Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Contractors’ Category

Paintshop: Painting in Bad Weather

Heat/humidity. Full sun. Mist/rain/fog. Smog. Dust/dirt. Wind/whirlwinds. Arctic blasts. Cold/frost/ice. Sleet.


You know the policy: Paint until you can’t get anything done. Then try to paint anyway.


You’ve heard it before:


“You can’t let a little bad weather stop you.”


“A little rain or wind never hurt anyone.”


“Do it anyway.”


“Figure it out.”


“Just get it done. Now!”


Fourteen Tips for Painting in Bad Weather


  1. What’s the job? And what do you need to get it done?
  2. Assess your situation and the scene, relative to the project.
  3. How bad are the weather conditions?
  4. Do a last-minute check of the weather.
  5. What can you take care of while waiting for the bad weather to calm down, or clear up?
  6. Who has the final say whether you (a) hold off and reschedule, (b) wait a while, or, (c) do it anyway?
  7. Will you actually save time, money and manpower by holding off till the afternoon, or the next day? Or even later?
  8. Which way will your quality still be there?
  9. What can you do to make things work, even in the bad weather?

A. Can you paint less exposed surfaces and areas first.

B. Or, can you prep and paint sunny, less windy, less affected areas first?

SPECIAL TIPS: Remove all ice, water, rust, etc. from the surface to be painted. Make sure the surface is completely dry and smooth before painting. Use fast-drying primers and top coats; they are less affected by changes in the weather.

10. What can you do to protect you and your crew?

A. Can you partially tent or tarp the work area to cut out exposure to the elements – eg. wind, drizzle, snow, cold?

B. Allow enough air to circulate for the painted surface to dry.

11. What can you do to protect the crew from unhealthy and unsafe over-exposure?

SPECIAL TIPS: Dress for the conditions: warm coat, hat, work gloves, insulated boots. As soon as possible, invest in some waterproof apparel.

12. When is it time to call it quits? NOTE: Continuous high winds combined with rain do not a good paint job make.

13. What tasks are simply too dangerous in this bad weather? Example: Strong wind gusts are moving the extension ladders around, and pulling at the men’s clothing.

14. Is the painting project more important than following your instinct to just respect the bad weather? And try later?

INDUSTRIAL PAINTER TIP: Exterior painting can always be done, if you can isolate the work from the weather.


Bottom line: In bad weather conditions, health and safety must come first. No painting task nor project is worth a dollar if it costs anyone an injury, a serious illness, or worse.



Make every job site a “safe-weather situation” for your crew and you.


Start your year on a safe footing. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Painter’s World: Little Acts of Appreciation

Every day, a painter’s world includes opportunities to show his or her appreciation. To someone. For something.


Ten Acts of Appreciation a Hotel Painter Can Try


  1. Thank your teammates, supervisor, and other coworkers for their help, support, etc.
  2. Go easy on the teammate that goofed, again. Even if he or she could have prevented it.
  3. Hold the door open for a hotel guest trying to get moved into his or her room.
  4. Offer to hold something so a guest can strap his or her toddler into the safety car seat.
  5. Cut your chief engineer some slack. Tell him or her, “That’s okay. I can see that you’re under a lot of extra pressure right now…”
  6. Volunteer an extra pair of hands to a teammate, or staff member in another department.
  7. Offer that grumpier or aloof co-worker a way to talk to you without any explanation.
  8. Cover for a teammate when he or she needs to make a personal call during work time.
  9. Cut your co-workers some slack, especially when the work pressure is getting to them.
  10. Discreetly offer a “listening ear” to a co-worker whose mood/behavior/attitude has changed for some reason.


Ten Acts of Appreciation a Commercial-Industrial Painter Can Try


  1. Thank your fellow crew members for their efforts to bring in a project within constraints.
  2. Offer to cover for a co-worker who needs a little longer lunch or break time.
  3. Foreman: offer the worker, who is very pressured by personal responsibilities, the option to occasionally start work a little later. Or to leave a little earlier..
  4. Give the new guy a hand, or two. Even if he or she is experienced. Remember when you started out there?
  5. Cut that apprentice some slack. He or she is new to painting, and new to your company.
  6. Periodically, thank and visit your suppliers’ stores, shops, websites,, etc.
  7. Periodically connect with both your strong and less strong connections through social media. Acknowledge their recent accomplishments, or news. Thank them for any input they’ve given.
  8. On-site crew member: Loan a better paintbrush to a newer coworker, who might not yet own the size or type of brush needed to do the task.
  9. Thank and praise both long-standing and newer crew members. Especially when things have been going rough on the project, and/or for the company
  10. Thank your company’s office staff for making your job more doable. Please thank your foreman, superintendent/boss and company owner once periodically, too.


