A customer recently asked these questions about the staining process on the cedar siding on exterior of his home.
- Will stain penetrate the existing paint cover on the cedar siding? A customer rep. at a local paint supplier was of the opinion that the stain would not penetrate the paint, but it would adhere to and cover it.
- If that’s the case, what steps would be taken to ensure that the stain does adhere to the painted surfaces?
- Would the bare wood areas be treated in a way that the painted and then stained areas would not show delineations between the two areas? That is, will the two distinct areas blend into each other?
PAINT vs. STAIN ON CEDAR SURFACES
Solid Color Acrylic Stain can be applied over existing surfaces previously painted. We have been doing it for years with very positive results especially on cedar. Cedar is a very porous wood and tends to fracture and crack in dry climates. Acrylic paint is an open pored or vapor permeable product, meaning that the house can breathe through the coating. Paint has a tendency to fail and peel off of cedar even with a primer underneath as paint is a grabbing product and not really a penetrating product. Stain is designed to penetrate into porous surfaces and is a better overall product on a substrates like cedar. A lot of the primers used under paint on cedar do not penetrate adequately or better than a good quality stain either. When you add the weight of a paint to another painted surface, it can actually pull the currently intact paint away from the substrate(the Cedar Board) which is another concern with paint on Cedar. Maintenance painting is typically needed for structures where owner’s insisted on using paint. When we perform maintenance to many of these buildings we have to use stain and not paint to achieve much better results.
Stain to cedar is typically back rolled on the 1st coat to assist with the penetration to the siding and seal porosity and then a second coat is applied. Due to the porous nature of cedar this really should be done with even paint.
SANDING IRREGULAR EDGES AFTER SCRAPING
Once an area is scraped to an adjacent area where the paint is not peeling, there is most often an irregular edge or a delineated edge as you say. The mission is to ensure that no loose coating or all peeled away areas are attended to and then the coating is applied and locks down that irregular edge. Sanding is very difficult through multiple layers of paint and most often will not remove an irregular edge. As a protective liquid, all coatings conform to the surface they are presented. The mission of scraping or sanding is not to create a perfectly smooth surface, but to ensure the removal of loose, peeling paint. Spackling over irregular areas is not recommended as spackle or wood putty does not move with temperature and will most often crack and break out. In addition, you cannot re-create a grain with spackle or wood putty and it will most often blemish or flash through the coating applied over the top.
Custom Exterior House Painting
Custom exterior house painting requires meticulous attention to preparation and selection of high quality materials. This type of preparation was used on the Choi exterior to produce the superior results you see here.
A separate staging area was set aside to keep all painting equipment out of the way during the painting project so as to interfere as little as possible with the family in residence.
Littleton Exterior Painting
Stellar Painting & Remodeling has a long history of excellence in painting and staining both the interior and exterior of custom homes in Littleton and the Denver metro area. Call us at 303-981-7827 for a free estimate for your home.
Exterior house painting project
For this project, Stellar painted the exterior and did special wood treatment for the exterior wood and deck. Exterior wood needs to be coated in Colorado to protect against the premature aging effects of sun, wind and snow.
Careful pre-paint preparation was done on this house to ensure a professional outcome. All exterior surfaces were meticulously cleaned, caulked, sanded and otherwise prepared to create a long-lasting painted finish.
Contact Stellar at 720-981-7827 to schedule a free estimate on your next exterior paint project. We will make your house look as good as this one.
Commercial re-paint in Denver, Colorado, 80209
Stellar Painting & Remodeling re-painted the interior of the Marie James Bridal store on South University in Denver using bright colors to give the store a fresh new look. Re-freshing the look of a store helps to make the right first impression on new customers.
Stellar Painting has many years of experience with commercial painting projects in Denver and along the front range including industrial buildings, office buildings, maintenance painting and multi-family. Call Stellar Painting & Remodeling for all your commercial painting and tenant improvement projects at 720-981-7827 or click to request a commercial repaint estimate.
Stellar completes exterior painting, Denver, CO
Project type: commercial exterior painting, new construction painting
Location: 4955 South Ulster Street, Denver, Colorado, 80237
Ulster Terrace is a shopping center in the Denver Tech Center built by Busch Development. It sold to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner for a record price of $322 per square foot in 2003. Stellar Painting & Remodeling was hired to re-paint the building exterior.
