Painting the Hallways of Apartment and Condo Buildings

Painting the hallways of a condo or apartment building is one of the most cost-effective forms of maintenance. Property managers know well, that paint can revitalize and renew a building for a relatively small amount of money.

Despite the known benefits of fresh paint, painting the hallways is often postponed from year to year. Everyone knows they need to be painted, but somehow other more pressing needs take over. These are just hallways after all, they are functional spaces, they work just fine. The floors get cleaned, all mechanical elements are maintained, but what about the condition of the walls? What about the yellowed ceilings, the damaged drywall or the plaster that’s cracking?  

The Aesthetic Benefits of a Hallway Paint Job

In the Greater Toronto Area condominium prices have been skyrocketing. The rental market is not far behind, as the prices of rental apartments are also rising. With thousands of new condos being built, demand is increasing for the older (and more spacious) condos. To compete with the new condo buildings, condo owners of older buildings recognise the need for refurbishing their buildings. There is big R.O.I. value in maintaining the common areas. If the hallway leading to a unit is messy and in need of paint, it will affect the value of each unit. The lobby, elevator doors, corridors, recreational facilities, they all affect how a condo unit is perceived. Improving all the areas leading to the front door of a unit affects the resale value of a condo and condo owners know this .

It’s a good idea to have someone walk the building’s common areas every few months and look for areas that need improvement. The board of directors, representing the residents best interests, can address these improvements during the board meetings.

Minding the Cost of Painting

Painting for apartment buildings is good value

While hard to dispute the value of a paint job, there are still ways to make budget friendly choices. First of all, getting contractors that are unqualified and using inferior materials is false economics. There are better ways to save money, without compromising quality and your residents’ peace of mind.

  • By all means, get 3-4 estimates but pre-qualify the bidders first.
  • Ask the contractors for their preferred time of the year to do the project. Painting contractors in Toronto appreciate doing these during the winter time. It keeps their painters busy and they price these projects accordingly. At Ecopainting we love painting condo buildings from December to March and our painters enjoy the stability of working at a big project. The paints today are virtually odourless and will not inconvenience the residents.
  • Be smart about how many colours you need. Use one colour for the walls and one for all the doors. Maybe add another colour for the lobby area, but keeping the colour scheme simple will save money. Painters like to be moving through these projects fast and colour changes slow the process down.
  • Have a plan and ask your chosen contractor to work with you on it. Maybe the elevator doors are in good condition or the ceilings only need a touch up. Maybe some walls can be left alone for another year and only the unit doors need paint. Whatever you decide, definitely keep the lobby and recreation areas clean and bright. Use the best quality paint and don’t skimp on how many coats you use. Labour is much more expensive than paint, so use the best paint. The right coating system can increase the longevity of a painted surface by years.

Painting the Walls of your Condo Building

This is where older buildings show their age. Hallways see a lot of traffic and get dirty and damaged. Older walls have dents and cracks and plaster walls need major repair. There are still apartment buildings with dated (very old) wallpaper in their corridors. The wallpaper might have been practical years ago. One of the reasons people use wallpaper is to hide several wall imperfections. This is a temporary fix at best, and cannot hide the bad condition of the plaster. The “bulging” and cracks of bad plaster is often visible behind the wallpaper. There is only one way to remedy this situation and that is by removing the wall-covering and repairing the walls properly.

Use Colour and Decor Elements

Painting the walls with a soft neutral colour will improve the look and feel of the building. Newer condo buildings, built with drywall, are in better condition and easier to repair. Sometimes the cost of perfect walls are not allowed by a thrifty condominium budget. With some solid repairs and basic prep the walls can still look acceptable by utilizing decor elements to camouflage imperfections. Use wall mirrors, and inexpensive but tasteful artwork. Pull the attention away from the walls and send it to the end of the corridors by using darker colours. To the viewer, darker colours look closer and make hallways look shorter.
Apartment doors paint has to be durable
Durable painting for doors and frames in condo buildings

The Doors Could use Some Work

Doors get to see a lot of wear and tear daily. Shopping bags, furniture, keys, they can all scratch the finish of the doors. Movers and delivery people get furniture through the doors, and protecting the finish is the last thing on their mind. It is not a surprise that doors need painting more often than other common surfaces. Manufacturers create tough and abrasion resistant enamels specifically for doors and trim. A few years ago, the solution was to use solvent based oil paint for the doors. Alkyd (oil based) paints were in fact more durable but the smell was unbearable. Ventilation in corridors is not the greatest and the strong smell of paint was lingering for months. Coatings technology has improved since and environmental regulations have made most solvent paints a thing of the past. Leading manufacturers have developed water based enamels that are as durable as the old alkyds. Without the smell and the long drying times, the doors can now be painted every time the corridors are refurbished.

