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Builder used different paint - CHEAP PAINT

Matt Neitzel
January 2, 2019

I recently closed on a new home construction. Everything looked pretty good for the most part. We've been there for a couple weeks now and there are smudges all over the walls. They're impossible to clean and when we try to clean it, it makes it worse. I went down in the basement, since they left a 5 gallon jug of the paint they used so we could do touch ups. The builder stated in the contract they would use Sherman Williams - Cashmere Finish. I look at the jug and it's Sherman Williams ProMar 400. I've been doing my research and find that the ProMar 400 line of paint is much cheaper and much less durable. They clearly used a cheaper paint to cut down on costs. If it says they're supposed to use Cashmere finish in the contract, should I fight this? I've emailed the builder this morning in hopes we can work something out. If that doesn't go well, do I have grounds to sue in small claims court? It has been an absolute nightmare dealing with this cheap paint. We move into a brand new home and the walls look awful! We wouldn't have known about this issue until after we closed.

Comments (68)

  • Matt Neitzel

    lmao Sammy - I realized that I was wrong last night when I was telling my wife about it. She already called me a doofus, so we have that ground covered too! haha

  • Matt Neitzel

    UPDATE


    The builder came and checked out the paint. He said they did in fact screw up and use the wrong paint. He went on to tell us that the ProMar400 is the highest quality flat paint Sherwin Williams offers and that we wouldn't be happy with the Cashmere paint. He said he would walk us through a home with the Cashmere paint but that's not going to show us anything...unless he lets me scuff the wall and attempt to clean it.


    He gave us the run around and said it's easy to roll on paint and touch it up and we should go that route and stick with the paint we have (The cheap and from what I've ready, the lowest quality paint -- ProMar 400). We won't take that for an answer because I'm not rolling paint touch ups on a weekly basis.


    Is the builder just yanking our chain to get out of taking a big hit in profits?

  • junco East Georgia zone 8a

    Did he explain why they offered the upgrade if the ProMar400 is the best? And did he offer to refund your $2000?



  • functionthenlook

    Yep, he is full of BS

  • pennydesign

    If anyone is in danger of losing money, they will do what they are able to (morally? idk...) to put a stop to it.

    That said, I'm not that familiar with paint qualities myself so I'll leave the question of what's best to the pros here...

  • Annie Reese
    So he is saying-- Yes they screwed up by accidentally using a "higher" quality paint than they should have??

    well lucky you! (sarcasm here)
  • paintguy22
    Well, flat paint isn’t washable so the quality of it really doesn’t matter. It’s true that flat paint touches up the best though. Cashmere has a washable flat that really isn’t very washable so we normally use the low luster. The low luster has some sheen though which many builders don’t like because it highlights bad drywall. That is one of the big reasons builders like to use flat paint. It hides everything. My personal opinion is that if you live in a house with flat paint, don’t touch your walls. If that’s not a realistic option, then you need a washable paint. Either way, you paid for an upgrade you didn’t receive.
  • kootenaycapable
    Sammie, you would expect an insulated wall to have more sound dampening than an uninsulated wall. "The first flush" would have rang out clear for everyone to hear, even those not in the bathroom.
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    Contract? You win! Tell him you will pursue this is court (assuming it is under $7,000. damages for small claims). Relatively small filing fee, and when you win, he pays for that as well. If he doesn’t respond to your conversation, go to your district court, Clerk’s side, get the form, fill it out and bring it back to the court. Court usually has a day for small claims, my state is Thursday. It may not get to that point at all, once he receives his notice. If you do go to court, have all your ducks in a row. If he doesn’t show, then papers go to the Sherrif and he delivers in person. Easy enough, and you, for the most part, don’t have too much involvement, except paper work.

    It may take several weeks, but, hey, you’re not going anywhere.

  • just_janni

    Huh? Please explain, janni!!

    Yes - the flush was VERY noticeable. Especially because we have pressure assisted toilets. Sigh.


  • ShadyWillowFarm
    Why not ask Sherwin Williams (ha ha) about the two lines of paint?
  • Susie .
    BS! Check the prices on the website, it’s clear that Cashmere is a better and more expensive paint.
  • Matt Neitzel

    Thank you everyone for the feedback and comments. I spoke with the builder last night again and he admits he screwed up. He said he would call me again on Monday after he breaks the news to his boss. I told him that since they're repainting the house again anyways, we'll pay any price difference in the two different sheens so we get something that is a bit more washable. It sounds like the Cashmere Low Lustre is much better for this. I'll keep everyone posted!

  • just_janni

    It's good that he had some time to think about it and do the right thing (admit the error as opposed to continuing to make up ridiculous statements about how lucky you are...)