Commercial Painting Denver
Stellar Painting has many years of experience with commercial painting projects in Denver and along the front range including industrial buildings, office buildings, maintenance painting and multi-family. Call Stellar Painting & Remodeling for all your commercial painting and tenant improvement projects at 720-981-7827 or click to Request and Estimate.
- THE FINAL FINISHED LOOK. Why spend tens of thousands purchasing or building a home only to not budget in what will give your home that final finished look. How do want those pricy Wooden Windows, Crown or Trim to appear when all is said and done. It takes skill to prep and paint these types of surfaces. Will there be Hi-hold out primer applied to slick wall or skip trowel texture to prevent flashing and better enable Touch Up? Will these types of surfaces be Rolled or sprayed and back rolled to provide appropriate finish & touch up? In most cases, Painting is not just painting!
- PEACE OF MIND & WARRANTY. Is your Painting Contractor Registered with the State and does he or she have a Certificate of Good Standing on file. (A State Law as of Oct. 2007). Does your Denver Painter have a full line of Workers Comp. and Liability Insurance. Have you verified or called the agent to ensure it is an active policy. Does the Contractor have his people sign waivers of Worker Comp behind the scenes to keep rates down and not really cover your project? Inadequate or Compromised Insurance will affect the Price of a Bid! Check to make sure your Warranty is detailed. Is the Warranty Transferable? Be very leery of Warranties well above the Industry Avg. Exteriors- 3-5 yrs. Interior- 1-2 yrs.
- ON SITE AND FIELD SUPERVISION. Is your Painting Contractor going to provide someone to ensure onsite quality meets everybody’s expectations. Owner Operators are not always there to watch everything that goes on. Remember they have to run and market their business along with being on-site doing the work. It can often be very difficult and distracting and can ultimately affect quality.
- EXPERIENCE & QUALITY OF PEOPLE. How effectively can the chosen or considered Contractor perform the tasks at hand. Allot of Finishes require certain level of expertise to produce a positive end result. i.e. wooden windows, stain & finish of trim, hand rail systems. Will the Right Products be specified for a particular substrate? Bottom line, does it feel right technically? What is the Tenure of the Crew that will be on your Job?
- CREDENTIALS. Can the Contractor your considering show you a proven Track Record? Does he have Job Surveys that indicate consistently how his or her customer base feels about their work in years gone by and most importantly within the last 6 months. You want to make sure they are still doing good work. Have they been recognized at all for their track record?
- PROFESSIONAL AFFLIATIONS. Is the Contractor you are considering a member of some Industry related organization such as the PDCA (Painter Decorator Contractor of America) and is his or her Work backed up by some Consumer advocated organization such as the BBB. Generally a quality contractor who is a student of their Industry will provide you with a better and happier service and end result. What is their track record with the BBB, Angie’s List or Tom Martino?
- ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Has your considered Painting Company provided you with a detailed estimate profiling for you the type of prep and finishes that will be used. Have they indicated clearly how flooring, cabinets, light fixtures, ceiling fans and even furniture will be protected. The same goes for protecting outside surfaces such as Brick, Stone, Stucco, Decks, Windows, Roof Lines and Windows. The attention to detail that one provides to you with the proposal will be some indication as to the attention to detail you will receive with the Job.
- THE RIGHT PRODUCTS. Are the products being quoted you the right products and are they of a quality consistent with your expectations of finish and life. A Lower Grade Paint, especially if diluted can significantly shorten mid-term and long term life and finish. Did you know most oil base paints yellow in the absence of light or that some fast dry oil products or lacquers applied to windows especially will fracture and crack in the short term. Did you know that Exterior Acrylic Primers do not have good penetration to raw wood or that most acrylic caulks will crack outside within a year? Wrong or Low Quality products can affect the price of a bid!
- A FAIR PRICE. If you focus on a low number instead of the right number you may be setting yourself up for a bad experience. Does your considered contractor use established methods, time standards or sq. ft. pricing to ascertain your proposal. If not, it is very easy to underestimate, pay brokered painters what ever wage to complete a job or have an under skilled estimator just make a mistake. Are you comfortable that someone you are considering is that wrong with their estimate when comparing a high bid to a low bid? In other wards can the Lower priced Contractor realistically complete the task in that much less time? Under paid painters or rushed painters usually produce questionable or un-happy end results. In most cases, The Fair Price is always the Right Price.
