Why such a wide range of prices for painting the same thing?

May 24

In residential painting, prices range widely from painting company to painting company. A potential customer told me he had prices from $6,000 to $21,000 for painting the interior of his home. Four bedrooms, eight foot ceiling and tray ceiling on the second floor. Ten foot ceilings on the first floor. eight foot ceilings in the full basement of this 3,000 square foot home.

The price range is so great in part due to the type of painters. I always say painters are like mechanics. Some work on Pintos, some on BMW, and others on Lamborghinis. They base their estimates on the work they do. You don’t want the Pinto guy working on your Lamborghini- his work will be cheap, materials cheap, and the lines not where you want them. On the other hand, you don’t want the Lamborghini guy working on your Pinto. He knows he has a lot of work to do to get that Pinto to run like a Lamborghini and he will make his estimate reflect that.

I believe the homeowner should tell the painter why he is interested in having the painting done. Just to freshen up? To prepare to sell? To make it his home to relax in? All different pricing and painting methods. The latter is the most expensive because you are taking care of all the problems (sheet rock repairs, water issues, caulking, different finishes in paint) the home has and putting the homeowner’s heart into their home.

Also, the way homes are built today adds to the cost depending on which mechanic you have. Seams in sheetrock can be seen easier today. This sometimes needs repair to make it look better, not worse. The height of ceilings is increasing. Nine and 10 foot ceilings are becoming more common. This has increased the amount of paint needed. It also increases the amount of time it takes to do the painting. No longer can you do the work with a four-foot step ladder; we need a six-foot step ladder. Longer rolling poles and more effort.

Remember, too, first impressions are important. What your home looks like. What you look like. Your personality (easy to get along with). All affect the estimate cost. It works both ways. Ask questions. How long in business: Will you personally be working on my home? If not, who will. And how long have they worked for you? How will you do the work on my home? What brand and kind of paint will you use? What grade of paint? Ben Moore and Sherwin Williams make quality paint and not so quality paint. Find out and have it put on your estimate what brand and grade of paint will be used at your home. Then go look it up online, call the store, or there to make sure it is what you have been told. The more you learn about painting, the more questions you can ask and the more unskilled painters you can weed out (they hate questions – I worked for a few when I was in my 20’s). Lastly trust your gut. The price might not be what you want but you feel good about the painter.

Wall Paper Removal- how to

Dec. 29

Removing wallpaper is easy. You need a mop bucket, a big yellow sponge, 2 gallon pump sprayer w/ adjustable tip. First protect your floors with drop cloths and remove outlet and switch plate covers. If wall paper goes under trim or counter; use razor blade to score a straight line at the meeting point. Second grab a lower or top corner where the paper is loose and pull with both hands slowly. You should be able to pull off most of the decorative layer. There will be a brown backing paper left. Third fill your 2 gallon sprayer with the hottest tap water. Put your adjustable tip so just a fine fan sprayer comes out. Now apply fine mist of water from the bottom of wall going up evenly to the top of wall. If water is running down the paper you are putting too much. Let the water sit for 2 or 3 minutes. Then repeat the process two more times. The key is let the water do the work. After waiting the last 2 to 3 minutes; grab a bottom corner with two hands and slowly peel up. If everything was installed properly the paper should come off in big sheets. If you were unable to remove the decorative layer of paper; this will remove that layer. Then you will need to repeat the third step to remove the brown backing. Once the backing is off, fill your mop bucket with hot tap water. Use your yellow sponge with the hot water, in a circular motion to wash off glue. You can add DIFF to the water at this time to break down the glue. The glue is off when your fingers squeak when rubbed against the wall. All glue must be washed off or it will re-activate when the water based latex paint is applied. When the glue dries under the paint it will crack the paint. If you find that the paper does not want to come off or it is coming off in tiny bits- then you have a problem.

Finding a painting contractor after Hurricane Sandy

Dec. 1

When looking for a painting contractor or any type of contractor-things can be difficult in normal times. After hurricane Sandy it seems everyone you meet is a contractor for this or that. You need to be more careful now. Your home is your most important asset. You want the work performed on it to last.

Some things to check for when looking for a contractor are- How long have they been in business? Are they registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs in the state of NJ. In NJ it is the law that any contractor or service doing work in your home must be licensed by the DCA of NJ. Always ask for references and check them. Ask your friends for any contractors they have used before. Also educate yourself on the work you need to have done. An educated consumer is the best defense against a “shady” contractor. Don’t feel that watching your contractor do his work is wrong. A good contractor will welcome a homeowner who is interested in his home.

Always remember even if the insurance company is paying for the work; you are the one who will live in your home for years to come. You want the work to last.