To many homeowners getting an estimate is as easy as picking up the phone and calling a local contractor. But, care should be given prior to making any calls. A home owner should have a good idea of what they are looking to achieve. Before a project, they should have the colors narrowed down to a few choices. For the sake of this article we won’t get into the process of color choices, but we will discuss the estimate process.
Painting Estimating Process
If the project is small or if a homeowner, requests 1 or 2 painters for the day, then I would text the cost via text or email. If the project takes 5 hours or less (with pictures), our flat fee is 200.00 plus materials. If it is 8 hours or 16 hours, the fee is 300.00 or 600.00 and the client has to provide all materials needed to complete the project.
Most of the time, we require a site visit. WE DO NOT DO DRIVE BY ESTIMATING! We must meet the homeowner in person that is making decisions, on-site where the work is to be performed, we need descriptions of the project, what they want done, and what they expect from the project.
We do not do estimating for rentals unless it’s from a previous client that have used Infinity Painting before and knows our standards for quality. Due to the extreme variance in each project, we do not have a set rate for square footage. Each project is a custom estimate.
We meet with the homeowner. Go over their scope of the project. We walk the project with the homeowner(s). Gathering up all of the information on what they want to have completed along with options. All of our estimates are itemized.
If portions of the estimate are removed for whatever reason, we will revise it and they have to meet the 8 hours per painter criteria since that is what we pay our painters, a minimum of 8 hours of labor per day.
During the estimate, we look for any issues and try to look for the sources that contributed to these issues. Water leaks or cracks are common, so we find out where and why they occurred. We take the time to educate the homeowner(s) on the issues, the cause and what the various solution options are.
After we do the site visit and gather up all of the information, I will go over the list with the homeowner(s), showing them the different options on the various paints and products that we use.
We prefer to use top of the line paints as we have noticed that even though it costs more, it saves quite a bit in labor costs, it is easier to use and apply, the final appearance is better and the durability and life time value is higher.
With any drywall project, I need to do a site visit. Look for all obstructions. Even examine new framing, if it’s new drywall work and look for issues where additional framing maybe required. Plus, look for issues in the framing work that could impact the finished product. Even one stud or joist that is out of alignment can show up at the end of the project.
We also do drywall repairs and sheetrock replacements. Some of them can be 24 feet high which requires the use of scaffolding. Which adds to the estimate, time to load the equipment in the van, transport it to the job site, and assemble it, tear down, and return the equipment back to storage.
Most of the time, it’s a two-man job just to deal with the scaffolding for safety reasons. For most repairs, we try to pull out the tape or go into the sheetrock up to ¼ of an inch, put screws in them to stabilize them if possible. We never use mesh tape as this has no strength. We use either paper or plastic tape, metal corner beads, and metal or plastic bullnose beads.
We also follow all building codes and install either ½ inch or 5/8 inch fire rated sheetrock. In certain situations, during remodeling, if there are so many holes on 1 wall, we would recommend ripping off the sheetrock and put in a new sheet and be done with it rather than trying to fix every hole from electrical and plumbing work.
We will texture to blend it in with the existing. If necessary, we take the extra step and use a wet sponge to feather out the new texture in certain situations where walls or ceilings have been painted over so many times. We do have an aging process with new textures to make it blend in better. And from time to time, if it’s a massive project, we have a texture machine to spray texture for the consistency that we need instead of using a hopper hooked to an air compressor.
Popcorn ceiling removal
Infinity Painting removes popcorn ceilings. We want to emphasize that this is a time consuming process. We do cover walls, and spray water on ceilings to soften up the popcorn texture, and it can take several passes until they are sufficiently soaked and ready to scrape off. Keep in mind that during the process, we can scrape some of that mud off, exposing the drywall joints. Almost always, there isn’t enough skim coats on drywall joints. After all of the popcorn texture has been removed, we let it dry overnight.
Then use our drywall sander attached to a vacuum to sand it down smooth and clean up any remaining debris. We take the time to skim all of the joints, whether they need them or not. We also add more compound in problem areas where there are ridges or bumps. We will use plastic tape in vaulted ceilings so we can get the nice and straight lines. It’s extremely critical that more compound is added onto the joints to prevent them from cracking. Far too often, we get calls from homeowners that have cracks appearing in the joints because the other contractors did not take the time to skim the joints to reinforce them and make them stronger. It does add to the estimated cost, but it’s more expensive and time consuming in the long term, to redo the work caused by another contractor.
