Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Contractors’ Category

TORNADOES

IN 1946…

At age four, my mother watched a “swirling, dirty gray” funnel approach her at the kitchen window, then lift from the ground. A while later, her father stood outside the farm house. He followed the path that the tornado had taken after lifting.

Directly above that window, the funnel tore off over one-half of the roof shingles. It ripped out red bricks from the chimney. Inside, it popped sections of plaster from the ceilings and walls in every room. Not only behind painted but also wallpapered walls.

The tornado had just missed the family inside the house. But, the “big wind” had pushed in the walls. Then it toppled the big red barn, killing four horses.

In 1993, my grandfather told me that he never figured out where the Billy goat had hidden that day. But, he was the only larger animal spared.

IN 1971…

At age eight, I stood at my third-grade classroom’s span of huge windows, and watched. “Look, Mrs. D., a BIG gray cloud.”

Then, the school’s muffled alarm went off. My teacher shouted, “Hurry, everyone into the hall!” And, next came a deafening and strong WHOOSH! Like a real powerful vacuum cleaner.

The country school was spared, except for windows blown out of four of the classrooms that stood in the tornado’s path.

By the way, from our family’s home located a little southwest of the school, my mother saw the funnel heading for my elementary school. And she phoned the school principal.

IN THE LATE 1980s…

My father had just filled his roller with more paint. A supervisor at the Lever Brothers plant shouted, “Hit the floor, everyone!”

And total chaos hit next. Toppling cases of liquid Wisk laundry detergent. Bottles of Snuggles fabric softener flying and swaying through the air. Steel equipment ripped apart.

It took a while until our company got the call that we painters could return to finish the “safety” paint job. In fact, the project was greatly expanded, because of the major repairs and reconstruction after the tornado struck. Our paint job at the plant got extended over three months.

On September  of 2017…

Decorative painter Jonathan, a friend at Melbourne Beach, secured his one-man paintshop. He hunkered down for Category 3-4 Hurricane Irma’s arrival during the next day.

He’d lived through a number of other major hurricanes and tropical storms. He wasn’t worried. But from experience, he was cautious.

What he had never faced was a tornado.

“I’ll see that twisting and hear that locomotive the rest of my life,” he said on the phone. “My shop is in shambles. All my brushes, paints, templates, etc? Fine.” The 55-year old native of Los Angeles County sounded very shaken. A guy that grew up along the San Andreas Fault Line.

IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE MIDWEST…

Tornadoes are common and frequent.

“We batten down the hatches,” said aeronautical inventor and industrialist George Manis in July of 1960. He’d arrived home minutes before a set of tornadoes whipped across Lake Wawasee.
But too late to help his wife, Mary, and my mother secure the boats tied up at the piers, and move the heavy wrought iron patio furniture.

“Those lakefront homes were all well-built,” my mother said last week. “They were made to withstand tornadoes, as well as the brutal winter snow and ice storms.”

IN THE SOUTHEAST…

Tornadoes are often spawned from tropical storms or hurricanes. Sometimes by electrically-charged lightning storms.

Wherever they occur with some regularity, the residents have learned to heed the warnings. They pay attention. They try to secure outdoor furniture, vehicles, boats, etc. They pack up. They move near a sturdy inside wall.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE WITH TORNADOES…

My mother noted that, like those homes hit in Indiana years ago, the ones heavily damaged this month in Central Florida will require major repairs inside and out. “Some reconstruction and restoration.”

Agreed! Many of the Florida properties will also require toxic mold remediation before any repairs can be made. Before any reconstruction and restoration can take place. Before any painter can take a brush, roller or spray gun and apply a beautiful new finish to any surface.

*********************************************************************
Both tornadoes and hurricanes can leave behind irreparable damages,
irreplaceable losses, and unforgettable memories.
*********************************************************************

Stay storm safe and smart. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Painter’s View: Painter Apprentices at Work

Most painter apprentices start out by doing grunt work – in the paintshop, and on site.

