Friday, September 12, 2008

House Painting - Exterior

We got our home exteriors painted this month - something to blog home about! It had been more then 5 years since the house exteriors were painted, and there was quite some flaking in the front, which is what prompted us to look into this. We decided to use the tax stimulus payment for this purpose - spend on an American business and thus helps the economy! Some tips based on our experience below.

Getting Quotes: Though I have painted the inside of my house, I did not want to risk painting the outside. It is a lot of work, and a bad job isn't worth the risk. So, I called and obtained quotes from 3 places for our single story 1300 sq ft home. They did a quick 5 minute visit and give us the estimate and some color brochures and company material. One was a referral from a close friend, and the other two were from the Money Mailer coupons that came in "junk" mail.
  • One of the quotes had a basic rate of $2000, and extras that made it $3000. The extras included a lot of good stuff, and they clearly mentioned they were not the cheapest, but do high quality work.
  • The lowest was close to $1800, and included all the typical stuff like scraping, power wash, priming, and of course painting the body, trim in different color (all part of a 21-point process, as they call it). I picked the lowest quote, since the guy followed up and checked - he just made it easier for me. I talked to him about painting on the brick in front and chimney which added another $120.
  • The referral guy came close at $2100, but forgot to bring color brochures, and asked me to go to the store and check out samples. I figured that isn't going to work.
Picking Colors: All three surprisingly said Kelly Moore paint will be used. I don't know why, but I had no preference anyway, as long as the color and quality was good. However, I did want to pick the right color. I had Malibu Beige in mind, with a dark gray Metro for trim, after breaking my head and discussing with my wife over the color brochures, and checking out some online tools on Kelly Moore website. I also had a chat with the owner, who said that is a popular color, and he would show me samples before they start painting. We agreed he would come in Tuesday 8AM to start work.

Big Mistake not checking out sample color: Well, Tuesday came, and some guys show up at 8AM, but not the owner. One of them introduced himself as the foreman in charge, and he said he had instructions to use Malibu Beige and Swiss White for trim, metro for accent. He explained it was all a great choice, but did not have the samples to show. I wasn't so sure, but he insisted the color choices were good, so I let him go with it. I left for work, and the guys finished the job at the end of the day by the time I came back from work. Guess what? The Malibu Beige wasn't showing as good as I had thought it would be! especially against the Swiss snow-white trim. It was a bummer, and I realized what a big mistake it was to let these guys go with the color without checking out samples on the wall. They got their check, but I called the owner and blasted him for not showing up with color samples as he promised, and going for a different trim color than I had suggested. He offered to change the trim for free, but said he couldn't do anything about the beige body color, but felt the job had come out well, and insisted it was still a popular color.

Volte face changing the trim: A couple of days later, the guys showed up and repainted the trim with Metro (dark grayish purple), and it was a total volte face! Now, it was really showing very well, and reflected what exactly I had in mind when I picked the colors. I now thanked the guys and the owner for a wonderful job!

Bottomline, it matters most to really check out the color samples, how they look on your outside wall, before you start the job. Don't let them do a rush job without insisting on this important step, or you could end up feeling cheated, even if the painter did an excellent job.

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