Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘cleaning’

Disaster Recovery, Part I: Hotel/Facility Priorities Come First

The lady walked toward her vehicle in Home Depot’s parking lot. In one hand, she grasped two, 1-gallon cans of Glidden’s Interior Latex Paint. In the other, she held onto a 2-inch Purdy paintbrush, a 6-inch paint roller with cover and an orange combination paint tray and screen.

It was one day after Hurricane Irma, and the tornadoes that it had spawned, had whipped through Central Florida.

When a major disaster hits – eg. hurricane, tropical storm, tornado – painting should be one of the last things on your immediate agenda.


1. Help your chief engineer check out all systems that are under the department’s charge – eg. mechanical, electrical, plumbing.

2. As part of the engineering team: (a) assess each building’s condition, interior and exterior; (b) identify problem areas; (c) determine which problems to resolve a.s.a.p., and, (d) decide how to handle each of them promptly and safely.

3. As part of the engineering team, get the department back in shape, so that all of you can do the major recovery and repair tasks and projects as efficiently as possible.

4. As part of the engineering team, help implement the plan to (a) make repairs and (b) get everything up and running again in a timely, safe and cost-effective manner.

5. Assist groundspersons in clearing away all broken trees, limbs and branches and brush; also dismantled lumber, metal, piping; debris, garbage, etc. This includes clearing main traffic areas.

6. Help repair and replace all crucial lighting – especially front entrance, parking, walkways, corridors, lobby, public restrooms. Also repair main walkways, as soon as possible.

7. Assist other departments, as necessary, to get their areas up and running again.

8. Assist chief engineer in working with utility companies, outside contractors, repair services, etc. to get property systems and amenities, and business operations back in working order.

9. Between efforts to help others, start to get your paintshop back in shape. HINT: Try to unpack, then set up what you’ll need to use first.

10. When your chief engineer gives the go-ahead, concentrate your efforts on reorganizing the paintshop so that you can get back to your painting job.

By the way, it can be tempting to ignore the engineering department’s big job during this very disorganized and stressful time. You might be tempted to hide in your area. Do not do it!

This is one instance when painting will be lower on the list of everyone’s priorities.

At the top of every staff member’s and department’s disaster recovery list needs to be:

1. people
2. property
3. business
4. “neighborhood”

This is one time when, both now and later, you’ll be glad that you helped others first.

See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 2: Paintshop Priorities.”
See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 3: When Painting Is Not Enough.”

Thank you for doing your best job every day. Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Restoring and Reviving Hotels

Every staff member saw the hotel “looking better than it had in years.” “Since it had been built,” said a longtime employee.


What does it take to restore a hotel?


  1. A solid yet flexible plan, highly-skilled craft persons, time, and a large budget.
  2. Usually more resources than many property owners have, or want to commit.


What needs to be done to revive a hotel property?


As much as the budget will allow.




Tips from a painter that’s been there, done that. On more than seven hotel properties.


1. Start with the most obvious areas – noticeable to the guests and visitors.

A. Guest rooms

B. Lobby(ies)


Clean all areas. Touch up paint. Or “full-paint” areas to create a fresh look. A change of color, or design and placement, can be uplifting. A big benefit.


2. Cover the essentials.

A. Safety zones

B. High-traffic areas

C. Pools and spas – especially in hotter, humid and sunny climates


3. Repair – take care of – the most neglected areas.

A. High-wear areas may require weekly attention.

B. Always post “WET PAINT” signs when painting in high-traffic areas.

C. Look for permanent repair solutions for areas that receive repetitious damage or wear.

Example: Place plastic guards over corners in high-traffic areas such as a lobby.


4. “Clean up all of those old messes, the best you can.”

A. Cover anything that is not to be painted, located close to the work area.

B. A final vacuum of the area completes the job.


5. Revitalize the higher ticket areas. Get them “back on the market.”

A. Conference centers

B. Restaurants

C. Food courts

D. Gift Shops


6. Liven up the most popular spots.

A. Game rooms


C. Children’s playground and activity areas

D. Outdoor recreation areas

E. Social areas


7. Remember key operations areas.

A. Housekeeping and Laundry

B. Physical Plant– electrical, mechanical, plumbing systems

C. Engineering and Maintenance


Non-guest related areas are often neglected. Yet, they and its workers are vital and valuable.

Use a variety of colors and/or graphics paint to accentuate areas that receive less attention.

It increases morale. It maintains a clean, pleasant work environment. It adds a spot of creativity.


Painting unfinished floors can benefit the facility’s operations areas in value-adding ways.

Painting the walls and floor accentuates the importance of the area, and persons that work there.

Painting these areas inspires anyone that works there, or passes through, to take care of the spaces, to keep them clean, and to maintain them. Even when the areas are in use 24/7.


Some deciding factors in every category:


  1. Urgency
  2. Necessity
  3. Relativity to business’s major market(s), focus and mission
  4. Owners’ and shareholders’ preferences and long-term goals
  5. Budget
  6. Availability – time lines
  7. Competition


No two hotel revival projects are the same. Not even when the properties are designed similarly, and owned by the same group.


Are you a hotel staff painter? Your involvement may vary. Depending on the area to be revived, your level of needed skills and abilities, and your time, may vary a lot.

Are you a project painter, employed by a commercial contractor? Your involvement is clear. You are put on the project because you can produce! Big time! And your skill sets, abilities and work personality fit that project.


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

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all!

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

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: How to Stain a Wood Deck

Does the deck resemble a collection of mold-ridden, fungus-laden, algae-slick growths?

Then, you will know it’s been “neglected” way too long.


As long as the wood hasn’t rotted, there is still hope for improvement.


The easiest and first thing to do: Clean the surface.

