Ask Woodiwiss: what should I do before painting the office?

As workers head back to the office from extended work-from-home, the walls inside the office might seem a little…drab. People might be happy to get away from the kids for a while, and clients might appreciate a little one-on-one time, but an office painted seven or eight years ago—with two or three years sitting empty or mostly empty—is going to show from dust and dirt that’s settled.

Hiring a painting company for your office works differently than your home. For one, not every paint business is a commercial painting company. For instance, they may not have the kind of equipment, ladders, or staff to handle large offices. And if you’re looking for exterior painting, that’s a different operation for interior painters because of building locations, permits, and scale.

The painting process looks different for an office, too. You need people who can work around your employees and around business activities. And they need to understand a fresh coat of paint can have a huge impact on your business’ operation.

Office space isn’t another typical paint job

Tougher conditions than at home

We talk a lot about how hard our walls have it at home with kids and pets and husbands shuffling around. But it’s nothing compared to a commercial office. At home, the biggest obstacle is usually a couch. At an office, each room or space is filled with desks and equipment that’s hard to move, bolted to the ground, or mission-critical that can’t be touched—like computer servers or networking equipment.

Choosing colors speaks to your brand

Picking colors requires a deeper understanding of just the latest trends. A paint job speaks to your brand and the colors you choose signal to customers and employees what you stand for. 

If you work with kids, bright colors might signal that. Sensitive corporate matters like insurance or healthcare offices might prefer something calming, like blues or greens. And a business seeking to leapfrog competitors in highly competitive tech or sales spaces might go with deep, bold colors like gold, red, and oranges to signal high energy.

The kind of paint matters, too. We can help you choose paints that are more environmentally friendly than other, cheaper paints.

Keeping the office clean requires a system

Experienced painters will tell you flat paint is easier to touch up later than gloss or semi-gloss. But flat paint is also more porous and dust and grime that hangs around will soak into the wall. That’s why we suggest people use a high gloss for most commercial painting jobs. 

High gloss paint makes cleaning the walls removing grime easier with gentle wiping (not scrubbing!). Since most workdays rarely see more intense action than the occasional Nerf dart, semi- and high-gloss is a better solution. We recommend matte or flat paints in places that need to absorb a lot of light—like window displays.

Whichever you decide for your office, don’t skimp on the paint quality. A professional painting operation like ours only uses premium paint. It costs more per gallon, but it lasts three times longer and looks five times better.

A gentle cloth dampened with a little water fixes most problems, too. If you have a cleaning crew, ask them to include wiping down the walls as part of their services and process. If they’re unsure how to clean the walls, we can leave some material to help after your project.

Day-of painting can require some adjustments

We get asked a lot about how long it takes before paint fumes go away. In most cases, it’s about an hour at home—but offices sometimes don’t have windows. So paint fumes can linger for longer. 

Your HVAC is another factor since it may be the only way to cycle air. As part of your preparation, make sure your building’s HVAC can stay on at night for a day or two after painting. Fans and blowers often shut off at night to save energy when fewer people are around.

You should also:

  • Prepare your staff in advance so they know to wipe down and cover surfaces.
  • Recognize staff with breathing or respiratory problems will want to avoid the paint fumes for a day or two.
  • Get with IT or your team to make enough space for painters to work. We can help move some office furniture, but you probably want to move or secure computers, printers, retail inventory, or other valuables yourself.
  • Ask employees to point out repairs that need to be made in the walls around them (everyone knows of that random spot only they see every day).
  • If you have a cleaning crew, tell your cleaning services team not to discard or remove prep work like painter’s tape and that the walls may be wet, so avoid vacuuming and dusting in the day or so after.
  • If you absolutely cannot have painters work around business as usual, adjust your business hours online. If you have customers who walk in off the street, adjust your open hours on Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Yelp for the day or two you’re painting.

Woodiwiss Painting can help alleviate some of the business disruptions. Our office painting services can work in the evening and on weekends to help avoid disruption to employees and the company.

Ask for background on professional interior painters

All of the painters at Woodiwiss Painting undergo background checks and clearances before starting on any job—home or office. 

We’ve been painting offices around the East Bay Area for 15 years, too. We’re the kind of company you trust to come back in after hours, on weekends, and during work hours to create a painted space you’re proud to work in and put your logo on.

For a free estimate, message us, call (925) 595-3081, or email