Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for April, 2016

Painter’s World: Mind your own business

At a seminary reunion, some of my grandfather’s old classmates asked how he managed to have such a successful church, financially.


“I stay out of their business,” he told me he answered, “and mind my own.”


The same goes for a painter. Whether on the staff, with a contractor’s crew, or a temporary worker.


Stay out of what does not directly concern, or relate, to you and your work there. Mind your own business. Let other people do their jobs. And you do yours.


Simple enough, right?




1. Your hotel is managed and operated by an outside company.

There should be no need for you to communicate directly with them, unless an authorized company official initiates that. Then, watch what you say. Also, promptly tell your supervisor about the communication: who initiated it; who said what, when, where, etc.

TIP: If you do need to connect with them, first follow the chain of command on your end. Example: supervisor, manager, administrator.


2. You run into a big problem on a commercial project, applying wall vinyl selected by the customer.

Do not contact the customer yourself. Unless it is part of your job to deal directly with them.

TIP: Call your job foreman, or company boss.


3.  Staff members in another department are having problems handling assigned tasks, that you can help make easier and safer for them.

It is not your call!

TIP: Offer no advice nor help on your own. First get written authorization from your supervisor/ director and the supervisor/director of that other department.


4.  You have a serious teammate or fellow staff member situation.

Do not run to Human Resources! Not to one person there.

TIP: First, keep it in the department. Privately mention the matter to your supervisor, in a “What can I do?” or “How do you advise I proceed?” frame.

TIP: Refrain from criticizing, running down, or tearing/apart your coworker. Let your boss check into the problem.


5. A client’s top official or manager repeatedly interferes with your ability to complete project.

Please, do not communicate directly with any client’s official.

TIP: Promptly alert your company’s superintendent, senior officer or owner. Let it up to him or her to handle it.
6. Another trade craftsperson, working on the same large project, keeps damaging the surface areas you’ve already finish coated.

Do not say one word to that craftsperson’s boss – foreman, superintendent, company owner.

TIP 1: If you’re the lead painter or foreman, try taking the craftsperson aside, and politely asking him or her to please be more careful.

TIP 2: If you’re a crew painter, hint how those mishaps might affect everyone’s paychecks, and the final sign off by the client or customer.

TIP 3: Promptly, notify your superintendent, or employer. Report the problem. Stick to the facts.

TIP 4: If you’re a temporary, report the matter to your assigned contact with your temporary staffing company.


It can be tempting to step forward, and try to handle a problem or situation, that is not within your authority.


Bottom line: Keep it straight with yourself who is responsible for what, and who, ultimately, is in charge. And do not let anyone else – even a boss – put you in that position. It could raise serious liability problems and legal questions.



One key to troubleshooting on the job or project is keeping out of other people’s business.


Many thanks, mentors, for mentoring me well!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Second Shift Tasks and Projects

Q. What tasks and projects fit well into late afternoon and night schedule?

1. Office areas, especially the painting of doors and molding.
2. Ceilings that are in high traffic areas during the day.
3. Touch-up painting and cleaning of restroom surfaces.
4. Vacant rooms – painting of entire room.


Q. How can tasks and projects that need full-light get done on a second shift schedule?

1. When available light is a question, use portable lighting that can be dimmed or filtered.
2. Create ceiling-to-floor partition, where excess lighting can be used.


Q. What tasks and projects should be done only during the day? On a First-shift basis?

1.  All interior/exterior surfaces can be painted, weather permitting and in low-traffic area.
Examples: Doors, moldings, ceilings, walls, floors, etc.
2. First shift can be a good time to perform spray painting tasks.
*  The ambient light will be at its highest.
*  When doing so, be aware of solvent odors, as both you and others may be exposed and become ill.



1. In any vacant or unoccupied area, use CAUTION TAPE for safety notification.
2. Always post WET PAINT signs outside of all interior work areas, even if area is vacant.
3. Tackle exterior projects which require temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and full sun.
*  Do any exterior project which requires relatively low humidity.
*  Painting of any exterior surface must take into consideration the weather.
*  Paint products can be affected when not applied under the proper conditions.
*  Problems with drying time, paint sheen retention and proper adhesion can result.



“Never tell yourself, ‘I have to do something.’ Tell yourself, ‘I get to do it!”


Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painters and Decorators: Becoming an Adaptable Painter

Okay, you know your limitations. And, you still want to paint.
1. Assess the job requirements.

Example: The job requires bending over, and you can’t do it. Move on! Many times, finding another way will not work.

TIP: Certain actions specify certain reactions.

2. Acknowledge you can do the work.

Example: How can you develop a better or easier way to do it, which does not exacerbate your limitation?

3. Simplicity. Find the easiest and safest way to accomplish your work.

TIP: Simplify steps and movements, methods, tool use, etc.

