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Old 04-20-2011, 06:17 PM   #1
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minor imperfections in drywall


This seems to always be an issue, so I'm looking for honest feedback from professional painters with nothing to loose in this discussion.

I contracted with someone to finish their basement, but they wanted to be the General. I'm a general but wanted the work, so I went ahead knowing there were headaches on the horizon. After drywall, the HO was going back and forth between hiring a painter and doing it themselves. They decided to do it themselves, and after priming went around with a flashlight and found every bubble, knick and small imperfection in the drywall and now expect me to do their spackling. I've explained that in 10 years and after working with dozens of drywallers and painters, it has always been the painter's responsibility to spackle small imperfections, assuming of course that the problems don't need a skim and aren't completely universal. I've had to agree to go through and do the spackling just to keep good client relations, but I'd like to know professional thoughts on the subject.

Any suggestions for how to avoid the conflict in the future? Besides not working for a HO general contractor.

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Old 04-20-2011, 06:37 PM   #2
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minor imperfections in drywall


Of course you are right---Minor flaws are always found after priming and are the painters responsibility to touch up and reprime.

I groan out loud when a homeowner wants to paint new drywall----

It rarely happens with my customers,However---If I know that they will be painting my new work,I'll include the priming into my bid-----That way I can catch and patch and flaws found durring priming.


(Just a note to any one else reading this----Even the best drywall taper will have flaws that are not apparent until the prime coat goes on---The painter touches those up.--If you are the painter--
--You touch them up!)-----Mike-----

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Old 04-20-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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minor imperfections in drywall


Welcome--Art Z----Please go to the "introductions" and say,"Howdy"

You sound like a descent guy,going back and doing the touch ups.

The more that you work with home owners---the less this sort of situation will arise.

I know that you won't let this one happen again---You will make it clear that the touch ups are part of the painters job----or you will include the priming in the bid---

Very often homeowners do not realize the responsibilities if the different trades---

A plumber opens a wall to fix a pipe---Who patches the wall?

One customer wanted to use a drywall outfit recommended by a friend.---(And the price was cheaper than my guy)

Fine---However,The bid was for hanging and taping only---

Forgot about Delivery of the drywall---and "Scrappers"

--What's a "Scrapper"?--

When drywall hangers work,they cut and drop hundreds of pounds of scrap drywall---and they don't pick it up----EVER---they are hangers----scrappers pick up the scrap and put it in YOUR dumpster.

Oh,forgot to rent a dumpster? Uh.oh. there is another check to write.

---There are a lot of details involved with construction-----some are easy to overlook.---Mike----
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:24 PM   #4
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minor imperfections in drywall


Hey Art,
Kudos to you sir for at least ASKING the question of who is responsible for drywall imperfections. I have had hours and hours of discussion with superintendents and builders about just this subject. I and many honest drywall contractors like to prime the walls before the finish carpenters start. First off it’s easier for the drywall man to see the areas that need spotting and secondly you can see who is causing the problems...the drywall contractor or the carpenter.

I never expected the drywall man to patch nicks caused by carpenters or other trades, however I did expect him to be responsible for his own work, after all I never saw a plumber doing paint touch-ups for me. If there is a pin hole, bubble, bad seam, or sanding marks then those are HIS responsibility and he should take care of them, if for no other reason than to go back to his men and tell them what to improve with their work standards or for that matter his work standards. What kind of job does he expect his men to do, because that is what reflects his name?

When I bid a job I never asked the builder/superintendent who the drywall contractor was and I didn’t care, because I had only so much time allocated for patching before I ran my finish coat on the walls. Nicks and dings caused by others were my responsibility, if they were extensive then I took it up with the builder, but I refused to repair drywall imperfections as part of my bid price. If he did his job right it would probably add so many hours to his price that he would start losing money. Let the drywall contractor come back and make his repairs, then I would repaint them and invoice the builder. Eventually he will get sick of seeing my invoices and hopefully has a talk with his drywall contractor or I leave and go on to greener pastures with less aggravation.

