A Splash of Color Taking the "Pain" Out of Painting

Now that the city has shed its dark winter shades and spring is finally here, it's time for the renovation work to begin. Whether yours is a 250-unit high-rise or a seven-unit walk up, buildings all over the five boroughs are getting ready for a makeover. One of the best ways to give a building a new look is with a fresh new paint job. The results can be astounding - without a budgetary hemorrhage.

Just because spring has sprung doesn't necessarily mean you have to run out and grab a paintbrush. Most buildings, depending on the size and level of traffic, will do a thorough lobby or hallway repaint as often as every five years or so. "It depends on the treatments," says John Marino of JMPB Painting, Inc., in Mt. Vernon, referring to the types of paint - or even alternative wall coverings - used. "Some treatments are a little more durable. It also depends on how much traffic there is and what type of tenants you have. Some are a little rougher on the walls than others."

If your walls are indeed looking a bit dull, and that mid-70s brown-and-orange color combo simply isn't serving its artistic purpose any longer, than it's time to call in a professional or two to get the paint process rolling.

Pre-Paint Procedure

As with any large-scale and potentially expensive undertaking, it's vital to plan ahead. Boards and building managers need to sit down and discuss the scope of the project before delving into details like vertical stripes versus wallpaper borders. "My strongest recommendation is to first get the budget for the project before seriously starting to discuss what you want to do with colors and patterns," Marino says. "Then to ensure the project goes smoothly, the board needs to hire an interior designer, because that person will work as a guide and liaison."

Securing expert advice before a leap into the fray takes some of the load off the board's shoulders and also sets the stage for a successful effort. Your designer can serve as the go-between - or more likely, as an additional voice in conversations between the board and painting professionals. Many painting and refurbishing companies will come to the building and do a free survey. "We give them budgets detailing various treatments, from a basic budget for painting doors and installing wall material all the way up to the top of the line," Marino says. "That way, they know what their options are and what they can afford." Boards should always get a consultation, he adds.

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