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Archive for the ‘Architecture/Engineering’ Category

Painting It: Skylights

As a natural source of light, a skylight is often overlooked as an area to be maintained and painted. Parts of it are exposed to the elements. Thus, keeping it weather tight is a priority in order to prevent damage to interior surfaces.

 

The skylight is also an element of design and a diverse use for color. “How is that,” you ask?

 

I once worked in a single level office building, where skylights were used to provide most of the interior light. My role was to paint these areas using a combination of hues to give the skylights an optical colored shading effect. Also, from different angles, the colors appeared to change. This occurred due to the changing intensity of the light.

 

Encorporating this effect into your own home is a possibility as well. Once again it will be your creativity that will be your guide.

 

Before you begin to paint, make certain that the following guidelines are observed:

 

  1. Make sure the skylight is sealed properly. Caulk if necessary.
  2. Clean the surface, removing any mold.
  3. Repair any cracks or loose paint.
  4. Use stain blocking primer to seal in the areas.
  5. Sand the entire surface for finish painting.
  6. Select either latex or oil based paint as your finish.
  7. Exposure to higher temperatures may require a more durable finish.

 

To paint a skylight, here are several options:

 

  1. Apply a color and sheen, which “matches” the surrounding ceiling area.
  2. Apply a color and sheen, which “differs from the surrounding ceiling area.
  3. Apply a bright color and glossy sheen, which “attracts” one’s attention.
  4. If the skylight is sizeable, apply multiple colors and sheens to create a “decorative” design.

 

Painting a skylight can be basic. You can match the white of your ceiling. Or, it can be a creative project. When it is completed, it complements any living space or an office.

 

Remember, a skylight can show off more than just the light. It can show off the colors in the area.

 

It can accentuate the appearance and function of the area. It can enhance the amenities of the hotel, hospital, or business.

 

And, it can lift the spirit of everyone that passes underneath its “spell. Something that natural light – sunlight – tends to do for persons of all ages. Our pets, too!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

A Painter’s View: The Collector’s 7,000 – and Home of Fine Woods!

At my first-ever “yard sale,” I sold an original soundtrack album of Star Wars I, to a major collector. As a result, the Central Florida man invited me to his home. It had been designed, specifically, to display, and preserve the integrity of, the amazing collection of “sci-fi, adventure and fantasy-themed pieces.”

 

Included in the collection were soundtrack albums, DVDs, CDs, videos; ad posters, banners and trailers; autographed photos, letters and books; costumes, masks, make-up kits, and props; pens and paperweights; plates, mugs and trays; toys, dolls and games; jackets, t-shirts, caps, and jewelry; paintings, drawings, sketches; set and scene models. Even a vehicle.

 

The 7,000 plus piece collection “lived” in a climate-environment controlled atmosphere. Marble, natural woods, glass, and special plexiglass were used extensively. Commercial wall vinyls covered non-wood areas such as closets, pantry and storage. Metals such as brass and chrome were seen in few areas.

 

What captivated me most was the hardwoods and veneers used throughout the home. A tasteful, colorful blending of temperate and tropical hardwoods, as well as a few softwoods.

 

“R”, the engineering department’s assistant supervisor at the Seralago Hotel & Suites, would have gone speechless. A carpenter craftsman and finisher, he would have been fascinated with the selection, combination, and use of the various woods.

 

The hardwoods and veneers carried your eye from room-to-room, and area-to-area, in a smooth and effortless way. Master woodcrafter at work. Paneling, built-in shelves and cases; cabinetry and cutting blocks; general and decorative mouldings, trims and joinings; doors and frames, windows and trims; flooring; furniture, work stations, picture frames, etc.

 

Here is a list of the woods used. For non-wood craftsmen and wood loving readers of this blog, I’ve tried to include a brief description for each:

 

TEMPERATE HARDWOODS

 

1. Ash (white) – Colors: Pale honey. Properties: Good working and bending, fine finish.

2. Beech – Colors: Pale brown, flecked. Properties: Hard, good working, finish.

3. Oak (European) – Colors: Pale/Dark brown, with growth rings and silver rays. Properties: Hard to work, strong, durable.

