Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for October, 2016

Painter’s View: Keeping Connected After the “Compensated” Connection is Gone

One full year after my grandfather retired from his pastorate, he began to rekindle the closer friendships built, over twenty-five years, with certain people and families in that parish. While still maintaining a separation from them as members of the church family, he moved forward with his personal bond with them.

 

Moving forward…

 

Nearly nine years after his death at age 93, his descendants continue some of those connections with the members’ descendants. We exchange e-mails, letters and phone calls.

 

One of them is a commercial painting contractor. His oldest son is a staff painter on a Marriott property in the Washington, D. C. area. All three of us are experienced painters and decorators. Yet, we seem to be more drawn to each other by our connection through that church parish in southern Indiana.

 

Question: In the business or professional world, is it appropriate to keep connected?

 

Is it acceptable to keep in touch with former coworkers or teammates, supervisors and managers? At all times respecting their prevailing positions as staff members of your previous place of employment?

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy that, once an employee leaves, he or she is prohibited from any and all contact with anyone there. And, they strictly enforce that rule.

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy of marginal latitude. They allow current and former employees to keep a limited connection to each other. Trusting that both sides will preserve, respect and honor the employee’s current contractual terms with the employer. Especially in confidentiality areas.

 

  1. Some companies rely on their current employees to use sound judgment, fairness and cordiality when dealing with their former coworkers. And, they trust them to set suitable, reasonable terms in sustaining those relationships.

 

  1. A handful of companies, by comparison, actually promote qualitative, mutually beneficial connections between and among current and former employees. The view of leaders and enterprises is:

 

“What’s good for their people can be very good for the business.”

 

Within which policy framework do you, as a former coworker, do you function?  Within which framework do you, as a current coworker, function?

 

Question: How does it strengthen your ability to be a top quality worker? And, a fulfilled, well-rounded human being?

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Covering Substrate Flaws with Decorating Finishes

Decorative finishing can cover a lot of flaws in a substrate. Or an entire area, for that matter.

 

It is an ideal solution for improving or enhancing the aesthetic appearance of a wall, furniture piece, fixture, etc.

 

. You can get very creative in the choice of color(s), patterns, and finishes.

. You can produce amazing results within a limited time to do it – and a limited budget.

. You can use up extra paint in the paintshop, that otherwise might go unused – and go bad.

. You can add a new look, theme and spirit to the total atmosphere.

. You can even increase the value of the property.

 

I rely on decorative finishing – especially faux – to add new life to walls, trim and baseboard, window frames, built-ins, cabinetry fronts (eg. wood), and even floors and doors. It works wonders on furniture, fixtures, mirror and picture frames, decorative accessories, even faded and scratched appliance shells.

 

I’ve seen a faux finished piece or area give residents in assisted living facilities or nursing homes a tremendous lift in mood and attitude, new energy, and new interest in life. I’ve been amazed at how it can renew a sense of hope and motivation in high school students at a low-rated, run down school. I’ve watched as young, mentally challenged children in a hospital smiled and cheered when led into a colorfully accented, faux finished playroom.

 

The possibilities are practically endless. Limited only by you and your readiness to experiment, to create, to invent.

 

 

12 Tips for Creating Decorative Finishes that Float Flaws Out of Sight.

 

  1. Select a faux design or technique that will add to, not detract from, the overall design and purpose of the room, piece, etc.
  2. Uncertain what will look great, versus a visual mistake? Take a little time; and apply each finish you’re considering onto separate sample boards.
  3. Choose an easy design/technique and one color hue when you want or need fast results. Examples: colorwashing, sponging, spattering.
  4. Is your budget real tight? Choose the paint color of a product already in the paintshop.
  5. Choose a paint color that you have when both the base coat and faux glaze must closely blend with the established color scheme of the property, office, home, etc.
  6. Choose a glaze two or more hues brighter when you want to achieve a sharper contrast effect.
  7. Don’t be afraid to mix two or three faux techniques together on the same surface, or even on different parts of, say, a furniture piece. Example: Combing on table legs and feet, sponging on side panels, ragging on top.
  8. For ultimate fun, apply the same technique/design to different parts of a wall, using different colors of glaze over the same base coat color. Example: Red, rust, copper.
  9. Is the table top bruised but the rest of wood piece is okay? Choose base coat in same or darker tone of current wood finish. Then, apply glaze in dark color, that’s close to base color. Or, apply a subtle color that contrasts with the base coat.
  10. Is the front of lobby’s wood counter heavily nicked, scratched, gouged, and even cracked? Apply base coat that’s darker than the wood finish on entire unit. Then apply two colors of glazing using wood grain finish.
  11. Is the top of the general manager’s or president’s large walnut desk have ink and water stains, also burn marks? Apply black base coat. Then apply dark green, royal blue or wine glaze using marbleizing technique.
  12. When the paint amount available is limited, use dry brushing to create a textured effect.
  13. When the area is smaller, use dragging technique to create clean, striped effect.

