Mark Bellingham Painting does phenomenal work and my husband and I consider ourselves fortunate that they left a flyer on our door while we were actively researching local painters to redo the exterior of our house in Moraga. From beginning to end the experience was positive, even a pleasure, and our house looks as good as new. It is actually better than new since the original builder skimped in some critical areas.
Mark gave us a written estimate up front. It specified the dollar amount per man hour, plus 20% overhead, plus materials. There was a maximum set for man hours and the job actually came in under that. The only surprise for us was that the charge for materials was more than we were expecting, because we really had had no idea what materials would cost or indeed what materials would be needed. In addition to top quality paints and tinted primer, there was a great deal of caulk and compressible foam as well that went into weatherproofing our 2,900 sq ft house. There was a lot of protective paper and tape, and sandpaper, too. When faced with the final bill we had no regrets and felt that the cost of the entire project was very reasonable. Mark Bellingham’s company took a house that hadn’t been painted in 14 years, was blistering, cracking, and rotting, and got it into prime condition for weathering winter storms and blistering heat for years to come. We heartily recommend Mark Bellingham Painting for any job that falls within their purview.
Read on if you would like a lot more detail about our experience and the various projects they did for us.
The company is properly licensed and bonded, and all employees are covered by Workers’ Compensation; I verified this for myself, via the CA Licensing Board’s website. It matters to me that Mark Bellingham cares to protect homeowners and employees alike. Indeed, the company culture is clearly one of mutual respect at every level and of pride in the work. Everyone who came to our property was introduced to me and was always personable and considerate, toward my household, my property, and each other.
They took on three distinct projects for us: (1) they tore down and took away all evidence of a large pergola that was too close to the house and falling apart; (2) they refinished a much-abused, moss-covered, cracked hardwood swing; and (3) they redid the entire exterior of our single-level, wood-framed house.
The Pergola: We were very grateful that they took on the task of removing our pergola prior to painting the house. It was outside their normal scope, but they did it graciously and for a very reasonable cost. It was a huge help since it would have interfered with their painting. It demonstrated, too, the thoroughness with which they clean up after themselves, for there wasn’t a single nail left behind.
The Swing: They totally restored our Jarrah wood swing, cleaning it completely, sanding it with increasingly fine sandpaper, filling in the crack so it ceased distressing me, and guiding me through choosing a new stain. Then, when rain began to fall, our foreman, Tito, covered the swing with a giant tent and tied it down so thoroughly that it withstood a major storm, giving the swing the protection it needed to dry completely. Eventually he took away all evidence of that project as well, leaving us a beautifully restored piece of furniture returned to its spot in our garden.
The House: It is inadequate to say that they “painted” our house, because they did so much more than hose down the house and apply new paint. Their website goes into a lot of detail about the process and I highly recommend reading it. I can vouch that they did everything articulated there. We have had our house “painted” before, but not at all like this.
They meticulously scraped, caulked, cleaned, and repaired every inch of the house. Wherever hardware could be removed (door handles, flag pole, brass numbers), they took it off so as to paint underneath it. With a razor blade, they removed old glue and paint from the small glass panes in a door, prior to painting the wood framing that surrounded them. They painted the sides of our “French Cut” trim, something the previous painter had neglected to do, probably because it was time consuming and required a deft touch. It looks amazing. Where they used a sprayer to apply paint, they would follow it up with brushes. The newly painted wood looks positively luxurious.
Where repair work was minimal they cleaned, protected, filled, and finished it so it looked new. When they found severe rot, as in the wood framing surrounding one of our chimneys, they recommended complete rebuilding, offered their carpenter, and carried out our wishes. We were grateful we took their advice, for, in addition to being rotted, the old wood showed early signs of termite infestation. The original builders of our house hadn’t bothered to prime the inside of the chimneys. Mark’s carpenter did beautiful work and charged the same rate as the painters. (His was the only name I never caught actually, because he arrived at our house and went straight up onto the roof to get to work).
When they discovered our gutters were full of leaves they showed us a photo and, with our permission, cleaned them for us. The cost was comparable to what we usually pay. The timing, too, couldn’t have been better, for it rained that night. It is worth mentioning that this work all took place in December. I had been very worried about rain compromising the paint job, but they worked around any moisture very sensibly. For example, one morning Tito arrived, on schedule as usual, to let me know that they would be starting late that day in order to give the sun time to finish drying the house.
Tito always kept me abreast of what was going on. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. I can’t sing his praises enough. He has excellent communication skills, is very personable, and answered every question with thoroughness and respect. Every couple days he took me for a walk-around to demonstrate and discuss everything that was happening. Every member of the crew (Jonathan, Cruz, and Mike) was cheerful, detail-oriented, and industrious.
Mark was always involved, too, even if from afar. He was there at the start to introduce everyone and discuss the projects with them. He was on site a from time to time to see how things were progressing and bring me up to date. He followed up with me at the end to ensure that everything was cleaned up--which it was--, that the touch-up paint had been left behind--which it had been--, and that we were pleased with the work--which we are! And I know he was in close contact with Tito throughout. My husband and I liked Mark from the start and we couldn’t be more pleased that we chose him in the end. He’ll be our first choice in the future, for projects large and small, and we’ll hope to see Tito and his team again as well.