Agent

Why you should never cut corners on finishes

Novice painters and professional plastering job are recipe for disaster

A friend of mine is an expert plaster and drywall finisher with almost 50 years in the trade. Not long ago, he knocked himself out on a very labor-intensive plastering job. Instead of kudos, though, he got a complaint from the owner, who said: "Jimmy, they painted the walls, but I'm really unhappy with the way they came out." "Who did the painting?" my friend asked. "A couple of college students," replied the owner, apparently without irony. Tradespeople tell these kinds of horror stories all the time. Besides being entertaining, they can give remodelers an object lesson in the things that really matter: You can scrimp a little here and there, but don't ever cut corners on the finishes that meet the eye -- be they on the floor, the walls, the ceiling or the roof. As it happens, my plasterer friend went back to see what the owner was complaining about, and his heart sank: The college kids -- who probably had four hours of painting experience betw...