While the two are entirely different, many people see residential and commercial painting as the same service. Because painting is painting, regardless of what or where you paint, right? The short answer is no. The long answer goes into how there are specific differences between the two types of painting. Buckle in, we’re about to take a dive into the world of painting and decorating.
Size of project
Painting a residential property or commercial property are two very different tasks – each require a different set of tools and skills. When it comes to a commercial property, the increased square footage of a commercial building such as an office space, shops, an airport, hospitals etc. makes the painting more complicated – especially when you take into consideration the fact that you’ll likely have to contend with the presence of employees, inventory, and customers in the space.
But that’s not to say that residential painting is simper or easier. Painting a home comes with challenges that can’t be discounted – aspects such as how the paint is applied, choosing the right colour, priming the walls etc. can affect the final result. Before you hire a professional painter for your project, it’s important to know which type of painting expertise they have and the factors that influence the right decision.
Size of team
Generally speaking, larger commercial spaces will require more painters to cover the required area and meet deadlines, in addition to requiring extensive planning, a lot of human resources, and a lot of paint.
As a result, commercial painting companies tend to employ more people so that they can finish commercial painting projects on time. Residential paint projects are generally smaller in scope and so don’t require as many painters on site.
Materials and equipment
Due to the difference in the size of each space, residential painting contractors are focused solely on smaller residential projects. This essentially means that the materials and equipment a residential painter will use are not too dissimilar from paint supplies you would use if you were giving DIY a go – materials such as paintbrushes, rollers, painting trays, step ladders, drop cloths, and cleaning materials are generally what a residential painter will use on the job.
House painting is more of a visual project and so the paint used in house painting is mostly aesthetic. The types of paint used for residential paint projects come in a variety of colours/shades/vibrancies to match the decor and architecture of the home being decorated. There are different types of paint used for residential projects. Paints can be categorized by their base: oil-based paints, water-based paints, or latex-based paints.
Residential painters will also consider the different types of sheen or the glossiness of the paint finish – paint sheens range from glossy to flat, with glossy paints shining and reflect the most light, whereas flat paints absorb light, helping to hide any imperfections on interior walls.
However, commercial painters usually need broader experience in dealing with different types of surfaces such as wood, concrete, marble, metal, reinforced plastic, and more. They’ll likely use more complex equipment such as pressure washers, sandblasters, paint sprayers, scaffolding, and aerial lifts. Furthermore, they need expertise in using commercial and industrial-grade paints, primers, tints, and other speciality coatings.
Commercial painters will never compromise on the quality of their work, but generally speaking, some will be less concerned about the quality of the paints. Most of these painting projects simply serve a utilitarian purpose and it’s common that some business owners are less keen to splurge on expensive paints, bar a few businesses like hotels and restaurants, simply due to budget requirements.
For perspective, residential painting usually requires a few cans of paint to complete the project, whereas when it comes to commercial painting, you’re looking at hundreds to thousands of litres of paint due to the scale of the project.
A company that solely specialises in residential interior painting won’t be able to offer you the same range of services that would be available from commercial painting contractors.
Some services include industrial painting and coating, special surface preparation, metalizing, epoxy coatings, sandblasting, and various other services related to businesses.
In addition to interior and exterior painting, other commercial painting services include:
- Brick waterproofing
- Concrete ceiling repair
- High-durability coatings
- Line striping
- Masonry coating
- Roof coatings
- Metal door paintings
- Joint expansion sealing
- Waterproof coating
On the other hand, residential painters offer painting and decorating services such as trim, siding, and deck staining. Residential painters are also trained to deal with a variety of exterior surfaces such as stucco, wood, metal, concrete, vinyl and fibre-cement siding. They may even be trained to do light construction work or artex ceiling removal. Generally, residential painting services include:
- Interior and exterior painting
- Cabinet painting
- Wallpaper removal and hanging
- Plaster and drywall repair
- Garage painting
- Deck and fence staining/painting
Time to complete job
Commercial painters are more likely to work with your schedule, which might mean pulling all-nighters or working weekends, as they tend to work more flexibly and outside of the 9-5 hours, as many businesses appreciate and prefer not having painting interfere with their hours of operation. Residential painters, on the other hand, typically work within regular business hours Monday through Friday.
Experience of painters and decorators
A commercial painter typically has more experience than a residential painter, simply due to the fact that commercial painters have to work extensively on a single project. Given the demand for commercial painters, the chances that one painter has worked on multiple projects is very high, ultimately leading to more experience.
Conversely, residential painters have experience communicating with homeowners and are knowledgeable in ways to protect your furniture and other valuables during painting. This experience makes them uniquely qualified to work in your home. Generally speaking, residential painting involves painting on similar surfaces, whereas a commercial painting contractor is more likely to have experience working with a variety of textures and surfaces.
Hopefully, you’re now clearer on the main differences between commercial painters and residential painters, and you’ll know which route to go down for your next project. While you may have great DIY skills, it’s always better to bring in the professionals so that you know you’re getting the best work done and the best value for money.