Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for March, 2015


A door is one of those things most people are uncomfortable doing. It is the end result people are not sure of. That is why a professional painter is hired: so that quality and expedience is maintained.

Painting or finishing a door requires several steps. And the steps are based on the specific type of door you want to finish.

Generally, there are two kinds of doors. Each has subtypes with a variation in the finishing methods.

Wood Doors: Flat, recessed panel, and louvered.

Finishing Methods:

1. Natural finish application done by staining, sealing and clear coating using a brush/roller combination, sponge and rag stain application or by spray finishing.

* Typical finish choice: Oil base stain, sealer and an acrylic or oil based varnish or polyurethane.

2. Paint finish application done by applying the appropriate primer/finish system using either a brush/roller combination or by spray finishing.

        * Typical finish choice: An enamel or a similar oil based product.

Metal Doors: Flat, louvered and rolling.

Finishing Methods:

1. Paint finish application done by applying appropriate primer if necessary and a finish paint recommended for type of metal door. The application may be done either with a brush/roller combination or by spray finishing.

        * Typical finish choice: An enamel, a similar oil base product or a urethane.

The painting process involves a set pattern which provides for a uniform finished surface upon completion.


Step 1: First use a brush to paint the edges of the door.

Step 2: Use a roller with a short nap, say ¼” or 3/8,” to evenly apply the paint from the bottom to the top of the door. Make sure the entire surface is covered.

Step 3: Use a dried roller to “lay off” paint to eliminate any roller track marks and to reduce the number of brush marks.


1. Test out your pattern on a bare wall or flat piece of wood.

2. Adjust spray gun settings to your liking.

3. Apply paint or finish evenly.

4. Allow for enough overlap between spray passes.


1. I recommend applying an initial thin tack coat.

2: Then, apply the final thickness. The resulting paint finish will be finer because of it.

Spray finishing achieves the highest quality finish available. Also, it is a superb time saver.


1. Cleaned and spray painted multiple overhead doors for large truck/trailer service center.

2. Sanded and painted over 800 paneled doors in hotel renovation project.

3. Brushed and roll-painted 65 sand finished metal doors requiring no pre-sanding.

4. Faux painted 13 wood doors to simulate gray rusted metal riveted doors.

5. Spray finished 27 wood louvered doors, upper half white, lower half black.

Wherever you are – and you’re a painter and decorator, a door is waiting nearby for your creative touch.

Look for: “Painting It: Door Projects” blog post.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

“A Hotel’s ‘Sick Building Syndrome’: A Close-to-Real-Life Personal Story.”

Marielle eyed the park bench. “Homeless man,” she whispered. “Where did he come from?”

The hotel is empty. Everyone was vacated from the property over three weeks ago. OSHA and EPA orders.

In very humid climates, this type of thing happens more than even locals might suspect. All that area residents see are tall security fences appearing suddenly around properties. Hotels, commercial buildings, schools, homes, rehabilitation/nursing facilities, hospitals, etc.

Marielle thought about approaching the man. But, she wasn’t supposed to be there either.

She’d found a front gate open. That morning, the security officer, hired by the federal government, had not snapped the gate lock tight enough, when he’d left. The latch hung.

During the next week, Marielle entered the property at least five days. Each time, the gate was not secured. Each time, she spotted the same homeless man sitting on the same bench, behind Building 6.

On her seventh visit to the emptied property, she got a big surprise. Something streaked across her vision, as she climbed out of her suv, parked under some trees near the tennis courts.

Three men stepped out. Shoulder-to-shoulder. In front of her. They wore head-to-toe HAZMAT suits.

“EXCUSE ME. What are you doing here,” asked one man. “This property is sealed off.”

Clearly, the men were authorized to be there. Marielle was not.

The one speaking produced an I.D. badge and a card. “Are you alone?” he asked.


“Your name?”

“Marielle Vega Velasco.” (A fictitious name.) She didn’t even think to not answer.

“What are you doing here?”

“Oh…” she stopped. “You asked that…Sorry…Uh…I used to work here. For twenty-one years. Director of Housekeeping.”

