A Quality Paint Job is in the Eye of the Beholder

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

One of the reasons to hire professional painters is because they are supposed do a better job than you would, right? Because if I wanted a lousy job, why, I'd do it myself. Except that I am a fairly good painter. I carefully tape off the walls . . . roll slowly enough to avoid "vacation" lines . . . sand between coats and have, on occasion, used a make-up brush for minor touch ups. This might sound a bit obsessive to you, but I believe a job worth doing at all is a job worth doing to the best of one's ability.

kitchen remodel day 6

Ordinarily, I would have hired my usual painter for this job, but he was busy this week. So, I took the recommendation from my excellent drywall dude and hired his son, who's been painting about 10 years. In hindsight, I should have asked what he's been painting because the job he did looks like he practiced on cats -- on moving targets, not a stationary wall. This kid agreed to do two coats of paint and a coat of primer. When I talked to him yesterday, however, he was suddenly adamant about one coat of primer and one coat of paint.

I explained that you really do need two coats of paint, especially when using a white primer. He disagreed. He promised me that one coat of paint would cover the job. Where have I heard these sorts of promises before? Oh, yeah, right. This car was only driven on Sundays by a little old lady to church. This house is easily worth $50,000 more than what you are paying for it. Interest rates will definitely decline next month.

I stewed on this for a while and then went back into the kitchen to say, no, I really need two coats of paint. All of a sudden his tune changed, as though we were meeting for the first time. (Hello, do I know you?) He would do a primer coat, let it dry, then follow up with two wet coats of paint. If he missed anything or needed touch-up, he'd come back to fix it because, after all, customer satisfaction was important to him.

Last time I checked, the ride on a turnip truck is sorta bumpy, which is probably why it's easy to fall out of it.

Here are photos of his "finished" but before "touch up" painting. Was this monkey swinging from wall to wall and painting with a banana? Perhaps he was admiring his armpit as he scratched -- which could explain how he ended up splashing paint on my baseboards and trim.

kitchen remodel day 6

kitchen remodel day 6kitchen remodel day 6








Well, when he gets here on Monday, he will not only touch-up his screw-ups, but he will be giving all the walls a second coat of paint. This is the advantage of not paying workers until the job is finished. Often, I will give a sub-contractor a deposit check when the job is initiated and 50% or so when the job is about half-way through, paying the balance upon final completion. I am glad my instincts warned me to hold off handing over any cash at all, especially since I supplied the paint. Call me silly, but I'm thinking he's not going to get a bonus like his father received

After the kitchen is finished, I may repaint the walls, myself. I'm not certain I like the color in the light. I'm using Oat Straw by Behr. It looks fabulous in the sun room and family room, but it's a slightly different hue under the CFL lights in the kitchen. I'll hold off on making that decision until the countertops are installed and the task lighting is hooked up. Fortunately, paint is inexpensive and an easy thing to change.

Elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent land park

Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.


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Barry Bridges
Barry Bridges Weichert Realtors Bridges & Co. - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Lake professional

Never hire a painter who wears flip flops
That is my moto

Jul 27, 2008 02:53 AM #2
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Elizabeth, you are exactly right to not pay all the money up front. We had the same problem with being happy or not happy with colors after they are applied. Sometiimes they turn out colder or warmer than you thought. We painted our trim and garage doors three times before we got it right. In one sense I felt dumb, but we finally got it right.

Jul 27, 2008 02:53 AM #3
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

Quality is in the eye of the beholder.  I slap paint on the wall as quickly as possible and I am done.  I can double coat a room in 2 hours.  Takes my wife all day to do so. 

My last paint job before I was banned from painting ever again in my house I refused to move the BR furniture so I painted around it.  It took months before my wife figured it out. 

So now if she wants it done right she paints.  If she wants a professional job, we hire a professional. 

Jul 27, 2008 02:55 AM #4
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Elizabeth, your remodel is turing into quite an entertaining AR e-book! I'm sorry about the painting headaches, but I must say, you have quite a way with words! (ROTFL) I am soooo loving this post! ;-)

Jul 27, 2008 03:00 AM #5
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Make sure you have a discussion with the Sheet rock Dude, because if his word goes out as a recommendation again he had better be vouching for a quality worker. This is a reflection on the one that recommended the painter as well. Steve

Jul 27, 2008 03:02 AM #6
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

I hope the job turns out alright. I always go with a pro. Its better to get a contractor referral from another realtor, as they will be more discerning about quality of work than a dad. Good luck!

Jul 27, 2008 03:13 AM #7
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Nanette: Oh, no. You must have been horrified to see the job was screwed up. Supervision. That's what these guys need. I wasn't here yesterday. I was out showing property, or I would have been screaming the first time they splashed paint.

Hi Barry: He wasn't wearing painter's clothing, either, as you can tell by the photo.