When the Ceiling Needs Painting

The ceilings are usually neglected and not always repainted. Unless there were water stains or unsightly cracks, building owners saved money here by not freshening up the ceilings. After many years of neglect, the ceilings cannot be ignored and need attention. Older paints did not resist yellowing as much as today’s acrylics do. A freshly painted ceiling can do wonders to improve the look and feel of a hallway. Paint is a relatively inexpensive medium for creating a feeling of spaciousness and light. The brightness of the corridors adds to the value of the individual condominium unit.

Tip: use pure white or a very light off white colour. Stay away from a light beige, as it will look like it yellowed already.

Environmental Impact of Paint on the Indoor Air Quality

Green painting for apartment building interiors

There is a growing trend for green building and it has been adopted by leading builders. Eco-friendly lifestyles are now promoted in the builders’ marketing materials like never before. Cleaner air ventilation, water saving plumbing, energy efficient lights and appliances,these are all features that consumers welcome. Construction materials such as flooring and paint are chosen for their reduced VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) properties. The average Canadian spends more than 80% of their time indoors, so paying attention to Indoor Air Quality makes sense. Whether painting a new building or an occupied one, common sense and basic facts should be taken seriously.

Paint during the Construction Phase

The ventilation systems in some condo and apartment buildings are inadequate. When painting takes place  inside the building, most residents can smell the paint as the fumes travel. Air gets circulated through electrical outlets, gaps around pipes, behind walls and ceilings. Builder’s grade paint, being inexpensive, is packed with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). This type of paint can take days, even weeks to cure. Off-gassing continues for days after the paint dries. Very often construction is behind schedule and some of the owners move into their units while the hallways are still getting painted. The smell of cheap fresh paint can linger for weeks. The doors and trim are coated with inexpensive enamel paints that smell even worse. Cold weather makes things worse as it is not practical to open any windows for ventilation.

Better quality, low VOC paint should be used during the building of a condo building. It dries and cures faster and the off-gassing is kept to a minimum.

Painting in an Occupied Apartment Building

During contracting projects, the health and safety of tenants, condo owners and workers should be priority. VOC are substances found in paint are harmful to everyone. They are more harmful to pregnant women, young children, and people with respiratory issues. Property managers are well advised to provide early notice to condo owners when painting hallways and common areas. Condo management should ask the Painting Contractor about the paints they plan to use. Why not request a quote that specifies using zero or low VOC paints. Then ask them to provide Technical Data Sheets(TDS) and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). This information is easily available and can be obtained from any coatings manufacturer.

In addition to paint and coatings there are other products with strong odours and VOC. Adhesives, sealants, carpets and furniture materials can be very toxic. It is important that contractors spec and coordinate projects with consideration for the safety and health of the residents.

Ecopainting Inc. is an eco-friendly Commercial Painter in Toronto. Through the use of zero VOC paint and our environmental policies, we work to minimize the impact our painting may have on our customers’ Indoor Air Quality.

Ecopainting has all needed insurance and certifications

What Can you Expect from your Painting Contractor?

When we take on a condo building project, we are fully aware who our customers are. Yes, we are hired by the board of directors and the property manager but tenants and condo owners are our everyday clients. They greet us in the hallways and they express their concerns to our painters directly. We are accountable to the property manager but the project will not be a success if the residents are not happy.

The Ecopainting Process

After your request for proposal, you will meet with one of our estimators. Our estimator will carefully listen to you in order to assess your needs. After the initial meeting, we will measure the quantities and inspect the current condition of what needs painting. After a few questions, the estimator will prepare a detailed proposal for you, complete with the cost for labour and materials.

We also forward our liability insurance and WSIB documentation, as well as a list of our commercial clients.

For the duration of the project there will be an onsite job manager always available to address any concerns. The job manager will arrange an inspection with your representative at the end of the project.

Painting your property can be a well managed and pleasant experience. The right painting contractor will take care of the needs of your building as well as the residents. Ecopainting is that painting contractor. We have been servicing the condo market in the Greater Toronto Area for over 15 years. Call us at 416 733-7767 and one of our estimators will be in touch to discuss your project needs.

We aslo offer painting services for townhouse complexes.


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