- A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME. Has your considered Contractor given you some estimate as to how long the job will take. Allot of Owner Operator Businesses may provide a lower estimate but it is very common for them to be on your job longer as they will often need to work more than one job at a time or just have a tendency to move thru the job slower. Keep this in mind if you have tight deadlines. How will a Contractor ramp up, finish the Job and do your Touch –Ups.
STELLAR PAINTING & REMODELING
FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED.
STELLAR JOB FROM START TO FINISH!
One of the things we all look at when we review bid proposals or consider a contractor is the Labor Warranty offered for the project. How long of a warranty should you expect? What does it cover? How will it be honored? DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
Given the market conditions of the past few years and the number of different guarantee type offers bandied about by Denver house painters, lets address what makes a warranty offer a valid, real thing that impacts a purchasing decision one way or the other.
How long should a paint job in Denver last and what impacts that life?
The factors are as follows:
# 1- The Quality of the Paint and Prep Products.The higher quality paint products and the type and level of caulk and primers will impact long term life. However, based on certain weather conditions, this will only get you so far.
# 2- Application of Paint– Proper application, using the right primers plus caulking voids properly will impact life.
# 3- Non-dilution of Paint – Diluted paint, especially a lower grade paint, can shorten life by as much as 50%.
# 4- Applying the Wrong Type of Product to a Particular Surface. For example, PAINT IS NOT THE BEST PRODUCT TO PUT ON CEDAR HOMES, even if the house has been painted previously. Cedar is very porous. Paint is not a penetrator. It wants to grab on to a sealed surface. That is why your house painter will use primer on bare wood. Stain is designed to penetrate into a porous surface like cedar. Paint has a tendency to sit on top of cedar and is more likely to peel away or add weight and pull away previously applied paint.
# 5- Elevation– With higher elevations, UV and weather affects the life of paint or stain in a negative way. In Denver and surrounding areas, 5280 ft. is hard on paint and prep products. South and west exposures will fade and warp faster and northern exposures will swell and accumulate moisture. Accumulation of snow to lower sections of a house will cause failure to vertical surfaces and all horizontal surfaces, fences and decks will take a significant hit short and mid-term. Horizontal surfaces will require yearly or bi-yearly maintenance.
#6- Variance of Temp. – The greater the temperature variance throughout the day, the more impacted surfaces are that paint or stain are applied to, due to extreme expansion and contraction. This also affects the ability for caulk to seal voids long term, no matter what the quality. Denver can experience up to 60 degree temperature swings during the course of a day..
#7- Type of Weather. While salt water and humidity present their own challenges in other areas of the country; heat, snow, freezing rain, sleet, hail, pollution, and wind all combine to make Colorado and places of similar weather very challenging for paint film life.
#8- Quality of the People Providing the Work. On-site care and attention to detail by the Denver area house painter that you choose to do the work will affect the end result’s mid and long term life, for sure.
With all that said be very wary of warranty offers from house painters in Denver that extend out to a number of years that would not really make reasonable sense given all the above noted factors combined. It would not matter if multiple layers or coats of even the highest rated paint in the country was applied to your home. The UV will fade it and the extreme elements here in Colorado will compromise it. Paint film, no matter how thick, will start to experience failure at somewhere between 3-4 years. Most homes need to be re-painted at 5-6 years here. New homes, even with lower grade products used, can go 8-9 years as they have not experienced years of expansion and contraction, pollution, UV and weather.
Other Considerations in House Painting Warranties
Many warranties from Denver exterior painters are driven to sell you now. “What can we do to sell more bids now, now, now” kind of thought process. They are market strategies designed most often to rely on people moving out of their homes before the warranty is needed. This is a flawed strategy that lacks vision and accountability. This type of short view of not ‘seeing the forest beyond the trees’ type of marketing will result in more warranty work than real work. Will they come when faced with this choice? , when will they come? , who will come? , will they be able to answer the call for such work? , how will they survive? What seems like a great way to drive business now may not be so great down the road.