4. Elm (European) – Colors: Brown, with twisted grain. Properties: Attractive, hard to work.

5. Sycamore (American) – Colors: Light brown, with straight grain-lacewood.

6. Black Walnut (Virginia Walnut) – Colors: Dark brown, with purple tints. Properties: Coarse grain.

 

TROPICAL HARDWOODS

 

1. Rosewood (Brazilian) – Colors: Dark brown, with variegated streaks. Properties: Attractive. Use: Veneering. Note: Product now banned from international trade.

2. Cedar (Brazilian) – Colors: Dark to Mahogany-colored heartwood. Properties: durable, resinous.

3. Cocobolo (Nicaragua Rosewood) – Colors: Dark brown, with colorful streaks. Properties: Tough, dense, lustrous.

4. Kingwood – Colors: Brown to Violet, even-textured, variegated. Properties: Lustrous. Uses: Turning, veneers.

5. Mahogany (Brazilian) – Colors: Light to dark reddish brown, with straight/even grain. Properties: Stable, good finish.

 

VENEERS

 

1. Walnut – Colors: Grayish to dark brown, with dark streaks and tints (eg. purple), wavy-grains. Uses: Veneering, Burring

2. Pommelle-grained – Colors: Dark brown. Uses: Veneering.

3. Birds-eye Maple-grained – Colors: Light yellow/tan. Uses: Veneering.

 

SOFTWOODS

 

1. Douglas Fir – Colors: Yellow to Pink brown. Properties: Coarse, dense, durable.

2. Ponderosa Pine – Colors: Yellow white, with delicate figure. Properties: Sable, excellent finish.

3. Scots Pine – Colors: Pink-Red heartwood. Properties: Resinous.

 

Comparatively few homes will feature so many woods under one roof. For it to work, everyone involved in the design-engineering-build-decoration-finishing process must be on the same page.

 

They must know the customer well. What he or she says and points out – and what is left out, accidentally or intentionally.

 

They must know woods. Each one’s unique color, tints, grain, streaks. Each one’s unique properties and characteristics. Each one’s uses, and limitations.

 

Then, every specialist, and every craftsperson, must cooperate and collaborate from pre-Phase 1 to post-Phase 10/20/whatever. Until way after the complete project is done.

 

I would have loved to be the finisher/painter/decorator that worked on the collector’s home. Many aspects of the project would have offered immense opportunities in fine wood preparation and finishing. I’ve worked on a few similar properties. A maximum of seven types of woods, excluding furniture, were installed.

 

Whatever you collect…whatever size your home may be, invite fine wood into your life.

 

Even a little wood will do wonders for your living style, your spirit, and your soul!

  

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Upcoming Mini Blogs for Hotel and Facility Painters

 

1. Fences and Gates

 

A. Cleaning Agents

B. Prepping: Metal/anodized tubing vs.

C. Coatings: Low cost, low coverage, low durability vs. higher cost, much greater coverage, superb durability!

 

2. Skylights

 

A. Temperature variations

B. Surfaces

C. Atmosphere – eg. air

D. Problems: Leaks, paint cracks, mold/mildew, moisture

E. Preps

F. Paints/coatings – eg. durable oil-based

 

3. KidSuites and Children’s Rooms

 

A. Designs/themes that kids wants

B. Fun atmospheres

C. Colors appealing to kids

 

4. Children’s Play and Activity Areas

 

A. Designs using animation, cartoons, surreal images

B. Pastel paint colors

 

5. Game Rooms

 

A. Wall colors conducive to activity – not distracting

B. Special effects

C. Simulations

 

6. Teen Clubs and Computer Rooms

 

A. Colors that teens want

B. Special effects

C. Very TECH-Y

 

7. Front Desk and Reception Areas

 

A. First impression of hotel – and people that work there

B. Unique  applications, products, colors, effects

C. Hotel theme colors

 

