Painting Misery

Green Panels

The interior is currently being painted and is due to be finished on Friday – back to that later.

We painted a large portion of the exterior soon after the cladding was finished. We still have a bit more to go, possibly including the old house, when the project nears completion. We used Taubmans paint; their 3 in 1 undercoat and their external flat water based paint. It was recommended by a builder and has a good warranty. The complicated part of the paint job was the green panelled wall. This wall was made of Magnesium Oxide panels from Ezylite over which we screwed and glued 10mm Ezylite boards cut to size. The whole wall was painted with white undercaot (now I know better I would have used a mid grey). We then painted the rebates between the panels in ‘Woodland Grey’ (a Dulux colour) to match the woodland grey cappings. Once this was done I went to buy the four colours of green that I needed for the pattern. Unfortunately, having chosen them based on colour swatches, I was told that many of the green colours couldn’t be used outdoors. This meant choosing many greens and getting the shop assistant to check his computer to see if each one was suitable. I then remade my selection based on what was available. We then painted the four green colours to seperate panels to give the pixelated effect we wanted. This had to be done early in the morning and late in the evening because the weather was so hot – over 35C almost every day. When it got too hot the paint would become sticky and start to clag up and we had to stop. Each panel received two coats of topcoat. When it was done I felt two colours were too similar and I mixed the remains of two tins together to get a green that was different enough from the others to work – and repainted those panels. The capping over the brick walls between the brick walls and green wall was also partially painted matt black (over a suitable undercoat) where it was reccessed so that it was less visible. The effect of this was better than I anticipated, to my eyes the green wall seems to hover over the brick white wall which I think is a good effect. The greens also work well behind the tree next to the wall and I think the whole effect makes the house look less bulky.

We also used a very dark grey industrial paint on the cross beam at the rear elevation. This paint is called Dulux ‘Ferrodor’ and it is used in areas where steel is exposed to corrosive elements. I chose it because the finish looks like fine grade, very dark, sandpaper. I like the look of it but I could have gotten a way with a cheaper low sheen black to match the windows.

I have also painted the bearers and joists that will make up the rear deck. These are painted black to give them added protection (they are termite proofed LVL) and so that they are less visible between the decking.

Black Joists

Now to the misery. I used a website called Service Central to get three quotes for work. I always wonder about getting trades from websites but all the other painters I knew were busy. In the end I received two quotes and one person decided not to quote. Of the two quotes one was considerably cheaper and when I met the cheaper painter (prior to their quote) we walked around the house and identified the scope of work. Of particular importance was the fact that the previous owners used waterbased paint over enamel to freshen up the house before selling. This is an old trick and the paint doesn’t adhere properly. The paint over the timber could be scraped of by runing a finger nail accross it. The painter identified this as a defect along with other items.

Flaky Paint

I accepted his quote and his men started work. At first one man was scrapping back the paint correctly, later they decided to surface sand the unstable paint as an acceptable solution. I argued that this would never work and that it was unacceptable. He claimed not to realise the scope of work. My letter (without naming names) follows:

“Following from our phone call I want to reiterate that I expect the paint work to be in accordance with your quote. That is: “Ensure all areas prepared for paint application”. I don’t mind whether this is done by scraping, sanding or any other suitable method.

For the area to be “Prepared for paint application” you need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. These are:

“Ensure surfaces to be painted are clean and free of dust, dirt, mould and grease. Previously painted surfaces must be sanded down thoroughly removing any flaking or blistering.”

Clearly a previously painted surface that scrapes off when finger nails are run across it is not suitable and would be described as ‘flaking’.

When I went on site it became clear that you had no intention of meeting your quoted standard. Rather than escalate the argument I agreed, at my discretion, to pay an additional $400 to ensure the work would be done properly. You said this would be done in one day.

I expect to pay your quoted price and I am willing to pay an additional $400 as goodwill. I hope this is clear.”

He then said it would take three days and would cost $1200 more. I met him on site and the following email was sent shortly afterwards:

“I am attaching the letter I handed to you a few minutes ago while I was on site for your records.

I note that no dropsheets were in place, contrary to your quote, and that the rear window was partially masked. I note that paint spray has drifted onto the finished windows and that paint was on the uncovered timber floor. No other fixtures were masked. Paint is also on the shower screen and on the chrome radiator outlets. I further note that the paint finish at this stage is uneven with some areas showing an almost stippled finish, I understand sanding will occur and more care will take place.

While I was on site I videoed some of the above for my records.

I note that you threatened to walk off the site and further threatened to come in and damage the property if you weren’t paid (I have always agreed to pay as per your quote). I also note that in your phonecall after my visit to the site you agreed that scraping off the paint was a more efficient way of preparing the timber surfaces than sanding off the paint.

On site you asked for a $3000 progress payment. I have agreed and will process this tomorrow providing I can see that work is continuing in a workmanlike manner.

I look forward to this work being completed to a fair standard on Friday, I also expect the fixtures, including glazing, to be clear of any paint by Friday.”

All of this is giving me stress but he seems to be proceeding and will hopefully be gone by Friday afternoon.

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