The ideal behind a warranty is to protect you in case something fails within what should be considered a reasonable amount of time for that product or service to last. A warranty should be straight forward and you should feel comfortable that you understand it. A reasonable and intelligently ascertained warranty for the Denver painting market is in the 3-5 year range. Some other quick things to make note of: How detailed is the warranty? How often will you need to use it? Lack of detail could be important when it comes to redemption – what good is a 100,000 mile warranty on a car if the car is in the shop all the time being fixed. You are just frustrated & unhappy all the time. Ultimately, what is the real intention of whatever is offered to you when making a purchasing decision?
Decks in Harsh Climates require constant on-going Maintenance and will often have to be re-done on a yearly or bi-yearly basis depending on elevation, exposure, previous condition, prep and type of Coating applied. Let’s examine the challenges facing all Denver Painting Contractors when looking to Re-furbish or Re-coat a Deck. The biggest challenge of all is trying to meet elevated expectations that homeowners often have as to final finish appearance and ongoing durability of their newly coated Deck. Very often, the larger task of painting the actual home itself will be overridden by scrutiny to an attached deck project. The mission of any good contractor with decks is to EDUCATE the homeowner as to these expectations in advance so as to establish a clear understanding of what to anticipate with the final end result.
The following factors will contribute significantly to what will need to be done to a deck and what the end result will ultimately be.
What type of Coating is on the Deck now?
If you have a Semi-trans Oil Toner Base product on a Deck now where you have a basic wood tone type color, like redwood to cedar, stick with it. If you have a Solid color or Semi-Solid Oil Stain on the Deck where the Color is more solid in nature but grain of the wood still is quite prevalent, stick with that as well. Why? Oil Products will more so fade and chalk and will just require less maintenance in regards to peeling. They just naturally wear better in my opinion and keep wood “oiled”, preserving it better in this dry climate. If you have a Solid Color Acrylic Stain on a Deck, you will need to re-coat the Deck with the same as sanding this coating out of the Grain of the Wood is effectively really difficult in order to convert it to the Semi-trans. Oil. You could also have issues with proper penetration and compatibility of Coating as you attempt to apply the Oil over any measure of residual acrylic coating that may still exist. If the existing Deck has a had a oil product on it previously & has turned black due to years of neglect and effectively sanding the horizontals and the pickets would be difficult to do consistently, the Acrylic Stain option may be viable to achieve a better cosmetic final product. Once the oil has evaporated out of the wood thru the years you will not have a compatibility issue here in that regard. If Acrylic Paint has been applied to the deck it will need to be scraped and sanded off as paint is not designed for decks and lacks proper penetration and will most often peel off in sheets and be an ongoing nightmare to deal with. NEVER apply Paint to a Deck especially to the bottom Support Structure. Paint is intended and designed to adhere to a primed and sealed surface. It is NOT DESIGNED TO BE A PENETRATOR like an acrylic or oil stain! This is less critical with Hand Rails as they are principally vertical in nature but make sure primer is applied first under the Paint. Regardless, top horizontal hand rail surfaces will peel and require regular maintenance whether paint is applied or acrylic stain. They cannot and will not withstand harsh weather conditions.
Pre-existing Condition of the Deck
How old is the Deck? When was it last Coated? What Elevation does it face? South and West Exposures are brutal on Deck Life. They are super hot & lend themselves to more fractured and cracked horizontal surfaces. They allow more natural penetration of moisture which makes these cracks larger providing for constant expansion and contraction and ongoing peeling as moisture/vapor moves out of the wood into the atmosphere. The older the deck, the more you will have to simply maintain it. Typically, areas of the deck, especially hi traffic areas, will need to be re-rolled or brushed every spring for sure. This goes for either a Semi-trans oil product or a Solid Color acrylic product. Areas of Dry Rot where a Fungus has set in and is eroding the surface of the Wood or to some depth of the Wood need to be removed. Not to do so would only make these areas worse and coatings do not adhere or penetrate into dry rot appropriately.