8. Lobbies and Concierge Centers

 

A. High-end applications – eg. high-quality wallcoverings

B. Decorative finishes

C. Custom materials, textures, colors

D. Consistent finishes, colors throughout areas

 

 9. Guest Connectivity and Communication Centers

 

A. HIGH-LIGHT colors

B. Accent walls

 

10. Indoor and Outdoor Gardens and Rest Areas

 

A. Colors best suited – Complementary-to-au naturale

B. Walking trails – Colors of paint/stain and varnish on benches, signage,etc.

C. Seating areas – Paint vs. wood stains and varnishes

 

11. Pool and Spa Areas

 

A. Problems: High-moisture, high-exposure, high-sun

B. Paint colors

C. Paint types: Oil-based vs. epoxy

D. Gazebo – Colors, tints, special effects, “blend-ins,” etc.

E. Pool Huts – Colors, textures, accents, reflectives

 

12. Outdoor Recreation and Sports Areas

 

A. Special needs: lines, symbols, signage, striping

B. Durability  and environmental exposure

C. Graphics and “planned graffiti”

D. Special colors/blends

 

13. Restaurants, Clubs and Pubs

 

A. Creating atmosphere using color, texture, “overlays,” etc.

B. Murals and scenic

C. Complementing other elements, surfaces, finishes

D. Themes

E. Cozy and relaxing vs. earthy vs. energetic vs. romantic vs. pure luxury!

 

 

14. Food Courts and Snack Bars
A. Colors – Brights, subtle touches

B. Graphic designs

C. Geometrics

D. Illustrations

 

 

15. Theatres and Entertainment Areas

 

A. Colors that complement

B. Low-dim-dark lighting ranges

C. Wall carpeting

D. Problems with paints

E. Wood finishing

F. Toning down other surfaces – eg. chrome, fabric, flooring

Image

Painting with “SYMPHONY SAM”

STRADIVARIUS
My mother told me recently about “Symphony Sam.” That’s the name she gave the homeless man that played virtuoso-quality music with his violin, in Chicago’s Pedway. And, he handed out free copies of the official Vietnam Veterans of America newspaper.

 

She met him one morning, in the Pedway between Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue, and S. LaSalle Street. She took the underground walkway, when Chicago’s temperature dropped to the 30s (wind chill factor 20 degrees or lower), and freezing winds bit into one’s cheeks.

 

“Symphony Sam” was a Vietnam Veteran. He suffered from PTSD, the debilitating effects of Agent Orange, relentless pain from the shrapnel still in his back and legs, and major depression. He always wore “a frayed, dark blue suit” when he played in the Pedway. And, a “subtle smile of absolute acceptance.”

 

Prior to serving three tours of duty with the U. S. Marines, “Symphony Sam” taught music at Julliard. Also he played Second Violin, part-time, with the New York Philharmonic, and violin in the orchestra of an on-Broadway theatre.

 

WHAT DOES “Symphony Sam” HAVE TO DO WITH PAINTING?

 

After “Symphony Sam” was released from the military hospital in Japan, he returned to the United States. The only job he could get was painting sublet apartments for a New York City real estate company. He lived with a fellow Vietnam Veteran and his wife, in a small, three bedroom flat.

 

One Christmas, he ended up on a Greyhound Bus, as it pulled into the main terminal, in downtown Chicago. He told my mother that he never remembered buying a ticket, and getting on that bus.

 

He said that he checked into a cheap, but clean hotel on Randolph Street. He carried a few clothes in a small suitcase, and his Stradivarius violin. No painting tools.

 

The hotel’s manager helped “Symphony Sam” get little painting jobs at other small hotels, located in the Loop.

 

One night, he suffered a severe PTSD episode. He said that he’d been fortunate. All of his previous attacks, in New York and Chicago, had been mild ones. He ended up in Michael Reese Hospital on the South Side.

 

Since then, he’d been unable to work regularly. When he had enough money to get by, he stayed at that cheap hotel, managed by the friendly Sicilian. Usually, though, he “lived underneath the city…with a few friends…also Vietnam Vets.”

