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Exterior Painting – More to it than just watching the paint dry
Whether you are a community manager, board member, or a vendor, we all have the same goal when preparing to start a big maintenance project; to have a successful project from start to finish. Nothing else can cause more headaches and wasted time than a maintenance project gone badly.
Experts are hired for more technical projects to assist in preparing the scope of work and monitoring the work while it is in progress. While hiring a consultant does add to the cost of the project, the benefits of a project done right outweighs the cost. What if you could get the benefit of an expert without the cost? It would be a win-win situation for the association.
Exterior painting is a project where an expert can be used for no cost. Most associations paint on a regular cycle, usually every 6-7 years. The siding is an important part of the envelope system and it is imperitive that the paint application is done right the first time to protect the siding in between paint cycles. Siding replacement is one of the bigger expenses that an association is faced with, and the financial consequence to the association of not getting a quality painting job can be devastating.
There are Three Keys Elements for a successful painting project:
- Work with a local paint manufacturer – they are the expert on painting products. Work with a representative that is familiar with our industry and understands the challenges we face.
- Use proven/quality vendors – choose vendors that have good track records and don’t use price as the only factor in picking a contractor.
- Develop a detailed scope of work specific for the property – every property is different and has special problem areas that should be specifically addressed. Using a “boiler plate” of specifications does not work for painting projects.
Consider following these steps when planning the next painting project:
- Work with a manufacturer’s representative. They are the experts in painting products and a great resource of information, and their expertise will cost nothing. The manufacturer will require the painting vendor use their paint which is why they are willing to provide their expertise for no cost.
- Initially walk the property with the painting representative to discuss the needs and problem areas of the property.
- Have the manufacturer’s representative develop a detailed scope of work that is specific to the property. The scope of work should address building preparation and the specifications of the paint product for each building component such as siding, gutters, doors, fences, decks, and railings. They are familiar with specialty products and new products as they are developed. Using the right painting product can be the difference between a good job and a job gone badly.
- Identify any damage on the siding and other areas that are scheduled for painting and hire a contractor to repair or replace the damaged areas before the painting begins. Evaluate what caused the damage and take corrective measures to keep it from repeating. Corrective measures can be as simple as caulking.
- Have the representative provide the names of experienced, reliable vendors.
- Setup a vendor meeting and walk the property with all the vendors and the painting representative. This allows everybody to discuss expectations on building preparation, scheduling, addressing problem areas, paint products, and finalizing the scope of work. The use of vendor meetings is a great time saver and it helps with the bidding process to assure the bids are using the same specifications.
- Have the representative monitor the work in progress and test the thickness of the paint. Having the contractor test for the right paint millage can be an important key to the longevity of the paint and maintaining the paint warranty provided by the manufacturer.
- Conduct a final walk-through with the vendor and develop a final punch list.
The paint manufacturer’s representative can also assist in answering many questions that are commonly asked by managers and board members:
- What color scheme should we choose? Some manufacturers offer a service to digitalize a building and impose the color scheme(s) on the building. This allows the board to see what the colors will look like before the painting project begins.
- What kind of paint should we use on the different components of the building? For example, bonding primers are used on flat surfaces such as fences and railings. It dries tacky and paint sticks to it to prevent peeling.
- Should we apply one or two coats? The representative will be able to advise the Association how many coats will be appropriate for the project.
- What kind of sheen should we choose?– The representative will advise on flat, satin, or semi gloss paints and the pros and cons of each.
- What options do we have for deck and fence stain? – The representative will discuss clear, semi-transparent, or full body stains and the pros and cons of each product.
- What kind of caulk should we use?
A paint manufacturer is a great source of information. They can provide the technical data for the paint products, write up the scope of work, provide names of dependable vendors, and monitor the work in progress. Utilize these steps to make your next painting project a successful one.
By Kevin Ducotey, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
Condominium Management, AAMC