Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for February, 2016

Painting It: Do’s and Don’ts of Paint Spraying


Most painters know that Paint Spraying is not inherently dangerous. Yet, nearly all of us have had a few close calls. I remember several co-workers who had minor incidences.


Generally, precautions are all that is needed to ward off the possibility of injury to oneself, or someone else.


With most accidents, the situations are sometimes taken for granted. And, we fail to pay attention.


Before beginning any spray project, we need to consider the things to avoid and the things that require our attention. In any case, always think before you act!




1. Do not spray without a respirator. (If you do, you will really pay for it later on!)
2. Don’t point a spray gun at anything other than what you are painting. (You will regret causing a coworker to go blind.)
3. Don’t ignore the proper cleaning of your equipment. (Someone will need to use it again.)4. Do not leave a spray system under pressure. (They have a tendency to explode.)
5. Do not plug in an electric cord near the area where solvent is evaporating. (Boom! And what a mess.)
6. When using a conventional spray pressure tank, do not exceed recommended pressure limit. (BOOM! The pot lid can blow off.)




1. Wear protective clothing: paper suit, goggles, gloves, head sock. (Your skin, hair, eyes and hands will thank you for it.)
2. Wear an inorganic vapor respirator. (That is, if you would like to breathe another day.)
3. Clean or change filters in your spray equipment every day. (Headaches seem to disappear.)
4. Use a ground fault breaker near the spray pump’s electric motor. (The slightest spark! And FLASH! Ask any firefighter.)
5. Thin paint appropriately for the orifice size of the spray gun tip. (Eliminate “flashing.”)
6. After using latex paint in an airless pump, flush first with water; then with mineral spirits. (It reduces corrosion of metal parts.)


Do’s and don’ts are about safe and efficient painting.


In the business of spray painting, it is essential to maintain a high level of productivity, without causing undue injury to yourself and/or others.


Remember: It is the do’s which get the job done and make you money. Yet, it is the don’ts which can un-do every positive thing you have done.



The success of every spray job depends on your safe and efficient approach to and on that job.  


Stay safe, everyone. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Paintshop: How to Build a Spray Booth

For a paint spray booth to be effective, it must accomplish two things.


1. It should keep out all unwanted elements which could affect the quality of the work.

2. It should provide an atmosphere which is compatible with the paint material.


Typically, you want to strictly minimize the particulates in the air. Also, you want to provide a space in which the air is dry and the atmosphere has a very low degree of humidity.


Building a spray booth can be as involved as you want it to be. You can construct one out of masonry block. Or you can use the standard wood frame construction.


Here, I opt for a booth that is simpler, easier, and less expensive to build.


Here are a few examples. One of them may suit your needs.


Utilizing an existing space.  A garage is one of the most appropriate locations for a spray booth. The smooth concrete floor is ideal for moving the vehicle or equipment being sprayed. It is easy to clean. Wetting the surface with water helps to keep the dust from entering the air.


Normally, three things need to be done.


1. Suspend a thin plastic sheeting from the ceiling down all sides of designated “booth” area.

2. Drape the plastic sheeting along the walls, forming an enclosed barrier.

3. Install a suitable exhaust fan in front of a window. This aids in the removal of paint overspray circulation throughout the room.


I have completed many projects using this type of spray booth. The quality of the finished product has always spoken for Itself.

Utilizing an outdoor space. In this situation, you use a system of interconnecting electrical conduit to form the support structure.


1. When you go to construction supply store, take along a sketch with dimensions of your support structure. TIP: A tentative list of supplies also helps to save time, and budget mistakes.

2. Use plastic sheeting, heavy mil, to form a thin non-penetrable barrier.

3. Make sure that all overlapping plastic areas are sealed to prevent insects from entering – and “seams” from loosening, and the “spray booth” from dismantling.

TIP: Secure “seams” with wide masking tape. Or use nylon ties to “pleat” and intertwine seams.