 

My mother saw “Symphony Sam” for the last time in 1989. The week before Christmas. “He wore a newer, used suit, and a pair of polished black boots,” she told me.

 

He told her that he had been living back at the hotel. He worked part-time doing repairs and painting for “a list of steady customers.” He called them “small hotel people.”

 

“Symphony Sam” seemed content,” Mom told me. But, her eyes told me a different story. A major concern of hers, over twenty-five years later.

 

Did “Symphony Sam” make it? For how long? In 1989, when she saw him last, he was over 55. PTSD and Agent Orange’s lung effects had become less manageable. Several common medical conditions had set in. “His newer suit hung on his frame, always very bony,” my mother recalled. “His eyes an eerie tornado green. . .”

 

“Florida has ‘Symphony Sams,’ too,” said my mother recently. On “FLASHPOINT,” two Central Florida homeless coalition officials were describing the modern housing facility to be built for the homeless in the area. A plea was made for major capital support from corporations.

 

What about the “foreclosure-bound” hotel that a church congregation and volunteers converted into studio efficiencies for the local homeless? (“Painting It: A Multi-Family ‘Home for the Homeless,” posted December 11-12, 2014.)

 

What about the abandoned mansion, turned into a transitional residence for the homeless? (Watch for: “Painting It: Existing Home for the Homeless,” to be posted December 23-24.)

 

What about “Symphony Sam?”

 

“I would offer these people a much quicker solution.” I told relatives during Thanksgiving.

 

“Constructing a new structure – a large transitional housing facility, for millions of dollars – could take a couple of years,” I explained. “The groups involved in the Central Florida project – facility – haven’t even selected the land yet.”

 

Here’s one proposal to help people like “Symphony Sam” have a safe, clean home – and a chance at a better life.

 

  1. Rescue a few smaller hotels and motels along U. S. Highway 192. The ones plagued by low occupancy rates, disrepair and damage, and the threat of foreclosure.
  2. Repair them. Reconfigure their rooms and public areas. Set up a central dining area for the homeless residents.
  3. Recruit homeless persons, who once worked as skilled construction workers. Put them to work. They can help in making certain repairs and reconfiguring the rooms and common (public) areas. Give them a chance to regain some of their dignity. Their basic skills, like riding a bike or typing, will come back to them.
  4. Offer these workers future housing there, when the property opens for occupancy.
  5. Give the homeless residents a good reason to take care of their respective room, and the overall property.
  6. Keep the housing as simple and practical as possible. Recycle whatever furniture, desks, fixtures, appliances, window treatments, kitchen ware, dishes, etc. that are in good condition. Repaint, re-stain and refinish all surfaces.

 

By the way, expensive wallcoverings, flooring, furniture, and state-of-the-art systems are unnecessary. Research and reports about homeless shelter accommodations show that “pricier” amenities tend to make persons just off the streets nervous, self-conscious, apprehensive, distrustful, and even ill.

 

Every community has a “Symphony Sam.” A person who still possesses the skills and abilities, the passion, and the interest to give back! To get off the street! To once again become a more productive part of the universe.

 

Every community has do-able options to meet the dire housing needs of the homeless. Every community has at least one existing multi-unit property, that can be converted in a time-cost-manpower efficient manner.

 

Our local hotel GMs and their staffs can do only so much. They can help only so much. Their resources are very limited. Their ability to use their properties – which they do not own – is very, very limited.

 

What needs to happen to provide safe and clean housing for the “Symphony Sams” in our respective communities? To get this job done sooner than two to three years after they become statistics?

 

Local entities such as the Central Florida Coalition on Homeless and Central Florida Foundation (http://www.cffound.org) are proactive, and motivated.

 

Special projects such as the “Reconstruction of Housing for the Homeless in America Project” focus on providing safe housing promptly.

