The two biggest factors in determining how long a painting project will take are (1) the number of square feet of area to be painted, and (2) how many are on the painting project team to do the work. There are other factors, like how many coats are going to be needed, but in most cases, two coats of paint are used, so that factor is predictable. On top of that, some color changes are more dramatic – such as dark blue walls to white – and in those cases, it might take slightly longer because any area that is not fully covered with the new paint may appear as a slight blue hue. If we are painting from, for example, a faded white up to a beige, the white can be overwhelmed easily with the new color.
And there is also the question of the condition of the surface. Some surfaces require significant cleaning before any painting begins, while other areas don’t require as much. For example, if we are painting the walls of a bathroom, in most cases those walls will need a good cleaning to get the old grime off the walls and trim. Bathrooms are notorious for such things as mold and plain old soap and water stains. For best effects, all that has to be cleaned off first during the prep stage. The better the cleaning is done, the longer the new paint will serve its owners. By the way, it’s always good to consider a different kind of paint for bathroom walls. Because bathrooms get punished with moisture, especially in large, growing families which use the bathroom a lot, the choice of paint type is important. You may still use a water-based paint – which most paints are these days – but consider its water-repellent qualities when choosing it. Most good paint providers will walk you through the choices. So too will most painting contractors. Kitchens, too, need a different type of paint, or at least, close to where heat, water and cooking is done. For example, if the area behind the stove top is painted, you will definitely need a paint that offers you 100% watertight surface. It will also need to withstand sustained hot steam, such as from a stewing pot that is pointing the steam towards that wall. Most kitchens these days are designed to take this in their stride, such as with tiles or backdrops, but older homes may present greater challenges.
You can imagine how the actual painting time – stage two of the three stages – is rather predictable. It simply takes so many minutes to brush paint or spray a give square foot or area. Some painters might be faster than others, but with a little training and experience, brush painters tend to get the same area covered in the same time. Spray painters are different, however. Spray painting takes a certain kind of concentration and focus that not everyone has. The great thing is, a paint spray gun can cover big areas quickly, but it also takes an even hand if the finished result is to be even. Paint is liquid, of course, and in order for it to ‘stick’ to the wall without flowing down the wall requires the operator to use the spray gun evenly. A little too much paint, and you can watch it run down the wall in tiny rivers. On the other hand, too little and you may have to give the wall an extra coat.
Experience teaches the painter just the right amount of coverage is required, how fast he or she can hover over the wall, and when to switch the spray gun off and on again as they go over layer after layer of the wall. A skilled spray painter can cover a lot of wall a lot faster than a brush or roller painter can cover in the same time. Be sure to ask your painting contractor about the skill of their spray painters.
Spray painting can produce more vapors and unintended spotting if the prep work is not done properly. On the one hand, spraying can go a lot faster than brushing or rolling, but you need a greater level of masking and preparation in general to protect everything else in the room. It’s a fine balance between paint molecules in the air your painters are breathing, and so much ventilation, the wind is interfering with the intended target area of your paint spray equipment.
A good rule-of-thumb regarding paint project time estimates is that every minute you invest in the preparation stage will give you a minute in saved time during painting, and another minute of time saved during cleanup. How does that work?
Masking off areas you want to avoid getting paint on does take time, but not as much time as removing paint off the areas you did not want the paint on. Have you ever tried to remove paint splashes from, for example, a stained banister railing?
A well masked and protected area makes the painting stage go faster, and it produces a superior result. Not having to worry about those protected areas – because they are properly masked – allows the painter to focus on the actual painting strokes and the coverage areas. This helps the project move along well, without the painter having to stop to undo an unintended paint stain elsewhere.
Moving furniture and other objects out of the way – hopefully to another room – will protect them in the best possible way, as well as make the work easier to do.
Let’s say you are planning to paint the entire interior of your home, or at least one complete floor. If you can, move the furniture from one room to another so that first room can be painted more easily. As soon as that first room is completed, move everything from room 2 back into room 1, and continue with room 2. Well, that’s easy for me to say, because sometimes you need to be painting several rooms at a time – depending on the team size, and how quickly you need the work to be done – so in many cases, you have to get creative about how to protect your furniture and other immovable objects. Moving them to the center of the room and covering them completely is often the only practical way of protecting them.
Call us with your questions, and we can help you get your painting project moving.