4. Intelligence. Work smart. Assess the situation, in order to paint in as stress-free environment as you can.


Adaptability depends on relating your abilities with your expectations.


When painting, consider your skills and abilities to be ever-changing. All you need to do is utilize them in different and new ways.



Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting and Decorating: Working with Interior Designers – Part II



  1. Color choices should be made with wall and furnishings in mind at the very beginning.


  1. Find out the finish colors, so a tinted primer may be used for the first coat.


  1. Have the interior designer sign off on all colors, before starting to work on large areas.

Note: This is especially true for dark colors. Usually, many coats of paint are needed to change a surface color from dark, back to light. Extra prep and painting fees are always involved.


. Furniture showrooms;  hotels/resorts/spas; convention centers/performance centers

. Executive/law offices, corporate headquarters, business offices, reception areas, conference rooms

. Malls, shopping centers, restaurants, theatres, amusement centers/parks; tourist destinations

. Custom home interiors, private estates

. Schools/ universities, technology complexes; municipal buildings, courtrooms, government complexes

. Hospitals, clinics, labs; health clubs/spas




  1. They may want to change colors immediately, expecting you to do it without an extra charge. TIP: Do not proceed before you have a written and signed authorization in hand, from your employer. No exceptions!


  1. They may specify a finishing product, without consulting the applicator, or product manufacturer’s representative.


  1. They may order costly, and time-consuming changes, without adding changes to contract. TIP: Do not proceed before you have a written and signed authorization in hand, from your employer. No exceptions!


Overall, I’ve always enjoyed working with accredited interior designers on projects. Their scope of knowledge about architectural, design and construction elements tends to be vast and up to date. Their love for and understanding of the arts is genuine, runs very deep, and is lots of fun to be around.


Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting and Decorating: Working with Interior Designers – Part I

Painters that work on higher-end commercial and/or residential projects will deal with interior designers. At one point or another.


The projects where you will find an interior designer are as vast as the clients that own the properties:

  • 4-5 star hotels/resorts, upscale malls, restaurants, theatres, performance centers, boutique shops;
  • hospital systems, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers;
  • schools, government complexes, corporate headquarters;
  • high rise buildings, luxury homes, private estates, condominium developments, etc.




  1. BFA/Interior Design; professional member: American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
  2. BA/Interior Design; professional member: ASID, IIDA and/or IDS.
  3. BA or BS/Architectural Design; professional member: American Institute of Architects (AIA).
  4. BA/Interior Design or Art; member: International Interior Designer Association (IIDA).
  5. BA or BS/Fine Art or Furnishings Design; member: Design Society of America (DSA) and/or International Furnishings and Design Association (AFDA); affiliate member: AIA, ASID, IIDA.


Today, interior designers need at least a BA or BFA and both professional and trade credentials. Some also hold an MA or MS in Business Management, even Business/Corporate Law.




  1. Some interior designers are accredited by the Council for Interior Designers (CID).
  2. More millennial designers are opting for accreditation from the newer Interior Design Society.
  3. Most accredited interior designers are members of more than one professional association.
  4. Most are members of at least two trade organizations, also related educational foundations.
  5. Many play an active, affiliate role in their clients’ industries and trade associations.
  6. A growing number of them are affiliated with product-specific manufacturer associations.


Nearly all interior designers that work on high-end projects possess extensive experience working with painters and decorators. The designers hold themselves to very high standards. And, they expect the painters, with whom they deal, to do the same. One hundred, or close to, one hundred percent of the time.


A few months ago, a professional member of ASID e-mailed. She’d had to insist that the painter on a project be replaced.




  1. Personality conflict
  2. Substandard craftsmanship
  3. Mismatched skills and abilities-to-project needs
  4. “Authority” issues
  5. Client/customer conflict
  6. Time, budget and manpower limits
  7. Honesty and security issues
  8. Other reasons – eg. work environment




  1. Be yourself. Be honest. Be sincere. Be professional.
  2. Respect the interior designer’s role.


That said, also…


  1. Treat the designer with respect.
  2. When he or she is speaking to you, please listen. Try to tune out all distractions.
  3. Acknowledge what the designer is telling you – verbally, and with appropriate gestures.
  4. Answer his or her questions, when they are asked – and briefly as possible.
  5. Offer your view, when appropriate.
  6. Ask for his or her opinion, advice or input, as appropriate.
  7. Accept the interior designer’s input with grace.
  8. Hold back from pushing your knowledge or opinion upon the designer.
  9. Hang loose. Be flexile wherever and whenever you can.
  10. Show him or her that you recognize the problems that the project presents. Examples: Client, spatial, budget, deadlines, products/materials, deliveries, schedule.