 

 

You get the idea. There are few substrate and surface flaws that cannot be camouflaged with one or more faux finishes.

 

There are faux finish techniques available to treat nearly every surface appearance problem of a substrate.

 

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Take the time to learn, to try, and to use faux finishes to cover flaws

of otherwise great surfaces, areas, and pieces.

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

 

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

PAINTSHOP: “You Have Just Been Awarded $5,000…”

You’ve been awarded $5,000 to spend on any painting projects of your choice. Where to start? How to decide? So many areas need work.

 

1. On what projects will that $5,000 reach the furthest? And, do the most good?

 

2. Is it really your decision to make? Or, are some members of management standing nearby hoping that you will select projects/areas that they want done, now that you – paintshop – have the budget to do them?

 

3. Do you need to make a list of your top five choices? Then get approval from management?

 

4. What kind of time frame are you looking at for spending down that money? Can you spread it out? Can you reserve some of it for a project later?

 

5. In that available time frame, which projects can be taken care of with minimal down time related to guest and staff ability to use the space or area.

 

These little tips may get your juices flowing now. Before that possible miracle gift falls in your lap.

 

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Every hotel or facility painter deserves some dream money for the paintshop.

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Thank you for checking in with “Painting with Bob.”

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

Paintshop: When You Need to Re-think Your Own Practices

The time comes for every staff or facility painter to change the way he or she does certain things.

 

13 Reasons that may have you thinking – and thinking some more.

 

  1. Steadily plummeting budget puts a greater long-term squeeze on prioritizing essential tasks, work orders and projects.
  2. Way too much work load exists for the hours in your week.
  3. The new chief engineer on board believes in change and shaking things up a lot.
  4. The new chief engineer on board tends to fight your every move and decision.
  5. The external management company has its own ideas, policies and practices on how things must be done.
  6. The engineering staff has been cut. You will need to help out more with general maintenance tasks, work orders and troubleshooting.
  7. Your work hours have been cut. You’ll need to cut back – weed out – some duties.
  8. The new management is not happy with your current system.
  9. You may have access to more, or less, help from teammates.
  10. The business may have changed, calling for you to change with it.
  11. A shift in job description responsibilities requires you to add some, and let go of other, tasks.
  12. The business climate in the area may have improved, or turned sour.
  13. You may be burning out, disillusioned, or ready for something new, but where you’re at now. Making a move – changing jobs – may not be on your radar.

 

The real challenge may be in convincing yourself that the time to change your own practices has arrived. Answering three questions seems to help me along:

 

  1. Specifically, who is asking me to change the way I do things? Does the person know anything about how a paintshop needs to operate?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how crucial is it that I change the practice or practices now, or at all?
  3. What are the advantages in making the change or changes now, versus in six months or a year from now?

 

My answers tend to be different, depending on which of my practices are on the chopping block, so to speak. With some? No big deal. Let’s make the change now. With others? Hands off till I can see how to do it that paintshop operations benefit, and do not suffer unnecessarily.

 

Bottom line: You’ll know what practice to change, and when the time is right for the paintshop. And you, too.

 

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A painter does not practice painting, like a doctor practices medicine.

A painter is expected to get it right the first time.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Paintshop: Productivity

Some days are more productive than others. Some are much more productive.

 

  1. The weather cooperates.
  2. Everything seems to click into place at the right time.
  3. Everyone and everything stays out of your way.
  4. Your boss or supervisor leaves you alone and does not sidetrack you.
  5. Management occupies themselves with their own problems.
  6. Teammates handle their tasks and work orders on their own.
  7. Guests stay out of your way, or complain about other things.
  8. Everything runs smoothly, and you have what you need to do the job.

 

 

At the hotel, the chief engineer periodically came along and told me to slow down.

 

“You’re working too hard…doing too much.”

 

Several times he asked, “What drives you, Bob? I’ve never seen anyone get so much done. Every day.”

 

“It’s in the genes,” I told him once. “You, too. You work like a dog.”

 

But that’s who I was: a high producer. Even on very detailed projects. With me at least, it was an attribute and skill that was very genetic, on both sides of my family.

