Her house, by the way was a great old timer with lots of ceiling decoration, high ceilings, etc. After 5 weeks painting a ladies Mosman house, I had a look at my hours. I recorded how long each part took me and (as you do) made a chart.
What became apparent was that:
1. Prep work takes ages (Prep. work is all the filling, sanding, vacuuming, washing, sweeping, and undercoating work that all paint jobs need.)
2. Painting trim takes ages. Trim includes doors and frames, windows, skirting boards and in this case, picture rails: in short, the Timber bits. And every piece of timber was detailed and fancy.
In fact prepping and painting the trim (a tiny percentage of surface area) took about 50% of my time!
So, if painting your walls and ceilings costs X, don't be surprised if including trim costs twice X.
There's more to painting than just painting. Often times (especially on the older sorts of houses found on the lower north shore) the wall or surface needs work first.
The most common problem is cracks in the wall or ceiling. Often these cracks are quite small. An inexperienced person might be tempted to just fill them with paint and hope for the best. While the paint is wet this looks fine. But as the paint dries and shrinks the cracks re-appear.
A trick an old plasterer showed me is to use fibre glass tape. This stuff is a pre-glued mesh that comes in rolls and is about 5cm wide. The idea is that you stick the mesh to the wall over the crack, then apply progressively wider layers of plaster until the tape is completely covered. Each layer being slightly wider helps the eye not notice the raised tape and fill.
The only trouble is that most plaster takes between 12 and 24 hours to dry before the next layer can be applied. So the plastering part of the job can take a few days.
Then the plaster is sanded ... and then undercoated ... and then painted ... twice ... ideally with a roller to match the existing roller texture.
A lot of processes eh? But if done well, the result is invisible to the eye.
Did you know that exterior paint is different to interior paint? Thats right. Australian conditions can be very harsh on paint work so manufacturers have come up with an answer.
The trick is to have a good looking surface that can stretch and contract as the painted material expands and contracts. (Theres also dust, grit, rain and hail to withstand).
Recently i scraped back a painted iron fence. It had been painted only about 6 years ago but with the wrong stuff - probably oil based paint, which becomes very brittle. The old surface was literally falling off. I could almost have stripped it with my hands, it had become so crumbly.
After scratching the whole surface with a wire brush, and priming any bare metal, I applied the 'right' paint.
In this case I used Dulux Weathershield. But in the past I've also used Taubmans Endure.
Either one is designed for the great outdoors and is very stretchy when dry, and moves easily with the underlying material. Oh, and I gave the fence two coats. This is essential to create a thick string flexible surface that will last a lot longer than 6 years.
On the surface (pun intended!), painting a ceiling seems pretty simple. I mean there are no pictures to move, now windows and doors to ‘cut’ around, and no furniture to move, the colour is pretty much always white …
(Some lower north shore homes have particularly ornate plaster work, but a bog-standard ceiling should be pretty simple? Shouldn't it?
No its not. Your main ‘challenge’ is gravity. That white paint just wants to fall on your furniture, your carpet, your walls and … your painter!
So a great deal of care has to be taken to remove the little bits and cover the big bits. Also because the edges have to cut in with a paint brush, ladder access around the edge of the room is needed.
And the paint itself is another story. Dulux who are normally very good, seem to sell quite a watery ceiling paint. I guess they think its just going over existing white so whats the problem?
Well, the problem is that ceilings that need painting usually have stains, chips, and/or areas that need repairs. ALL of these areas show through thin watery paint.
I have found a good quality ceiling paint that is cheaper and better than Dulux’s offereing. It has much better hiding qualities.
And for very badly stained ceilings I use a serious blockout primer, usually Taubmans 3 in 1.
HomeRite - Local Painting & Handyman for Sydney's Lower North Shore. Text 0403 011 963