The dynamics between the painter and the interior designer are unique, and curious. They tend to be challenging, and changeable. Two top benefits for each: a first-rate referral and trusted friend.


As an award-winning interior and furniture designer once told a group of students at Harrington Institute of Interior Design,


“One of your greatest collaborators on any project will be the painter and decorator. The person who executes the very foundations of your design: color, pattern, and texture.”


See blog: “Painting and Decorating: Working with Interior Designers – Part II”



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

Painter’s Tips: Adapting for the Environment


It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out; and the air is dry and moderately cool.


On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.


Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.


The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.




TIP 1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently.

Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.


TIP 2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun.


TIP 3. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation.


TIP 4. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus.


TIP 5: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, however, it is not possible.


TIP 6. Minimize toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system.


TIP 7. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.


TIP 8. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.


Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.


KEY TIP: Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.



Everyone in a painter’s  work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.


Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s 28 Tips for Adapting to Ability Changes


On a warehouse store project, I needed to paint miles of stripes on the concrete floors. Using a small supply cart, with lockable wheels, was the most effective and low-stress way to get it done.


A painter’s ability changes with age, injury and illness.


So what’s new? You will still be able to plan and carry out a job very successfully.  And, when something not in your control is added to the job? Adapt and adopt!


KEY TIP: Know what your abilities are before you begin a new project, or sign on with a new employer. And, “suit up” – prepare – accordingly.


KEY TIP: Find creative ways to perform the work.


KEY TIP: Get 21st century savvy in project scheduling, completing under budget, and meeting – even exceeding – your employer’s and customer’s/guests quality expectations.




1. Is pain involved? Can you take it? The no. 1 deal breaker.

Example: Periodic knee pain from a college football injury hampers your endurance.

TIP: Change the way you stand, walk, bend, climb, etc.

TIP: Apply common strain-relieving techniques, taught by occupational and physical therapists.

TIP: Wear a light-weight, unnoticeable brace when you’ll be using those knees a lot.

TIP: Follow preventive and strengthening strategies recommended by sports’ medicine pros.


2. Is accessibility involved? Are you mobile? Can you drive, walk, reach, bend over, climb?

Example: You can’t reach surface areas that require unusual body positions for long periods.

TIP: Improve how you reach – eg. turn your upper torso differently.

TIP: Improvise. Find creative ways to reach the surface – eg. bendable double extension poles.

TIP: Build a small cart, with wheels, to roll along for hours, and help get painting done.


3. Is dexterity involved? Can you hold a paint brush for an extended period?  Can you manipulate it for an entire day?

Example: It will take you all day to brush on a special coating over a large exterior surface.

TIP: Build up those muscles, joints and tendons with break-time and off-work exercises.

TIP: Apply thin coat of muscle/joint cream to hands and wrists under inexpensive cotton gloves.

TIP: Wear thin, ergonomic gloves that maximize grip and free-motion, and minimize strain.

TIP: Outfit your brush handle with a removable grip pad, designed for that purpose.


4. Is dexterity and grip involved? Can you hold a spray gun all day, and spray effectively?

Example: You need to spray out the exterior corridors and walkways of all guest buildings.

TIP: Schedule 2-minute relaxation “un-grip it” break every 30 minutes.

TIP: Do “finger flexing” every 45-60 minutes, or more often if possible.

TIP: Take advantage of between times – walking to-and-from, standing in line, talking on phone to boss or supplier, eating lunch, etc.

TIP: Outfit your spray gun with a removable grip pad, designed for spray gun handles.

TIP: Wear thin, ergonomic gloves that are washable. (Most affordable are sold online.)


5. Is a chronic illness involved? Can you work around its symptoms and medication side effects?

Example: Your asthma kicks in big time when you’re painting areas with heavy toxic mold.

TIP: Use an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus.

TIP: Take regular breaks, and leave the area. For at least 5 minutes each time.

TIP: Pick your paint times, as much as possible. Sun-exposure, no/minimal moisture.

TIP: Work with an oscillating fan running – lower speed, clean air flow.


Hopefully, you know your own body better than anyone. That is, if you’re really living inside that intricately-designed structure.


TIP: Periodically, tune in to what it’s telling you.

* Aches, pains, cramping, twitches, burns, blurriness, fatigue, etc. – all messengers.


TIP: Study your own job, and what it entails.

* Movements, positions, extensions, loads, time lengths, etc.


TIP: Find easy ways to adapt to those changes with yourself.

* Convenient, convertible, un-costly.


TIP: Experiment. Try a different method, position, grip, device, etc.

* And, if one doesn’t work for you, try another. And another.


TIP: Seek input from others that may have tips that will work for you.

* Painters in the trade longer than you can be superb, and private, advisors.



Adapt to change, and change how you adapt to avert extinction.



Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


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


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