08-23-11 - Painting

People who paint their house themselves are making a mistake. When you count the materials, the tools/equipment, all the time to buy things and learn how to do it (*), and then do it, it's clearly a huge net loss even if you make almost $0 per hour (by almost $0 I mean less than $50). But most of all, you do a shitty job. (* = most people don't actually spend much time learning how to do it, they think they can just slap some paint up however). When shopping for houses, I would say a good 90% had some DIY painting and it was almost always epically shitty. Streaky with obvious brush marks, too thin with the previous color showing through, not primed right and peeling, or perhaps most commonly, not prepped right, so they just painted right over nails and tape and bad splotchy patch jobs without prepping the walls at all. When you depreciate the value for how shitty the job is, the DIY paint job is worth about as much as a kick in the nuts.

In general, the whole Home Depot / DIY movement is a real fucking tragedy. Not just for the peace and quiet of neighborhoods, nor just for the quality of dinner party conversation, but most of all for the innocent houses which have your shitty amateur work inflicted on them.

I've been using day labor painters, but I don't particularly recommend it. I think it was good for me, because I got a lot of really nasty clean-up work done as part of the paint prep (which normal pro painters would refuse to do), but if it was just for the painting, not so great. The main problem is that you have to be there to supervise all the time, which is a massive time cost.

In general, I hate dealing with anyone who is paid hourly. I like to pay by the job, and if you take longer, or if you fuck it up and have to redo part of it, then you should get paid *less* for inconveneniencing me, not more!

Anyway, some random painting tips to self even though I swear not to do this ever again :

1. Buy way more of everything than you think you need. Way more. I mean *way* more. You think you need 2 rolls of blue tape, buy 20. If you don't use them, you can just return them. If you don't you will wind up having to run to the store to buy more of something, which is a huge time waster. Buy lots of brushes, tools, equipment, all kinds of shit that you think you probably won't need, just to have it on hand in case you do.

2. Cover all the floors. I know you think you are saving time by only covering the floors near the walls you are painting, but you will get paint in places you don't expect, and then spend way more time cleaning it up than if you just covered all the floors.

3. When buying more of a certain paint, make sure you check the code # on the can. Don't just buy more "Brand X latex white" , because there might actually be 4 variants of that which are not clearly labelled as being different. Every paint can has a code to uniquely identify it.

4. IMO avoid oil-based paints and primers for interiors. The thickness/durability benefits are not really worth the cleanup pain vs. modern good water/latex based paints. (painting a boat or some such shit might be a different story)

5. Foam brushes are good for tiny touch-up jobs. For painting edges of walls, or anything where you are applying a decent amount of paint, a good quality bristle is the way to go.

In general the mistakes are so predictable and obvious and yet you will almost certainly make them : eg. time saved by doing less prep costs you more time in the end, money spent on cheap equipment is lost back in wasted time, etc.

Also in general, I think it's very fucked up that so many home owners take all the time to learn to do this shit and DIY it; WTF; isn't this what civilization and capitalism is for? specialization for increased efficiency? where did it go wrong?


billyzelsnack said...

Home maintenance and building shit is my way of being macho. haha. I do draw the line at working on the car. Fuck that.

IvyMike said...

For home improvements, you usually have to pick from two bad options: A) pay someone else, who may indeed have the skills, but certainly doesn't give a shit about how things turn out; B) do it yourself, which is the opposite: concerned about the outcome but unskilled.

old rants