    I'd document the conversations, just in case. His initial reaction was a little "slippery".


  • functionthenlook

    Glad you are getting the correct paint. But don't be surprised if he doesn't want to use the low luster. One reason builders like to use flat paint is that it hides drywall flaws better. The higher the gloss the more the flaws show and the more they have to repair.

  • paintguy22

    You will be glad to know there is no price difference between Cashmere flat and Cashmere low luster. Don't let the builder tell you there is!

  • ci_lantro

    I told him that since they're repainting the house again anyways, we'll pay any price difference in the two different sheens so we get something that is a bit more washable.


    You are being way more tolerant than I would be. I'd be asking for Duration paint as a penalty for trying to screw me over and, because you've moved in already, I'd be asking for the $2K paint upgrade refunded because of the inconvenience and disruption.

  • Matt Neitzel

    Quick Update - I spoke with the builder yesterday and he gave me the same song and dance as before. He said that the Cashmere paint has actually given them more issues than ProMar 400 and that it will be just as difficult to clean (impossible) and that it doesn't touch up as well as the ProMar 400. I told him that I dont mean to be insulting but there's no way I could believe him that a paint double the price would be worse than the other. He wanted to give me a walk through of a home with the correct, Cashmere, paint and see how crappy it is compared to ProMar 400. I told him we needed the Cashmere Low Luster paint or we need a big compensation for the error. He said, "Lets not talk monetary, I want to make sure you're happy with what you get." He seems like a nice guy, but he's trying to get out of it. He said he's talking with his boss again this morning to go over the options of what they do for us. I'm honestly not that mad about it because I know it's pretty clear they're in the wrong and it will get resolved at some point.

  • just_janni

    No way - he's gone back to slippery after placating you once.... it's almost like I predicted this.

    What have you documented back to him after the results of your first meeting where he agreed to repaint with the contracted / specified paint?

    IMO - you need to write down / push / expect that the contract gets executed AS WRITTEN and create a timeline for completion. Don't change the sheen - get what you paid for. If you start introducing change orders, you will decrease the likelihood of getting anything. Push for what you paid for - to the letter - and set a date to have this done.

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    I think that rather than letting him talk to his boss again, YOU need to be the one to talk to his boss. He's had his chance to resolve it, now it's time to go over his head.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    What

    just_jann and

    lindsey (still misses Sophie) said. Absolutely. Contract was signed and clearly stated, its on their dime now. No meeting in the middle, no dice. You get what you paid for. Period.

  • Matt Neitzel

    You're all absolutely right. I will give the builder a call this afternoon and get to the bottom of this. Thank you!!

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    And do not let anyone walk out of the house with the evidence (paint can) with the excuse of "matching the paint" or anything like that.

    I had a similar scenario when I had the exterior painted. I was told repeatedly that they would only use S-W paint, and that the 10 year warranty was only valid if S-W paint was used. Sure enough, the painter showed up with another brand, and I had to have the contractor come back several times to touch up areas. I should have demanded a full repaint with the S-W that was in the contract.

  • David Jensen

    The worst part is that you are not just talking about repainting the walls, but priming AND repainting in a now occupied house. Even if he refunds the $2000, it won't begin to pay for the real cost of bringing things up to par. The Promar line is the "contractor's crap" line by Sherwin Williams. If you merely paint over it with a quality paint, it will flash out and be extremely streaky. the higher the sheen you choose, the more likely it is to flash. Further, use only a high quality primer, not just one of the acetate ( PVA based) primers, but a 100% acrylic based product.

  • dave_m877

    I recently repainted the home I bought. It had the Sherwin Williams ProMar 400 flat paint. I went with SW since I wanted the same color, but to upgrade the sheen, and I had patched some spots from where the previous owner had things hung. I went with the Cashmere line. Its crap. Complete crap. In the first room I went directly over the wall since I was using the same paint code, just higher sheen and "better" quality paint. It took 4 coats for it to look right. So, in the next room, I applied two coats of primer, and it still took 2 coats of the Cashmere. So still 4 total coats. Since I ran out of paint by then, I went to Home Depot and picked up some Behr. I had them cross reference the paint code. I used a paint/primer all in one, medium grade line they offer. Price per gallon was still $15 less than the SW Cashmere, and it covered in one coat. I had to use two coats in the areas where I had patched. I did the entire rest of my house with the Behr. When it comes to clean up, no comparison. The Behr is by far superior in that aspect too. I used to work for PPG paints on the automotive side and as a perk on my last house, they gave me all my paint for my home in the Porter line. That was amazing as well. I would have used it again, but there was not a Porter store in a reasonable distance from me. I have use SW 3 times in my life. I hated it every time. So there is some truth to the builder saying that the Cashmere doesn't clean up that well. Ask them about using another brand entirely.

