Rambling Thoughts About Having The House Painted, Again

Decades ago we painted the exterior of our first home together.  That is something that a married couple does once, if they want to stay married.  So late last summer, knowing that it was time to re-paint this house, I began the task of trying to find a painter who would:

  1. take my call;
  2. be available this spring/summer/fall to paint our house;
  3. have decent references [or no outstanding warrants];
  4. show up;  &
  5. actually know how to paint.

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This is not the first time we’ve hired professional painters to paint the outside of a house that we owned.  Happily, our first experience was good, albeit noisy and chaotic.  The crew of 12 men swarmed the house like ants to a picnic, but after a hectic 2 days the house looked nice.

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About 70% of our house is brick.  The brick has some bluish-greenish gray in it which softens the bricky color and allows the house to blend into nature year round.  The mortar between the bricks is a soft tan/gray color which provides a small contrast with the brick.  Nothing too dramatic.

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Our second experience with a professional painting company was difficult and frustrating.  I don’t think that the painters used the correct color on the house and the whole mess ended with Z-D, Esq, applying a bit of legal pressure to make certain that the yokels painters fulfilled the conditions of the contract.  When this bunch finished painting the house, it did not look so wonderful.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.38.49 AM

For the 30% of the house that is painted we chose Sherwin-Williams 7029 Agreeable Gray.  I would describe it as a more warm than cool light gray shade that is about as neutral as our mortar, but doesn’t look dreary at all.  In fact, we painted a test of it on two side of the house last fall, then watched to see how it looked during the winter & spring.  It’s pretty.

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This, our third experience with professional house painters, has been the best to date– that is, if this man and his on-again off-again crew ever finish.  We’re into week 5 now, so this has been slow project.  Fortunately this bunch is tidy, polite and show up when they say they will + they are doing a wonderful precise job, so however long it takes is fine by me.

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The shutters will be re-painted Sherwin-Williams 6216 Jasper.  It’s the same dark green color that they’ve been since we had the house built.  I like this color because there is a definite contrast with the brick and when there is only grayness outside during the winter, this subtle green shade cheers my soul.

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Ally Bean

Observant wordsmith. Humorous. Fond of foibles. Curious. Delighted by design. Adaptable. Midwestern by chance.

20 thoughts on “Rambling Thoughts About Having The House Painted, Again”

    1. Zen-Den, I know! And how great will that be? The house looks good, but I’m sick of the whole project now… as you might have figured out. ;-)

  1. Sigh. “Professional” contractors. Even during The Recession, it was almost impossible to get anyone, anywhere in The Trades to call back, show up for and appointment, give a bid, and then show up and do the job. And my husband is a Project Manager, so he knows everyone.

    I don’t get it, but it seems to be systemic. Just the past couple years, we’ve struggled with every contractor but one with our kitchen remodel, windows, electrical wiring, and landscaping. And we’re not difficult to work with–Rick is used to dealing with contractors and schedules, and he hires people he knows or uses on the job–but it seems to be a whole culture in that business.

    1. nance, I hear ‘ya! It’s the darnedest thing. I’m happy that I even found this guy & his crew. Painters are a scarce commodity around here, but why this is as it is I could not explain. Like you said, it’s a whole different culture.

  2. I’m preparing to paint my house, too, but mine will be white, to brighten the whole thing. I may regret it later, but that’s what I’m starting with. I’ll be using a paint sprayer. Never done it before, so I’ll be interested to see if, by the end of August, I wish I’d employed someone else to do it for me, no matter how long it takes them :-) Yours sounds like it will be delightful and I look forward to seeing parts of it in coming photographs.

    1. Polly, when Z-D & I painted our house years ago we used rollers and brushes, so I know nothing about paint sprayers. I think that white houses are pretty and look forward to seeing some [before & after?] photos. Best of luck with your project. *fingers crossed*

  3. Week 5? You are a saint! I don’t like workers at my house that long. The cats don’t either. We had our screened porch enlarged 5 feet several years ago. Easy job, right? Well it included foundation and roof work. The crew started in November and finished around April. We could have built a whole house in that time. I know it was winter but there was always junk in the driveway. We have vinyl siding in a light grey color that is called sage green (go figure). Sometimes I think about having it painted a real gray-green color but then I take a few aspirins and take a nap. Good luck with your project and hopefully it will end soon.

    1. kate, November to April for that little job?!! Oy vey! I agree about not liking to have workers at my house for any length of time. These men are nice, but still they’re here and in my way. Soon, soon, this will be over.

  4. It seems that everyone I know has the same issue with trying to get someone to work on their house. My neighbor and I tried to pair up to get the outside sprayed for bugs (though I do the downstairs myself) and if they’d call her back, they wouldn’t show up. My lawn guy says he’ll do anything so I will ask him.

    Five weeks to paint seems a bit much but at least they are doing a good job and are polite, etc. Look forward to seeing some of it finished.

    1. Zazzy, yes, 5 weeks seems like a long time to me, too. However, they show up which is a good thing. And there’s no trash around the house when they leave which is a good thing. And the workmanship is outstanding which is a good thing. So… I’m dealing with it. [But am sick of it now.]

  5. If only 30% of your house has to be painted, they should have been done in at most two weeks, unless you’ve had bad weather or your house is the size of the Capitol Building. I’d have a word with the contractor.

    1. John, good point. I think that the project would have been done in two weeks, but we had rainy weather for part of almost every day in July. Plus there was the 4th of July holiday which turned into a 4 day weekend around here. Plus there was some rotten wood that needed to be replaced, which took extra time. True to anything that I ever do, there were complications, don’t you know?

  6. Love your color choices, probably because your house color reminds me of my new bedroom color which is what I call taupe–a warm beige/gray. There are very few painters I trust; my late husband hated most of them and thought they did crappy work, either on the prep, the painting or the clean-up. Thankfully, one of his good friends is a painter, so when the time comes, I hope to hire Jim. Naturally, being one of the best painters around, he is constantly busy!

    1. Margaret, thank you. I like our colors, too. Subtle but with a bit of quiet flair [like your bedroom]. Patt was right about painters. We’ve had our share of them over the years and the quality of their work varies. Fortunately this man and his crew are very good, but like you said: “constantly busy.”

  7. Yes, it’s probably taking a long time because they have to pull off your job to placate(do some work) for other customers. Patt had the same issue; everyone wanted him to do stairs, but he couldn’t be at 10 places on the same day, so it took him way longer than some thought it should.

    1. Margaret, I suspect that was part of this man’s prob. Also the weather did not cooperate during July. I didn’t mind this guy being around because when he was here he worked, but it was tiring for me to have the disruption. All around me. Every day.

  8. Good luck, Ally. MTM and I are pondering a concrete house with burned wood trim (a Japanese method), because that’s how anti-painting we are after living in a wood-sided Charleston single for a decade.

    I really like the color you’ve chosen.

    1. Andra, I’ve never heard of the type of home construction that you describe here, but if it means not hiring professional painters to paint the outside then I’m all for it. I keep wondering when do Zen-Den & I get to declare ourselves eccentric old people– and let the house go to shabby ruin. :-)

  9. Ally Bean, I hope it all gets finished for you soon. Glad you’re having a pretty good experience. We have never painted, sanded or stained our Little House in the Big Woods. Thus, it looks extremely weathered. One of these years we’ll have to do something about it…

    1. Kathy, I’m happy to report that the painters finished everything late this week. Now the house looks so clean and tidy that I almost don’t recognize it! If/when you decide to work on the outside of your house I’ll be fascinated to read about your experiences. ;-)

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