 

THINGS A PAINTER APPRENTICE MAY HAVE TO DO

 

  1. Basic surface preparation: sanding, washing, caulking, puttying, degreasing, masking, dusting, patching walls/ceilings, scraping off loose paint.
  2. Studying job site blueprints and specifications for scheduled paint/finishing product.
  3. Learning to prepare various surfaces for specific types of coatings and finishing products.
  4. Driving company supply/equipment truck to and from job sites.
  5. Loading and unloading paint products and equipment.
  6. Picking up, delivering and packing up, storing supplies, tools, work tables, etc. used by the journey painters.
  7. Moving or removing furniture, large fixtures, area rugs, etc.
  8. Spreading out dropcloths; covering furniture, fixtures, built-ins, flooring, that can’t be removed.
  9. Organizing and setting up, then taking down work areas.
  10. Removing, then replacing fixtures, electric outlet covers, window shades/blinds/treatments.
  11. Mixing and pouring paint, filling paint pots and trays.
  12. Setting up masking/tape dispensers and machines, and other supplies, tools, equipment.
  13. Opening, unwrapping, unrolling boxes of plastic sheeting, masking/film papers, wallcoverings.
  14. Holding or stabilizing ladders, scaffolding sections, planking systems.
  15. Assisting journey painters.
  16. Stripping wood and metal surfaces.
  17. Repairing metal with polyester patch.
  18. Rough sanding and scraping of chipped, alligatored and worn paint and finishes.
  19. Basic drywall finishing and sanding; also prepping if that job was left to painters.
  20. Applying prime and finish paint products, when all other work is caught up.
  21. Stacking wood moldings, trims, frames, etc.
  22. Moving doors, framing; shutters, thresholds, railings, etc.
  23. Removing masking and taping materials, dropcloths, sheeting, etc.
  24. Cleaning all overspray from unpainted surfaces.
  25. Folding up dropcloths, sheeting, etc.; loading them onto supply truck..
  26. Cleaning up, picking up, sweeping, and clearing out work areas at end of each day.
  27. Soaking, cleaning and restoring paintbrushes, roller covers and frames; extension rods, etc.
  28. Flushing or washing out paint spray systems: spray guns, spray pots, hoses, compressors.
  29. Cleaning out buckets, paint trays, filters, racks, soaking carriers.
  30. Properly closing and sealing all product containers, boxes, tubes, wrappings, crates, etc.
  31. Disposing all chemical and hazardous products and supplies according to EPA, HazMat, and manufacturer instructions.
  32. Keeping paintshop storage and work areas organized, picked up, cleaned up, cleared out.

 

Actually, the list is endless. Too, it can be extended at any time, and by different persons, too.

 

Working as a painter apprentice can seem like a very dead-end and thankless job. And, most apprentices can’t wait to get handed that first paintbrush and a gallon of paint, and be ordered to paint a surface.

 

However, the smart apprentices will take advantage of every minute that they must spend doing that grunt work. They will literally see what it takes to run a job. Every physical aspect of it.

 

And, they will UP their learning curve every day that they’re on the job. From check-in time till check-out. (Actually, off the job, too.) Observing more. Listening more. Seeing more. Smelling more. Touching more. Learning more. Soaking in all that they can. Like a top grade Greek sea sponge.

 

SPECIAL BONUSES THAT PAINTER APPRENTICES MAY GET

 

Many painter apprentices have the opportunity to go onto different job sites. They are able to meet many people: experienced craftspersons and bosses in various construction trades. They get to be around architects, engineers and designers (in various fields); suppliers and manufacturers’ representatives; government inspectors; customers and clients; even investors.

 

Starting at the bottom in the painting trade offers so many long-term benefits. It offers invaluable preparation work for building a successful career as a journey painter, a finishing/detail painter and decorator, a contractor, a consultant, a trainer/instructor, an construction industry expert, an U.S. government expert in construction and building, occupational health and safety, environmental protection, etc.

 

I’ve met over a dozen painters that have ended up building successful careers as product designers or inventors; others as product/materials testers and analysts. Even as speakers and authors.

 

Where grunt work can take the painter apprentice is really up to him or her. Where it leads some day may be to a quality of life, and a way of life, that he or she could have never imagined when first signing up with IUPAT, a technical school, and/or painter apprenticeship programs.

 

The door is wide open.

 

****************************************************************

There’s honor in beginning at the bottom. There’s honor at the top,

especially if you respect others who are just beginning. RDH

***************************************************************

Have a safe, rewarding week. And thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: On Being a Paint Superintendent, or a Boss

One time, I jumped all over my father for coming down hard on a new painter.