 

We all loved what we did. Whatever the task, job or project might have been. Simple or complicated, it didn’t seem to matter. We simply enjoyed doing whatever we needed to do. And, we rarely looked at it as too much to ask, or as boring.

 

10 Tips for Tapping Your Productivity Powers

 

1.Keep everything in your carryall that you’ll need to handle basic tasks and work orders.

Example: 2-inch paint brush, 1 sheet No. #300 grit sandpaper, 1 sheet #1000 grit sandpaper, scraper or 10-in-1 tool, lightweight hammer, standard and Phillip’s screwdrivers, gloves, eye goggles, rag, 1-liter cool water.

 

2. Organize the paintshop so that you can find things quickly, and move them easily.

 

3. Set up your golf cart so that you can carry whatever basic supplies you need for the entire day. Note: This will require the creative use of space, plus 2-3 small storage containers.

 

4. Keep your basic inventory ready to go. Promptly requisition and check on materials and supplies before they run out.

 

5. Maintain and post a weekly calendar where everyone in engineering can refer to it.

 

6. Let your engineer know in advance about any job/project problems that you foresee.

 

7. In advance, ask for help from your engineer and/or teammates to handle work orders or projects that require more manpower than you have on your own.

 

8. Finish what you start in as timely manner as possible.

 

9. Always have several, different-sized and types of projects going. This enables you to use shorter spans of time wisely and creatively.

 

10. Give yourself regular breaks every day. Especially when you’re working on a tough work order or project, working outdoors in the heat and humidity, or working with products/materials that require precision, concentration and/or ample drying time.

 

I never wait on someone else to decide how productive I’m going to be, or need to be. That’s my call, really. That’s my responsibility as a professional.

 

And, frankly? If you do consider yourself a professional, and you do enjoy painting and decorating for a living, being highly productive will come as naturally as skillfully manipulating paintbrush.

 

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High productivity is a matter of conscious and conscientious choice – and unconscious commitment.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotels and Resorts: It’s Halloween Time!

For their young Halloween guests, most hotels and resorts host some scary activities and events.

 
A lead painter friend is on the staff of a 350-room hotel that goes all out.

 

Four years ago, Marco and the rest of the engineering staff converted a 12 feet by 24 feet wood and steel storage shed into a 3-room children’s playhouse.

 

For Halloween each year, the “residence” is turned into a “Haunted House.” Complete with ghosts swinging from the chandelier, skeletons jumping out of closets, witches brewing huge round caldrons of brew – Apple Cider – for the young guests.

 

Originally, the storage building was purchased with money raised through fundraisers.

 

Marco and Ben, the night painter, had painted and decorated the playhouse.

 

For the “Haunted House” project, they put together a team of very enthusiastic helpers.

 

  1. Front desk host and two housekeepers sewed sheer, glittering nylon net gowns for the lady skeletons, and outfitted men skeletons in sea captains’ uniforms. Note: Also they made a giant octopus with an eye patch and crutch, and a shark with a mouth that opened.
  2. Two maintenance techs made a guillotine that slammed shut over a long-haired skeleton. Note: Also they created creaking, tipping floorboards and wobbly, levitating outdoor  and fence sections.
  3. Chief engineer and hotel concierge built an ingenious ladder that lowered from the ceiling with a massive growling bear-headed skeleton.
  4. G.M. and I.T. director installed a weird combination music and eerie sounds’ system.
  5. People in sales created scary 3-D posters and banners advertising the “Haunted House.”
  6. Purchasing director and assistant engineer made the ceiling fixtures sway and turned two candleabras into dancing, shrieking ghosts.
  7. Several housekeepers turned old sheets into ghosts that stood on the roofs, or swept down into the paths of unprepared children.
  8. A large group of staff turned out on a Sunday afternoon to help bake hundreds and hundreds of pumpkin sugar cookies, mini cinnamon bars and multi-colored mini sandwich cookies.
  9. The day before the Haunted House was to open, the engineering team fixed it so the playhouse couch and chairs would rock back and forth, even levitate from the floor.

 

This year, Marco and Ben have added a few knee-jerkers and blood-curtlers to the “Haunted House.” They painted the walk so it appears that it is dipping, moving and disappearing under the children’s feet as they try to walk to the House. Also they’ve created a tub of bubbling apple heads that rise out of the water and swoop around in the air.

 

An old ladder has been splotched and splattered in reflective Bright blood red paint. And half “heads” and finger-missing “hands” rise out of table tops and the countertop.