4. Place an exhaust fan in the area.


This type of spray booth system is especially suitable for its portability and quick set up time.




The following factors are essential to produce high quality spray painting jobs. Ones that are not too different than the jobs done in a professional setting.


1. Air Dryer System. Consider moisture the enemy. An air dryer greatly reduces the chances of water getting on your work. The dry air produced aids in atomizing the paint supply.


2. Oil and Water Filtration. Specialized filters remove oil and water droplets and vapor. If you choose to ignore these factors, be prepared for the effects. A ruined paint job for one.


3. Particulate absorption pads and/or an Air Circulation System. In this set-up, the paint booth is designed with a positive flow air evacuation system. Its “vacuum” removes dust particles, lint and other particulates from the air.

NOTE: This is the most costly and most effective system available in association with using an electrostatic spray system.


4. Direct Lighting Source. The idea is to eliminate all shadows cast on the object you are painting. Overhead and horizontal lighting needs must be met to have an equally lighted space. A few tips:

TIP A: Wide field halogen lights do well at a distance.

TIP B: Assembling one or more fluorescent light support racks on wheels is your best bet.

TIP C: Remember: The more angles there are in the objects you are painting the more light you need focused in each and every direction.


When building a spray booth, it is important to know the volume of work you intend to use it for. Invest in a spray booth in proportion to use, project sizes, budget, and profit margin. Also, the availability of a skilled “spray system” painter and finisher.


If it’s for a one-time use, use a temporary and inexpensive spray booth system, or set-up. You do not want your spray booth to cost more than the profit you figure that you will make by using it.


More important: You do not want your spray booth to cost more than the profit you need to make from completing the job right.



A suitable spray booth on the job can ensure the success and profitability of the job.


Thanks to everyone, especially connections and commenters, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Solving Surface Preparation Problems


A paint job continues to look good, as long as there are no failures in the surface or in the paint or coating material. The causes of such failures boil down to two main areas: moisture and sun related exposure.


A substrate – eg. drywall, masonry, wood, or steel – has limiting factors related to the type of environment it is able to resist. Typically, they are based on the substrates ability to repel the thing which can effect it the most.


Example: An improperly prepared drywall surface will absorb water and its gypsum construction will lose its strength.


Another example: A steel surface, etched and primed incorrectly, will start to rust more quickly and lose its structural integrity. Of course, with steel, prepped properly, it takes much longer.


To prevent this from happening, a specific coating can be applied. Also, this ensures a long life to the surface. Basically, it’s called the “prime and top coat system”.


If the surface hasn’t been prepared as best as it could have, negative results can occur. If there has been an environmental exposure of some kind, negative results can occur.




1. Rusting metal – peeling paint.

A. Invasive correction: Sandblasting, fiber glassing, metal replacement.

B. Superficial repair: Auto Body filler, wire brushing, sandpapering, naval jelly application. Priming surface with alkyd, epoxy, urethane or zinc coating.

2. Peeling Paint – wood.

A. invasive correction: Removal of loose, flaky dry paint by sandpapering, abrasive wheel cleaning, chemical paint stripper.

B. Superficial yet effective repair: Pressure clean surface. Prime surface with acrylic latex, oil based coating, alcohol based specific to interior/ exterior.

3. Bubbles – Usually localized, not invasive or widespread.

A. General repair method: Removal by sandpapering to feather edge, scraping, wipe surface with adhesion promoter.

B. TIP: Prime with oil based or fast dry acrylic latex.

4. Alligatoring – Paint applied too thick, surface overheated/overexposed to sun, problem with solvent evaporation.

A. Invasive correction: Sandpapering and smoothing out, or stripping entire surface. Then, if necessary, spackling of smoothing compound.

B. TIP: Use body filler for metals, joint-type compounds for drywall or plastered surfaces.


The final results of your project are dependent, inherently, on surface preparation. The time and method you take to properly prepare a surface will ultimately produce a beautiful and lasting finish. And, doing it the right way can ensure that the money spent is done wisely.