“Why did you enter the property? Didn’t you see all of the warning signs?”

“No…uh. Well, yes. I did see the sign secured to the main gate. The second time.”

“What part of ‘WARNING…U. S. Government…Environmental Protection Agency … TOXIC…HAZARDOUS…DO NOT ENTER…do you not understand? Did you not see the signs ‘HAZARDOUS… Sick Building Syndrome Building’ posted on every building?”

Marielle gulped. She knew about both SBS and BRI (Building related illness). They’d been major reasons for the mirage of inspections of the property during the last year. BLACK  MOLD. She shuddered.

An intense heat flashed up and down Marielle’s body. Underneath her clothes. She felt water trickle down her back and her legs, into her Nike shoes. Oh, Oh! She thought. Fear froze her to the asphalt.

“Am I under arrest?” She’d been afraid to ask. More afraid of the answer.

“No. That’s outside of our job, “said a different suited-up person standing nearby. (A woman’s voice.) “We will need to escort you off the property. Immediately!”

Marielle didn’t need to be told twice. She climbed back into the vehicle, and eased the door shut. She backed the suv, then put it into DRIVE.

She slammed on her brakes. Screeeech! Out of nowhere had appeared a bright yellow, oversized golf cart. Fully enclosed.

She could see the three suited-up figures seated inside. A large orange light sent blinding flashes from the golf cart’s roof. Bright red lights flashed from the rear of the vehicle. A loud BLEEP BLEEP shattered the atmosphere.

Marielle followed the golf cart. It inched along the east parking area, and turned left toward the front gate, and U. S. Highway 192.

Tears swelled behind the woman’s eyes. She knew, somehow, this would be the last time that she – or anyone else with the hotel – would ever see the place again.

Marielle was wrong. Fewer than ten months later, the tall cyclone fence came down. A combination of solutions had been followed to save the buildings, and make the property safe for occupancy. At a reported cost, including the overdue remodeling, of nearly $1 million dollars.

The woman stood in full uniform, thankful for so much. Familiar cars, trucks and suvs began to fill strategic parking spaces towards the front, and near the back of the property.

Very familiar faces smiled at one another. People shook hands, waved, and hugged each other.

At dusk, the colorful lights in the signage along the front entrance sparkled. They winked brightly at visitors entering the property, or passing by.



And Marielle? Well, Marielle was eating her box lunch, on her first night back. On that park bench. Remember?

Somehow, it seemed like the perfect place to enjoy the view.

* This story is a work of fiction, inspired by a true story. All names, characters, places, and incidents are used here fictitiously. Copyright 2015. SSH. All rights reserved.

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As age, environmental damage, budget, etcetera take their toll on older properties, let’s remember that…

HOPE can beat for buildings, too. Not just for the people that have worked in and around them. Or called the buildings and their surroundings “home.”


As caretakers of our entire environment…

Let’s do our best to protect, preserve and restore our buildings, too.

“Sick Building Syndrome” does not have to happen.

Special thanks to those who protect their properties from developing “Sick Building Syndrome.” Special thanks to the property owners that preserve and maintain the integrity of their buildings.

Special thanks to the property owners that invest the funds to solve and modify SBS, BRI and related problems.

Special thanks to the property owners that order “demolition” when their buildings are too sick to be saved. And, too sick to safeguard for the health and welfare of people and their pets.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Which Way is Best? Part 2: Finish Affordability and Application

Part 2 of “Painting It: Which Way is Best?”


Affordability and application relate directly to the suitability, quality and durability of the products you choose. Together – along with surface types, exposures, conditions, and finish life, they ensure a final finish that meets your needs. And, keeps everyone happy, hopefully.




The more specialized the paint or coating, the more it will cost. Component paints may have activator, catalyst, hardener and a specialized solvent as part of the package. Examples: Industrial coatings and automotive finishes.

A wide range of residential and commercial paints, coatings and finishes is available. They vary in cost and durability. Sherwin-Williams offers one of the widest selections of products, that cover the greatest number of applications. Their prices run the gamut of affordability.

KEEP IN MIND: Often, cost equates with quality.