  • Matt Neitzel

    UPDATE


    I sent my builder a quick email yesterday to see if he had an update from his discussion from his boss. He told me he was in the builders meeting right now and would try to talk to his boss after the meeting. As much as I wanted to call him right then and chew him out and tell him to not TRY to talk to his boss, I cooled myself down and gave him so more time. The meeting was at 1PM yesterday and I haven't heard back from him. I sent him and email and a voicemail today with no response back. I told my wife that my "asshole" side was about to come out from this point forward. When I do get a hold of him, I'm going to simply ask for his boss's direct number because he obviously can't get this situation resolved himself. Woooooo...rant over

  • David Jensen

    Those cheap contractor paints are loaded with calcium carbonate (chalk) as the white pigment. If you intend to paint over them a quality paint, which has titanium dioxide as its white pigment, you will have to do two coats to first seal the wall, and then a top coat on it to even the sheen. Ironically, significant color changes are often easier to do over the cheap paint, because it is sucking up so much paint! the down side is that the sheen will not be even with only one coat.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    He's stalling hoping you give up. I would go there personally and demand to see the owner of the company.

  • just_janni

    At this point, certified mail is your friend.

  • Current Resident

    I would take it to small claims court. Figure out the difference in cost between the cheap paint and the more expensive paint. Then get a quote from another painter to paint and prime in the better quality paint. Add the two figures together, and the court costs and that is your claim. Point out to the judge the problems with painting over cheap paint- better yet if you can get a professional painter to state that in person or get a written statement.

    You should also present your contract and your documentation of all these many times youve attempted to communicate and correct the problem. Its good you tried, but at some point you just have to take that next step. And I always feel after a point, I really dont WANT this person in my house anymore.

  • David Jensen

    I agree with the above post. Just don't exceed the statutory limit for small claims court. Even if it is small claims court, all the court's rules still apply as to proof and documentation. This ain't "Judge Judy". Once served, you might well find that the builder will crawl back wanting to settle. As a contractor, I only had to go through this process a couple times in 4 decades, but it was I going after the dead beat customer!

  • Holly Stockley

    As a brickbat. If they're going to spam, they could at least take the time to create user names.


  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    Deleted my comment :) Holly you're still right though!

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    ?? I missed something

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    A recap:

    HU-126495&$+49563-$+

    "You should hire a wonderful builder like <insert link to wonderful builder's website here>."

    miss lindsey blah blah blah

    "^^subtle"

    HU's was zapped so I deleted mine so as not to be disparaging to David Jensen.

  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork

    Thank you miss lindsey!..........I also miss Sophie.

  • dbrad

    Update?

  • David Jensen

    miss lindsey, go ahead and "disparage" me :)

  • Matt Neitzel

    A quick update. The painter came by January 22nd and took a pic of the paint for their records. I've emailed the builder 3 times without any response. Should we threaten to sue or just go through with it and catch them off guard? They promised other things like cleaning our yard and that hasn't gotten done...there's building material ppieces everywhere.

  • annied75
    Do you have a one year warranty in your contract? Basically, where they will come back and fix/tweak items up to a year after you own it? If so, I would start creating a list and schedule a meeting with them.
  • paintguy22

    I can't imagine if the builder won't even return calls that he is going to honor the 1 year warranty. I guess legal action or threats is the only recourse left.

  • Matt Neitzel

    Agreed. I think legal actions areare the only course at this point. Were putting together a list of fixes under the one year warranty. In your opinion should we get estimates from other painters to bring to court? At this point, I'd rather have someone else paint the house and do it right this time.

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    Yes, get those estimates.

  • cat_ky

    I f you plan on filing legal action, dont wait so long, that you are over the time limit. That may well be what the builder is counting on.

  • jkliveng

    I would certainly get a list together and I would too want someone else to do the work. I have Cashmere if my main living space and love it. I can't remember if it's low luster or more eggshell but it was put over builder flat paint and it's been a dream to wash.

  • dbrad

    We used SW Cashmere low lustre in our new build and love it - cleans easily and looks great. If the sheetrock work was done poorly, it will show up in the right light though!

  • Matt Neitzel

    It looks like telling our builder we were filing a lawsuit sparked a fire in his ass. We have a painting crew coming in next week to re-paint.

  • just_janni

    It's sad that is has to come to that - but the signs were there that only specific measures were going to get him to engage in any sort of good faith.

    I hate being a jerk, but the time between nice / reasonable and "take no prisoners / get ^%&$ done" is pretty short with me after I get lied to by a contractor one time.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    I just hope that the repaint is done well, not a hurry up slap dash because he doesn't want to be doing it job.

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