Let’s talk about what to expect once a coating is applied, especially a Wood Toner oil based Semi-Trans. type product. Wood, especially weathered wood, has different grains, existing cracking/fissures and absorption rates. No particular area on a horizontal deck or a vertical hand rail corner to corner will absorb a coating exactly the same. This is just the nature of wood, period. In arid climates like Colorado most often a 2 coat application of a Semi-trans. or a Solid Color Stain will be needed to properly protect the Deck. The 1st Coat will seal the porosity and left alone will not typically be cosmetically pleasing to the eye and will not weather well. The 2nd Coat will effectively seal the deck; provide better water resistance and longer life. The second coat is typically back brushed or rolled out to areas that will pool up due to these different absorption rates of wood mentioned above. The end result typically will be what can best be described as areas of variable look or sheen or better described as “Shiners. This is just the consequences of sealing most any deck with most any coating. To expect a uniform look corner to corner is going to be unrealistic and unfair to your Contractor as is expecting these same horizontal surfaces not to have some sort of failure or maintenance even within the 1st year. Intense moisture in the form of ice, snow, sleet, hail & rain along with 80-100 degree Sun, heat and UV is simply not going to allow a protective liquid to not have issues sooner than later. However, these “Shiners” will settle down as the UV and sun starts the natural weathering process.
To Sand or not to Sand?
For Acrylic Coated Decks Scraping and Power washing loose coating is usually sufficient. If the Deck has been painted inappropriately, then it will need to be sanded off as much as is possible followed behind with a quality penetrating ACRYLIC STAIN, again NOT PAINT! Once you have an acrylic stain product on your deck, you are pretty committed to it. Again, really tough and expensive to convert to oil and you will experience varied results for sure. In regards to the Wood Toner base Stains and products better overall results can be achieved with Sanding. This also assists in removing Blemishes and Circle patterns due to Umbrella Stands, ect. Once again, it may not eliminate the blemishes completely but will improve overall appearance. Keep in mind that as these Horizontal Surfaces are sanded that it may open up the grain differently from plank to plank or area to area again affecting absorption rates and final finish as described above. Areas of the Deck that have more protection than others will also likely sand differently and provide for varied finish as well. Understanding the varied and different nature of wood will assist you in accepting more so that decks are just going to lend themselves to a improved, pretty but overall varied and sometimes rugged final appearance. Sanding is less critical with Solid or Semi-Solid(Sometimes described as Semi-Trans in Product Lit.- talk to the Paint store personnel to seek clarification as to final finish and look ), as they will be more solid in nature when re-applied. Vertical Hand Rails, posts and Pickets typically do not need to be sanded. However, once sanding to a vertical picket or post is started, it must be done so top to bottom as it will surely stain differently to the sanded area vs. an un-sanded area.
When Should I use a Wood Brightener or Bleach/TSP type Product?
This option is more cost effective than sanding and is used really for mostly Wood Toner base Semi-Trans. Oil products. This approach will brighten up and clean the deck but will ultimately produce varied results especially to existing blotchy or spotty areas. If this is OK with you and a more varied and uneven look is OK then this is a viable option for you. The more varied and weathered the deck is now, the more varied the end result will be with the cleaning route. Again, Keep in mind as well that no area will clean the same corner to corner or blank to blank creating absorption rate issues that we continue to speak of aforementioned. The solution is applied and back scrubbed but areas with greater protection like under overhangs, will just clean differently, period. TSP is great to apply for certain specified oil coatings to open up the grain of the wood better and provides for even better coating penetration.
Understanding Decks and what to expect with a final finished product can be confusing and frustrating for both a deck painting contractor and the consumer. Maintaining a Deck is the Key here. The longer you let it set, the shorter the life of the re-stain, the more varied final appearance you will have and the more maintenance that will be required. Just temper your expectations and understand that it is impossible to make a deck look perfect, uniform corner to corner and not require yearly maintenance of some sort. Quality products, the right product, the right specification for the given deck and appropriately setting expectations with your painting contractor will go a long way to a better final experience and end result with a deck re-staining project.
Contact Stellar Painting for deck painting in Denver, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Lakewood, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Centennial and the Front range.
My Goodness, the controversy over collecting a Deposit sometimes seems to be a deal breaker when it comes down to choosing one Painting Contractor vs. another. There are all kinds of good reasons to be careful with this and all kinds of other reasons Painting Contractors should be aware of their importance.
Who should you not give a deposit to for a Project? Contractors not registered with the Secretary of State or the BBB. Contractors who are not members of any kind of Professional Organization such as the PDCA (Painter Decorators Contractors of America) or do not have a Website or presence on the Internet. Be especially careful of Contractors who do not have Liability and most important Verifiable Workers Compensation Insurance Policies. They should have references to share with you. These type of “Owner Operator” type of Contractors are more like “2 guys and a Pick Up Truck” type of outfits. These type of Painting Contractors present a element of Risk to you to start with and giving them Money up front just adds to that. By the way, most consumer advocates who have issue with deposits are really trying to protect you from these types of groups.
