Painting Q & A

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that when people are considering hiring our team, they have A LOT of questions. Typically, the questions are reasonable and tend to follow a similar pattern. Many times, we can tell people are still unsure but may be a bit uncomfortable giving us the third degree. So, we figured we’d help by listing the most common questions we are asked that might help you in your learning and decision-making process.

How much does a painter cost?

Regardless of the pricing structure, a paint contract is comprised of two or three categories. Time, materials, and depending on the job, equipment rentals. As you’d imagine, the time of the painter comprises the majority of the contract value. If the painter is considered a craftsman / master painter, they will naturally command a higher rate compared to a typical in-and-out painter. But like most things, you get what you pay for. We may not recommend hiring a craftsman-calibre painter to paint your old workshop, but we would for your master bedroom. You could expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $80 per hour for this calibre of trade professional.

Does the quality of the paint matter?

This is a common question, and you might think we’d give a resounding YES! However, we preach the gospel of proportion in all things. If you’re painting a rental basement suite, we’d recommend you buy contractor-grade product such as Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec or even Super Hide interior paint. These products range from $29 to $39 per gallon and don’t require premium tools and supplies to go along with them. Whereas, if you were painting your living room where you spend a significant portion of time, then we would recommend a much better quality product that is durable, washable, fade-resistant, and much smoother to the touch.

So, in short, the quality of the paint matters very much, but there’s no sense spending the money where it isn’t merited. It’s more important to match the quality of paint and the painting professional to the level of job you’re trying to accomplish. When you need the quality, you can’t cut corners because all paint is not the same.

What does the preparation look like before painting?

What most people don’t consider is how much time it takes to prepare a home to be painted. The factors that determine the answer to this question are things such as do we have to remove art from the walls and move furniture out of the way? Is the floor plan wide open or are there lots of little rooms that need to be prepared? Is the current drywall in reasonable shape and needs minor repairs or has the home been well-enjoyed and now needs some extra patching and repairs? How much plastic needs to be hung to protect the current finishes/furnishings? Depending on the job, the prep work could take 1-2 days or 2 hours. Our recommendation is to allow 20% of the estimated timeline for prep and clean up/touch ups.

How long will my project take to complete?

Here are the factors to consider when trying to calculate how long a project will take to complete:

  1. Are the surfaces in good condition or do they need significant repairs?
  2. Is there easy access to all areas for a painter and his/her materials and tools or are we fighting tight spaces and other trades?
  3. Are we changing from a dark to a light colour or keeping it in the same vein as what’s there now?
  4. Do we have access all-day or do we have only a small window to work?

While those don’t represent every question to consider when determining a timeline, they are some of the most common that arise. The easiest way to calculate timeframe is to determine how many man-days the job requires. A typical exterior repaint for a 2,500 square foot residential detached family home would take between 6-10 man-days assuming conditions are good and complexity is reasonable. Because it’s job-dependent, we will provide an approximate timeline as part of your estimate.

In our experience, once someone has made the decision to repaint their home, they don’t want to wait. We’ve built our organization around speed and quality. We recognize the need to just get the job done, so we leverage larger crews to complete the average job in 2-4 days and typically, the project would be complete within 2 weeks of confirming the quote with our team.

Is it better to spray or brush-and-roll?

Most people assume spraying is always quicker and in some cases it is. When you spray large, open spaces such as exterior siding, you can make excellent time; however, spraying has its downsides and additional preparation is required to ensure you don’t paint everything in sight. Spraying will typically result in a finer finish which is very important with mouldings and millwork such as wainscotting or post-and-beam structures in homes. One thing to consider when deciding whether or not to have a spray finish is you will consume more paint than you otherwise would.

Do you refinish kitchen cabinets?

Refinishing cabinets is a common request and can be handled one of two ways. The first is to prep and repaint on-site, which will require the area to be marked off and a lot of prep work for protecting your kitchen, taping hinges and hardware etc. This is the least desirable and least recommended approach. However, for some, this is the only option so we make it work.

The second approach is almost always preferred and will always produce a better quality finish. All doors and, where possible, end gables are removed and taken back to a shop where they can be properly prepped and refinished in a controlled setting. When complete and cured, the doors and other pieces are brought back and reinstalled. This approach will make your cabinets look like new for about half the cost of replacing them.

Will you refinish furniture?

Refinishing furniture is definitely something we can do but is not often recommended. The cost of refinishing the piece is likely to be more than its original cost unless there is some outside factor such as the item being a family heirloom, hand-made, or there is already a project on the go and would only add a small cost to the overall project.

Should we repaint or replace our old fence/deck?

You would be amazed how often a beat up old deck, fence, trellis etc can be restored. Most of these are made out of cedar which is a very durable species of wood. Products can be used to remove the wear-and-tear and restore much of the original look and condition. Unless it’s rotted, you can likely restore that wooden surface/structure without replacing.

Can you paint driveways/walkways?

In Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, a significant majority of homes are built with exposed aggregate driveways. These driveways don’t take traditional exterior or even concrete paint/stain very well. It’s a good idea to clean and reseal these driveways and walkways every couple years even though most don’t typically follow this. There are a number of products meant for painting and staining concrete walkways and driveways, but you have to be sure they are rated for tires or just foot traffic. Even if the tires aren’t hot, they will peel off any coating unless it’s rated for tires.

Can you paint vinyl siding?

For a long time, the conclusion was that you cannot paint any vinyl siding without the paint chipping off within a short period of time. Benjamin Moore as a line of products that are specifically intended for painting exterior vinyl siding. You can read about them here.

Can you paint over mould?

Yes, in most cases, you can use a specialty primer that is painted or sprayed over the mouldy surfaces which allow you to paint overtop without any issue. Specialty primers that are meant for covering things such as mould by sealing the affected areas which doesn’t allow anything to be released into the air or further growth of the mouldy areas. We recommend Block Out or Prime Lock to apply overtop affected areas. Be careful with Prime Lock as it has a strong smell and you likely won’t want to sleep in the room that night.


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