 

Marco calls this year’s “Haunted House” a staff masterpiece.

 

“We’re open evenings only, from 6 to 9. Our “Haunted House” welcomes all children to ages 14, or 5 feet height. And, every guest leaves with a “Trick or Treat Bag” that contains two large cookies, two snack-sized candy bars and a juice box. We have ‘Apple-Head’ or ‘Grape-Blood’…”

 

Do you need any helpers, Marco and Ben?

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Have a super fun and memorable Halloween, everyone!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Paintshop: What is the Best Paint?

Paints and coatings are similar. What separates them from each other is their ability to retain color and their durability of sheen.

 

The typical factors, which can affect this, are (1) surface exposure to the sun, (2) cleanliness, and (3) humidity.

 

First of all, to find the “best possible paint” for your application, consult paint store and manufacturer recommendations.

 

As a rule, you get what you pay for. Normally, the best quality paint will have the highest price. With the modern development in coatings research, the quality of paint is at its highest level. Now, there are paints which combine primer as part of their formulation.

 

Usually, I prefer to use a suitable primer, then let it dry. And I apply a top coat, especially designed for that surface and that primer-top coat combination. To each his own, however.

 

Each surface requires a paint that is specific to its requirements. You wouldn’t put latex paint on bare steel. And, you wouldn’t prime the steel with the recommended primer and then apply a latex finish paint. If you don’t know the difference, you might.

 

There are “best paints” for every class of surfaces. Here are a few of them.

 

  1. Exterior masonry. Use an elastomeric coating. It’s a high-build, water-proofing material.
  2. Steel. Use epoxy primer and finish. They provide an extremely durable, chemical resistant finish.
  3. Interior drywall. Use acrylic latex. It leaves a highly washable, color retentive finish.
  4. Non ferrous metal. Use oil galvanizing primer. It has excellent adhesive properties.
  5. Automotive. Use urethane. It has ultimate durability, high color retention, resist abrasions.
  6. All surfaces. Use oil-based paint. It provides excellent durability, color retention, resist stains.

 

Then, there are my “best brand paint picks.” Opinions may vary. Yet, there are standards of quality, cost and reputation for each manufacturer.

 

  1. Interior/Exterior house paints: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams; #3 Behr.
  2. Wood finishes: #1 Minwax; #2 Olympia.
  3. Masonry: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams.
  4. Fine finish metals: #1 DuPont, #2 Sherwin Williams.
  5. Industrial coatings: #1 Sherwin Williams.

 

There are many paint and coatings’ manufacturers out there. Do your research, especially when you are questioning a surface’s compatibility with a particular paint type. Paint failures or a reduced life of the sheen can occur if the wrong selection is made.

 

 

A STORY OF EXTREMES

 

As a commercial painter, I was once assigned a job to decorate the front offices and lobby of an automotive body shop. My job was to paint all of the drywall ceilings, with a flat white latex, and to apply vinyl wall coverings to all of the walls and the electrical cover plates. It sounded simple enough.

 

But as I got started, I saw several of the body shop workers carrying stack s of wood moulding into their service area. And when the doors arrived – about 12 of them, they were taken to that area as well.

 

I was busy doing my own work. Until one day, I went back and discovered a couple of body shop employees working on the doors and woodwork. They were painting them.

 

I thought:  Well, that’s just fine. Then, I realized that the paint they were using was not the run of the mill latex or oil I would have used. I was shocked, yet totally amazed at what they were doing.

 

The owner had chosen to finish his woodwork with automotive paint. I never heard of such a thing. On his own, the owner decided to experiment.

 

The product he chose to use was a two-part urethane with a clear coat final finish.  The finish was known for its unsurpassed durability and extremely high gloss.

 

Okay! I waited and continued with my duties. In the last days of my work, I got to see the carpenters putting everything up. Room by room, they installed the doors and the trim. Then the body shop guys sprayed the last coat of clear coat.

 

We had a party upon completion of the project. And we got to witness the end result. It was beyond words.

 

THE DOORS! I’m not kidding. You could see yourself. When you walked along the casing or baseboard, you could see your reflection as you walked by. Not only that: This interior finishing had the most durable finish I had ever seen.

 

When I talked to the owner, he said: “I want my shop to be the only one of its kind. I want it to be perfect. I don’t care how long it takes. And money is no object.”

 

By the way, he invited shop owners from all over the area to the party. So they could admire the work done on his body shop. And, I even got to take a bow.

 

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Creative results are often the harmonious blend of the norm with the impossible.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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