Dad said, “He deserved it.”

I said, “No, he deserved some respect. He deserved a chance to learn, then to get it right.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, my dad took the new crew member aside. He apologized and showed the man the correct way to do the job that he’d been assigned. Then Dad stepped away.

It was the first and last time that I ever heard him yell at a crew member. And, after he died, many painters told me that they had never heard him do that.

Yes, he raised his voice. Yes, he called out the painters when they deserved it. Yes, he corrected them. And yes, he even told them what to do.

But, when a painter was not getting it – or not getting it right, Dad would help him rectify the situation. Often cutting into his own time schedule that was already under tight constraints.

When more than one painter was not getting it at the same time, Dad stopped everything. And he conducted a little, on-site crash course. Whether the problem was a new product, a stubborn piece of equipment, a resistant surface, uncooperative weather conditions, etc., he showed the entire crew that was there what needed to be done. Or not.

During Memorial Day week-end, a retired and former member of our old crew e-mailed me the following…

“Bob, your dad was a commanding force wherever he went. Wherever he stood. I knew him for over forty years. We joined IBPAT (IUPAT) about the same time.

“He was a man to be reckoned with, but never a man that insisted on it. He knew the painting trade backward and forward, inside and out. He was so blamed skilled and experienced in the trade that he could do anything that he tackled. A top rate superintendent or foreman, a ‘take charge’ person that everyone respected…”

Working under my dad was overwhelming at times. His six-foot, 200-pound frame served him well for the job he was given in life. It partnered well with the way that he needed to run a job, paint crew, powerful piece of equipment, or even dealings with a client or architect.

And the nickname “Moose” suited him like a custom pair of whites. His caribou-like walk sort of shook the floorboards when he charged through a job site. More than once, I tensed up waiting for him to bellow.

Some painters and decorators are cut out to be superintendents or bosses. You just look at them, and you know that. You see it. You hear it. You sense it in the way that they approach even basic, mundane tasks. With a unique command of and presence in everything they do.

One more thing: Commanding forces such as my father often attract equally commanding forces. People just like them. In my father’s case, it happened to be very successful entrepreneurs and founders of established enterprises. Men and women whose natural inclination was to take charge… to assume responsibility… to accept accountability for how things turned out.

Being a superintendent or a big boss was never my thing. Thankfully. For one thing, I don’t know if my father could have taken the strain, or competition. (And my mother? Forget it!)

Early in my painting career, I found my niche: serving as the go-to guy for those superintendents and bosses. Their back up when trouble loomed, and things got tough. Fortunately, every one of them, including my father, has been more than glad to turn things over to me. And to trust me with them.

Being able to fulfill – and to exceed – their expectations and needs on a consistent basis has been so worth all the effort. And the hard knocks.

***********************************************
Great leaders must have great people to lead.
***********************************************

Thanks to all visitors to “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Helping Your Teammates

You want to keep your job, right? And, you want to stay as productive as you can for as long as they can?

So do your teammates wherever you work. Whether they work in the same department as you, on in a different department.

HOW CAN YOU HELP TEAMMATES TO KEEP THEIR JOBS?

Ten Ways to Be a First-Rate Teammate

1. Keep your eyes and ears open.

2. Pay attention to the different way that a teammate is doing his or her job today, versus yesterday, last week, or a month ago. What’s going on with him or her?

A. Is he or she taking more work shortcuts?
B. Is he or she taking longer breaks?
C. Is he or she babying a certain part of the body – eg. right leg, left wrist?
D. Is he or she slacking off wherever or whenever possible?
E. Is he or she complaining about parts of the job that he or she used to enjoy?
F. Is he or she slipping in mini-breaks, in addition to the allowed 15 minute breaks AM and PM?

3. If your teammate shows signs of needing help:

A. Ask if it’s okay to give him or her a little help.
B. Or, lend a hand without saying a word, or without being asked.
Examples: Lifting a 50-pound bag of mulch, or carrying 5-gallon buckets of paint.

4. Cover his or her back, especially when he or she is going through rough times.

5. Offer to switch your holiday work schedule with a teammate that has children.

6. Show up with a cold bottled water, sandwich and snack when he or she is working alone on a major work order or task, or difficult project.

