The DIY Painter or When to Call the Professional!
Here’s an interesting “case”: Bob and Celia bought a great condominium in an old converted factory building. It was one of those gorgeous nineteenth century brick structures with huge windows, great old floors, and tons of character. The two decided that they would handle some cosmetic touch up work on their own, and spent a weekend painting some of the wood features and moldings, and one of the largest expanses of walls in their bedroom.
The result? Utter disaster. The paint on the wood began chipping and flaking before it was dry, and the brick wall was splotchy and awful to look at. You see, Bob and Celia rightfully believed that painting can be a fun and easy DIY project, but what they didn’t consider was whether or not they had the knowledge and skill to handle “specialty” materials. Old wood that was stained with a heavy and gummy old stain, and one hundred year old brick walls are NOT standard surfaces. Thus, the first thing to know about any DIY paint project is whether you know how to tackle the actual surface in the best way.
The Bob and Celia story does have a happy ending because the two were put in touch with a pair of painters who had already done great work in the building. They were experts at removing paint from trickier surfaces and then applying the ideal finish with a few new coats.
When to Call the Expert
The point of this story is to illustrate the need for any avid DIY person to consider whether they should attempt a project on their own or at least consult with a pro. For instance, the couple above could have just asked a professional painter to look at the space and tell them how to go about the task. They would have probably decided to hire some professionals right away because of the scale of the work (for instance, what they did in a weekend, the pros did in around six business days!).
So, if you are about to tackle a painting project, the first step is to consider the challenges presented by the surface you are dealing with. Ask yourself the following:
- Can I see evidence of old wall paper beneath the layers of paint?
- Are there a lot of holes and damages to the wall?
- Is this lead paint?
- Should I use painter’s tape or cut in on this surface?
- Do I need to sand and smooth this surface?
- Does this material need some sort of pre-treatment in order to take the paint properly?
- Does this surface need oil or acrylic paint?
- Is this something I have worked with before?
- Is this area too high for me to reach safely?
You can see that there are actually many paint jobs that might make you hesitate. This is a good thing to do. It is always worth a small consultation fee if all of the supplies and time might end up being a waste when done in the DIY way.