Remember: Follow your surface preparation procedures to guarantee the best quality job imaginable. And when you think you’ve sanded enough? Sand some more.



Every smooth, durable finish coat has a surface prep story to tell.


Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


A True Antique Story: Pub Back Bars and Front Bars

Greek immigrant and saloon owner, Mr. Bates, owned the largest, l-shaped parcel of land that surrounded our wooded property. On the land set a gold mine of Sothby’s-quality antiques.


Some pieces set inside and under the vacant, dilapidated cabin in the dense woods adjoining ours. Some were hidden inside the tunnel of an underground bomb cavern.


Most of the antiques were crammed into the two huge boxcars. Both set in an untilled field, camouflaged by a dense overgrowth. Located less than one thousand feet from our fence line.


The cabin site housed dozens of wooden cigar boxes. They were filled with old currency from the U. S., Greece, British Isles, etc. Some boxes were stuffed with matured U. S. Savings Bonds – over one hundred of them.


Ceramic, porcelain and earthenware dishes, pots, pitchers, vases, and trays set on the floors in both rooms. Also, many old pieces of flatware: sterling silver, silver-plated, gold-plated.


Old saloon and bar furnishings filled the boxcars. That included three complete bar sets; fixtures, mirrors, picture frames, wall mural panels, etc. Also china, crystal, glassware, and cooking accessories.


One boxcar contained eight or nine rolled up imported oriental rugs. And, over six wooden crates of fine tapestry.


The other one housed two complete front and back bar systems. Both were constructed of rich, solid mahogany, and similar in design. Each back bar measured at least 21 feet in length, and 17 feet in height.


The Back Bars featured inset twin beveled mirrors, fluted columns, intricate relief carvings, and built-in drawers. Also, small cupboards and three glass cases. Both were appointed with brass trim, hardware and railings. One unit included built-in steps to reach those higher areas.


The Front Bars of both sets featured a brass beer drain board and a polished counter top. And, each included brass boot rests/bars.


Over the years, the heavy key locks on each boxcar were broken or cut off repeatedly by thieves, or “snoops.” Little was ever taken. Perhaps because most of the pieces were so cumbersome. And unusable somewhere other than inside a bar or pub. Or, a huge residence, or museum.


At some point, the attorney for the elderly property owner engaged our closest neighbor and us to keep a close eye on the property. And, its contents. We were “enlisted” to watch out for all trespassers. (A little more about that follows.)


The hardest part of that job was spotting the intruders that snuck onto the wooded section. First, they had to slip or sneak through our woods. And, the entire wooded area was unusually dense, even in the winter. Also, hunters wandered – trespassed – onto the back of our property, then onto the neighbors.


Another problem: Some of the intruders were the grown nephews and families of old Mr. Bates. And, reliable sources had informed us that the three nephews eagerly awaited their inheritances.


But, a funny thing happened as their greed grew. The owner set up an interesting system of trusts for his entire, massive estate.


The nephews would receive access to the estate only after the youngest child of any nephew reached eighteen. And, at the time of the owner’s death, the youngest child in the group was under age one.


By the time Mr. Bates said his earthly goodbyes, his attorney faced a much easier job of settling the estate.


The elderly owner had already sold off most of his real estate in town, including the saloon. Nearly all of the antiques had been lifted from the boxcars. The cabin and underground cavern had been looted, and fallen apart from gross neglect. (Too, the most forceful nephew had died of a heart attack.)


Even at the end, our family possessed special access to the Bates tales. From school days, my father knew the attorney. And, my mother and the attorney’s wife belonged to the same philanthropic sorority, Tri Kappa.


Still, I was not prepared for the trivia that hit my e-mail Inbox last week. One of the “authorized looters” of those boxcars was a young Greek bar owner in South Florida. The furnishings that he had lifted were shipped to Florida, and set into his family’s pub in the early 1990s.