7. Offer to help a teammate troubleshoot on a time-consuming and stressful problem.

8. During a teammate’s vacation, try your best to keep up with his or her work orders, so he or she is not swamped upon their return.

9. Say “Please” and “Thanks” once in a while. And, always compliment each of your teammates whenever it is deserved.

10. Help make a departing teammate’s last day a really good day. Help throw him or her a little farewell party – even if you’re glad to see the person leave.

**************************************************************************
Foremost, a painter is part of a team – and one cog in that BIGGER wheel.
**************************************************************************

Thanks for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Posts…

The fun, and challenge, of writing and publishing any blog for painters is to cover topics that will be helpful. Being in the trade has its benefits in that area.

Here are a handful of subjects that I’ve dealt with recently – and I’ve decided to take a closer look into:

1. Paintshop Software Programs, Apps, etc.

2. Paintshop Policies and Practices: Reporting Problems.

3. Painter’s World: How Job Descriptions Have Changed.

4. Paintshop: New Construction Materials that Affect the Commercial Painter’s Job.

5. Paintshop: Techniques and Methods that Painters Need Today to Work on Newer Construction Surfaces.

6. Painter’s World: Painting and Decorating for the Disabled Person.

Now, I can’t promise exactly when any of these topics will be posted. But, they’re coming!

*************************************************************************************************
Curiosity may have killed the cat; it also keeps the curious painter always looking for answers.
*************************************************************************************************
Thanks for checking in with “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part II: Options and Action

When it comes to volunteering our painting skills, we may overlook the needs that exist in our own community or neighborhood. Two large categories below:

1. Steer your skills where they can matter the most at this time.
Examples:
A. Local low budget nursing home unable to afford staff painter.
B. Local public school severely hurt by sharp budget cuts.
C. Local free medical clinic.
D. Local small church or church school.
E. Low income or fixed income neighborhood.
F. Family that’s been uprooted by severe medical bills, or death of main breadwinner.

2. Consider discreetly volunteering your skills for persons that you know.
Examples:
A. Relative or friend.
B. Elderly or disabled neighbor.
C. Your church pastor and family.
D. Members of church family.

Also, we may not know how to go about finding these needs in our own back yards. Two ideas:

1. To locate a local needy person or family, check with your pastor or one of a nearby smaller parish.
TIPS: Some churches only accept volunteer work through their own parishioners. Also, people have their pride. Offer help only to persons or families willing to accept to accept it.

2. To find a local low-income church, organization, facility, school or group, I suggest that you write a brief letter offering your painting skills labor-free. Include the following information:

A. summary of your experience
B. work you’re available to do, including days, no. of hours, morning or afternoon.
C. availability: 1 time, temporary for 3 months 1 year, etc.
D. statement about who buys and who pays for needed supplies – eg. paint, caulking tubes
fillers, sandpapers, paint thinner.
E. statement about when supplies would need to be purchased.
F. statement about your limits – eg. interior work, environmental conditions, hazardous conditions, tools
and equipment.

A FEW TIPS ABOUT DOING THE VOLUNTEER PAINTING JOB

1. Aim to leave behind a finished job as good as you do in your paid painting job.
2. Follow standard and exceptional policies, procedures, and techniques that you normally follow.
3. Be neat, thorough and friendly.
4. Respect all the health and safety rules that you would normally follow.
5. Be professional on your volunteer job, too.
6. Respect the rules that apply to your work for the person, family, organization, group, etc.
7. Maintain your pre-set volunteering parameters. Do not volunteer to do more than you have
offered or agreed upon, at least the first time that you help out that person or group. Even
one extra room, area or park bench can require more time than you have available.
8. Be honest.
9. Set and keep to a schedule. Cancel or change work dates and times only if necessary. And,
give prompt notice.

MY VIEW: I want to do my best. And, I want beneficiaries to want me to come back and help them again.

******************************************************************************************
When a painter volunteers, he or she adds special strokes of hope into the lives of others.
******************************************************************************************

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop and Management: Transparency and Accountability

The terms “transparency” and “accountability” are used in every trade and industry, including government and not-for-profits. Together, also sometimes synonymously.

 

What do transparency and accountability mean, in relation to the painting and decorating trade?

