Earlier last week, I asked Stacy to accompany me to revisit this commercial job site I looked at the previous week. When I first looked at this job, I took several photos and some good notes. I spent about an hour there and felt I had enough information to write up an estimate. There are 2 identical rooms, approximately 30′ x 60′, with 20′ high ceilings. The work involves repairing the faux wood grained finish from the ceiling line down about 4′ feet, where it meets real wood, oak paneling. This finish was done, probably 20 years ago, in oil. It’s very deteriorated, faded and peeling off the wall, like old wall paper. There are also 5 faux marbled archways that need repair in each room.
The contractor that called me in for the consult was floored when I told him I felt it would take 4 weeks in each room, using 4 decorative painters, to do this work. In his own words, he told me "We are not even on the same planet here!". When pressed, he said he had estimated it would take 2 weeks to complete both rooms! I also strongly suggested they considered starting from scratch and letting me and my crew redo the entire surface. Because this is a job I would love to be part of, I offered to return once more with another experienced decorative painter, and see if the numbers would change significantly. Since our time frame for this job differed so greatly, I was beginning to think maybe the height was throwing me off.
We brought along a pair of binoculars and scanned every inch of the existing, peeling faux work. While we were there, a crew was working on striping and staining the real oak below this faux. The newly stain wood looked beautiful. This only further convinced us that it was best to prep the top area to be totally redone. Not only would it be more cost/time efficient, the new wood graining would then match the newly stained oak below. With the binoculars, we could now clearly see that the original wood graining was not only unevenly faded, but also that it was just not that good to begin with. It was not an oak wood grain, but rather a nondescript, fine striae. We knew we could do much better and really match the oak below.
So, I gave all my numbers to the contractor again, along with a point list of the pros and cons of starting from scratch vs. restoring/repairing. I’ll keep you posted with the outcome.