Painting methods include: Brushing, rolling, spray finishing and decorative painting. The type of surface, paint product and level of productivity desired will determine which is best to use.

Read: “Painting with Bob” posts about each of these application methods.



1. Most brush types can be used to apply a variety of coatings. The same holds true for roller covers. Hint: Paints/coatings must have the same basic solvent type.

A. China bristles: Apply oil paint, oil stains, varnishes, polyurethanes, epoxies, etc.

B. Nylon/polyester bristles: Apply water-based products.

2. Roller covers are composed of a variety of fibers. Each has its specific use. Make sure the fibers are compatible with the solvent in the paint.

A. Nylon/polyester: Apply latexes, oils, polyurethanes, alkyds, epoxies, etc.

B. Wool: Apply same as above. Clean covers on a daily basis. Do not leave covered in paint.

C. Mohair: Apply oils, varnishes, polyurethanes, clear finishes.

D. Foam: Apply varnishes, polyurethanes, latexes, oils and alkyds. For ultra smooth finishes.



Spray finishing equipment can apply greater volumes of product than other methods. Three fundamental types of spray systems are used.

1. Conventional System: Utilizes a spray gun, paint pressure tank, and compressed air supply to atomize the paint into a workable spray pattern.

2. Airless System: Utilizes hydraulics to apply high pressure to paint supply, delivered to spray gun, becoming atomized much like Conventional System. This system increases considerably the level of production.

3. Electrostatic System: Utilizes electrolytic charging controller and atomization spray gun. It charges paint molecules with electrons, resulting in a magnetic attraction between the surface and the paint material. It is designed for extremely fine finishing and works only on metal applications.  



1. Thoroughly prepare surfaces by cleaning, patching, caulking, sanding and paint removal.

2. Carefully protect all surfaces and areas not to be painted.

3. Promptly prime all bare and specially prepared areas.

4. Apply finish paint uniformly to cover existing surface.

5. The final product may require several coats of paint to achieve the desired results.

Below is a listing of the various paint types and their applications.



1. Waterborne Materials.

A. Products: Latexes, latex enamel, acrylic latex enamel, acrylic latex, water-base stain, acrylic clear coat, waterborne epoxy, acrylic glaze.

B. Specific Uses – Interior/Exterior: Drywall, plaster, Masonry – Block, brick, concrete; Wood – Doors, molding, windows, structural limber; Metal – When appropriate primer is applied first.

2. Mineral Spirits Materials.

A. Products: Oil, Alkyds, varnish, polyurethane, stains.

B. Specific Uses – Interior/Exterior: Same as above, especially when greater resistance to moisture and UV rays is desired. Oil paint is suited ideally for metal painting.

3. Catalyzed Materials.

A. Products: Epoxy, urethane, polyurethane, organic primers.

B. Specific uses – Interior/Exterior: Same as with waterborne materials. These materials are designed especially for use on metals, where a high degree of chemical and corrosion resistance and UV protection from the sun is desired. They are the most durable paint finishes available.

4. Alcohol Materials.  

A. Products: Shellacs, primers.

B. Specific uses – Interior/Exterior: These materials are applied as a protective clear finish or a specialized prime. Where: Surface adherence is a question; or as a sealant of surface marks and stains before finish painting.


Food for Thought:

Whether you are the painter, chief of engineering/facility services, or general manager, consider all of the factors when deciding which is best for any painting or finishing project.

The quality and durability of the final result tends to equate with what was best for the (1) surface; (2) painter/finisher; (3)  department’s operations; (4) management’s bottom line; (5) business; and, especially, (6) guests, visitors, and customers.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Which Way is Best? Part 1: Surface Types, Exposures and Finish Life

Answer the following eight key questions. Determine which paint or coating is the best one to use on the project.


  1. What general type of surface do you have?


  1. What specific type of surface do you have?


  1. To what will the surface be exposed?


  1. How long, and how often, will the surface be exposed to damaging elements?


  1. How long do you want, and need, the surface finish to hold up?


  1. How much can you afford?


  1. How must the paint or coating be applied?


  1. Will you be applying the product? If so, how much experience do you have using the specific product that needs to be used?


