Painting and Polishing


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Painting and polishing go hand in hand; so much so that ideally they should be done by the same contractor. Polish can get on to painted surfaces and paint can get on to polished surfaces. If you have two contractors, cleaning and finishing falls between the cracks. We got polishing done before the painting, but had the polish guy come back for a day or two after painting to touch up some of the polish that had been covered by paint. But there was a lot of back and forth about who would do what cleaning; from that perspective its best to get a single contractor. Also get a painter who will do minor PoP work too. We had some minor PoP work to do but our painter would not do it and we could not get a PoP guy to come for such small work. We had to really convince our painter to do this small work for us, and it is generally the norm that the painter can do some minor PoP work for last-minute finishing.


Polishing is a major item when you use veneers in your furniture because the entire furniture piece has to be polished. Since we did not use veneers, I do not know how much it costs or how long it takes. We just did minor polishing for the edges of our furniture where they put the wooden lipping patti. My guess is that this edge-polishing is more costly since it has to be done by hand whereas they just use spray machines for polishing entire pieces of furniture. All such polishing is charged on a running-foot basis with the material provided by the polish fellow. Polishing teams work like carpenters - long hours. Its best to sync up the carpenters and polishing teams so that their work can overlap and you can save some time. Without veneers, our polish work for furniture in about three rooms hardly took a week. You have to be careful about examining polished work as its very easy to miss small parts. And choose your colors well. If you are re-using material from old furniture, lighter polish does not apply well on darker surfaces from an earlier polishing job. Its best to stick to darker colors as much as possible.

There are three types of polish:
  1. Natural polish: This will leave the natural color of the wood underneath. It will not match the laminate color. Its the cheapest option around Rs. 10/r.ft.
  2. Color polish: As the name suggests, this will match the color of the laminate. It will cost any where from Rs. 12/r.ft. to Rs. 20/r.ft.
  3. Melamine polish: After the color polish, melamine is sprayed on the surface to make it last longer. You can get a glossy or a matte finish. This is the most expensive polish and can cost between Rs. 15/r.ft. and Rs. 25/r.ft. You can do melamine polishing in the more visible and high-usage areas such as living room pieces and cupboard doors, and stick to regular color or natural polish on inside surfaces such as shelves, drawers, etc.


Painting in done in two phases. First the painters will apply the primer and putty. They will try to fill some of the cracks in the walls and smooth the surfaces. This step can be done almost at any time after the floor tiling is done. The main painting is done in the second phase. Here they further open up existing cracks, fill them up with lambi, do minor PoP finishing, and then do the painting. The actual painting is done in two coats and does not take very long.

The general trend is to choose a cream or white or a pastel color for the bulk of the walls, white for the ceiling to get maximum light reflection, and then highlight one of the walls in the room, typically the TV wall or the bed wall. Note that this can also be done with wood and laminates, and wallpapers. There is too much choice in wallpapers which you can find in laminate shops such as Dalal's as well as specialized wallpaper shops in Timber Market. Selecting paints is tricky. You get extensive catalogs with hundreds of colors but the colors do not look the same on the wall as in the catalog. It is pretty difficult to choose highlight colors and we spent quite some time on it :). Also the sample paints are available in a minimum quantity of 250 or 500ml so you end up spending quite a bit on every sample you try. You also get some fancier textures for highlights, glow-in-the-dark paints, etc. These will cost more and there are limited shade choices for textures. There are different kinds of paints and textures for outside walls which are exposed to water. Your painter should be able to recommend the right paint to use. Navnitlal and sons in Camp area is a good shop to see catalogs for paint choices; they also have some panels to display different textures, etc. Actual paint can be purchased at any shop.

Painting is charged on a per sq. ft. basis. The rate is around Rs. 20-25/sq.ft. This is inclusive of all the material and labor. Ideally the labor has to cover all your belongings properly but they do not do a very good job and end up spending a lot of time cleaning up the mess. And they may not do a very good job at the end of it. So be careful to warn them earlier on to cover your stuff well.

There are two main types of paints:
  1. Luster: This is an oil-based paint so it gives a slightly glossy and bumpy appearance but the gloss wears off within a month. This paint is easiest to clean. You can wipe it down with a wet cloth and its very useful with little kids around the house. Since its oil-based, the paint smells for a couple of weeks after application which may be bothersome to some folks. Luster is half the price of Velvet but you need more paint so the final cost is the same. It also takes longer to dry so the painting work may take a couple of days more.
  2. Velvet: Velvet is water-based so it gives a much smoother finish, matte effect, no smell, more expensive but you need less paint for application, dries fast. Its harder to clean compared to Luster because it is water-based. Asian calls Velvet - Royale.
There are many Indian paint companies such as Nerolac, Dulux, Asian, Berger, and Jotun. All of them as more or less the same. Dulux pioneered the Luster finish so if you go with Luster, best to go with Dulux. Of course, none of it really matters - we got Asian Luster done at our place.