A great finish doesn't come inexpensively, but it can make or break the look of a custom home.
Many homeowners are educated to the fact that plumbers and electricians are fairly expensive but are often surprised at the prices charged by other subcontractors. The most obvious example of this is the professional painting company.
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 professional.
Professionals get these results by paying attention to details that most homeowners and casual painters miss. In fact, 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 unbelievable amounts of time prepping surfaces, following a multi-step process that includes sanding, masking, caulking and filling, then priming, sanding, and caulking and filling again before they even think about applying the finish coats. The final appearance has as much to do with all this prep work as it does with the paint.
When it comes to paint, professionals 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, as well as what kind of surface each covers best and in what environmental conditions. They also know how to mix paints in the right quantities, what additives to use, how to make crisp lines at edges and intersections, and how to create even looks over multiple surfaces.
It's no surprise that professionals also invest in high-quality tools. There are an overwhelming number of choices in rollers, brushes and spraying equipment, and it takes experience to learn which ones will provide the exact look the builder and the homeowners are trying to achieve, whether that's a traditional brushed finish or one with a glass-like sheen.
The payoff for all this work is a finish that looks great and stands the test of time. Due in part to the careful preparation and right materials, a finish applied by a skilled painter will last much longer before it needs painting again, which of course lowers the long-term cost. Of course, the environmental exposure of the surface plays a large role in longevity as well.
But what if the homeowners have worked with a professional painting company in the past and want the builder to use that company? There are a couple of concerns with this.
Professional builders vet all subcontractors using the same criteria. Their trade partners are reputable companies with a track record of satisfied customers and can meet the level of quality set by their general contractor. They must have adequate insurance coverage. And because they get consistent work from the builder, they tend to show up on time and offer fair pricing for good quality. To ensure that a new subcontractor can meet these criteria, the builder will insist on trying them out on a couple of smaller jobs.
The bottom line is that successful builders become successful because they zealously guard their reputation for high-quality work, and the quality of the paint job can make or break the look of a fine custom home. The final finish is just one of many areas where you definitely get what you pay for.
Brink Custom Homes
P.O. Box 1902
Tahoe City, CA 96145
(530) 583-2005 – phone
(530) 583-4405 – fax