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Planning Your Commercial Exterior Painting Project

by | Dec 22, 2023 | Exterior Painting

Residential and commercial exterior painting projects are usually quite different when it comes to planning.  When we do a residential painting project we typically need to coordinate the work with one or two people.  Doing a commercial painting project can involve many individuals and planning around their daily schedules and routines.  Proper planning can make a huge difference in how a commercial project can go for the painter and the employees.  Setting expectations and schedules is extremely important with commercial painting and it all starts with the commercial painting quote.  

Understanding Commercial Exterior Painting: Why It’s Different

Why is commercial painting so different from residential painting?  First of all, you have hundreds or thousands of employees that you need to work around.  Most of the time the employees are just trying to do their work without getting disrupted.  In many cases, the painting contractor is just a disruption for workers.  Making sure that employees are aware and prepared for you to be there helps tremendously. 

Many commercial projects require special equipment to paint in difficult or dangerous areas.  You may need to rent scaffolding or set it up yourself.  This can be a huge expense and a challenge to leave up in busy work areas.  You also may need to get a boom lift on the job which can also be a challenge as they don’t always fit into tight spaces.  Both of these items can cost a lot of extra money that must be taken into consideration.

One of the biggest issues with commercial painting can be having to mask off the same areas multiple times.  You may need to mask off an area to paint each day and take it down at the end of the day.  This costs many extra hours of labor and masking materials.  Always make sure you understand what is expected when it comes to leaving up masking for multiple days.   

We have done many interior commercial painting projects in factories that are very busy 24 hours a day.  Oftentimes we need to coordinate with management to do a shutdown of the areas they need painted or we are working when the workers are not active which can be late nights or weekends.  Masking off work areas is crucial in most factories as you do not want to contaminate other areas or food in many cases.

Doing an exterior painting project can lead to other issues such as protecting vehicles from getting painted.  You may need to close off traffic or parking areas to avoid issues with overspray.  You also may need to block off areas to make sure your workers are safe from traffic.  In many cases, we are working off boom lifts on exterior projects and need to put up safety markers so nobody runs into the lift or our ladders.  

Key Considerations Before Starting Your Exterior Commercial Painting Project

Before starting an exterior commercial project, we work closely with the business to find out if they have realistic expectations on when to do the project.  Many companies have headquarters or management offices that are in different states.  They might plan to do an exterior painting project in the winter not knowing that your climate does not allow for that.  The business might give an unrealistic deadline to get a building painted when weather is a huge factor.  We have walked away from many commercial projects due to unreal timelines to avoid problems.  

Once a reasonable timeline is agreed upon, the next order of business is to decide when the work can be done.  If a building can only be painted on nights or weekends that will likely affect our ability to get the work done and it can cost the business more money.  Sometimes a team can only work on the building for a few hours per day which can cause many disruptions in scheduling.  Working with a project manager helps a lot in getting what our team needs for a successful and on-time project.

Typical Painting Cost Per Square Foot for Commercial Building Exterior

It is very hard to give a cost per square foot on painting a commercial building as they can have many different challenges or many different colors that affect the cost.  It is always best to see the building in person and meet with the project manager to go over the issues and questions before giving a cost estimate for the job.

Additional Factors Influencing Commercial Exterior Painting Cost

Many factors affect the cost of exterior commercial painting projects.  The cost of materials can vary greatly depending on what they are looking for.  Many exterior buildings can be painted with normal house paint and do just fine.  Sometimes exterior concrete buildings will get painted with elastomeric paint which is made for waterproofing the building.  This product can cost way more money as the paint goes on at least 4-5 times thicker than normal house paint for it to be effective. For this reason, it’s important to decide which paint will be used before providing a quote.

What Are the Best Exterior Paint Colors for Commercial Buildings?

Most of the newer exterior commercial projects are going with lighter paint colors such as off-whites and gray colors.  Many have darker accent colors in various areas.  Lighter colors will not fade as fast as darker colors so this will help the paint look better for longer if choosing a light color.  It is well worth getting a professional color consultation before choosing paint colors for a large building to avoid any issues.

Choosing the Best Commercial Exterior Painting Contractors

Most painting contractors specialize in residential or commercial painting of some sort and some do both.  You need to do your homework when choosing the right contractor for a commercial project as many will tell you that they are equipped to do a project but they may not have any idea what they are getting into.  Most contractors can do smaller commercial projects but larger projects need to be handled by companies that know what they are doing.

We recommend asking the contractors you are interviewing if they have done commercial projects similar to yours and if you can go see them.  Asking for references is always a good idea for these projects as well.  You should ask each company how many employees they have and how many would be dedicated to your project.  Ask them how many days or weeks they expect it to take them.  The expertise and experience of a good commercial contractor go a long way.  

Absolute Painting & Power Washing specializes in residential and small/medium commercial projects.  We do not handle larger commercial projects as we don’t have enough painters to handle that large of a job without sacrificing the ability to keep our residential customers happy.

Looking for Commercial Exterior Painting Services in Portland? 

Make sure you are well prepared to ask all the right questions when looking to get a commercial painting project done.  Also, make sure the contractors are asking you the right questions.  Call Absolute Painting & Power Washing today with any questions or if you are interested in getting your commercial building painted. We look forward to hearing from you!

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