FOOTNOTE: I remember every person that has helped me, as a painter, to have a good day. Their smiles or laughs.  Their joking jabs. Their choices of words. Their handshakes. Their encouragement. The hands that they lent me. Their “training.” Their advice and constructive criticism. It all mattered to me. They all mattered to me.



Showing appreciation works better when it’s sincere, spontaneous, and individualized.


Behind “Painting with Bob” is a network of dedicated painters, professionals, friends, and editor.

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop Policies: Problems with Risk Management

Loss of property costs a business a lot of money. And, it can cost YOUR department more than it can afford. Thus, it’s essential to keep track of all losses and damages, even normal-use ones.


  1. Promptly document and report any loss or damage to your (1) supervisor and/or (2) company general manager/superintendent.
  2. Promptly document – keep a log – of any loss or damage that happens under your watch, or that you come upon that happened at another time.
  3. Report the loss or damage to your supervisor. Note: It is his or her job to determine which losses and/or damages should be reported to company management.
  4. Notify management when certain losses or damages occur repeatedly, and after you’ve already reported said incidences to your supervisor. Example: Losses of at least 8-five gallon buckets of new paint continued, for over five months after the foreman painter had repeatedly notified the project supervisor for the contractor for whom they both worked. So, the painter told the company’s superintendent that the losses of needed product continued.
  5. If you continue to suffer larger losses in the Paintshop, even after notification of management, ask your supervisor for a joint meeting with the general manager to discuss possible acceptable solutions.

Tread proactively and carefully when it comes to reporting possible internal, and possibly illegal, transport of products and materials.

Bottom line: Step up to the plate. Report losses and or damages as promptly as possible. And, do not be afraid to extend the reporting to higher-level managers when the standard chains-of-command reporting procedures are not working.


Thanks for keeping on your toes. Even when it’s tough to do the right thing.


“Painting with Bob” extends best wishes for your health, safety and prosperity in 2018.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved


Paintshop Policies: Reporting Problems with Products and Materials

Every paintshop has policies and practices in place on how to handle problems that might crop up. And, every painter, as well as others that use that department, need to adhere to those policies.


In fact, each new department worker’s training must include this aspect of employment. At both the department level, and company-wide.


  1. Report all issues to immediate supervisor, shop foreman or company representative.
  2. Properly label paint products and supplies according to location in which they are used.
  3. Help others to choose the correct products for the surfaces, conditions and use/traffic situations.
  4. Document each problem beyond the normal-use level.
  5. Report any damage or loss to your supervisor.
  6. Determine and post “Paintshop Policies” and business policies.


Re: Products and materials used by you and teammates, or fellow crew members.

  1. Provide other departments with postable notices about procedures for reporting problems with products or materials to Paintshop and Engineering. TIP: Be sure to supply each department with notices to cover updates or changes in policies and procedures.
  2. With their and your supervisors’ permission, provide written suggestions on how to handle these problems.

Bottom Line: If you are the person responsible for the operations of the paintshop, stand firm. And, help others to follow those policies and procedures that you must follow.



Running a paintshop requires one part policy, two parts consistency, and seven parts diplomacy.


Thanks for doing your job to the best of your ability.

Thanks for your emails, and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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



Painter – Vietnam Veteran That Makes A Difference

In the mid-1980s, my mother interviewed over 1,000 Vietnam veterans. Most of them had been suffering with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other health problems as well. Fewer than 25 percent of those veterans were receiving the healthcare that they needed.


Within five years of being interviewed, over 60 percent of those with PTSD had died. For those still alive, life was full of ups and downs. The veterans struggled to get ongoing access to healthcare, job opportunities, and financing for education, home buying, business startups, etc.


Fast forward: It’s now 2017. Over forty years after the U. S. troops pulled out of South Vietnam. Over thirty years after my mother interviewed the last veteran on her list.


On November 6, 2017, a “Connect” request came into my home page. It was from a retired painter-painting contractor on the west coast.


The 72-year old man wanted to know if I was related to a “Sandra…….. Hajtovik.” (That’s my mother in case you haven’t made that connection.) If so, he asked, “Could you please put me in touch with her?… I’d appreciate it…”


A Vietnam veteran (U. S. Marines Green Beret), he’d been interviewed by my mother in 1984. He wanted to tell her what had happened with him in the last thirty-three years.. “How my life has been going…” he e-mailed.


Within a day of getting the message, my mother e-mailed the man.


So, how had his life been going?