Let every man be responsible for his own workmanship.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:33 PM   #5
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minor imperfections in drywall


Mike brings up some good points, and I almost forgot how frustrating it was working with a home owner trying to be his own general. After a while I refused to even bid jobs under those conditions. I felt I was a professional and I expected no less from the man in charge.
Life is too short.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
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minor imperfections in drywall


dry wall has to be ready no flaws .i come in to paint ,yes a few nicks here and there no problem,maybe sand out a small ridge no problem.but im here to paint and that's what im getting paid for. i cant stand around waiting for mud to dry.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:33 PM   #7
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minor imperfections in drywall


I paint some of my projects. Mostly I refer a good painter or the customer has a professional painter. If I am doing a large project like a basement finish, I like to at least prime the drywall and check for flaws. It really is hard to find the flaws without a prime coat. Everything looks perfect till you paint it. I have to agree with the others on the HO thinking they are a general contractor. I haven't met one yet. I don't mind the HO's telling me exactly what they want, but after that, it's my job to do it the right way. And if they ask me to do something that is obviously wrong or a maintenance nightmare, I'll try and educate them as to why it shouldn't be done that way. If they don't learn, then I politely refuse the job and back away.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:16 PM   #8
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minor imperfections in drywall


This topic pushes my peeve button bigtime. I do nothing to repair obvious neglect and poor workmanship done by drywallers. If customers ask, I tell them they need a new dryall guy. If I fix their work, they're spending my money. I'll fix it if they're willing to pay.
I painted a new home theater. The ceiling was low and the customer picked a deep base, tinted color, looked almost black. I tried to encourage flat factory mixed black which would be flatter than a tinted mix. No go. I went with BM Super Spec flat tinted deep. Problem is that flat paint with that much tint gives a slight sheen. Paint is flat, tint is not. Now, when watching the screen, the light travels across the ceiling exposing every seam/shadow. The GC tells the customer it's my fault. I should have reskimmed his finished tape seams. I didn't find this out for sometime after, and found the customer believed him and held me responsible. I was . The customer needed a level 5 ceiling and the d**ckhead GC should have known that. It took a lot of discussion about the trades and level 5 with HO to turn him around, but I don't think I did completely. I've done work for him since, but I don't think he's completely convinced.
If I miss a section of baseboard, do you think the carpet guy is going to go down the basement and get the paint to finish my job? Hardly.
Competent, coscientous drywall guys are few and far between, so this is a recurring issue. Painters are responsible for incidental damage that occurs between the drywall completion and the painting work, and there's a limit to that as well. They are not responsible for finalizing bad work of supposed pros. Used to be that drywallers would do one return after the primer, I guess no more.
Working for HO "GC's", an f'ing nightmare. Did a kitchen complex remodel just before Christmas. Good repeat customer, HO decides to be her own GC. Tied me up big time. Scheduled conflicting trades on the same day, didn't have subs lined up on time, etc. Cost her a lot in extra charges due to delays. I told her straight up, you're not qualified, you're in over your head, and it's going to cost you. She paid.
What was the orignal topic?
Thanks for letting me rant.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:59 PM   #9
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A good friend of mine always said if you want to build a good home with good sub contractors, you have to build it backwards. Think about it, if you want to find a good foundation contractor ask the man who follows him....the rough carpenter. If you want to find a good rough carpenter, ask the drywall contractor or a good drywall contractor ask the finish carpenter and a good finish carpenter ask a painter, because he follows him and has to fix or not fix his work. I know there were carpenters I enjoyed following and others I used a case of caulk just trying to make the job look decent. I carry a stack of business cards of some of the best contractors I've had the pleasure to work with and proud to be associated with, unfortunately no one thinks to ask for names.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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minor imperfections in drywall


Thanks for the responses. So here's the specific issue at hand (even though ranting about unqualified HO generals is fun). After taping and sanding, sometimes bubbles or slight imperfections can be there. Agreed that finding those is easiest with primer on the walls, but most drywall contractors, at least the ones I've worked with, will say that's a different trade and they're not responsible for it. Is it industry-standard in residential work for the taper to fix small bubbles in the taping and slight nicks if they're here and there, or is that the painter?

Also, the process I've always used and seen others use is to prime, then one finish coat, then spackle where necessary, then sand and spot-roll the spackled areas, then a final coat over all. I'm talking light-weight spackle or similar product, not drywall compound. Is that correct or are there better recommendations?
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
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Art,
First question: If the painter put the bubbles there, then the painter fixes it. If the taper put the bubbles there, then the taper fixes it. To go a little further, if there are bubbles, he doesn't know how to do it right. If he knew what he was doing there would be NO bubbles.

Second question: If you plan to use the three coat approach, then do your patching using a ready mix spackle paste instead of joint compound before the first coat of finish, then you have a perfect surface for your final coat.

If your drywall man says the nicks and bubbles are someone else's responsibility, then what does that say for the painters? We must be the biggest bunch of dumbasses in the industry for doing touch-ups. Maybe that's someone else's responsibility too.

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Last edited by spraygunn; 04-20-2011 at 10:34 PM.
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