Water-based paint on window screen

jennNovember 29, 2009

Our house was painted a couple of weeks ago. It took the painters (a team of 2 men -- the main guy and his co-worker) 3+ weeks to complete the job, including prep, prime, and paint (2-3 coats in some cases). Against my wishes, we took the lowest bid. His contract and card do not have license numbers so I'm assuming he's not with the BBB. He came highly praised by someone who said he did a great, clean job on her apartment window. Well --- an apartment window is not a whole house that hasn't been painted in 20 years.

Our house is Spanish style with stucco and thick wood trim (tract home). When I asked how they will clean the stucco before painting, one of them said that the roller or brush will pick up a lot of dirt when they add the primer. That didn't seem right to me. They did do other prep work on the wood trim and patching of some of the stucco near soil line.

Anyway, yesterday I did a lot of yard work around the perimeter of the house and got a close-up view of some of their work. I was appalled to find white paint (primer? house paint?) smeared on the screen on one of the front windows. (I also found a few small splatters of white primer or paint on every adjacent surface including the paver patio, plants, windows, window trim, sprinklers, and driveway. They did do some clean-up but clearly missed some spots. There were also pieces of old dried paint lying in the driveway. I found a piece of blue painter's tape beneath one of the windows, and when I ripped it off a little bit of the new paint came off with it.)

Our windows and screens are new (purchased 2008). The outside trim is brown, and the screens are the same color.

QUESTION: What is the best way to remove water-based paint from a window screen? My husband said he could repaint the screen, but wouldn't the paint fill the screen holes? He said there's a special way to paint screens. I feel that the painter should clean the screen AT HIS TIME AND EXPENSE.

Trouble is, my husband said this painter seemed irritated at him as he did the rounds and examined the work before they finished, but seemed more polite when I appeared. The painter admitted to me that he underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish the job, and ran almost 1 week over. By the end of that week, he seemed weary of the job and seemed hurried to wrap it up.

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I'm not with the BBB either, and I'm fantastic. Also, not all states require painters to be licensed. Cleaning stucco with primer huh? Yeah, that's a lie. It may be true that actually painting a surface will incorporate the surface dirt onto the roller so that it may not affect adhesion, but I certainly would not call that 'cleaning'. However, cleaning stucco with a power washer can be risky business, especially if the house is old and there may be ways for water to actually get inside the house. There may also be the possibility of knocking some stucco off with the force of the water.

I understand that it may not be worth the trouble to actually call the painter back to remove paint from the screens, even though he should. What you can do is dip a rag in denatured alcohol or just regular rubbing alcohol and rub it lightly on the screens. Don't give up too quickly as it takes some time for the alcohol to saturate the paint and then it comes off easily.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 4:08PM
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Sometime itÂs just not a good idea to go with the lowest bid as was mentioned.

Professional painters prepare the job appropriately and apply paint to the areas that are supposed to be painted and not to others.

They should be responsible for their mistakes and clean, repair or replace anything necessary for a professional finish.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Thank you for your comments.

paintguy: Sorry, I didn't mean for my words to imply that not being with the BBB is a problem. Rather, I meant that we can't check a BBB record to compare with our experience. We will get some alcohol like you suggested and try that.

I hope we'll be able to remove the splatters from everywhere else just as easily.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 10:30PM
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I wish I came to this forum before we scheduled the job. We let them select the paint (Behr), and we chose the color. I don't like the dark brown color we chose -- it's like dark chocolate but has a muddy appearance. We liked it on the patch they painted on the house (and also on the paint chip, of course). I also don't like the many white paint splatters here and there -- on window trim, plants, and the porch, and the small spots on the stucco that the brush or roller seemed to have missed. :-(

Normally, I do my research but this time there were so many other things going on that I just hoped for the best. Oh well... things could be worse, it's not the end of the world, but after talking for months about having it done, it's a bit disappointing. At least we didn't pay top dollar --- and it shows.

We've had a lot of work done on our house the past 10 years and this is the only job that hasn't met our satisfaction.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:06AM
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