Today, that pub is owned and operated by his two Baby Boomer sons, and their adult children.


Thanks, Mr. Bates. What a fantastic idea for the plot of a mystery novel!



Own your day, and value its contents.  rdh



Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Patterns: Giant Chessboard – Part I


Last October, two painters took on a project that they had no business tackling. One, they had less than one year experience in the trade. Two, they were production painters. And, three, they were not detail-oriented.


Project: Paint continuous pattern on exterior driveway and courtyard, and interior main hallway.

Dimensions: Driveway: 36 feet wide by 350 feet long; Courtyard: 18 feet wide by 24 feet long. Hallway: 12 feet wide by 220 feet long


Pattern/effect: Wood-grain chessboard.


Property owner: Amateur chess champion and business entrepreneur.




  1. Precision measuring: up, down, across.
  2. Precision gridding: linear, horizontal, vertical.
  3. Precision marking: block pattern, no-borders, edge run-offs.
  4. Labeling: Alternating blocks, horizontal and vertical.
  5. Precision cutting in, each paint block.
  6. Prompt, steady fill-in of each block, in gridded order.
  7. Careful matching of correct paint color to correct block.
  8. Frequent paint mixing and stirring: 5-gallon containers; also 1-gallon roller pan filler cans.




  1. Measuring: each surface area’s length and width estimated, not measured; courtyard missed.
  2. Gridding: each area’s axis (center) not located.
  3. Marking: perpendicular lines forming block edges/encasements not marked evenly. Corners not squared. Why: Product failure: Poor quality masking tape failed.
  4. Labeling: Cabernet brown and Sandstone blocks not alternated in certain area. Why: Worker(s) did not pay attention, lost track, got in a hurry.
  5. Cutting in: corners not sharp – not squared/ “L-ed” off. Fuzzy edging. Why: Work speed did not match skill level; wrong brushes used; too much paint on brushes; poor taping. (See C.)
  6. Filling-in: Finish paint surface not smooth. Paint applied unevenly, also too thinly or thickly in spots. Unblended brush stroke edges. Paint-clogged brushes.
  7. Paint-to-block matching: Lost chessboard pattern big time. Note: One block color off messes up entire sequence.
  8. Frequent mixing/stirring to avoid “bumps,” lumps and separation in applied paint. Why: Paint products not strained or filtered before being poured into 1-gallon buckets, paint tray.


See: Painting Patterns: Giant Chessboard – Part II.



Champion chess players and devoted decorative painters share a key skill: Patience.



Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Paint and Materials Recycling

When a job is completed, what do you do with what’s left over?


To save money, many choose to throw everything away, or to store it. Neither is beneficial to the environment or your bottom line. Chemicals including paints, solvents and oil products can be expensive to dispose of.  Or, to store safely.


Proper recycling means these items are delivered to a special place.


One such place, Safety Clean, makes it their business to render these products benign to the environment. The company either converts them chemically. Or, they put them in a self-storage unit, in a specifically- designed safety container system. The down side is that it costs the person delivering the product.


In some cases, such as with solvents, they are often filtered and sold for reuse.


How about the average painter in the field? What can he do?


Enough painters, when through with a job, take their unused paint and materials home with them. They think to themselves: I may be able to use this gallon of paint somewhere. Or, they tell themselves, “ I can’t take the time to dispose of it properly.”


These are your main options. Some come with a big cost; others not so much.


  1. Use a partially filled container of material, which is at risk of leaking. Fill the container with sand. Then, mix until it has the consistency of concrete. No cost, except for sand.
  2. Dirty solvents stored in a contained may also be filled with sand to absorb the liquid.
  3. To prevent materials from entering the ground surface water, burn them in a metal drum. Use charcoal to ignite. The downside: Burning chemicals releases toxic smoke into the air.
  4. Note: I would attempt this only in the country where neighbors won’t be offended. And, hopefully, the pollutants have more room to dissipate.


