posted by Custom Coatings, Inc. on February 1st, 2021

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On Your Schedule: School Painting that Doesn’t Disrupt Class

Commercial painting | School Painting

When choosing a school painting contractor, timing is of the essence. It’s a serious undertaking, removing furniture and artwork from walls, closing off classrooms or common areas to traffic while painters prep and paint walls, then waiting a bit longer for surfaces to dry and cure can be a significant disruption to your facility’s schedule.

That’s why it’s important to select a painting partner who is as skilled at the science of scheduling as they are at the art of painting.

At Custom Coatings, we’ve been painting school and college buildings – inside and out – for more than three decades. In all those projects, if there’s anything we’re have come to understand, it’s that with schools, timing is everything.

Smart Scheduling Makes for a Better Painting Partnership

 No matter whether you’re simply painting doors or covering every wall in your school’s common areas with a new coat of paint, you’ll want a bit of time between your school painting contractor finishing work and your student and staff returning to the building.

Why? Paint must dry before being subjected to regular, everyday abuse from scraping chairs and dragging feet and fingers. But also, because you’ll want to give air a chance to circulate and remove any lingering paint fumes from crowded spaces.

One thing you can definitely do to keep staff and students happy and breathing easy is to specify low-to-no VOC paints at the outset of the project. These modern paints are water-based epoxy, less caustic than oil-based options and are a bit pricier than the cheapest of the cheap. We promise however, not having to shut your classrooms down for another few days after students or staff experience breathing problems or become concerned about air quality is well worth the few extra dollars a gallon.

For the Best Experience, Plan Ahead

When you’re discussing your project with a school or university painting company, we recommend you directly discuss how far in advance they intend to plan your project. A reputable company will look to help you both budget and anticipate the work to be done fairly well in advance. Expect a good planner to talk with you about your needs for removing furnishings and wall-hangings, the regular and seasonal schedule of your classes, and the timing of any holiday breaks where your facility could be less populated or empty.

At Custom Coatings, we actually start setting up school projects in February and March, even though summer break (the most convenient and popular time to do large-scale school painting jobs) won’t begin until June. The point: we simply want to have the staff allocated, the logistics in place, and have thought through all potential challenges and hang-ups before starting work.

We also want you to be ready: to have time to alert your staff, clear rooms, and make accommodations for any special circumstances. If your contractor is telling you just a few weeks out that it’ll be “easy” without planning, be wary. You want this major upheaval of your day to day process to go as smoothly as possible, and without smart scheduling, you’re playing fast and loose with not just your and your staff’s time, but your resources as well. 

Estimate by the Hour and Wall Space, Not the Square (Flooring) Foot

 Finally, if there’s one vital piece of advice that we can offer when it comes to choosing the right school painting contractor to freshen up your facility, it is don’t fall into the “price per square foot” trap.

Many painting contractors like to price jobs this way. It seems straightforward, right? You’ve got a room, it’s a certain size, and when you apply a dollar amount per foot, it seems like that should work out fine, right? Not exactly.

Rather than estimate by the floor space or only the wall space we’ll be painting, at Custom Coatings, we prefer to estimate using a price per square foot of wall plus man hours. From our decades painting and coating all manner of facilities and equipment in all types of industries, we have an accurate sense of just how long a job will take given all the variables involved (many of which have nothing to do with the actual wall size).

This allows us to be much more accurate in our timing and cost estimates, meaning we’re able to give our clients a realistic view of when their work will be complete, making their lives much easier. It also allows us to be much more flexible given the specifics of each job. For example, if a school needs a common area painted in three days because that’s all the time it will be vacant during a particular semester, we can easily figure out how to make that happen for the facility manager by determining the man hours needed to do the job, comparing that to the hours available, and then dividing by the number of people we’ll need to put on the work to get it done on time.

Maybe it’ll take twelve people (likely not, but just as an example). With this methodology, we can promise a great job done on your schedule, whatever that may be.

Bottom line: Get Painting on Your Schedule, Not Your Contractor’s

A high quality, highly professional school painting contractor’s first job is to ensure your job works with your schedule, meaning in most cases, their team is going to work around your calendar.

When selecting a partner, we’d recommend you take candidates to task, asking about their scheduling process, how far in advance they plan their jobs, and importantly, how they price work (By the square foot of flooring space or by wall space and man hour?)

Get solid answers and a schedule that looks ahead, and you can expect a more seamless experience – painting done on your semester’s clock, and great work done before the bell rings.


Have additional questions? We’re here to help. Contact us at or visit our website to fill out a contact form. Want more helpful tips and information on school and university commercial painting? Check out our education series on our blog, including Pricing for High Traffic Areas School Areas.


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