1. Use a garden sprayer, containing a solution of detergent, bleach and water.

2. Spray the entire deck area.

3. Let set for 15-20 minutes.

4. Then pressure wash the deck.


TIP: The deck may look acceptable once it’s been cleaned. Carefully inspect the entire surface. In full daylight!


Does the deck surface still look dirty, unkempt and unsanitary? A good coat of stain will cure that unsightly appearance.




To carry out your project, consider using one of the following products. Both are oil-based stains.

1. Solid color Stain – simulates a painted surface.

2. Semi-transparent Stain – accentuates the depth of the wood’s grain pattern.


Once the stain is selected, the actual process can begin. Here are basic steps to finish any size deck.




1. Remove all moveable objects: vehicles, bikes, skate boards, furniture, planters, etc.

2. Securely cover all adjacent and accessible areas.

A. To use a brush and roller: Cover nearby vegetation and concrete with drop cloths or plastic sheeting.

B. For spraying the stain: Be prepared to cover considerably more.

—Mask off the wall area adjacent to the house/building, where the deck is fastened.

—Mask everything else nearby that can’t be moved: all plants and holders, open ground and landscaping, stationary furniture, statues, fencing, gutters/downspouts, etc.

C. Is everything covered that needs to be? Now, cover yourself.

—If you intend to spray, wear a disposable paper suit. Cover your head.

—Put on safety glasses/goggles.

—Gloves are a must as well.




1. Stain all hand rails, toe kicks and stair runners.

A. Apply as heavy and even of a coat as you can. Avoid producing runs in the stain.

B. The wood hasn’t been done in a while. So, it will soak up the stain fairly quickly.

C. TIP: After staining, exterior wood does not need to be wiped down.


2. Need to apply a second coat?

A. WAIT until the stain has penetrated enough.

B. It does not have to be completely dry for you to recoat the surface.

C. It may require two days to dry.


3. Stain the deck and steps last.

A. TIP: Since the surface is flat, the stain can be applied more heavily.

B. Generally, apply the stain in the direction of the wood planking.

C. Spraying on the stain is the quickest and easiest method.

—Using a brush and roller requires a lot more time and effort.

D. Don’t pay a lot of attention to staining in between the gaps of the wood.

Exception: Gaps are wide enough for you to apply stain on the wood surfaces bordering them.




1. Remember: The deck wood must be as dry as possible.


2. Stain on a warm, dry day. This ensures that the stain gets the best penetration into the wood.


3. Avoid staining when the humidity is high, or detectable rain clouds are in the sky.


Follow these steps. Add on another year before your next application. Save precious time and money.




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

Enjoy your outdoors. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Wallcovering Removal – In Great-Grandmother’s Day

Decades before peelable papers and steamers came on the scene, persons used their cumbersome steel steam irons to remove wallpapers. My great-grandmother once described the process something like this. . .

“Removing wallpaper was a two-person job. It was messy, smelly, and hot. It could take an entire week to do one 9 feet by 12 feet bedroom. Especially with children underfoot.

“Before beginning, you gathered what you would need: buckets, clean rags, wide spatulas, flat wooden spoons, thick old gloves, old table knives. You removed whatever you could from the room: small furniture, lamps, mirrors, pictures, draperies, bedspreads, pillows, rugs. Next, you covered the floor with layers upon layers of old newspapers. Then, you placed all of those supplies inside the middle of the room to be worked on.”

Here, Great-Grandmother hesitated. Still sharp at 91, she eyed the white-on-white striped vinyl wallcovering inside her community building, where our family was celebrating a carry-in Thanksgiving dinner together.

She smiled, and continued. “You began on a window or door wall. It was easier to find an edge of wallpaper already loose, or pulling away from the wall. One person moved the hot steam iron up and down, up and down, very close to the paper. But not touching. The other person came right behind. She used a metal spatula and scraped loosened paper off the wall.

“Often-times, you had to run the hot steam iron over the same spots several times. As many as twelve different papers could be layered on that wall. Too, the wallpaper paste could be very stubborn. Usually, the wallpaper had to be dampened with wet rags. Until the paper began to curl off the wall.

“The air would fill with the smell of paste,” Great-Grandmother explained. “The room got very hot from all of the steam. Your dress would stick to your torso, like the paste on the walls. And your stockings would cling and scratch, something awful.” The thought of her sticking stockings made me laugh here.

“If a woman was very lucky, like I was,” she said, “she’d have friends and neighbor ladies to help.” The more hands to help, she said, the easier it was. And, the faster the job was completed.

“Once the layers of paper were removed, the walls had to be washed thoroughly, to remove all paste. Using clean rags and as warm water as your hands could stand.” Then the entire room had to dry and air out. She emphasized, “That could take days.”

Today, wallcovering removal is much simpler and speedier. Vinyls tend to be fabric-backed, or strippable solid surfaced. They can be removed dry. Most papers – eg. linen, foil, flock, texture – are strippable. They respond well to a more advanced wet removal system, especially when multiple layers of paper cover the walls.

Generally, one person can complete an average-sized room in one day. That includes the thorough cleaning of the wall surface – eg. total removal of the adhesive, or paste. The cleaned surface can be allowed to dry overnight. The next morning, the surface can be patched, repaired and primed. Depending on the pattern, wall layout, and number and complexity of cuts and fittings, application of the new wallcovering can be completed by the end of that second day.

Wallcovering removal has progressed amazingly, since Great-Grandmother faced the job. Still, your aim is probably similar to hers.

You need to rid your walls (or ceiling) of faded, discolored, torn, and/or outdated paper or vinyl. Or, you want a fresh, new look or effect – a fresh, new color scheme. Either way, the end result is worth the effort.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~                                                                                                                     Look for “Wallcovering Removal: Dry and Wet Methods.”          

Tag Cloud