Practical Use Recycling


Think of it as a resource for reuse. Paints come in all sorts of various types. They vary in their chemical make-up, and in their degree of impact to the environment.


Putting a paint to use after its initial use is something that is not usually thought of.


A list of possible uses for left over paint and finishing products:


  1. Left over oil-based primers can be mixed together for use as a prime coat for larger projects. Example: metal roofs, structural steel, and sheet metal sided buildings.
  2. Latex top coats may be mixed together to apply as a first coat on drywall surfaces.
  3. Latex primers can be reused on consecutive, unrelated projects on multi surfaces.
  4. Stains may be used to tint other stains and even oil based paints.
  5. Polyurethanes/Varnishes can be used on new wood projects. Here, place them through a strainer and thin with the appropriate solvent to replace what has evaporated.
  6. Epoxy/Urethane material may be reused if the catalyst has not been contaminated, or each component not over heated.
  7. Dirty solvents can be reused if properly filtered. Example: Mineral spirits, lacquer thinner can be reused if properly filtered.


The keys to recycling? Know your products. Know what you’re doing. And, always play it safe!



Responsible recycling benefits everyone’s environment – and lives!



Thanks, everyone, for those insightful and honest e-mails sent during the Christmas holidays.

And, many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Paint Brush Budgeting


The realm of paint brushes is varied and highly specialized. This, of course, depends on the surface you are painting.


At the bottom are the chip brushes. They are low in quality and price, and also disposable if you choose not to clean them.


Located at the top are the faux finishing brushes. They can be expensive. And, they are designed for specific surfaces, materials, and effects.


Generally, if you care at all about the final results of your work you will choose the most appropriate and highest quality tool available for the job.


In some cases, the purchase of a brush should be viewed as an investment. That’s especially true when the cost reaches in excess of two hundred dollars.


When it comes to a typical good quality brush, expect to pay anywhere between fourteen and twenty three dollars.


Why the difference in cost? Brushes are specialized tools. They are manufactured using different types of materials and processes. The cost of the brush depends on what went into making it.


List of typical brushes, their material and their designated use:


  1. Nylon: Use with latex products only.
  2. Nylon/Polyester: Use with waterborne and oil based products.
  3. China Bristle: Use with oil, epoxy, and polyurethane based products.
  4. Badger: Use with oil-based paints and glazes.
  5. Sable: Use with acrylic latex products.


Paint Brushes in a Commercial Sense


Residential, decorative, commercial, and industrial painting each require a variety of brushes to complete  the task, and project.


Residential painting and decorating, often considered to be more specialized, can incorporate the use of fine artist brushes to larger size brushes for big wall painting on drywall, masonry and so on.


Decorative painting and decorating, considered the most specialized in the field, incorporates a wide variety of specially designed fine artist and creative brushes, also other applications tools.


Commercial painting and decorating is designated by the use of waterborne and solvent born products. Here, you use brushes primarily for high production purposes.


Industrial painting usually requires the use of specialized types of coatings. Thus, brushes containing natural hair are used. Example: China bristle,the main choice.


An old adage applies here: ”You get what you pay for.”


In any sense, look for a brush where the bristles are (1) tightly compacted and (2) tapered at the end. This makes for a quality brush. One which holds a reasonable volume of paint and produces very fine cut lines.


JOURNEY PAINTER’S TIP: You will be using most of your brushes quite often. So, it is important to have a brush which feels real good in your hand.


Don’t laugh. I once used a brush which caused my hand to ache every time I used it. Finally, I beveled the handle, sanded it and applied a polyurethane clear coat. It turned out to be better than new.


Remember: Buy only the best brush that you can, when quality is your greatest concern. Besides, a $25.00 brush can last a long time. Especially, if you treat the brush right!



Don’t forget: Your teeth aren’t the only important items that need brushing.

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.




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