Hi Gary: Your satisfaction is what matters. I don't care how many times a job has to be redone (when I'm doing it myself) to get it right.

Hi Chad: LOL. You painted around your furniture!!! I'm dying here.

Hi C: You know, if you don't maintain your sense of humor, you've got nothing BUT headaches. Everything is funny in some shape or form, and it does make you feel a little bit better about it.

Hi Steve: I will let his father know. His dad is a straight-up kinda guy, and I really like him.

Hi Betina: I am blaming myself because I shouldn't have taken the first recommendation that came along.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent land park

Jul 27, 2008 03:28 AM #8
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Elizabeth ~ That's too bad.  It looks like more than a "splash" on the baseboards and moldings.  Maybe the father built up the son's expertise to more than it really was.  While there are new paints from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams that do completely cover in one coat, I don't believe that Behr has a line like that; regardless, he should be doing it the way you want it.

Jul 27, 2008 03:35 AM #9
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

Good Job

How goes it there my Califonia buddy


Jul 27, 2008 04:10 AM #10
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Ha ha - we like the comment about not hiring painters who wear flip flops. That is a good one. All the best in getting this job completed.

Jul 27, 2008 04:21 AM #11
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

I have never met a painter that liked another painters work.  You describe yourself as a painter, so you fit my profile exactly.  LOL.

Jul 27, 2008 10:14 AM #12
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

The daddy needed to have Junior make a little money but recommending him wasn't a good thing.  It's still fun to see your progress and to hear about your toughness!

Jul 27, 2008 01:27 PM #13
Erin Stumpf (Attardi)
Coldwell Banker - Sacramento, CA
916-342-1372 / DRE# 01706589 Sacramento, CA

That looks terrible!  Painting really is a highly specialized trade, and I suppose 10 years experience for this kid was just not enough.

Jul 27, 2008 03:52 PM #14
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Kathy: I'm old school and trust no paint can cover in one coat. The rollers make a difference as do the number of times the spot is rolled.

Hi Tom: As you can see, Tom, I'm up to my neck in kitchen remodeling.

Hi Bob and Carolin: We'll see how it goes today when they come back.

Hi Robert: LOL. You could be right.

Hi Barbara: He might do OK today. I'm thinking positive about this.

Hi Erin: Painters can be artists or they can be a guy with a paint brush in his or her hand.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent land park

Jul 28, 2008 04:18 AM #15
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

I had the guy recommended to me by someone praising him. At our meeting he also pat himself on the back. We told him that we need an impeccable job, and the quality was paramount. NO problem. Leave and do not come until I call you.

Got a check for 50% and we desappeared. Did not hear from him for longer than we thought it would take, but finally the proud invitation to come and inspect. Coming, and the first thing that strikes is that the wall is all in spots. Ask him why, and he in return asked if we were hoping on anything better with one coat.

Hey, we did not discuss the number of coatings. Just that it would be an impeccable quality. He suggested that for souble the amount he would do the second coat. But that time we did not him to do anything, told him he would never see the rest of the money.

Jul 28, 2008 03:57 PM #16
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Jon: See, this is where actually having done the jobs yourself pays off. It shouldn't be this way. I agree, it shouldn't. But I spent almost 10 years of my life doing my own home improvements, asking questions, doing research . . . so, now, when I talk to these consruction guys, they can't pull the wool over my face. I know what to ask and demand. They look at me and their eyes bug out. They can't believe I know what I am talking about -- like maybe I have a microphone hidden somewhere in my bag, LOL.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent

Jul 28, 2008 04:08 PM #17
Fran Gatti
RE/MAX Integrity - Medford, OR
Managing Principal Broker - RE/MAX Integrity


We paid a painting contractor to paint the interior of our 3000 sq. ft. home and my husband went back and repainted all of it.  Then, he hired a cabinet maker to install our kitchen cabinets and ended up rehanging several. Sometimes, it just pays to do it yourself I guess.  Now if my husband wants to hire out a job, I remind him of the paint and cabinets and he usually just does it himself. The contractor we hired to do our staircase, promised it would be finished for my daughter's wedding in July of 2007...we are still waiting.


Jul 28, 2008 05:28 PM #18
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Elizabeth, the comments just keep getting better and better... You must let us see how the touch and repair work goes. :-)

Jul 29, 2008 08:54 AM #19
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Fran: As a person who cleans up before the housekeeper arrives, I can identify with your husband. Sometimes it is better to do it yourself because others rarely live up to your expectations -- nor do they care as much about detail as you may.

Hi C: Wait until you hear about Day 9. The painters are coming back.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent land park


Jul 29, 2008 09:08 AM #20
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

haha... now that looks like MY paint job.  Did the painter dude come back and make it right? 

Jul 29, 2008 10:54 AM #21
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