|Simply White or Just White - that is the Question|
So you've decided that its time to give your house a new coat of paint. Great choice because it is by far one of the most cost effective ways to either boost your resale value or just enjoy where you are living more. In fact, my wife and I recently decided to have our townhouse painted and it was a very interesting experience - going from being the doctor (recommending painters and colors to my clients) to being the patient (home owner).
So basically whether you are a local Realtor like yours truly or not, you are left with 2 choices when starting this project: what color (or colors) and which painter (or company). That is unless you are making this a DIY project which is not recommended. Its not always like the "flipping the house" shows on HGTV and other cable channels.
Let's start with color first.
The most common Benjamin Moore color right now is "Simply White". Yes, as white as you can imagine. They call it the color of the year for 2016. I'm all on board with that and in fact recently had my home painted so white that when the painting crew was done they said they had never painted a house quite that white previously. The good news is that when this trend is over, it may not require a lot of primer to paint on the next color that becomes trendy.
After white, I am finding that many of my clients are opting for gray, which of actual colors is probably my favorite in general.
But whatever color you decide to go with, best to go to a few paint stores and get the samples for yourself and try them out on your walls and live with the results for a few days or weeks. Just remember that the paint stores will give you eggshell as a sample and if you go with flat it will look somewhat different.
The major tip here is do not pick a color for your home just based on a swatch at the paint store. You need to see the color on your walls.
What you will find is that there really is a difference between brands. While most of the painters and painting companies seem to like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, best to go with a brand that you think looks good on the wall. And don't necessarily listen to the painters when they tell you that your favorite color can be matched to their favorite brand. I don't buy it.
Which leads me to picking a painter or company that will do the work.
As I said previously, you do not want to be doing this yourself.
Remember the last time you tackled a paint job inside your house? Maybe you still have nightmares about the endless taping and other prep work, the inevitable drips and slightly crooked edges. Even the most avid do-it-yourselfers have to admit that hiring a professional painter is usually worth the extra expense. Professional painters can usually guarantee a quicker, higher-quality and more accurate paint job than you could do yourself. Licensed pros know the best and fastest ways to prepare walls before painting including removing wallpaper, refinishing plaster, sanding, spackling and priming for a better result.
If you are like most people, including me, you'll check Yelp and Angie's List for reviews and ask friends, neighbors, or even your friendly Realtor for referrals. In my case, I know plenty of painters, I just haven't been their customer before.
I have to say that I was underwhelmed with the level of customer service from some of the top painting companies in the South Bay. And that's after I've sent them plenty of business over the years. I'm not even talking about price - just the basics like showing up on time for measurements, giving quotes and calling people back.
I would highly recommend that whatever else you do or don't do, you should work with a professional painting contractor who is licensed and insured. Ask about insurance and bonding to be sure that all workers are covered for any injuries. Find out if the company provides a warranty on its work and for how long. You may want to ask how long the company has been in business and if its painters are employees or subcontractors. Benjamin Moore recommends getting at least three references from past customers.
A cost estimate, or quote, should include all labor and materials, including the type of paint that will be used. Additional detail work, such as intricate molding or drywall repair prep, usually will increase the cost due to the extra time required. Costs vary by the amount of detail and fine-finish work to be done. Travel time to the job can be a factor too. So get someone local. What you may very well find is that there just isn't a lot of difference in price. Sure, someone may be a lot more expensive and there will be someone at the low end, but in general 80% of the quotes will be reasonably close.
Depending on the size of the house, count on the work taking several days. A three-bedroom interior could take three to five days, depending on the scope of the work. And consider that each surface will take time. You may only wish to have the walls painted, or you may want walls, ceilings and trim work painted. It all factors in.
Before work begins, most homeowners are expected to remove wall hangings and accessories from the work area, and most painters will help move larger items. Painters take care of covering furnishings and masking areas with tape as part of their prep work before painting begins.
Homeowners aren’t expected to provide anything — a reputable pro should be well-equipped with all the necessary supplies.
After covering furnishings and floors to protect them, and using tape to mask off areas that won’t be painted, the painters repair surface imperfections — caulking holes and cracks and spackling any dents in the drywall. Then they usually apply a primer, which provides a smooth surface for the topcoat of paint. Generally, the standard is two coats of paint for most interior projects. Standard latex paint dries in three to six hours, and millwork (wood trim around doors and windows, baseboards, chair rails) dries in about 24 hours. When the painting is done, the crew should clean rooms of debris and dust, and move furniture back into place.
FYI, as with many things Real Estate related, I'm writing from experience. In our house we used"White" Dunn Edwards DEW 380. We found this brand showed best on our lightly textured walls. DW is not preferred by painters because it doesn't go on easily and we needed 3 coats!
But it looks great to us!