I could use some opinions here.
I hired painters to paint four modestly-sized rooms in our older house
(sizes range from about 15x15 to 8x12). Price was $2.1k, in a lowish
cost of living area. These guys came highly recommended, and they've
certainly been fast. Paint is mid-grade, some latex, some oil. The
contract specifies "patch, paint, trim"
My issue is with their wall and trim prep, or lack thereof. It's an
older house, so there are places where the old paint had chipped
(especially on the oil-based trim), places where drill holes in trim
needed to be patched, etc. With the job almost done, I'm seeing a
number of places where holes have been painted over but not patched,
and places where we'd patched previously but hadn't sanded the patches,
that were painted without sanding. In short, these guys put paint over
whatever what there, without much if any patching. (I have seen no use
of sandpaper or patching compounds, although I haven't been hovering
over them all that much.)
Should I be insisting on better, or is this pretty standard? My
feeling is that I could have done better had I done it myself, at least
in terms of wall and trim prep.
You are probably unreasonable as far as the painters are concerned. I have
always heard that professionals consider preparation to be at least 50% of
the jog and this is why they appear to be so expensive. These guys seem to
have skipped all preparation and gone straight to painting.
I am extremely fussy, if I hire a pro I expect a near perfect job otherwise
I would have done it myself. When I do my own work I try to make it as
perfect as I can, and it is often better than most pros, but I take about 4
times longer to do the job.
Everyone knows you need to use your HANDS to check a wall out for
smoothness - obviously they didn't check the wall properly before
painting... AND when you patch a wall properly, it needs dry time...
which they didn't want to wait for ,... and sanding creates dust and
cleaning up to do (or paint won't stick to the wall properly)... so
obviously they've done a time cutting thing ... don't pay until they
job is right - most contracts are 50% upfront - 50% after. Good luck.
You said some oil was used, was that on the trim. or was Latex used on
the trim over an oil. If latex is put on gloss-semi gloss oil without
sanding your job can peel of with any abrasion, even your fingernail at
areas that have oils from hands, like doorways and doors. You said they
did no sanding, that is completely wrong, just read one of the paint can
labels they used.
I would not accept or ask a customer to accept, holes, unsanded
compound, or poor wall repairs. Take a handheld lamp with shade you
can`t see through, a work light, and check wall repairs at night to be
sure things were feathered smooth.
For 500$ a room you deserve a very good job. I would pay no more till
you go over it all and they fix everything. If they did put latex over
unsanded, dirty , hand oiled, trim. It will very likely need to be
stripped in the future. If that is the case you owe them nothing even
after they make your rooms look good. I know people that paid a few
thousand to have their interior trim painted in latex over unprepped
oil. And paid two to three times as much a few years later to fix the
error. Find out what was used, where, and even post photos for everyone,
its hard to really say without seeing and knowing everything, even paint
Wait to pay until you are satisfied the job was done as agreed and
Unlike many of the trades, there are some jobs that anyone can do.
Anyone can paint. If you want painting done fast and cheap, you get
some paint, brushes, a bunch of friends, some rocking music, and
pizza. And you live with the results which, though they may be
distressing, are mainly cosmetic.
That leaves the only reason to hire professional painters is that they
do a professional job. They do the prep work, they pay attention to
detail. So if you care enough to hire professional painters, you
should get a professional job. The walls should look no less than
You are not being unreasonable. Hopefully they will correct the
problems and should you ever recommend these people to anyone else, be
honest about what happened.
BTW, you said "guys." How many? My interior painter is solo or works
alongside another and always does a great job. OTOH, the time I had
the exterior done, that painter did the house but also had "helpers"
whom he did not supervise well (he went off and did another job while
they did trim). This was not good and I won't use him again.
Perhaps your painter didn't supervise closely.
BTW, you do have to watch everyone closely (though surreptitiously)
unless you know them. Don't be afraid to stop and cut your losses if
necessary. I had to do that with the exterior guy.
Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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