Drywall and Paint

Dear Tom and Rita*,

Drywall is far from a perfect system. Level 4 drywall done very well still shows seams and fasteners. The National Association of Home Builders Residential Building Performance Guidelines describes "blemishes that are readily visible from a standing position facing the surface at a distance of 6 feet under normal lighting conditions" as excessive and that require correction. Drywall viewed close up, obliquely, and washed with light will show seams and fasteners. Even Level 5 drywall is not a perfect system, but it does yield a better finished product. Level 5 drywall is, of course, more expensive. This information is about aligning your expectations of finish quality with the level of finish that you specify.

Level 4 drywall is the typical standard for most residential construction. This level should be used where residential grade (light duty) wall coverings, flat paints, or light textures are to be applied.

Level 5 drywall is the highest quality finish is the most effective method to provide a uniform surface and minimize the possibility of joint telegraphing and of fasteners showing through the final decoration. This level of finish is required where gloss, semigloss or enamel are specified, or when flat joints are specified over an untextured surface, or where critical lighting conditions occur.

Paint is also not a perfect system, and there is a similar standard for reviewing interior paintwork. For example, only brush and roller marks require correction when they are visible "viewed from a standing position facing the surface at a distance of 6 feet under normal lighting conditions."

Paint sheen (flat or eggshell, for example) has a significant bearing on final finish quality and the level of effort required to achieve a quality result. Touching up flat paint is relatively easy (it blends well); touching up eggshell paint without going corner to corner is typically not successful.

Final paint quality varies widely and is driven by a range of factors, from surface preparation, type of primer, application method, paint quality and sheen, and the skill of the painting crew.



Randall Lanou
Company Lead


P.S. Your acting skills are way beyond Level 5!

*Full disclosure: not only have we never worked for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, we've never actually met them. Indeed, I'm not sure we've ever been in the same city at the same time. They seem like fun people, though, and we would be happy to build a home for them. If any of you are close friends with them, we would be grateful for an introduction!