simply picking up $30/year Angies List account. Obtaining, what amounts to no more than a dozen company names and rarely more than 2 or 3 experiences per vendor does not, to say the least, provide a very robust analysis of which vendors in the area are likely to respond to your call, show up on time, give you a fair, written estimate and address any concerns you may have, and, most importantly, provide a great service. When you can get dozens and sometimes hundred of reference points on jobs that you may be spending many hundreds or thousands of dollars on, just spring for an AL account (or ask a friend who has one). Plus, whenever I tell a vendor that I find them on Angies List , I feel like they take extra care to provide great service/price for fear of getting dinged in a review (not to mention, there are often AL discounts which more than recoup the account cost.)

  • Tech Painting did our front and rear exterior 1.5 years ago. They were great to work with and responsive through the entire process. Their bid was the middle of three we got, and the only one that made sense (around $10,000 I think). And our house was featured as a PoP House of the Day after the paint job 🙂

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