 

Professional and trade projects like the AIA’s new redesign/rebuild internship project tap young talent. Among other things, they offer fresh, new approaches to “reconfiguring and retrofitting” solid existing structures into great multi-occupancy housing.

 

What is your community doing to get your homeless adults and children, into safe and clean housing?

 

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“Best wishes for a healthy, safe and peaceful holiday season – and Year 2015.”

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

Painting It: Painting in Office Ingenuity, Inspiration and Integrity

What office style and environment motivates and inspires you?

Before we worked in modular work stations, we functioned within offices. Rooms with visible walls, soundproof ceilings and windows with views. Spaces that accommodated real wood desks and bookcases, and allowed them to be rearranged when we wanted or needed a change. Environments with a sense of atmosphere, individuality, privacy, and permanence.

The private office settings described here existed prior to 1993. Three of them set in office complexes, that included modular work stations. Each of the spaces had been personalized with photos, drawings, cartoon drawings, travel souvenirs, vases of flowers, candy containers, etc.

 

1. Whimsical and Productive

The director of production, Kiver Communications, sat in a custom-designed pink and white office. Hard-core corporate clients melted when they entered. Every year, the employee helped her technical publishing company exceed its sales record of the previous year.

Two features stood out in her office. One was the thick, cotton-candy pink carpeting. The other was a huge white rocker in which sat a life-sized Miss Piggy.™ A custom-made gift from Anita’s boyfriend. He had gotten special permission from Muppets’™ creator, Jim Henson, to have Piggy re-created.

Painting it: Regularly, a staff painter cleaned, then touched up the office. Every two years, he gave the two-room suite a fresh paint job. The 12-foot high ceiling was sponge-washed, then re-textured in bright white interior enamel. The walls got a fresh coat of light pink interior latex. The baseboards, doors, and door and window frames were sanded lightly, and repainted with interior bright white enamel.

 

2. Subdued and Professional

The founder and ceo of SHS, Inc., a health industry recruiting firm, watched from his blue-gray office, as boats cruised by on the Chicago River. Sports memorabilia and framed photos of his young family added personality and warmth to the large modern suite on West Wacker Drive.

Few of his pharmaceutical and health communications clients visited him in the office. The persons that he was recognized for recruiting – marketing, advertising, communications, and public relations job candidates – visited his office only when necessary, and convenient. The atmosphere was always welcoming and friendly, yet very professional.

Painting it: Painters, employed by the property management company, maintained the high-rise office building. As needed, they touched up the walls, woodwork, and trim. Especially in the front lobby and offices. Every three years, they repainted the high white ceilings, and soft blue-gray molding and trim. The commercial wall vinyl required only a periodic washing down with warm, sudsy water and a sea sponge.

My sister visited the office once during a school vacation. She seemed more excited about the recruiting professionals and “creatives” that she met there. Less impressed by the expansive size of the suite, and its contemporary décor.

 

3. Corporate and “Welcoming”

The director of sales, Marriott of North Michigan Avenue, seemed relaxed in his office appointed with classic soft gold, burnt orange and brown paint, and matching commercial wall vinyl. Photos of family, favorite vacations and hobbies set in his area of the sales suite.

Among them were framed newspaper and magazine clippings of his sister at Academy Award and TV Emmy events. (Already, she was a rising star.) At times, he shared his two-door, “Grand Central Station”- atmospheric office with sales associates. All seemed comfortable working amidst their director’s photo gallery. They had their own desktop personal photo and memorabilia displays.

Painting it: One of the hotel’s full-time staff painters kept the office suite in pristine condition. The commercial wallcovering, that had replaced the semi-gloss paint, always looked fresh, clean and uplifting. Quite a feat for one of the busiest offices on the hotel property.

 

4. Opulent and Ostentatious

In complete contrast, Mr. Kutner sat behind his imported, hand-carved antique desk on the top floor of the original Continental Bank Building. The colorful, and most-published, international attorney was the author of “The Living Will,” and “granddaddy” of the World Habeas Corpus Law.

