We're having our house painted and we have been very satisfied with this contractor from the get-go...He came recommended to us through friends & we saw his work first-hand on their large, new house (ours is not a McMansion and is an older home). The contractor has been everything we could have hoped for, excellent quality work (so far), on time every day, great communcations, price, etc. Now along comes our otherwise-great neighbor next door and when the topic of our house being painted came up, he mentioned that the contractor is not using a vacuum...He says the one he and another neighbor used had a vacuum and that it's required by the town. I figure he's right, I had heard of this being an ordinance in some towns, it just didn't occur to me that it might be one in mine! So he goes on about how my beloved contractor can get summoned, fined, and even disallowed from working again in the town if he gets caught.....and that its important to use one because of health & environmental concerns. I replied that perhaps in the case of an entire house being sanded before painting, then yes, especially if the house has very old paint on it, which increases the odds that it would have lead in it. I told him that neither of those fits my case and that he shouldn't worry.
Later I got to thinking how ridiculous the comment was...I mean there are worse environmental hazards than a little bit of paint particles being strewn in the air (house only partly sanded). Maybe he just wanted to inform me, but still it took some of the joy out of the fact we were getting a spanking new paint job on the house...
The supposed environmental concern I think is overblown...driving an SUV, for example, probably has an infinitely greater environmental footprint than ground up latex resin, solvent, and colorant. Besides, not every contractor can likely afford an extra piece of equipment like those vacuums. Neighbor probably thought we were getting it done on the cheap, but price, while fair, was not significantly less than all the other proposals we priced.
Was the neighbor making a valid point on the importance of using these particulate-vacuums when sanding or is he perhaps just was a bit envious of how nice the house is looking? :-)
Do you think it should be left up to the discretion of the contractor to use one? And if so, would an increase in final cost to the customer be justified because of being forced by law to buy the vacuum?