Touch-ups or Trade Damage in New Construction?

Protect painted surfaces from damage

Being a new construction residential painter requires advance planning, patience and quite frankly a very thick skin. Finishing a new home is all about teamwork and being able to see the big picture. Builders and general contractors go through a lot of painters and other trades until they are comfortable with the ones they have. The contractors that succeed in new or renovated homes are a different breed of contractors.

To be as productive as possible, a new construction painter can go in right after all surfaces are ready and before any other finish trades come in. In this perfect and uninterrupted scenario, the painting is done efficiently and well. The other trades, deliveries and installers come in, do their thing, being careful not to damage the painted surfaces. But perfect is impossible here. Trades will be late, workers will be in a hurry and there will be damage to the surfaces. Repainting surfaces again after damage is unfortunate but frequently expected from our trade. So what to do?

Communication with the General Contractor.

The general contractor or their project manager expect a certain amount of touch up work at the end of a project. What they don’t like is the never ending change orders presented to them for approval and that’s understandable. To avoid that situation, communicate with them about how you prefer to deal with it. Some painting contractors factor in a few hours in their price as an allowance for this. Anything over that allowance they charge as Time & Materials work. After gaining some familiarity with how a contractor and their trades work, that can be a workable arrangement.

When working with a new contractor it is important to communicate with them what is considered damage and what is considered touch-ups. There might be something missed or some workmanship deficiencies by the painter. This is what we call touch-ups and we are 100% responsible for our work. The owner or general contractor should not have to pay for that. This painting project in Guildwood is an example of the role communication can play towards a successful completion. 

What about damage to painted surfaces by other trades?

If we damage a completed area we are responsible. When someone else damages our painted areas we consider that to be damage. We are happy to fix it and we always do, but this is work that needs to be billed. This does not make a painter look bad, it’s just business. Mistakes happen and we all work together. We often fix and correct small things and nobody knows about it. It’s the right thing to do for the right customer and we don’t miss the big picture. Unfortunately sometimes we have to paint finished surfaces again. This is a common issue and the PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) explains it well in the industry standards.

“2.1. This standard defines the repair and repainting of finished painted surfaces that have been damaged by individuals other than those employed by the painting and decorating contractor. This type of damage is defined as “damage caused by others.” Damage caused by others will be corrected by the painting and decorating contractor after a change order is received from the contracting entity. The painting and decorating contractor will repair and/or repaint the damaged area after receiving acceptance of its proposal and authorization to proceed on either a lump sum or time and material basis.”

How to Prevent Damage to Painted Walls.

Damaged ceiling by trades that painters need to fix

Being proactive when communicating with the customer and general contractor means being responsible. Ecopainting has a preferred way of painting in new construction. It’s efficient and lets other trades do their job better. Deadlines and scheduling of trades can make this difficult, but when it works, things turn out much smoother. We find most general contractors are open to this and it saves additional costs to the customer.

Right after installation, all drywall is primed and ceilings are painted. Trim and doors are prepped and painted. Then we apply the first finish coat on all walls. If possible most cutting of the final coat should be completed as well. After most of the other trades leave we can roll the final coats of paint. If there is any minor damage, we can easily patch and spot prime it before the final coat.

Communication and being upfront goes a long way toward the successful completion of a project. The homeowner wants a predictable, cost effective and pleasant renovation experience. The general contractor wants to deliver that experience and of course be profitable doing it. The painters are just one piece of the puzzle, yet without them the puzzle is incomplete.

Ecopainting has worked with homeowners and a select few contractors in the renovation and building sector. We work throughout the Greater Toronto Area and have provided service for our residential customers for over twenty years.
Call us at (416)733-77567 to discuss your future painting needs.

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