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Created: 7/23/2006    Updated: 7/24/2006

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Q   I am building a home with nailed down wood floor in the family room. The builder is providing 6" base boards in family room, but wants extra money for staining fire place mantle, crown molding and base boards. The price is high and I am not sure if I can budget it in. Will it ok with wood floor but regular white base boards and fireplace? Any ideas? Thanks

A   I don't know why so many builders place such a premium on finish work. From my experience, most of them don't pay their subs equivalent to the the level they expect.

If the cost of the builder's change order to you is so great and is simply for staining & finishing the base, fireplace surround and crown molding . . . do it yourself! Ask him or his finish painter to supply you with the stain and finish. Buy or borrow a couple saw horses or make some mini platforms out of scrap 2 X 4s or the like and set up shop in your garage. Be sure to put something down first on the concrete floor to catch the drips and spills. Most anything will do. Just tape the pieces or strips together with duct tape or packaging tape to keep the various sections from moving around while you work. Buy yourself a couple of cheap brushes and have at it. You might need to lightly hand sand the strips before staining if the trim consists of solid wood. If it's made from composition wood like paint grade MDF or something similar, be sure to check with the builder's trim supplier or finish painter on how to properly prepare the pieces for staining and finishing before you begin. Some products require sealing or other prep work before coating.

You'll need to allow for dry times between staining and finish coats. Usually one or two coats of finish are adequate for base or crown molding. You may want to apply more coats on your fireplace surround to give it a more polished look.

I know a lot of folks who do such finish work themselves in every home they build. Some to save money and others because they are perfectionists and know that the finish work can make or break the looks of a new house.

Hope this helps!

Transmitted: 9/25/2021 5:10:26 PM
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