How to evaluate paint job--oil on trim

awl311June 27, 2011

I'm hoping someone can help me with figuring out what's reasonable to expect from the painters I hired. I had them paint all the trim in my house with oil paint (Benjamin Moore) and asked that they let the oil paint dry overnight before putting on a second coat. However, in a rush to get the job done on the last day, they put two coats of oil on the baseboard in the same day. Some portions of it seem to be uneven, have drips, or have fairly deep brush marks.

My questions are:

(1) The painter told me that they gave enough time for the oil to dry in between coats, but I'm skeptical (he says it was probably about eight hours or more between coats). He also said that if we let the first coat dry too long there would be some sort of problem with the layers bonding to each other. So does it make much of a difference how long they waited in between coats? Can you wait too long? How can I tell if there are problems resulting from not letting the first coat dry?

(2) Is it realistic for me to expect that there be no brush strokes on the baseboard? I thought with oil paint it would dry fairly smooth. The painter also said that some of the brush strokes could be from prior paint jobs and that there wouldn't be anything that could be done about that at this point.

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Assuming the product used was Satin Impervo (235), then deep brush marks and drips are a sign of poor craftsmanship, not too short a dry time. It's almost impossible not to make SI look fantastic even with a cheap brush. Depending on humidity and temp, 8 hours could have been enough time but best practice it to allow an overnight dry - especially if you want to sand the first coat before applying the second.

In the end, this is about being clear on your expectations up front and getting them in writing. If the previous coat had deep brush marks and the painter knew you were expecting a very smooth finish, then sanding and/or priming the old finish with an underbody could have easily mitigated the issue. If you believe you were clear, then do not pay until he gets it right.

And no, you cannot wait too long between coats. Certainly there will be better intercoat adhesion if you repaint within a day or two, but a good scuffing (sanding) that I described will ensure the second coat adheres regardless the time between coats.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:15AM
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Some portions of it seem to be uneven, have drips, or have fairly deep brush marks.

From professionals, I would expect even coverage, NO drip marks and minimal brushmarks. Have them back in for another try at getting it right.

If he saw things from previous paint jobs that would cause problems, he should have mentioned them BEFORE he painted, not now.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 2:56PM
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