Re: Painting Ourselves to Save Money: good idea or bad idea
From: Liz (
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 19:49:25 -0700 (PDT)
I have lead the painting crew for Habitat for Humanity on a couple of builds. (Not because I'm a good painter, I'm a skill-less person who is pretty organized....)

In my experience it takes a full day for inexperienced painters in crews of 6-8 to paint a 3BR house. We also ALWAYS use at least 2 gallons more paint than is allocated for the home. We generally do 2 coats, although I'm pretty sure that we don't actually cover it all twice. (I can't remember, but it seems a second coat would have to be a second day.) Second coats go MUCH faster, the smooth surface is easier to paint. Also, on at least one occasion high humidity slowed the process because the paint didn't dry.

Ceilings were professionally sprayed.

To ease the process, painting is done before all the trim is put in place, and, when possible, someone is out on the porch doing the trim at the same time. Not the best look (the nails are then not covered), but not so bad either. Window cleaning always turns out to be a hard job (because unskilled labor spatters paint), and in one house we had to clean the linoleum which was down already and we had spilled a tray of paint.

At Mosaic we have discussed the possibility of spray painting one coat, one color, ceilings and floors. Then households who care can take care of painting, or hiring out, the second coat.

Mosaic Commons
Berlin, MA
liz [at]

On Oct 25, 2006, at 3:34 PM, Sharon Villines wrote:

In my person point of view, people are up for tasks for a limited
period of time. For a new group that had not done much work for the
community yet (big "yet"), there may be more energy. You need to make
decisions about where you want to use that energy.

But if a tasks takes several Saturdays, several weekends, etc., unless
they just love to paint, people will lose interest very quickly.

And there is the problem of incurring construction costs if it isn't
done on schedule so the other work can proceed. "Volunteering" under
the gun is not fun. Have a back up plan.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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