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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.

 

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

especially if you respect others who are just beginning. RDH

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

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

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WHY PAINT?

Artist Bob Ross used to say, “Painting should not be agony.”

I agree.

Over the years, I’ve met and/ or worked with construction industry painters that fit into one of these categories:

1. Some painters loved what they were doing; and it showed in their work, and their attitude about life.

Example: “Bob, the Painter,” my father, smiled a lot on the job. And often he stopped to admire others’ workmanship… to watch a bird in a nearby tree…to double check his own work.

2. Some painters, overall, liked to paint, and seemed to be fine with the likelihood that they’d be doing it for years in the future.

Example: Jesse hummed on the job… drank, and tried to share, cantaloupe juice made by his wife… took on any task that needed to be done.

3. Some painters liked to paint and did a good job; but they wanted to do something else career-wise, and to earn a living.

Example: Larry and Wayne wanted much more independence than a foreman painter had. So both went into contracting, and demonstrated that they were okay with the added responsibility that entrepreneurship required.

4. Some painters really didn’t like to paint; but they lacked the will, nerve and resources to try anything else.

Example: “W” dreamed of doing something where he could visit more with others on the job, and get paid for it. But, he had no real support system in the U. S. to help him try something new.

5. Then there were a few painters that had an intense dislike for painting, and much associated with the trade. And, increasingly, they demonstrated their disdain and discomfort.

Example: W.R. complained about everything, it seemed. He showed up intoxicated… violated safety rules…put crew members at risk…misused products.

What each of those painters knew about their jobs was complemented, or contradicted, by their respective attitudes about painting, and their own lives.

Which painter would you like to work with on a regular basis?

Into which category do you think that others might place you?

Into which category do you believe that you really fit?

Something to think about, right?

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Whatever you do for a living, including painting, give it your 100 percent at least 85 percent of the time. The remaining 15 percent? Take a good look at how you’re doing, and why.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: Lars, Luxury Home Painter – Chicago Style

Lars lives in a 3-story walk-up (no elevator) apartment building off West Grand Boulevard, in northwest Chicago. He paints and also installs wallpapers in luxury “owner” apartments and condominiums on the in the North Shore and northeast side neighborhoods overlooking Lake Michigan.

 

On the average, he works on the same residence for seven to eight full days at a time. When one of the properties is sold, he is usually the first painter that the new owners contact to redecorate the home to their specifications.

 

These redecorating projects fall into three levels of work.

 

1. Minimal redecorating. Repainting one or two rooms (often the living room and master bedroom); touching up painting throughout the home. Owner involvement: Owner/client is minimally involved during the work. Approximate completion time: 1 to 3 days.

 

2. Some redecorating. New painting often needs to encorporate new owner’s color preferences into existing color scheme. Requires repainting of front hallway; main living, dining and entertainment areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Owner involvement: Owner checks in on project fairly regularly. Approximate completion time: 7 to 10 days.

 

3. Remodeling & redecorating. He works under project contractor, based on the architect’s and interior designer’s plans. Entails extensive surface prepping, following new color scheme and applying paint, special finishes and wallcoverings, also detail work. Owner involvement: Very little directly with painter and other craftspersons. Approximate completion time: 1 to 6 months.

 

PROJECT COSTS:

 

NOTE: Labor costs for Level one and two are figured at a materials plus hourly labor rate. Level three are figured on a three-part project basis: (1) materials, supplies; (2) repairs and prep work; and (3) finish work.

 

1. Projects-Level one. Materials and supplies: Lars asks the owner to pay out front for all. Or, the owner gives him a cashier’s check or money order to purchase what he needs. Labor: Owner pays one-half out front, and one-half at completion.

 

2. Projects-Level two. Property owner and Lars sign 2-page agreement, which includes the approximate itemized cost for project. Materials, supplies, equipment rental: Property owner pays Lars out front. Labor: Owner pays one-third before work begins, one-third half-way through project, one-third upon inspection and completion.

 

3. Projects-Level three. Lars signs contract agreement with project contractor, that bonds Lars. Materials and supplies, special tools, equipment rental: Lars receives debit card or access to special checking account, and purchases everything he needs out front and as needed.