  1. It turns out that he was the retired founder of one of the largest commercial painting companies on the west coast.


  1. Over the last twenty-five years, his company had given jobs to over fifty-five Vietnam veterans.


  1. Many of those “painters” – men and women – suffered on and off with PTSD and other medical conditions caused by toxic exposures while serving in Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s.


  1. One of the “automatic benefits” available to all of his employees, particularly the Vietnam veterans, had been financial help to go to college or trade school, rent or buy a home, lease or buy a vehicle, get emergency or surgery treatment, even bury a close relative. “Help has included for immediate family, too,” the man has e-mailed my mother.


  1. Special financial help has been available for any “employee painter” who wanted to start a painting contracting business of his or her own. (That’s helping to set up the competition.)


For Christmas of 2017, this “retired painter” is bringing all of his employees and immediate families to Central Florida, for two weeks, to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.


He’s invited my mother and me to join the group for two days and nights. (That includes hotel accommodations inside Disney. I have other plans that can’t be changed.)


My mother accepted the very kind invitation. Already, she is jotting down a short list of “interview-type” questions.


It would have been great to meet the fellow career painter and decorator, and talk shop. Also, I’d  want to find out why, besides the obvious, he has employed and stuck by so many Vietnam veterans.


“Character builds character,” my Grandfather Boyd once said. “Worth builds upon worth.”


From what I’ve learned so far, I’d say that this retired painter/painting contractor – Vietnam vet that my mother met in 1984 – has tried to help other painters-vets build good “self-character.” I’d say that he’s also helped to build more sense of “self-worth” into their worlds – and into the larger world in which they are still trying to make it.


What an important legacy this war veteran is leaving behind. One person at a time.



How far and how well others journey through life often has so much to do with you, and I.


Thank you for checking into “Painting with Bob.”

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


Painter’s World During Christmas

His eyes. There was something so familiar about those eyes. I couldn’t stop staring into them.


I was only two years old. But I knew those sea green eyes. From somewhere. Glistening and clear.


Of course. This was Santa Claus’s lap that I was sitting on. And, it was Santa that kept smiling, and laughing so jolly-like at me.


He was all dressed up in his bright red plush suit with the white fur trim, matching hat, and shiny black boots and belt.


Of course. My instincts were correct. The big, tall man with the white wavy beard that touched his chest?


It was my own father. He was playing Santa at IUPAT/ IBPAT Local 8’s Christmas party for the union member’s children. Like my one-year old sister. And I.


Christmas season can be a fun and rewarding time for a painter.


The union painter may be recruited to play Santa at the annual Christmas party for members’ children. (Like my Dad did for over five years.) He or she may serve as coordinator for the big boss and his wife’s holiday night out for the employee painters and their spouses/significant others.


A painter may be one of the volunteers that assembles bicycles and other “vehicles” to help out Santa’s helpers-parents. He or she may help collect, then wrap toy donations for the local children’s home. The painter may represent the shop, and make the rounds to the local paint manufacturer’s stores’ open houses held for trade customers.


He and other crew members may be “volunteered” to paint scenes and props for the local Christmas parade float. Or sets for the community theatre’s annual Christmas production starring local children.  The painter may join the construction trades’ community charity chorus.


The independent painter may reach out to his or her community, and lend a hand wherever it’s needed. Even in the public school system, or at a shelter. He or she may offer tools and equipment to make others’ holiday tasks easier, and safer. Special skills and abilities may be donated to help local non-profits tackle their holiday community projects and programs.


At any older neighborhood church, the help of a younger and more agile painter/ craftsperson would be appreciated in decorating. Also setting up the traditional outdoor nativity scene. Even preparing for the special meal for people that are homeless or alone.


What about the staff painter? Show a little enthusiasm for the season; and you’re recruited for major holiday decorating. Stringing thousands and thousands of Christmas lights throughout the property. Examples: Those tall, tall Palm trees. Decorating the swimming pool areas. Painting, then setting up exterior and interior holiday displays. Helping create a special space – presence – for dear old Santa. Decorating the halls and lobbies, and other high traffic areas. (One year, we also decorated the public restrooms.)


What had been one of my favorite on-the-job holiday projects? Helping the rest of the staff set up their special displays and holiday activity areas.


By the way, your ChristmasNew Year week may be just around the corner – or already here. There’s still time. to grab your talents, pack essential tools and equipment, and head out to help make the season bright, cheerful and hopeful. For others!


And, that’s what this season is all about.



Holiday bliss follows a benevolent heart, and extra pair of hands.  RDH


Best wishes from the network of people that make “Painting with Bob” possible.

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






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.


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.”


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.


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.


Tag Cloud