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Question DetailsAsked on 7/24/2017

How do i price cleaning exterior windows on a home?

There are 30 windows and I'm just cleaning the over spray paint off of them

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1 Answer


Course, the homeowner should be getting this free from the Painter - or maybe you are working for the painter because he failed to mask the windows.

I am also assuming you really want this job - a lot of window cleaners/handymen would not touch it because of the downside risk - scratching the glass, nickjing or blistering the new paint on the frame/trim (assuming window frame/trim was nbewly painted), uncertainty on the amount of work needed, etc.

Tough question on pricing - and of course if some answer here is too low you lose money on the job, too high and you might not get it.

With latex or acrylic latex paint and assuming fresh paint (not over a day or two old), I would say about 100-200%% more than you would normally charge to just normally wash the outsides if a LIGHT or spotty latex or acrylic latex overspray, or probably more like 300%-400% your normal rate (so say 10-20 minutes per window) if the painter pretty much dalmationed the whole window.

If an oil paint, even more dangerous to say, because depending on the glass porosity and the type of paint, will almost certainly take an aggressive solvent, great care not to damage the glass seal or the paint on the frame with the chemicals, and might take as many as 3-5 passes of scraping and chemical removal with paint thinner (if not cured yet) or acetone or laquer thinner to get it all off - can get VERY hard to remove cured or if older glass which has developed a lot of porosity on the surface, especially in heavy air pollution areas or sandstorm type areas where the glass develops a surface frosting (you know what I am talkiing about if a problem in your area) which the paint will embed in and cannot readily just be washed off with chemical wipedown.

Also, if fiberglass or plastic oir painted metal window frames you cannot let laquer thinner or acetone touch it (and even paint thinner has to be wiped off immediately plus will lift the paint), so you are talking having to mask each window before cleaning.

My recommendation for doing this job - in addition to an easy-to-grip single-edged type razor blade scraper (or maybe several closeable type because you will drop it now and again), I use the non-abrasive nylon scrub pads without any soap in them (box of about 25 costs about $10 on Amazon) with either normal window cleaning soap or laquer thinner/paint thinner as applicable - some will soften and eventually smear in laquer thinner, and acetone will dissolve most so if you have to use acetone to remove it you might have to use untinted muslin or cheesecloth instead. But that type of non-abrasive scrubber can remove pretty fresh overspray - sort of like removing a real tough bird dropping and about as streak-causing.

Also in figuring your time - I would assume, if having to use chemical solvent to remove it, that you will need to do that paint removal all around the house, then come back for a second pass after that has evaporated to do your normal cleaning to desmear them - because if the solvent is not totally evaporated (say 10-15 minutes) the window will just smear when you wash it. So I would count on two ladder setups for each window.

And don't forget the additional cleaning materials and any solvents in your cost - might well take about a gallon of solvent or even more to do 30 windows with a pretty good haze of overspray.

Personally - I would tell them for this is a by-the-hour billing job with no guaranteed maximum - and if they are uncertain about that see if they will accept you doing the worst one first and based on that then giving a quote for the rest, because I can see this taking a good half a day to a full day for normal overspray situation, with 30 windows.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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