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timkitch 08-03-2011 07:27 AM

Caulking, sanding - who's job is it?
This has more to do with the responsibilities of a contractor than DIY. I apologize in advance and feel free to direct me elsewhere.

Anyway, I recently hired a general contractor to completely renovate my basement, which included building new walls. The contract clearly states that he is to take all surfaces to "prime, ready to paint".

Due to time constraints, I hired a separate professional painter (the main contractor asked a ridiculous price to paint) to come in after he'd taken the walls to prime. When the painter showed, he expected the walls to be ready to paint, with little or no "prep work" - i.e. joints caulked and sanded, nail holes filled, etc.

The main contractor claims it's the painter's job and the painter claims it's the main contractor's job.

I was out of town when all this occurred, but the painter was willing to take care of the prep (spent an entire day), but of course will charge me extra for that. I'm wondering whether there's an "industry standard" consensus on whether "take to prime, ready to paint" includes all prep work, such as caulking nail holes, sanding, etc. I, the home owner, could have been the guy who was going to do the painting for all the main contractor knew, which means he expected the home owner to fill holes, sand, etc. - all AFTER HE had applied primer.

May be wrong, but it seems to me that there is a logical order of operations here: caulk, sand, THEN apply primer. If that's the case, the contractor's argument doesn't hold water, since he admits he's on the hook to prime for painting. Or, maybe I've been doing it wrong and there's something I'm missing? :huh:


oh'mike 08-03-2011 07:46 AM

Caulking and filling holes, as well as minor drywall touch ups, is the painters job.

I did contract trim work in new construction----the painters sure did not expect the carpenters to caulk or fill.

And the carpenters did not want to do the painters job.

Priming by the contractor is usually done before the doors and trim are installed.

Your painter should have seen that one coming---unless he is not experienced with new construction.


timkitch 08-03-2011 09:00 AM

Thanks for the reply Mike! So, I can understand the nail holes and maybe even the seems in the trim.

But, would the painter normally be expected to sand down the seems in the new dry wall?

And, holes in the new dry wall? Keep in mind that the contract with the general contractor requires HIM to apply primer to all surfaces. Contracts with both parties were very specific as to whose job "priming" was - it was the primary contractor's job, not the painter's.

So, if it's standard practice to FIRST sand, THEN apply primer, it'd be a tough sell for the primary contractor to claim to have fulfilled his contract.

Would a painter come in and sand and apply filler ON TOP of primer? I know I'd fill and sand BEFORE priming if I'd been the one doing it. Would you really FIRST prime, THEN do large amounts of hole filling and sanding - trim work aside? Thanks again.

oh'mike 08-03-2011 09:08 AM

drywallers job is to sand--ready for paint----a few touch ups are normal after priming as some flaws are packed with drywall dust and not apparent until after priming.

If the painter found seams that were not sanded properly and needed to spend his time doing the drywall tapers job----then that work should be back charged to the contractor.

Sounds like you have a case on that point.

jsheridan 08-03-2011 03:16 PM

Firstly, I don't want a gc doing anything, anything related to painting, meaning no priming, putty, or caulk, especially caulk. And I've never been on a job where the gc does any priming. Maybe that's a regional thing. No caulking or puttying should be done prior to priming, neither on drywall or bare wood, by anyone. Paint ready, in my mind, means the gc is finished, the drywaller is finished, the walls and trim ready to start the painting process, priming. I expect to do normal and customary touch up work on new drywall. However, that doesn't mean sanding tape joints or applying third coats of compound. It means spot sanding little touch ups the drywaller did on the way out, fixing little dings, etc. In the following sentence, "The main contractor claims it's the painter's job and the painter claims it's the main contractor's job", in my market anyway, the contractor is right and the painter is totally wrong. I've heard the term "paint ready" before, and in my experience, nothing is paint ready till the painter says it is. Your painter seems a little inexperienced as well. Tell the contractor to stay the hell out of the painter's business and this misunderstanding won't occur. Your just going to have to hash this out and chalk it up to experience.

ltd 08-03-2011 04:40 PM

ok here's the thing i agree with jsheridan on all the responsibilities, i don't want a carpenter caulking filling nail holes .as for dry wall goes a few dings ok .but i'm not getting anything more than a tub of spackle out. painters have to paint we cant be redoing dry wall jobs waiting on dry times.i cant beat down on the painter ,i don't know what was said .for example you were under the impression that it was to be ready to paint . in your mind ready means open paint and paint .now was this painter told don't worry its going to be ready. but how bout caulking nope its going to be ready .what a bout the nail holes nope he told me its going to be ready.well alright then ill give you a price to paint only.

jsheridan 08-04-2011 12:15 AM

When I said the painter is wrong, I meant in general. In this particular case he may not be according to how it was explained to him. That's a mess.

akinsrule 08-20-2011 11:56 PM


Workaholic 08-21-2011 08:30 PM

Drywall guy should get the walls ready for paint and the painter should handle all prep of trim for painting, painter should also sand between coats of wall paint along with trim after priming.

jackpercy57 08-23-2011 03:56 AM

If the painter found seams that were not sanded properly and needed to spend his time doing the drywall tapers job----then that work should be back charged to the contractor.

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