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Should You Do Your Own Painting

A long time member of the Remodeling Guy Crew, Denise who blogs at Journey to Maggie May, has been building an addition all summer. It’s a beautiful project and she has pictures on her blog. Denise posted a comment today on a post about Bump-Out Style additions that got me to thinking. (See: Bump-Out Additions – Small Spaces, Big Impact)

Should You Do Your Own Painting?

This is a picture from Denise’s blog of her project. They hired a general contractor to do the work, but saw an opportunity to save some money by doing the painting themselves. While that is obviously much less work than trying to build the whole thing, it still can be a ton of work! Here is her comment:

Hey there, we have been busy with our addition…go check out some pics on my blog. I am so ready for it to be done. I have to say that our biggest mistake was signing up to do all of the painting…never thinking of filling nail holes, caulking, etc…we have bitten off WAY more than we can chew!!

When I saw her pictures I could see why! They have an abundance of painted woodwork in this project and the question of “prep” wasn’t discussed ahead of time.

If you want to paint – Decide about “Prep”

You may not know it, but there is an eternal debate in play between carpenters and painters. The gist of it is “who’s job is it to fill the nail holes, to do the caulking, and most importantly…the sanding?” Ask ten painters and ten carpenters and you’re likely to get twenty variations of what is “right, fair, and professional”.

Personally, I think the carpenter needs to leave his work pretty close to ready. A painter might need to do a little prep work, but not much. I’ll readily admit though, that I’m in the minority. Most jobs leave the prep work to the painter and most carpenters are willing to leave the final outcome of their hard work in the hands of someone else. Not me.

The point is this: Sanding, filling, sanding more, caulking, and priming are about 80% of the work of painting. Most homeowners have experience “re-painting” which is a totally different animal than painting for the first time. If you agree to doing the paint work on your project, a choice Denise would advise against, just be sure you’ve agreed on what exactly you’ll be responsible for before you start.

I’ve seen many a row between painter and carpenter because of a 1/4″ gap in the woodwork. Painter feels that the carpenter ought to rip that board out and do it right! Carpenter feels that a little bit of putty or Bond-O will fix it right-up. It’s one thing when that argument is between two people you’re paying. It is another thing altogether when the argument is between you and your contractor…that can keep you up at night!

Food for thought!

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