He surrounded himself with black walnut paneled walls, plush crimson red carpeting, matching red velvet draperies, and marble fireplaces. His open lobby was appointed with polished black and white marble floors and carved walnut “courtroom” banisters and railings. Ornate bust sculptures of Aristotle, Plato, Strauss, and Beethoven set on marble-topped, hand-carved pedestal tables. The door to his nearby private vault set open when he was in the office.

Painting it: Once a year, two commercial painters and decorators, contracted by Continental Bank, revived the entire 4-office suite, lobby and private baths. They repainted the 12-foot white ceilings. Above the wall paneling, they painted the crown area in a softened crimson. They cleaned the stained glass windows in each office. They gently cleaned and linseed-oil treated the paneling, doors, window frames, woodwork, and trim. Also, the desks, lawyer’s bookcases, tall hand-carved Romanesque chairs, and carved frame of the cut-velvet settees were revived.

A retired painter that worked on the picturesque property called it “classic luxury.” He said the office suite maintained its original beauty and style. “The same as when Mr. Kutner still served as chief counsel for Continental Bank… He had many famous clients…”

 

5. Extravagant and Colossal

Real estate magnet Arthur Rubloff set a gold standard in extravagant office design. His “taste for the best” in everything carried over into the concept of first-class designs in executive offices.

Often, these offices took over one-half to an entire penthouse-level floor. Their private lobbies and elevators were decorated in paneling crafted from rare, imported woods, or wallcoverings. The wallcoverings were custom-designed papers, flocks, foils, textures, woods, or expansive, scenic murals. The brick, stone, steel, and glass/granite structures often housed a major real estate corporation and its staff. Fortune and Inc 500 companies took up most of the space.

Painting it: A specially-trained team of painters kept the Rubloff office suites, at each location, looking like prime real estate. The decorators re-coated the  accoustical textured ceilings. They cleaned, repaired and replaced the wallcoverings. They cleaned and treated the wood paneling with a special-formulated oil from Europe. They redecorated the lobbies, executive secretaries’ offices, and also private bath suites. They restored the interiors of each elevator.

The painters and decorators paid special attention to the unique cabinetry in each suite. It had been built to house a part of Mr. Rubloff’s world-famous collections of miniatures and crystal paperweights. (See Chicago History Museum and School of the Art Institute exhibits.)

 

The environments of closed-wall office spaces always differ from the open-walled ones. Aesthetically, they tend to be much more personalized, private and cordial. Physically, they lend themselves better to open communications. Even with their private entry doors left wide open.

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Enjoy your space! Enjoy your life!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

A Painter’s View of Mold and Mildew: Part II

In many parts of the Southeastern region of the U. S., the long high-temperature and high-humidity season brings much more than natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Opening in May, the five-to-six month season brings environmental conditions that make it ripe for black mold (Stachybotrys chararum) infestation, and mildew buildup.

Its toxic spores cover surfaces in minutes, and move inside wall spaces within hours. Particularly vulnerable are rooms and areas where moisture collects, air circulates or ventilates improperly, and water fails to drain completely.

The toxic fungi harbors, often hidden, long before you see its black or slimy green signs on surfaces such as walls, ceilings, furniture, cabinetry, carpet, etc. However, one of its earliest signs is an odd musty smell in the air.

Buildings in areas ravaged by very heavy rains, floods, hurricanes, even tornadoes, and earthquakes readily succumb to massive fungi buildups. Often so severe that the structures must be destroyed and every part of it removed. By HAZMAT (hazardous materials) teams trained and certified for the job.

The fungi infiltration can cause property owners and occupants great expense, inconvenience, and damage. It can cause health and safety risks to both humans and animals. It can necessitate the closing down of a business. It can lead to the sealing off of an entire building, even the demolition of a once-valuable piece of property.

In the Hospitality Industry – eg. hotels, motels, it can create special challenges. Especially with buildings and structures that are older, or have environmental issues. Structures designed with poor ventilation, drainage and piping systems. Structures built with extremely porous materials.

