Painting on New Construction Opinions please!

17 Replies

When it comes to painting on your new construction, which do you think works best?

1.  Spray before installing flooring, cabinets, etc. 

2. Install flooring and cabinets, cover and then paint.

We've done both ways, but I wanted to ask what order others choose. 

@Jay Hinrichs  @Kenneth Bell  @John Blackman  @Jon Klaus  @J Scott  @Will Barnard  Account Closed 

 and all others!! 

Option 1 will take less time and energy but will probably require more paint than a roller would.  Harbor freight sells an airless sprayer for about $150 and is all you would really need in terms of tools to do a decent spray job.

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Oh, how many times I've run this scenario through my head. There are lots of variables to consider; size of room, percent of walls covered by cabinets, baseboard and flooring transition. 

In a perfect world, I prefer paint as the very last trade. 


Great question. I too have done it both ways, however, my preference is always to paint first, then install other items, then come back to do fine line touch-ups on the paint.  So much time is spent on taping, masking, etc. and time is money. Painting when nothing is in the way is so much more beneficial, there is really no comparison.

I am surprised to hear that two people so far have taken the paint after preference. I don't see one advantage of it. Granted, sometimes you are not left with option 1, but when you do have it, take it.

In the "jungle of construction" The painter considered to be one of the top sociable creature. 
He  / she can co-exist and share habitat with kitchen company, granite guy, electrician etc...

I paint after demo / cutting walls / then do touch-up as needed in puchlist.


We've tried both in our whole house remodel projects and new constructions.

1) For cheaper projects: quicker is better. Paint first, mostly spray on everything since walls mostly are all in 1 color.  One exception is hardwood & tile floors, which we apply the rules below.  Touch up at punch-list.

2) For high end projects, quality is more important.  Here's what we've been doing, step by step:

+ We paint 3 coats for new walls.

     - Primer gets sprayed first

     - Ceiling main color first coat next.  We've been trying both spray and one guy going after with a roller while the spray is still wet.  Usually we get good results, and it'd be it!  If not, 3rd coat will be applied for that particular ceiling only, by roller.

+ Flooring:

    - Carpet flooring gets installed after all painting.

    - Hardwood & tile floors get installed before painting walls.  This is so because we want to install baseboard and door trims after hard floors to get perfect cuts.  

+ Bathrooms:

    - Tubs & showers are in first at rough anyway.  So we'd like to have wall tile works done before painting too.  I don't like semi-gloss paint gets over-sprayed/rolled onto tub & shower wall areas.  

    - All fixtures, vanities and plumbing except toilets, mirrors & accessories (paper & towel hangers, etc...) would be in first.

    - Reason are: these areas are small enough for rolling and taping.  So painting after benefits; tile work is messy no matter how much you ask the guys to be clean; the traffic back and forth from cabinet & plumbing crews within tight spaces would cause major touch ups anyway.  And with design colors usually used in bathrooms, touching ups often end up in re-painting the whole room for consistent look. 

+ Doors & trims:

    - Trims & baseboards are installed then get sprayed after hard floors.  We always spray trims

    - Doors are sprayed at the same times as well since we use the same gun tips for professional look.

 + Walls get painted next.

    - Since all rooms have different colors in high end projects: rolling is quicker.   

+ Kitchen cabinets & counters get installed after

+ Touch up kitchen walls & ceilings.

+ Common practice: After each room is done painting, door is closed and marked off limit till walk-through for punch list to reduce unnecessary touch-ups. 

One key thing to remember is to have as much dust generating work done as much as you can before painting final coat.

Ive done it both ways and now we follow this procedure with our painted trim.

Spray walls - install flooring cabinetry and all trim, cover everything spray trim, then I completely finish the home and the painter returns and rolls walls again and does any trim touchups.

Be cautious with your hardwood floors when they are covered or protected by cardboards. Dirt always finds a way under the paper/cardboard and can cause scratches.

We always paint early and then do bump outs like everyone else.  There has been a handful of times that we've painted after the fact due to scheduling issues.  When we've used a top tier painter it's worked out fine, but if the crew is more production minded it isn't something i'd do again.

Here the production / semi custom guys are charging $2 per foot ( inside / out ) vs $5 per foot for the high end guys so it doesn't really make sense to wait on paint.

@Jon Klaus  

We simply find that painting at the end is more efficient since all of the other subs seem to damage the walls, or have grubby hands. 

The other huge factor is that we put in flooring  before baseboards. I absolutely HATE the look of quarter round in addition to my 6" baseboards. 

As soon as floors are installed, my painters come in and put Ram Board down over the floor's wood. If polished concrete was done, that part would already be covered with the Ram Board, as they would have come immediately after that job was done and put it down.

When we pull up the Ram Board, there is some light dust underneath, but nothing excessive. The job site is cleaned daily and if we notice any seams or edges of the board coming un-taped, that is fixed, so maybe that helps.

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On new construction. Carpet is last.

Professional painters want all cabinets and trim in before painting. That is the only way to make sure everything is caulked in together. Then touchups after the carpet is laid.

Originally posted by @Lynn Currie :

@Jon Klaus  

We simply find that painting at the end is more efficient since all of the other subs seem to damage the walls, or have grubby hands. 

The other huge factor is that we put in flooring  before baseboards. I absolutely HATE the look of quarter round in addition to my 6" baseboards. 

 I agree that baseboards need to go in AFTER floors are installed, much better look, but that does not prevent you from already having the ceilings and walls painted. so I still don't get your reasoning. Efficient is spraying or rolling all walls and ceilings when you have nothing in the way and nothing to spill on that could get damaged. Then after you install cabinets, floors, and baseboards, you simply go back and do the final caulking, paint touch-ups, etc.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but would like to understand how painting everything last is more efficient.

We also paint first then touch up. This also allows a lot better look at drywall flaws. They always happen but are a lot easier to spot on painted walls.

@Will Barnard  

No problem with the questions.

I should mention that we do prime walls and ceilings right after floors are installed and before baseboards are put in, but all I can tell you is that we find that it's better for us to paint at the end because the touch-ups are excessive when we paint early in the process.

Once all the subs have done all of their final work (cabinets/countertops installed, tile done, final plumbing done, final electric done), the painters come in and do any drywall patching needed. Then they mask everything, which yes is the most time consuming part of the job and takes a couple of extra days since they are covering everything and have to do some additional prep/protection in the middle of the process. Once they're done, they remove all of the masking materials and do all finish out-caulking. 

When they leave, we bring in the construction clean-up crew, and all is sparkly, clean and done.

We usually do one post initial paint touch-up after a buyer's walk through, but that's usually minimal.