General Question

robmandu's avatar

Why not paint/finish top surfaces that are above the sightline?

Asked by robmandu (21210 points ) July 6th, 2012

It seems to be a standard practice not to paint the very top of doors, door frames, even windowsills if the horizontal surface is up above a person’s line of sight. The same is true for the tops of cabinets where they won’t be stained or otherwise finished.

Controlling costs by reducing effort seems the obvious reason, but I can think of several situations where the extra protection would be worth the minimal additional effort.

So I was curious if, besides costs, if there was some other architectural reason why this is good practice?

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11 Answers

syz's avatar

Sounds like shoddy workmanship to me.

augustlan's avatar

The only practical purpose for not painting the tops of doors is that they might be more likely to stick… but that seems like it would rarely be a problem. I’d guess it’s all about the dollars saved in materials and labor. Over time, I’m sure it adds up.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s standard practice only where standards re low or where extreme corners are being cut.

I can tell you we don’t sign contracts with painters that cut corners.

robmandu's avatar

Is it a regional thing? I’ve been in plenty of larger, expensive homes and if you run your hand over the very top of an interior door that’s otherwise painted, it’ll be rough.

I agree that it appears a cheap, chintzy thing to do – it’s why I asked the question… but no one’s got a suggestion as to other reasoning?

SpatzieLover's avatar

The reason is that the people setting up the paint contracts didn’t specify tht they want the tops of sills, etc painted. Most likely to cut corners the closets of these homes were sprayed quickly with watered down paint, too. <—-That is a major peeve of mine.

As far as I know it’s not regional, but it does happen more often in newer homes. By newer I mean past 20 years or so. It saves pennies per house on paint and it saves the painters time. Often when building, the buiders rush the painters since paint is one of the last things to mark off the checklist.

Are the garages in your area finished or unfinished @robmandu? <—-That’s another building peeve of mine…Unfinished garages. It’s so simple to do prior to move in.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s just laziness. The painters want to save time and effort. If more people would complain there might be a change but most people don’t even check. The contractors are being squeezed right to the profit margin and the builders get what they pay for. We all get what we pay for because we all want cheap.

JLeslie's avatar

Ugh, the top shelves in my pantry and closets were never painted and it pisses me off. Shoddy work. Almost impossible to clean well when I discovered it. I just had my pantry repainted and made sure they painted the top.

@SpatzieLover In NC they didn’t paint the garages (ours was, and everyone would comment). I had never seen that before, and never have again.

dabbler's avatar

It’s a bad idea not to finish because over time the unfinished surfaces will absorb moisture and that can cause uneven swelling/expansion/cracking. If there is a chance of sticking or binding the proper thing to do is take the surface down a tiny bit with some sanding etc. so it won’t stick when painted.

Ponderer983's avatar

The only reasoning is it being cheaper. I am part of the trade community and there is no reason to not do those things, other than to save money. It’s not an aesthetic in any way, that’s for sure.

ccrow's avatar

In my house, the tops of the door and window trim did not get finished. However, the same guy took the inserts for all the casement windows, and took them all apart to finish them, in spite of the fact that they were GLUED TOGETHER. So now they randomly come apart, not to mention they no longer fit properly. Grrrr…..

robmandu's avatar

@SpatzieLover, mine’s a finished garage… complete with knockdown texture on the walls – which I’m not a fan of – and popcorn on the ceiling – which I despise.

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