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Thinking About Repainting? – Read This First


Thinking About Repainting? – Read This First

A great finish doesn't come cheap, but it can make or break the look of a custom home.

We recently wrapped up a renovation on a very expensive home in Dewey Beach.  When it came time to gather quotes for the painting, we gave the homeowner two options.  The first was the painter we use for most of our new custom homes.  The second was a painter who specializes in repainting existing luxury homes. 

Professional builders vet all subcontractors using the same criteria. All our trade partners are reputable companies with a track record of satisfied customers. They all have adequate insurance coverage. And because we supply them with steady work, they tend to show up on time and offer fair pricing.  Our regular painter does a fine job on our new homes, but painting a new home is a vastly simpler proposition than repainting an existing luxury home. Older homes always have imperfections caused by settlement, nail pops and damage from everyday use.  This particular home also had damage from old water intrusions affecting large picture windows and a challenging situation involving painting the wall behind a fixed glass stair panel that was less than an inch from the wall.  We wanted our client to understand both options. 

In this case, the homeowner chose the repainting specialist, even though their quote was almost three times as much as the new home painting expert.   How can one painter be so much more expensive? Well, if you saw the number of hours and amount of expertise they put into preparing the surfaces before a drop of paint was applied, you would understand. 

Homeowners expect plumbers and electricians to be expensive, but are often surprised by the prices charged by high-end, professional painters. But the painter in question regularly turns down work because his services are in such high demand.

Although people tend to see painting as intuitive work, there's a vast difference in appearance and durability between a do-it-yourself finish and one applied by a pro. A finicky paint job will produce lasting results that make your home pop.

High-end painters get these results by paying attention to details that most homeowners and casual painters miss. Really good painters—the kind of people whose work meets the quality demands of an expensive luxury home— are nothing short of obsessive. They spend tremendous amounts of time preparing surfaces, following a process that includes sanding, masking, caulking and filling, then priming, sanding, and caulking and filling again before they lift a brush. The final appearance has as much to do with all this prep work as it does with the paint.

When it comes to paint, pros stick to products that have proven themselves over years in the field, and they have the experience to know which ones work best where. They understand the differences in sheen and coverage between different products. They also know how to mix paints, what additives to use, how to make crisp lines at edges and intersections, and how to create an even look over multiple surfaces. They invest in high-quality tools. There are many choices in rollers, brushes and spraying equipment, and it takes experience to learn which ones will provide the desired result, whether that's a traditional brushed finish or one with a glass-like sheen.

The final finish is one area where you definitely get what you pay for. The payoff for all this work is a finish that looks great and stands the test of time. 

If you are considering repainting and would like a couple of references for painters we are happy to provide them.