Ask an Expert: The right price to skim coat a 2-bedroom apartment
By Teri Karush Rogers |February 15, 2011 - 2:57PM
Q. How much should it cost to skimcoat a two-bedroom, 1,100 square-foot prewar apartment with 9-foot ceilings? I've had three estimates, ranging from $21,000 to $65,000!! Should I just take the cheapest one?
Manhattan architect Ethan Gerard says that bids can vary according to the condition of the walls (e.g. are they cracked and/or unstable in areas, requiring existing plaster to be removed and rebuilt), whether there are exposed concrete beams across the ceiling (labor intensive), and whether plaster (a slower process with a harder finish) or ready-mixed joint compound (quicker and easier but doesn't produce as hard a finish) will be used.
"I see no problem going with the least expensive vendor," he says, provided you've checked their references and visited a previous job or at least seen some photos.
Yoel Borgenicht, a Manhattan general contractor, says that while his firm recently performed a similar-sized job for $21,000, you need to visit a prior job site before making a decision: "Skim coating quality is subjective and depending on the level of finish the client expects, there can be a wide interpretation of the term."
"The biggest reason could be that the guy at $65,000 is swamped and really couldn't do the job right now--it would only be worth it if he made a lot of money," he says. "That same contractor could charge $30,000 for the same project in six months."
All that said, Streich thinks the lowest bid sounds in the general range of acceptability. As a point of comparison, Streich said his company recently skim-coated and painted a 3-bedroom, 1,600 square foot apartment for $30,000.
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