Why do so many Contractors not ask for deposits? We’ll it is really simple. It’s the “Me too” Mentality of the Industry that drives it really. “I am afraid to ask for a deposit because so & so does not” or “What if I can’t sell a bid? I can’t risk that?” Does it provide me an edge over my Competition? , How can I be Different not necessarily better? “It’s easy to sell and market it!” Really in the end folks, a Painting Contractor in Denver really needs to offer more to you than a “No Deposit Policy” What you say? How about History of performance, credentials, affiliation, customer service, good people, good leadership, quality products, a caring attitude and an effective system to tie all that together. Providing deposits to Good, Caring Contractors should not be a concern or why you ultimately choose one over another. If you have been burned in the past, most contractors will work with you to make you comfortable either way.
What is the purpose of a Deposit? Some will say to cash flow a Company, to buy Materials, to have addl. funds to shift elsewhere, ect. This is not what deposits are intended for by good companies who ask them from you. It is a small measure of commitment from Homeowner or Business Client to the Contractor that there is an agreement that will be honored. Organized Contractors have processes & people that have been paid and put in place to take care of you. This behind the scenes effort includes, Systematic receipt of your Project, arrangement of Materials, Creation of Files, placing you in a Scheduling program, Coordinating Colors, Assigning Crews & Crew Leaders, and Communicating and Following up with you.
Why should a Contractor even consider asking for a Deposit? Many times in the Painting Industry, there is some measure of a waiting period as these processes are implemented and your crew ultimately shows up to do your Project. Some consumers will not honor the signature on a proposal and cancel an agreed Contract as they had nothing vested in it. Really it comes down to common business sense. Anything that is all good for one party and all bad for the other is just not a good or sensible way to run an enterprise. By the way, no Viable Contractor can make it on just a Deposit. They have to work hard and earn the rest of the Proposal in order to survive. They will want to make you happy to get the balance that is owed.
How much is reasonable? We only ask for a $100.00 for Exteriors due to Winter, Spring Bookings, Weather in general and Volume in the Summer, but Up to 25% should be acceptable. Credit Cards are always refundable as are most deposits no matter how they are provided. Remodeling work deposits can vary depending on what is involved, Volume and Type of Materials to be purchased in advance and the length of a Project until a Draw for Labor is appropriate. Sometimes 40- 50% is needed on Remodeling and Window Replacement Projects. A trustworthy, established Contractor will always have much to offer and the axis of their Marketing efforts will be more focused in on great end results, great people, and a consistent quality product at a fair price.
Many Denver painters go to great lengths to be fair and provide good, solid and as accurate estimates as is possible. A hard bid is based on time standards built on Avg’s – the avg. level of protection needed to an area , the avg. cut in needed to areas, the avg. heights dealt with, the avg. speed of a Crew, ect. Pricing is most often based on what the Avg. rate the Market is currently bearing. This is done based on research over the course of 100’s of jobs and watching the Market Place. Hard bids are intended to be more accurate than Time and Materials Bids as a whole because the Estimator can typically review and can see what needs to be painted and assess certain Variables such as cut in and protection, height Challenges, ect. as mentioned above. You take the Sq. Footage of an Area or the Linear ft. & multiple it by the Time Standard and that gives you the Projected Hours that all Good Bids need to start with in order to provide a Final ESTIMATE. The calculation is not a RANGE OF TIME, it is an exact # of which you might round up a little, down a little or use “as is”. Intelligently established from the start, it will be the # to which the Crew will be tasked with and your Bid will be calculated.
Some Estimators are “Guestimators” where it would be very difficult for them to break things out as many good or great estimators can. They are historically more wrong than right and many don’t care as they will pay the worker bees whatever suits them for a particular job. This is very often a Contractor taking more than what is rightfully theirs and while that’s a great way to make Money, it’s also a great way to go out of business. Some Franchises use estimating programs but they tend to have issues with accuracy as certain Variables are not properly atoned for or kept up to date as #’s are just robotically kicked out and the often inexperienced estimator relies on it as a crutch of sorts and gives the Estimate right or wrong. Good Training and up to date Software and Standards do help prevent this but there is no substitute for experience. An Estimator must also be able to recognize certain elements, special prep or variables that will affect the final end result and the final estimate. Without those recognition skills the bidding Software is rendered allot less effective & will have very questionable accuracy. If a Crew is not given a fair amount of time to complete the Project than there is going to be a slip in the Workmanship and on-site unhappiness amongst that Crew.