One problem occurs with rooms that are equipped with window air conditioners. Guests tend to turn off the units when they leave for the day, or check out. Just like they might at home, to conserve energy. The temperature rises in the sealed, unventilated room. The humidity builds up.

Sometimes, the fungi may have been “residing” already in inconspicuous spots, or inside the walls. And/or, it has built up, over days, when guests have requested reduced maid service during stays. By the time housekeepers are able to drop off fresh towels and remove damp/wet bath linens, tiny black or slimy green spores may have moved into the area. Prompt attention is called for.

Whatever the situation, the mitigation (reduction) and remediation (counteracting, removal) of the black mold and mildew requires vigilance, care and teamwork. It requires housekeeping and maintenance staffs to work together, during the entire, to keep ahead of the build-ups.

Similar scenarios play out in many other structures – eg. office buildings, hospitals, assisted living facilities, schools, restaurants, laundry/dry cleaners, stores, storage units. In buildings and areas occupied by the same persons, repeatedly and for longer periods of time, exposure to mold and mildew can be especially toxic and harmful.

Your home can be just as, if not more, susceptible to mold and mildew contamination. Every surface and area can serve as a host for those black fungal spores. Every person that lives or visits the home can be exposed to the toxic spores, as they emit into the atmosphere, or cling to anything they can. Every person (and animal) has the potential to develop respiratory and lung diseases, certain cancers, skin disease, vision problems, brain disorders, even reproductive damage. In the home, buildups of black mold and mildew tend to be very dangerous.

The length and frequency of human exposure to the fungi tends to be much longer, and repetitive. Infiltration, infestation, or contamination tends to be greater, and the coverage denser. After all, home is where you (and your family members) usually sleep, eat, bathe, study, watch television, work at the computer, launder, etc. It’s where you “house” the clothes you wear, the bed and bath linens that touch your skin, beauty/skin/hygiene products you use, the small appliances, computers and hand-held electronics you operate, the papers and documents you file and store.

Professional painters that work in mold and mildew prone regions of the country pay close attention to this problem. Their first concern is for the persons that live, work, or visit in and around these buildings and areas. Experienced painters know that these persons are at higher risk of developing adverse reactions and both short-term and long-term health and safety challenges. They know that continuous exposure to black mold spores can lead to toxic poisoning.

Their second concern is trade-related. Paint, varnish, wallcovering, texturing, and custom decorating products or materials do not adhere well to contaminated surfaces. Quality results and durability cannot be guaranteed. No guarantees mean no happy customers.

A third concern is compliance. More experienced, journey-level painters possess extensive knowledge of chemicals, toxic contaminants and compounds, hazardous materials, and environmental hazards. Most are certified in two or more of the following areas:

  1. government, health and safety standards (eg. OSHA, EPA, ADA);
  2. manufacturer product handling, storage and disposal standards (MSDS, SSPC);
  3. hazardous materials handling (HAZMAT);
  4. painting trade procedures and standards (IUPAT, HAZWOPR);
  5. construction industry (UBC, asbestos).

Some painters, especially industrial, are getting trained and certified in areas related to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), under the EPA. Some are taking the certification program offered through the Society of Chemical Manufacturers (SOCM).

Professional painters accept and understand that thorough mitigation and remediation of toxic black mold and mildew, before prepping surfaces for finishing, is essential. It must be done right. It must be done in a healthy and safe manner.

That’s one reason why many painters turn over the mitigation and remediation of major and/or dense black mold and mildew buildups to professionals. These persons have been trained and licensed as mold mitigation and remediation specialists (MRSP).

Yes, using professional remediators adds to the cost of the painting/finishing project. In the long run, however, it protects everyone from unnecessary exposure and harm. The property occupants, visitors, painters, other craftspersons, etc. An added benefit: the post-treatment inspection – a part of the remediation contract – helps to ensure that the building is safe to use in the future.

Bottom line: Black mold and mildew must be removed. Persons, as well as pets, must be protected from suffering adverse reactions, and developing short-term and long-term medical conditions.

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