TIP: Always base the answers to these questions on your particular needs.


Here are some guidelines to help you make the best choice.


Each paint or coating product has been formulated to be applied on specific surfaces.




Examples: Is it wood, metal, masonry, plastic, or something else? Or, is the area made of a combination – of materials – eg. wood and metal, wood and masonry?




Examples: Is the wood oak, mahogany or teak? Is the metal ferrous or non-ferrous? Note: Ferrous metal contains iron and will rust. Non-ferrous metal does not contain iron; it will corrode from different elements, but not rust.


Is the surface bare (new/unfinished)? Or, has it been coated or finished in the past? If so, has the finish faded, chipped off, worn through to the material underneath?


TIP: To achieve a lasting finish, prime the bare surface before finish painting or coating it.

Know what you are dealing with.


METAL – Properties: Usually, very smooth and dense.

Requires: Primer that will penetrate and bond to surface before top coat can be applied.

WOOD – Properties: Smoothness varies, a porousness greater than metal.

Requires: Primer and finish that will both penetrate and absorb into surface before products begin to dry.


Example: A stain penetrates deeply into the wood surface. It brings with it its formulated colorant and protective qualities.




SUN’s UV RAYS – Dries out and oxidizes paint, coating or finish on the surface.

Recommended: Coating engineered to withstand effects of sun.

Durability: Short-term, it works. Long-term, the sun will always win.

Application: Paint surface every one or two years.

Note: Usually, no one has the time or budget to do this.


RAIN/WATER – Absorbs into, softens finish; loosens finish from surface. Can cause corrosion, warping, etc. Can cause breakdown of chemical bonds of paint, coating or finish product.

Recommended: Waterproof or resistant product that repels water from surface. Its chemical bonds are interwoven closely, like tightly-woven net.

Durability: Many coatings hold up reasonable period of time, if surface not submerged a lot.

TIP: Proper primer and top coat can repel moisture for years.


WIND – Can cause surface to become marred or scratched, or the sheen dulled prematurely.

Recommended: Utilize an abrasion resistant coating with a finish harder than standard latex.

Durability: Apply best exterior product you can afford. May even be industrial coating.

Application: Recoat surface every 3-5 years.




SUN – All day? Or part of day, when sun hits that side of building?

RAIN – Year round? Seasonally? Downpours, drizzles, or more of a mist?

WATER – Frequently: Pool/spa/sauna area; boat dock? Daily: Bath/shower room, kitchen sink, laundry? Exposure heavy or light? Standing water?

WIND – Are there intermittent breezes or continuous gusts for an extended period.




When finish has been applied correctly, how long it holds up is up to you!


Proper maintenance is everything. Other than repainting: Clean surface regularly. Also, apply a wax or clear coat finish compatible with top coat product.


On a thoroughly prepped surface, the proper finish product will hold up under most conditions. It looks better longer, and costs less over time.


READ: Painting It: Which Way is Best? Part 2: Finish Affordability and Application.


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Happy “St. Patrick’s Day” to all. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

How Teamwork Cut a Hotel’s Expenses by over $120,000

The hotel management explained, versus announced, to all staff the “need” to cut expenses “across the board,” as much as $120,000.


To kick off the effort, all managers – salaried staff – volunteered to take a 10 percent reduction in salary. “To start.” In addition, they agreed to pay 50 to 100 percent of certain expenses “out-of-pocket,” and non-reimbursable later by the hotel business.


Examples: Vehicle gas for local driving, association membership dues, event registrations and meals, and business entertainment.


They opted to fly 100 percent coach seats for all hotel-related business travel. Also, they gave up their vacation and bonus packages for one full year.


Then, the entire staff got accountable, and very creative.


1. Each department set a goal to reduce its budget by $10,000.


2. Management and all department directors and supervisors agreed, committed to, and announced: “No staff member would be let go.”


3. Then, the staff members in each department voted themselves pay cuts: 50 cents an hour for part-time employees; $1.00 an hour for full-time. Like the management they gave up their vacation pay for one full year. (A big sacrifice for employees with families.)