The goal of the Crew as with any service industry is to complete the task in the allotted target hours or less. Some Crews will accomplish this and for those that go over hours then good contractors must pay them the same as well with no addl. charge to the client obviously & vise versa. Thus the Term “Hard Bid” and the comfort level people have with knowing what they will pay upfront. It is most unwise to do large scale projects by T & M unless it is Wallpaper Removal, Some Stain Work or Larger Scale Drywall Repairs where ascertaining time is near impossible. Keeping tabs on hours, breaks, lunches and how fast people are working or not are all reasons why T &M just typically does not work for larger scoped Paint Projects. It can get messy, thus again why people prefer “Hard Bids” for their Painting Projects. Good Contractors have worked hard thru the years to have a fair system and stamp their years of experience in this industry on it and pass on to other Estimators in a good company who will have great success in their own right. The goal is always to be more right than wrong or thus not exist very long as a sustainable business. More Right & Fair- have sustainable long term relationships with your Painters and provide consistently good or great product, more wrong and unfair- lose your Painters and Struggle with Up and Down Final Results! Crews are rated and judged in this Industry for hitting these targets consistently. But as I have said prior, all estimates are projections and things can present themselves that will affect the productivity of a job one way or the other. Sometimes Furniture is not moved or pictures not taken down for example. There is no way one can project the exact hour or Min. that a Job will complete. Time and Materials is used for a add-on’s like a Stair Rail, which might be difficult to recall vividly after one has left the project site for some time and therefore the most fair thing to do in that regard is to apply it to Time and Materials where no one is hurt by guest mating to low or hurt by guest mating to high, either way It would be guest mating. Again, in the end you only pay for exactly for what it takes to do the task. Good Contractor’s Stand by their Bids as fair and always more right than wrong.
Are you really making the Right Choice?
If you feel comfortable that a Painting Contractor has given you an intelligent accounting for his or her numbers then you should be very, very leery of Bids that are substantially less, even though they are alluring. Do not focus on what you think it should cost as a novice as many of us have been doing this for years to tell you that in a good way. That is why you asked us to come! Be Careful, even when you find Contractors from what you believe to be the same reliable source. We pay money to be on most all of these consumer driven sites. Motive is everything in this business. Trying to sell every job by underpaying your people and underbidding the Industry is no way to have real sustainability and respect for what it really takes for the “Worker Bees” to accomplish what is often a difficult task in a good way. It should absolutely be known to consumers that some groups of Painters work with Contractors that present themselves in a professional way, with great websites, great testimonials ect. but feel like they can go nowhere else, their trapped, where else will we go? And accept whatever is thrown their way in regards to pay. This is the very reason good work results in many of these cases exist for certain & even long time periods & good testimonials have come forth, but these workers are most often being taken advantage of. These type of Contractors are of the worse breed and they have all sorts of reasons & stories as to why they are “cheaper” than everyone else. Most of it is nonsense. It just really comes down to Motive- I want to sell every job no matter who pays the price later. Trust me, they cannot & will not survive such behavior long term. Bottom Line, even though you might be impressed with such presentations , DOES THE BID MAKE REAL SENSE FOR WHAT YOU ARE ASKING TO BE DONE COMPARED TO OTHERS? WHY IS THAT CONTRACTOR 1/2 or 1/3rd the difference of so many others? This is a big time red flag. Do you really believe a quality Painting Contractor can survive being twice to 1/3rd as wrong all the time?
The Industry unfortunately revolves around allot of fear and self proclaimed grand standing “Rated highest this or that……” Work with Contractors who are not fearful & portray who they are in a real way. Try to source out the Clear Leaders in the Market that base their business on practical and market driven business models that are driven in the spirit of fairness to all people involved in the Process of completing a Paint Project Successfully in your behalf. If you do so, you will find a long term relationship with a contractor who will deliver what you seek.