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White Trim Upcharge?

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By Jennifer in San Mateo, CA on 11/8/2011


I apologize if there is already an answer out there on this; I did a quick search, but as many of you know, home building is very time consuming and I didn't have more than five minutes to look!!  : )

I hired a painter to paint my interior. He gave me a quote and I thought it was good and hired him. He had great reviews online and started fast. When he came out to do the primer, he mentioned that we should do "Swiss Coffee" trim; I mentioned we wanted to go with white; he said it would take many many coats to cover the base and is a lot more expensive. Why he didn't mention that before we signed the contract?? 

So I just called to say that I want WHITE trim and he wants to have a meeting to discuss why we shouldn't go with white (and likely an upcharge).


1. Does white trim normally cost more than an off-white? Does this even make sense? 

2. He didn't mention any of this before signing the contract, and the contract is a fixed-price. Should I (could I) tell him that he has to perform the work and do it in WHITE - a very common color??

I don't want to start an unnecessary/unfair argument with the guy since he has a long way to go and can definitely do a lot of damage if the paint isn't right!  But I also feel like I got taken advantage of because he didn't tell me it was more for white from the beginning.

Any advice would be very helpful!! 




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By Peter in Burlington, WA on 11/9/2011

Off-white colors are going to cover better than a high white. I assume that "Swiss Coffee Trim" refers simply to the color of trim paint. It sounds like his "good quote" might only include a single coat of paint and he is worried that your choice of white may not provide complete coverage. This might be even more the case if he is planning to use a cheap paint.

As an owner-builder, you need to provide a certain minimum amount of the contract terms in order to assure success, else you are at the mercy of the contractor who can downgrade in order to make his bid look more attractive. If you sign a contract for a single coat and cheap materials, you will have a hard time getting any leverage to repair what turns out to be crummy-looking job.


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