 

Transparency: Painter demonstrates a clear, honest and understandable picture of his or her, as well as others’, decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

Accountability: Painter becomes answerable and takes responsibility for his or her, and/or others’ decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

How can transparency and accountability work in the painting and decorating trade?

 

Problem/Situation: Yellow paint used for “No Parking” and “Yield” lines faded, wore off fast.

Transparency: Painter shows management the difference in composition and durability between paint product supplied, and the product recommended for high-traffic exterior surface.

Accountability: Painter takes share of painter-supervisor-management group’s responsibility for approving, ordering and using less durable and low-cost paint product.

 

Problem/Situation: Re-touched up others’ surface touch-ups, still left paint color differences.

Transparency: Painter shows G.M. how budget and time crunch drove decision to re-touch up small area versus repainting entire wall or room.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for completing work order that way, knowing results and need to still repaint wall or room as soon as possible.

 

Problem/Situation: Repainted entire wall after bleach clean-up of major Black mold fungi buildup, costing more than touching up immediate surface.

Transparency: Painter shows Housekeeping Director and G.M. why repainting wall was necessary and explains why it may be needed again in near future.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for own and supervisor’s decision to repaint area as soon as possible, and to help get guest room back into circulation.

 

Problem/Situation: Painted office walls stripped of wallcovering and heavily infested with Toxic Black Mold Fungi.

Transparency: Painter shows management why applying paint vs. wallcovering is safer, healthier.

Accountability: Painter assumes responsibility for tone-down appearance; offers to add border.

 

Problem/Situation: Caulked, repainted lobby’s slylight area vs. touching up water leak spots.

Transparency: Painter shows management that treatment plan protected area. Also, how it “bought” them little more time before major repairs and reconstruction would be needed.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility caulking and repainting jobs temporary, visible fixes.

 

Problem/Situation: Declined “quick-fix” project to repaint all exterior guest room doors.

Transparency: Painter showed management dire need, and wise move, to properly prep, fill cracks, sand, and prime area before applying finish coat.

Accountability: Painter shared responsibility for appearance of doors, if repainted with minor prep work.

 

Problem/Situation: Discreetly inspected major wall damage, and advised extended-stay family of guests in suite before notifying managers.

Transparency: Painter explains to guest that damage must be reported before repairs could be done. Reported damages, situation to managers; suggested creative solution for repairing area.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for inspection and assessment before reporting problem. Takes responsibility for proposing that guest help make repairs to save everyone money and face.

 

Problem/Situation: Completed priority-scheduled project late, delayed by manager’s switching painter to handle unscheduled, extra project.

Transparency: Painter shows managers how delays impacted completion of priority project, before arrival of large group of guests.

Accountability: Painter assumes share of responsibility for non-completion of project in time, also for not holding firm to shared goal of General management-Engineering/Paintshop-Housekeeping.

 

Tips on how to look at any problem or situation

 

  1. It falls within the painter’s/paintshop’s scope of expertise, abilities, resources, responsibility.
  2. It has a solution. * So let’s find out what that is
  3. Let’s take care of it, the best we can with what we have to work with.
  4. Do it for the people. Do it for the place. Do it for the community.

 

Tips on how to look at Transparency and Accountability

 

  1. In the short-run or long-run, honesty is the best policy – and the easiest to justify.
  2. The obvious will always shine through, one way or another, eventually.
  3. It’s easy to understand what’s true, and to see through the rest.
  4. Self-responsibility is the trademark of a good human being.

 

A Painter’s work life is full of tests. Beyond skill, ability, knowledge, and adeptness.

 

Among them are tests that measure:

 

  1. His/her character, sense of ethics and philosophy of living.
  2. His/her loyalty to the painting trade and construction industry; the employer, manager, team.
  3. His/her commitment to the organization, and the business.
  4. His/her respect for and appreciation of everyone served by that organization – eg. guests.
  5. His/her collaborative spirit toward everyone with whom the business deals.
  6. His/her self-responsibility toward the organization’s role in the community at large.

 

A painter’s willingness to be transparent and accountable is a central key to professional and personal success, fulfillment and longevity!

************************************************************************

Thank you to every painter that tries to live and work a self-responsible life.

************************************************************************
Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Tag Cloud