Printer Friendly

How not to make a splash: interior paint jobs and their pitfalls.

Mistakes don't come much more obvious than this

When you think about it, your interior paint job has a lot more to do than simply cover the walls. It has to withstand punishment from wandering wheelchairs and occasional scribblers and throwers. It has to please but not overstimulate disoriented residents. It has to sell the facility to prospective residents and their families. And, if it is of decent quality, it has to keep doing all this, with minimal inconvenience, for years.

What if it falls short in any of these respects? That may be because someone -- perhaps the administrator? -- had made a mistake in judgment somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, when it comes to paint jobs, the results of mistakes are there for all to see. What are some of the more common pitfalls? Well....

Trying to save a few bucks on paint

As any do-it-yourself painter knows, paint illustrates absolutely the old adage of getting what you pay for (and what you get is what you see!). If you get peeling or bare spots within a year or two, if cleaning takes more elbow grease than you'd care to admit, you really haven't saved much. What's more, the real cost of a paint job -- about 90% of it -- is in the labor. If you really want to save money, have your house-keeping or maintenance staff do some of the prep work before the job -- cleaning, scraping and sanding, so that all the high-paid professionals have to do, for the most part, is paint.

Putting too much stock in "scrubbable" walls

Health care facilities are associated with cleanliness, and cleanliness is associated with scrubbing. That's why some people put so much stock in "scrubbable surfaces." The problem is that frequent scrubbing of any surface creates friction, and a steady wearing away of surface coverings such as paint. What you should really look for are paint jobs from which stains are easily removed. The ideal solution, for almost any stain, should be a quick spray-clean and wipe with a rag or sponge. For stain resistance such as this, a 100% acrylic semi-gloss paint will hold up probably better than anything else.

Needlessly disrupting the facility

Any paint job is messy -- the ladders, the dropcloths, the moving about of furniture, sometimes even the odor. All of this can be magnified, of course, in a nursing home, where people live a semi-confined existence, mobility in hallways is crucial, and changes in routine and room layout can be disorienting. That's why careful planning by facility management is essential. Professional painters move very quickly. Sometimes, if a resident's room can be prepared ahead of time -- walls cleaned, furniture covered, etc. -- the painters can be in and out of a resident's room during a regular activities period. Or perhaps an outtrip can be scheduled for the same period as the paint job. For painting corridors and other public areas, some paint contractors may be able to arrange to paint only during nighttime hours, when most residents are asleep; this should at least be inquired about.

Type of paint comes into play here, as well. Latex-based paints are designed for quick application and produce much less odor than solvent-based paints. There is even a low-odor (or, technically, low-VOC) paint being marketed these days. So far, however, it comes in a very limited color range -- white and off-white. Most latex-based paints should be sufficiently odor-free to be acceptable in the nursing home.

Picking the wrong painter

As in most fields, most professional painting contractors do their best to satisfy their customers. But -- as in most fields -- there are always a few who give the rest a bad name. Or maybe, for some mysterious reason, a contractor and facility management will find that they are unable to work together. In any event, you should select a contractor as you would any other "supplier," based on references from similar institutions, multiple bids, and willingness to discuss your needs in some detail. Some specific questions worth asking include: What do you mean by surface preparation? How will you arrange to protect furniture and equipment? How many coats will be necessary, and why? What sorts of paint do you recommend? Can we purchase our own paints if we can get a good deal from an outside supplier on a high-quality product?

A final word on color and surface texture: Recent years have seen increasing knowledge and sophistication concerning the effects of interior design elements on disoriented elderly residents. For example, bright, dramatic colors and highly reflective surfaces have been found to cause considerable disruption to people in various stages of dementia. Before deciding on a color scheme for a particular area, it is a good idea to seek out designers or even contractors who have had recent experience in painting nursing facilities. Their ideas may give you one more reason to be satisfied with the choices you made in repainting your facility.

Walt Gozdan is Technical Director with the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, a large paint research and testing facility in Philadelphia, PA.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Medquest Communications, LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Gozdan, Walt
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Words:843
Previous Article:Something in the air.
Next Article:What we learned from a power shutdown.
Topics:


Related Articles
Capital planning for interior upgrades.
MADE IN THE NEW SHADES NEW PAINTS BRING COLOR TO THE DOLDRUMS.
REDUNDANT CONTRACTS SHOW PATTERN OF WASTED MONEY.
A BRUSH WITH GREATNESS : DETAILS MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN PAINT JOBS.
HOW TO AVOID BEING PAINTED INTO A CORNER.
IF YOU CAN STAND THE HEAT ... HOME TOUR REMODELS START IN THE KITCHEN TO UPDATE BEAUTIFUL OLDER HOMES.
Q & A.
The Paint Quality Institute: an industry resource.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters