Ecopainting offers interior and exterior painting services for churches and other places of worship. Because of their architecture, more often than not, churches are challenging projects for commercial painters to paint. The biggest interior challenge is the height of the ceilings and walls, and the ability to access them safely. On the outside, the same architecture presents similar height access issues with high steeples, windows and decorative elements.
Interior Painting for Churches
A contractor who paints church interiors is very mindful of the safety considerations of working at heights. Scheduling of the work and scaffolding arrangements need to be done by keeping the convenience of the customer in mind.
The Heights. Most churches, especially the large ones have high walls, even dome ceilings. When it’s time to repair and paint them, the contractor for the job must be experienced and qualified to work at heights. Ladders may not be safe enough to reach the work and the painting contractor may decide to rent scaffolding or an aerial lift. The cost of erecting scaffold and renting equipment is usually included in the contractor’s bid. The facility manager should ensure that the painters working in the project have working at heights training and certification. Not everyone is experienced and trained to work at heights because of the danger factor. Scaffolding should be equipped with guardrails and workers at heights should be harnessed for safety.
Working around the Pews. Because church pews take over most of the floor space, working around them is challenging. The best way to access the heights is by removing the pews, especially if setting up scaffolding. When the scope of work is smaller, a combination of ladders and extension poles may be enough. If they are not removed they should be covered with clean plastic to protect them from debris and paint.
Removing the pews takes some planning to avoid damaging them. If possible they should be moved to another area and marked so they can go back to their exact location. All hardware should be stored safely to be reused. When lifting them, Keep in mind that they are heavy and awkward to move around.
Windows with stained glass and trim. Some churches have ornamental trim and very large windows with stained glass. If the windows and trim have been previously painted, now is the time to paint them again. Ask the painters to inspect the caulking while they are up there and repair them as necessary. If the windows haven’t been painted for a while they likely have oil paint. Painting over oil paint with acrylic enamel requires a bonding primer. Some of the older churches have trim that has been stained and varnished. Stain and varnish is more durable and may not need painting every time. If you need your woodwork stripped and re-stained, let your paint contractor know. Stripping wood, staining and varnishing it is a time consuming job but absolutely worth it when done properly.
Repairs. Painting jobs don’t happen because of paint failure. Most churches are big old buildings and they need repairs and upkeep. Old plaster walls will crack and drywall joints will separate. Sometimes a roof leak may damage and stain the ceiling and will need to be repaired. Take advantage of the fact that the scaffold is there and ask the painters to take care of this. Always repair the roof before the painting crew gets there.
Scheduling. Ask the painting contractor if they are able to complete the work without disrupting the church service. If the renovation and painting work is massive, it may need to be divided into phases. Ask about the size of the crew that will be assigned to the project. While you are at it, ask them if they have their own painters or if they use subcontractors. A contractor has less control of the subs and any last minute absence will interfere with a tight schedule.
Painting the Church Exterior
It is the church architecture that will determine the degree of difficulty of the paint job. There are only few contractors that have the experience of painting a high steeple of a big church. Other than the height factor, the exterior of a church is not much different than the exterior of any other old building.
If the woodwork hasn’t been painted for a few years, there is a possibility of lead paint. If not sure, paint stores will sell a basic lead testing kit that’s fairly accurate. If led has been detected, the contractor has to follow specific safety procedures.
Sometimes the wood is in need of extensive repair. Any wood damaged by rot and moisture should be replaced before painting. Small repairs can be patched with epoxy based fillers or “Bondo” type compounds. While the painters up there, they should repair any failing caulking and reglaze the windows as necessary.
If any alkyd paint is present, now is the time to convert it to a quality acrylic enamel. Acrylic paint is superior because of it’s ability to stay flexible for years at any temperature. A top quality bonding primer is all that’s needed for the conversion.
Ecopainting Church Projects
Zion Lutheran Church. This church, located north on Keele Street in Concord, has been there for over 200 years. The original building was replaced in 1860 with the current brick building .
They contracted Ecopainting to paint the congregation area, the stairways the balcony and the kitchen. Before painting, the walls required extensive plaster repairs which was to be expected for such an old building. The biggest challenge for the crew was repairing and painting the ceiling in the congregation area. We removed the pews and transported them out of the area so that a scaffold could be erected. We patched all the cracks with the new Fibafuse repair tape and primed the surface. This tape combines the flexibility of the fiberglass with the strength of the solid drywall tape.
The paint products were from Benjamin Moore. For the ceilings we chose their dead flat ceiling paint because of it’s ability to hide surface imperfections. We painted the walls with Ultraspec 500 eggshell and the trim with Advance Pearl. The project was completed in 10 days.
The Runnymede Community Church is located on Colbeck Street in the Bloor West Village of Toronto. In 2010 we were contracted to paint the exterior of this beautiful 100 year old community church. The scope of work included the windows, including the big arch shaped windows at the front of the building. We painted the doorframes, eavestroughs, downpipes and soffits. All windows had window screens that were rusting. We treated them with rust inhibitive primer and painted them with DTM (Direct To Metal) alkyd enamel.
Pickering Village United Church. The Pickering United Church was established in 1930. The first building was build on Kingston Road in 1891. After the church building became too small with no room for expansion, they moved to a new 25,000 square foot facility on Church Street in Ajax. The land was donated in 1988 by developer John Boddy.
In the interior of the building we painted the hallways and common areas of the church including the doors. This was a successful project for a very happy customer. The church has since been a good source of referral residential business in the Pickering and Ajax area.
Painting Services for Churches
- Interior, Exterior and Maintenance Painting
- Drywall and old plaster repair
- Decorative finishes
- Wood striping, staining and varnishing
- Wallpaper removal
- Minor carpentry work, installation of mouldings and trim.
- Floor finishing
- Exterior decorative trim repair and painting
Are you thinking of painting your Church, Synagogue or Mosque? Consider hiring Ecopainting. Our painters have the experience training and certifications to deliver a successful project. Call 416 733-7767 and book an appointment with one of our representatives. We will listen to all your needs and concerns and provide you with a detailed proposal on how to address them.