4. Each staff member assumed responsibility for reducing his or her supplies budget by at least 10 percent. The supplies had to relate specifically to his or her job description. Also, management’s productivity expectations for staff members was set in proportion to the reduction in supplies and materials available for them to do their work.


Examples: Painter. The “paint shop” expense reduction goal: 25 percent.

A. Less expensive paint would be ordered and used for low traffic and less visible areas.

B. Used rags still in good condition would be soaked, laundered and reused.

C. Worn, essential brushes would be replaced with mid-brand products – eg. Linzer, Branford, Arro Worthy, Merrit, Bestt Liebco, Proform. Worn, rarely used brushes would be replaced on an as needed basis during the tight budget year.

       Note: Read “Paint with Budget Cuts: Your Paint Shop Brushes,” posted March 07, 2015.


Examples: Maintenance techs. Maintenance shop” expense reduction goal: 15 percent.

A. All recyclable parts, from no-longer usable air conditioners, would be removed, cleaned, catalogued, and stored for making future repairs.

B. Parts, which were tarnished or mildly corroded, were cleaned instead of replaced.

C. Some parts were painted and reused, until replacement parts could be budgeted.


5. Each department group launched a “team support” program.

A. Whenever possible, team members shared rides to and from work.

B. Staff that were parents, especially of younger children, created a plan to save each other babysitter and transportation costs.


6. A related “Share My Ride” program was implemented interdepartmentally.

Example: Keisha, a housekeeping supervisor, picked up and dropped off PBX operator Elsa at her apartment complex’s front entrance, on days that both worked the same shift.


7. Departments shared supplies, tools and equipment whenever and wherever possible. This practice reduced overall purchasing expenses by 15 to over 20 percent with some essential items.


8. Monthly, each department hosted its own “carry-in” lunch. During every shift.


9. The hotel kitchen sent no good food to the dumpster. Especially leftovers or over-cooking from guest/conference banquets, dinners, buffets, etc.

A. The leftover food was made available to all staff members at meal and break times.

B. Depending on the quantity of leftover food, staff could pack “doggie boxes” to take home at the end of their shift.


The hotel management incurred no major problem – and no resistance – from any department or any staff member in meeting the budget cut needs.


Everyone pulled together to make it all happen. They protected their own jobs and livelihoods by helping to protect each other’s jobs.


They focused on need. They prioritized. They got very creative.


Two Engineering Department examples:


  1. A maintenance tech attended a technical college two evenings a week. To catch his connecting bus, he had to clock out one hour earlier those afternoons. A coworker passed the college on his way home each day. So, he offered the tech a ride to the college’s front entrance. The tech was able to work his full eight-hour shift, and could afford to pay a few dollars to the coworker for the rides each week.


  1. The painter generated free supplies from construction supply and paint stores where he did business. Also, he tapped the superintendents of several large commercial contractors that he knew. In kind, he arranged for the store managers to be able to (1) test out a few new product and equipment lines at the hotel and (2) videotape the new products being used. The construction superintendents received comp stays for their families at the hotel.


Hotel budget cuts provide a great opportunity for teamwork in action. At its best! And, at every level: organizationally, interdepartmentally, departmentally.


It invites tremendous creativity, collaboration and cooperation on a small-to-large scale. Most important, at a particularly stressful time, team-driven hotel budget cuts bring people together.


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An early “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY” to all ye Irish lads and lassies.

A special “Hello” to everyone in the Chicago area.


Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting with Budget Cuts: Your “Paint Shop” Brushes

Seventy-five percent of the time, I used my own brushes to paint surfaces at the hotel. Most of the brushes were manufactured by Purdy.


Consistently, they handled perfectly, performed well, and produced – left behind – the fine surface application finish that I wanted and needed. Consistently, they met all standards for a top quality paint brush.


Our “Paint Shop” owned many paint brushes.




The good quality brushes – Purdy, Wooster – had bristles missing, or too many split ends from wear, versus “flagging”. Also their edges were worn unevenly. And, dried clumps of paint melded multiple natural bristles together up near the “ferrule” (metal section that holds the bristles).


