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Question DetailsAsked on 10/20/2016

What does it cost to paint an existing interior door?

My contractor's painter ruined all 17 doors in my house by painting latex over oil. I asked if it would! be cheaper to replace the doors rather than have him let someone else repaint the peeling doors. I was told yes. I specifically asked if I bought the new doors and he painted them at his cost since I already paid for the painting once he said yes. I asked if there would be any other charge. Let me understand clearly if I buy new doors you will remove the ruined doors, paint the new doors I buy and hang the new doors rather then the old doors. I was told yes. Then I get a bill for an additional 2500$ for the installation of the new doors. I never would have agreed to new doors if I knew the installation prices were high. I would have had him repaint the existing doors the correct way since it was their mistake not mine.
Any suggestions?

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1 Answer


Normally, for that quantity at one time for doors in decent condition, about $50-100-/door not including frame/trim - just the door. With frame probably closer to $100 range.

Painting latex over oil was not the problem - failure to prep the surface properly was - oil has to be thoroughly cleaned with TSP after surface sanding to roughen the surface and break the gloss to provide "tooth" for the latex. Granted, oil over oil usually gives a better finish, but it is fully feasible to do a good job with latex (actually acrylic latex over oil - pure latex can be a problem).

To fix the problem you describe they would have had to strip/sand the doors basically clean down to bare wood and start from scratch with primer and 2 coats paint - which would normally cost more than buying a new normal stock door and painting it from scratch (usually come pre-primed if for painting).

I can't figure out WHY you bought the new doors - he should have stripped the doors or replaced them as part of the fix, totally at HIS cost. 20-20 hindsight on not tying down any costs related to the installation in writing too.

$2500 for 17 doors - sounds like you bought prehung doors with frames, so the entire frame had to be removed and replaced - not just putting a new door blank on the hinges and putting the hardware in, so about $125-150 each for that replacement sounds in the ballpark. For door blanks only, assuming they can pre-mortised at the correct location for hinges and predrilled for doorknobs, about $25-50 each would be a normal installation cost for that number of doors.

The problem you have now is apparently lack of written modification of scope - and buying new doors rather than filing a claim with him for total stripping and refinishing of the existing doors or putting in new painted doors, at his discretion. Sounds like he is probably going to say you agreed to put in new doors that he would paint at no additional charge - but you "bought" new doors rather than ""putting in" new doors, so he had to install them.

You say you asked i there would be any other charge, and that he would remove the old doors and paint and install the new ones - and he said yes. The problem there - not only that it was not in writing, but that you did not include "at no charge to me" in that statement - so he said he would remove qand replace and paint the doors, but did NOT say there would be no charge to you or what it would be. He could (based only on what you stated above) easily (in a court or insurance dispute) say there was no meeting of the minds - you thought he was going to remove and replace the new painted doors for free, he thought he was going to be PAID to remove and replace the doors and do only the painting of the new doors for free. That might or might not be what he thought at the time - this could be a true case of each party hearing what they expected to hear and thinking the other party meant the same thing, or he may have had second thoughts and realized he had not promised the door R&R for free and might get away with charging for it. Either viewpoint might fly before a third party. Certainly if it were stripping and repainting only, or HE had bought the doors to paint and install rather than go to the labor of stripping and repainting the originals, your argument would probably fly in a negotiated or court dispute. But since YOU agreed to buy the doors, that renders his possible argument that you were going to replace the doors yourself and he would then paint them at no additional charge more weight. Unfortunately, with you buying the doors you may have shot down your defense - and paid for the new doors to boot, which should have been out of his pocket since he damaged the original ones. But, 20-20 hindsight.

At this point, with you having agreed to the new doors and buying them, lacking written pre-agreement on exactly what was going to be done about the problem so it looks like you were doing an upgrade as part of the botched paint job, if I were arbitrating this I would say about the best you can reasonably hope to get out of this is getting him to agree to charge you only his direct cost for the new door installation and nothing additional for the painting - so if he had a carpenter in to put them in, only what he paid the carpenter (without any markup); or if he used his own personnel only his direct labor cost with direct labor overhead (but no general overhead or profit) plus any incidental materials cost (with no profit or markup).

Other alternative is to hold to the line that he agreed to remove and replace the doors with the new ones and paint them, ALL for free because he had said that would be cheaper for him than stripping and repainting the original ones, and if he won't take that as a final answer (including giving you a paid-in-full invoice for payment of the originally agreed painting-only price plus a lien waiver) then a claim against his bond or small claims court would be your likely recourses.

And of course, sounds like an appropriate Review would be in order after all is said and done.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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