Labor: Lars, like all tradespersons on project, receives “project employee” pay check on bi-weekly basis. Craftsman bonus: Upon completion and final inspections, Lars receives a bonus check, if his work is rated at A or A-plus level. That means premium craftsmanship, coming in before his deadline, and under painting and decorating budget.

 

NOTE: Lars’s bonuses are never based on the productivity level of other tradespersons on the project. They do, however, take into account the quality of the finished work of everyone on the project. Thus, Lars and the different tradespersons have an added incentive to work together, consistently, toward achieving high-end results!

 

By the way, Lars worked as an IUPAT/IBPAT painter for over fourteen years. He moved, got caught in the union’s new vested hours rule determination, and lost all fourteen years of his vested worked hours toward pension.

 

So, in late 2002, he struck out on his own. He became a one-man paintshop. Plus, he farms himself out on larger projects.

 

He says that he has never regretted the switch. “During rough times, I’ve had to take on temporary staff painting jobs with hotels and resorts… Also, I’ve worked for a non-union contractor on and off, installing wallcoverings.”

 

With a Dutch twinkle in his eyes, he adds, “I do what all professional painters do. What is necessary…what makes sense.”

 

Right you are, Lars.

 

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CONGRATULATIONS and a big “thank you” to our Chicago Cubs for  winning the 2017 World Series. We’re all very proud of you.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Paint Brush Budgeting

 

The realm of paint brushes is varied and highly specialized. This, of course, depends on the surface you are painting.

 

At the bottom are the chip brushes. They are low in quality and price, and also disposable if you choose not to clean them.

 

Located at the top are the faux finishing brushes. They can be expensive. And, they are designed for specific surfaces, materials, and effects.

 

Generally, if you care at all about the final results of your work you will choose the most appropriate and highest quality tool available for the job.

 

In some cases, the purchase of a brush should be viewed as an investment. That’s especially true when the cost reaches in excess of two hundred dollars.

 

When it comes to a typical good quality brush, expect to pay anywhere between fourteen and twenty three dollars.

 

Why the difference in cost? Brushes are specialized tools. They are manufactured using different types of materials and processes. The cost of the brush depends on what went into making it.

 

List of typical brushes, their material and their designated use:

 

  1. Nylon: Use with latex products only.
  2. Nylon/Polyester: Use with waterborne and oil based products.
  3. China Bristle: Use with oil, epoxy, and polyurethane based products.
  4. Badger: Use with oil-based paints and glazes.
  5. Sable: Use with acrylic latex products.

 

Paint Brushes in a Commercial Sense

 

Residential, decorative, commercial, and industrial painting each require a variety of brushes to complete  the task, and project.

 

Residential painting and decorating, often considered to be more specialized, can incorporate the use of fine artist brushes to larger size brushes for big wall painting on drywall, masonry and so on.

 

Decorative painting and decorating, considered the most specialized in the field, incorporates a wide variety of specially designed fine artist and creative brushes, also other applications tools.

 

Commercial painting and decorating is designated by the use of waterborne and solvent born products. Here, you use brushes primarily for high production purposes.

 

Industrial painting usually requires the use of specialized types of coatings. Thus, brushes containing natural hair are used. Example: China bristle,the main choice.

 

An old adage applies here: ”You get what you pay for.”

 

In any sense, look for a brush where the bristles are (1) tightly compacted and (2) tapered at the end. This makes for a quality brush. One which holds a reasonable volume of paint and produces very fine cut lines.

 

JOURNEY PAINTER’S TIP: You will be using most of your brushes quite often. So, it is important to have a brush which feels real good in your hand.

 

Don’t laugh. I once used a brush which caused my hand to ache every time I used it. Finally, I beveled the handle, sanded it and applied a polyurethane clear coat. It turned out to be better than new.

 

Remember: Buy only the best brush that you can, when quality is your greatest concern. Besides, a $25.00 brush can last a long time. Especially, if you treat the brush right!

 

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Don’t forget: Your teeth aren’t the only important items that need brushing.

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

 

 

 

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