A sign of a good brush: “Flagging.” That refers to split ends that were manufactured on or in individual bristles, then housed within the brush’s “ferrule.”


The poorer quality brushes had bristles made of synthetic fibers, such as nylon. Most had bristles that were very worn, “fuzzy” at the edges, and poorly maintained. Overall, their low level of maintenance equated with their low level of investment at purchase time.


The other engineering staff members, that did painting touch-ups on my days off, used brushes from the “Paint Shop.” These maintenance techs did the best they could do with what they had to work with.

Sometimes, I had to go back later, and repaint the surface(s) they’d done. Management’s complaints were always about the appearance and coverage of the touched-up surfaces. They were never aimed at the techs themselves.


When number-crunching necessitates the purchase and use of less than Purdy or Wooster caliber brushes, try these tips. Especially for your “Paint Shop.”


1. Brushes to purchase.


Brands: Linzer, Branford, Arro Worthy, Merrit, Bestt Liebco, Proform.

Types: China (natural boar’s hair) bristles, Nylon/polyester.

Bristle compositions: China bristle, nylon/polyester, synthetic.Brush thicknesses: ¼-inch to 1-inch. Standard brush widths: 1-inch to 4-inch.


TIP: Thickness determines the volume of paint that the brush will hold. The width of brush to use is determined by the size of surface, object, or area.


NOTE: Nylon/polyester combination bristle brushes are a good “paint shop” choice. They can be used with both water-based and oil-based products. Exceptions: Urethane, polyurethane, epoxy products.


2. Which brushes to use with what types of product.


Nylon brush:                        Paint product(s): Latex, all water soluble finishes (clear acrylic).

Nylon/polyester brush:   Paint product(s): Latex, oils, alkyds.

China (boar) brush:          Product(s): Oils, varnishes, polyurethanes, epoxy, stains.


TIP: Most manufacturers label their brushes about uses – types of products to use.


3. Which brushes to use on what surface(s).


China (boar) brush:              Surface(s): Wood, metal, masonry, gypsum board (eg. drywall).

Nylon brush:                            Surface(s): Wood, masonry, gypsum board (including drywall).

Nylon/polyester brush:      Surface(s): All surfaces.

Low nap roller:                       Surface(s): Synthetics, plastics, etc.


NOTE: Which brush to use depends on the surface to be coated, and product to be used.


4. How to clean and maintain which brushes.


China (boar) brush:            Cleaning agent(s): Mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, methyl/ethyl ketone.

Cleaning method: Soak, wire brush bristles, “spin out.”

Nylon brush:                           Cleaning agent(s): Soap and water.

Cleaning method: Soak, wire brush bristles, rinse, “spin out.”

Nylon/polyester brush:     Cleaning agent(s): Soap and water, or solvent cleaner.

Cleaning method: Soak with appropriate solvent, wire brush bristles, rinse, “spin out.”

Custom brush:                       Cleaning agent(s): Follow manufacturer’s instructions for brush.

Cleaning method: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the brush.


TIP:  Always check primer/prep, paint or finish label for the proper clean-up method and product/solvent to use.

Example: If the label says “Use lacquer thinner” to clean up tools, use it. Also, that means use on brushes with natural bristles only.


5. Four ways to recycle brushes too worn for regular use.


  1. Clean and use as a surface duster.
  2. Use for one to three small projects, then throw away the brush.
  3. Use brush for hard-to-reach places, where bending bristles won’t matter.
  4. Use for solvent cleaning or degreasing.


6. When to retire and replace which of your “Paint Shop” brushes.


All “PAINT SHOP” brushes. Replace: When bristles have lost their flexibility, are worn unevenly, and/or fall out. Also, replace when dried paint comes out into freshly applied paint or finish, painted surface shows a lot of brush marks, etc.

TOP TIP: Retire a paint brush from active service before the brush’s finish retires your good reputation as a painter and decorator.


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“Brush your surfaces with a fine finish! Finish your surfaces with the best brush you can afford!”


Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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