We prefer to do things right so you will never call us back for warranty work. We also secure loose drywall with screws where we feel that more strength is needed to prevent cracking and callbacks. Once we have skimmed all of the ceilings, we will sand it smooth and use a texture machine to spray the appropriate texture desired by the homeowner(s). The call backs we get from our customers, are for new work or refer us to family, friends or co-workers.
I measure by the square foot and look up recipes that can be between 3 to 15 steps. Some are cheap and some of them are incredibly expensive. It’s very labor intensive and some of the materials are pretty expensive. They have to be sourced all over the world and ordered from different parts of the US. Most of them are not sourced here in CT.
We do apply various types of textures… we can match the existing textures or create new custom textures for you.
Same as interior process, site visit with homeowner(s). We look for issues dealing with damaged wood or rotted wood. If possible, we would replace it with James Hardie products. There are certain situations where we have to use the same kind of wood materials and we have to take the time to locate them.
As for composition type materials – we try to avoid them as much as possible and use Hardie products. Composition type materials are being phased out due to their lack of durability and other issues and becoming more and more difficult to locate those type of materials that match what is on the exterior of the house if composition materials are used.
In some cases, we would recommend caulking all of the 1x4’s to prevent water penetration into the siding where needed. 95% of our exteriors are painted with satin paint for its long-term durability and ease of maintenance. Our costs are higher because of the quality of paint we use but the cost per year is cheaper as it lasts longer – at least 15 years to lifetime warranty. This reduces your maintenance costs.
We try to look for issues that contributed to wood damage and either we repair it or have another contractor repair it – roofing or masonry contractor, where appropriate.
Our goal for you is low maintenance costs. From time to time, we may recommend full siding replacement with Hardie products if the existing material is composition or wood, depending on the goals, budget and situation.
Most prevalent on exteriors prior to 1978. Going back to 1880 – the chances goes up to 100%. We will test for lead.
If lead is present in the substrate, several options are available. If it’s a small area, we can manage it and do not need to report it to the EPA. If massive amounts of peeling paint with lead is present… it has to be reported to the EPA.
The process is as follows…. Cordon off the area and use plastic to capture the paint chips containing lead. Wear a hazmat suit with gloves and full-face respirator. The person who has been licensed to do the process is the only one that can do the work. They would scrape at the woodwork and then vacuum all of the dust in the woodwork. Wash it 2x with soap and water and allow to dry. And then prime it with the appropriate primer. NO SANDING IS ALLOWED FOR ANY REASON.
Then vacuum up all of the chips into an HEPA vacuum and throw away the plastic, hazmat suit, chips, etc.at the landfill.
You will be left with an unsightly appearance of cracked paint film everywhere. Or we can just pull off the wood and replace it with new wood and be done with it. We prefer to just replace it and make it look like new. Homeowners are required to follow the regulations as well. We are not licensed in lead remediation as we do not have many calls to deal with it. So if Lead is Present we will help you find some other firm who specializes in lead removal.
NOTE: There are EPA workers that roam the neighborhoods looking for homeowners and contractors that violate their regulations and can be fined up to $38,000 per day per incident.
We take the time to educate homeowners on issues, options, and various products. That can meet their budget. I take all of the information to my office and put it together in an estimate with various options to choose from.
The process of putting it together can take from 25 minutes up to several hours. There are times when we have to locate the materials or products and get current pricing that we can factor into the estimates. When the estimates are complete, I sent them via email and follow-up in a couple of days. When the job is estimated on site I will present you with a proposal and discuss the options.
We try to be complete with our estimates, so there are no surprises or additional costs. Our estimates are detailed so the homeowner knows exactly what type of products and materials are used and with doing a detailed estimate, we can get a good time frame, so the homeowner can schedule their time for the project.
If you are in the market for a paint upgrade, a new project or in need of repair, please feel free to call contact Infinity Painting. We do our very best to provide you great service before, during and after the estimate and project.