There are many things that you are evaluating when you look at purchasing a new home: price, neighborhood, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, layout, updates, and needs just to name a few. Many people consider the paint colors. It is true that it is only paint and easy to change or is it?
If the house you are considering was built before 1978 you should have the paint tested for lead based paint on interior and exterior surfaces. As of the passing of the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule any contractor renovating, repairing and/or painting surfaces on a home built prior to 1978 must test those surfaces for lead based paint. If the surfaces contain lead paint a lead certified contractor is legally the only one who can perform the work in most cases. The older the home the higher the probability of the presence of lead based paint. The additional steps, insurance, and risk for doing this work drives up the cost of your remodeling project. There are a few lead based certified painters in Billings. Most reputable painters have chosen to stay away from this work due to the cost, risk, and knowledge that there are contractors who won’t abide by the law out of ignorance or that they don’t care. This makes it very challenging to find a respected & certified painter to paint your home.
Older homes also have a higher probability of having been painted originally with oil based paint. This is prevalent on interior trim such as windows, doors and baseboards. Over time people decide to freshen things up and paint the trim. They head down to the local hardware store and pick up a gallon of acrylic latex paint. If the previous contractor or homeowner painted directly over the oil based paint without priming first there could be an adhesion issue with the top coat of paint. It may look fine from a distance until it is scratched or disturbed and then subsequently peels. To remedy this situation the top coats of latex paint must be stripped of down to the oil based paint and then primed and painted. This is very time consuming and costly. Many painting contractors do not take on this type of intensive prep work. In a situation like this it may be more cost effective to replace than to strip and paint.
When people sell their homes the last thing they want to do is put more money into it than they have to. This can result in them doing some of the work themselves or hiring the cheapest contractor they can find. The listing agent will brag about all the recent updates that were just completed. Be aware of these. Especially exterior painting. People in these situations will sometimes say “We just need to make it look good enough so we can sell it”. Then the new homeowner moves in and calls me within two years because of the quality of the previous paint job that looked ok when they bought it. The picture below is of the work another painter did on a million dollar plus home. They failed to get the stain properly matched and still stained the hail damaged areas. Some of the rough sawn cedar siding that was stained with the wrong color had to be replaced in order to solve the problem.
On the interior it is common for me to see the homeowner try and touch up the ceilings and walls before they show it. A lot of times they don’t do a good job of getting the paint matched or matched at all. This isn’t always as obvious to see at first glance until you move in and start to live in your new home. These “touch ups” will be the first things you see whenever you walk into that particular room.
While it is always wise to hire someone to do a home inspection they can’t always catch these issues. But now that you have a little more knowledge of what to watch out for you improve your chances of not having buyer’s regret. If you have any painting concerns on a house you are looking to buy give me a call at 697-5135 and I will give you honest feedback.