With so much happening when its time to sell or rent or just get things done confusion exists in the building industry over various responsibilities of different trades. In particular relating to what is generally referred to as a pre-paint patching, which if you’re not familiar with the expression is the task of repairing all manner of dints, scrapes, holes, knocks and sometimes entire previously lined walls with new ‘Gyprock or Plasterboard’ by the plasterer or sometimes painter to bring a new home or new renovation’s internal walls and ceilings back to an acceptable standard prior to receiving paint.

The existing practice of completing the plasterboard jointing process prior to the installation of architraves is just one such system introduced for the purpose of plasterers becoming more competitive. Generally this method works well, however, consider possible damage from the following trades. Carpenters, tilers, cabinet makers, plumbers etc., and then understand the reluctance from the painter to carry out too much patching as he or she has had to remain competitive too, so they only want to paint, not spend sometimes hours rectifying previously finished walls ready to take a coat of paint; Hence the requirement for pre-paint patching, by the plasterer.

As competition for building work becomes tougher and we’re all look for quicker and better ways to get the job done, sometimes tradespeople overlook some of the finer points regarding attention to detail. The facts are:

  • The majority of new dwellings will require minor patching prior to painting
  • Do not rely on the painter or paint alone to hide slight imperfections
  • The penalty for early completion will in all probability result in unwanted callbacks

Plasters in some cases may choose to carry out any necessary patching in conjunction with the sanding process, which is the final act prior to painting, where the plastered joints are sanded flat with the surrounding plasterboard sheet. This system works provided the sanding can be delayed until other sub-trades have completed their contract. The system of sanding prior to the installation of architraves, doors etc., will almost certainly ensure the necessity for pre-paint patching.

Always spare a thought for the plasterer who believes once he has sanded the job is finished and then completion is delayed by a couple of months by other trades, he will need to be notified prior to the commencement of painting regarding the extent of possible damage occurring from these other trades.

Often in the past much has been debated about expected times for pre-paint patching, (somewhere between one and two hours). Understand that setting or stopping of joints, angles or archways, hampers, bulkheads, extended window or door openings, cupboards under stairwells (ie., any framing not completed at the fixing stage) should not be included or expected as part of a standard pre-paint patching system. The extra trips necessary to complete this work incorporating specified drying times for jointing dictates that the system will now be pushed to the limit (wet over wet coats).

It is vital to avoid unnecessary trips it is not an uncommon plasterer’s request that the painter complete the sanding on these unexpected extras. “Don’t hold your breath”. Communication is the key, it is unlikely that the plastering contractor will be familiar with the painters’ schedule, builders should notify the plasterer of any pre-paint requirements, back charges or withholding payment is not a solution.

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