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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.

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Great leaders must have great people to lead.
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Thanks to all visitors to “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!

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

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

Changes and Advancements in Hotel/Facility Painting, Part 3: Supplies, Tools and Equipment

Introduction

 
The standard types of painting tools and equipment will always be in use, as long as the paint products go unchanged in how they are applied. Paint spray equipment applications are not to be replaced. They are only approved upon by making subtle changes to spray guns and paint pumping systems.

When it relates to the roller cover, its design is continually being re-examined for ways to improve its performance, primarily with new materials. Widely used tools and equipment are difficult to replace. Changes in supplies mean costly changes to a system which is already operating efficiently.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Supplies:

A. Abrasives, caulking, patching compounds, masking materials, and other items. Changes: meet the demands of structural components and newer surfaces, also environmental changes.

B. Sanding products produced for wet or dry use. Option: Abrasives affixed to a sponge type substrate, allowing greater flexibility.

C. Caulking produced as waterborne and siliconized. Advantages: Resist cracking, and provide waterproofing, while allowing the surface to be painted.

D. Patching compounds that dry faster and harder. Advantages: sand easier, allow painting sooner.

E. Masking tapes designed to be left on the surface longer. Advantages: Do not pull the surface loose, and make re-taping unnecessary.

 

Comments about Supplies:

Commonly used supplies have advanced little. They tend to fulfill the need, in an efficient manner, for which they have been designed.

The quality of supplies must not be overlooked. They are your aid in producing a quality painting or finishing job. They sure can make it easier. By the way, a poorly adhering masking tape is not going to do you any favors.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Tools:

A. More paint brushes designed for applying multiple types of coating. Brush hairs are a composite of nylon, polyester, olefin, and other synthetic fibers.

B. Roller frames designed to reduce the friction of the roller covers. Added feature: control the covers from slipping off of the roller frames.

C. Roller covers, with new developments in nap composition. Advantages: Optimal nap composition which lasts longer, and is durable with various coatings.

D. Advancements that consider the ergonomics of a tool’s use. Example: Joint knife, which must be very strong and flexible. It must provide an excellent grip and balance for effective use.

 

Comments about Tools:

Advancements in tools are needed, especially when a product or material has no way of being applied. A tool must be designed, tested, fabricated, and marketed to industry, business and public consumers.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Equipment:

 A. Fine finishing, hand-held and airless portable spray system. Designed for ease of use by the professional painter and finisher. Homeowner/general consumer models: easier to operate, clean, and maintain.

B. Masking machines that are easy to manipulate in taping procedures. Normally for commercial, residential and automotive painting.

C. Spray pumps designed for easier use by the homeowner/general consumer market. Features: lighter weight, easy to set up, simple to clean up. Pressure fluid: maintained electronically.

 

Comments about Equipment:

Changes in equipment occur when use and testing point to an area of design which can be improved. I consider advancements, something which really alters the marketing of a piece of equipment.
What marks a more advanced piece of equipment? Some key features: greater performance, more energy efficient, more ergonomics, and increased durability.

 

Closing Comments about Painting Supplies, Tools and Equipment:

A successful painting project requires that all intended and needed supplies, tools and equipment are available, reliable and qualitative. Consistently, they must help the painter to (1) produce above-standard workmanship, (2) achieve satisfactory-plus results, and (3) ensure cost-effective durability.

 

PAINTER’S TIPS: Wisely choose each supply, tool and piece of equipment. Then, care and maintain each one properly. Maximize its potential usefulness and effectiveness on future projects, work orders and tasks. You’ll be glad that you did.

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Even the most advanced supply, tool, or piece of equipment is only as effective as the painter using it.

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2014, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Methods: Adapting FOR the Environment

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out, and the air is dry and moderately cool.

 

On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.

 

Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.

 

The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.

 

TIPS FOR ADAPTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently. Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.
  2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus. TIP: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, it is not possible.
  3. Minimize or adapt to toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.

 

Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.

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Everyone in a painter’s work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Susika’s “First Real Bedroom”

 

Susika was a ten-and-a-half year old when we met. Her aunt and U. S. Marine uncle had brought her home with them, after the mass family funeral in the Middle East. On the plane, they promised her a “real bedroom.”

 

Uncle “J.J.” and several handy friends knocked out a wall to add six feet to the small 10-feet by 9-feet space.

 

Here’s how they outfitted what Susika called her “first real bedroom.”

 

  1. On 15-feet window wall: Built in a window seat, with bookshelves on each end, and two roomy, half-cupboards underneath.
  2. On each side of window seat unit: A roomy closet: one for clothes, the other for her “stuff.”
  3. On other three walls: Wall rails and one-half wainscoting.
  4. Floor covering: Wall-to-wall, commercial grade carpeting: Colors: Pastels in pink, rose, cranberry, mint green, forest green. Pattern: Splashes and Swirls.
  5. Bed Furniture: Wood twin bed, 6-drawer dresser, 2 night tables. From uncle’s elderly neighbors.
  6. Old wooden desk and chair. Shared by her mother and “J. J.” as children.
  7. Small arm chair. Once used by older cousin, now in college.
  8. Toy chest. Originally belonged to her uncle.
  9. Bean bag chair, vinyl. Color: Hot pink. New. A gift from that cousin in college.
  10. Four-shelf, three-drawer unit. For stuffed animals and dolls. Yard sale purchase.
  11. Bulletin-White board. For hanging above desk. Purchased at Wal-Mart.

MY JOB: Paint and finish coat everything paintable. And, there was a lot.

 

Susika chose her new room’s paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

Color scheme: Soft white, pastel pinks and greens, also tinted forest green.

Paints used: Interior semi-gloss and high-gloss latexes; also artist acrylics.

 

SURFACES and AREAS, COLORS

 

Ceiling: Glidden Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand. Finish: Popcorn textured.

Upper and built-in walls, closets: Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand (tinted Pink).

Rails, vertical wood wainscoting, doors, trim; also window and cupboard doors: Color No. WDPR08. Color: Fairest of Them All.

Furniture: Color No. WDPR10. Color: Water Lily.

33-year old 4-shelf/3-drawer unit: Base coat Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand; Glazed Top coat: Color No. WDPR10 Color: Water Lily. Faux application: Random sponging.

Tops of dresser and night tables: 2-coat Faux glaze. Coat 1: Color No.: WDPR10. Color: Water Lily; Coat 2: Color No. WD FY05. Color: Fairy Flight. Faux application: Sponging, Ragging.

Built-ins and Window Seat Wall: Natural Stain; Sealer/Finish coat: Low-gloss polyurethane.

 

The entire painting project took a little more than a week. I used a large, cleaned out shed to re-finish the furniture pieces. It was equipped with central A/C. All other surfaces and areas were primed and finish-coated inside of the room.

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
Paints-Primers, finish coats: Glidden’s “Make It Magical with Disney.”

Stains, finish coats: Miniwax sealers, stains, varnishes, polyurethanes.

Artist Paints/Detailing: Liquitex Acrylics.

 

Painting and decorating children’s rooms is a lot of fun. Especially, when the painter is included in the project from the theme, design, color, and pattern selection stage.

  1. Every project is different. Every child’s preferences and needs are unique.
  2. The elements – theme, design, color, pattern – vary a lot.
  3. The products and materials used, in combination, are always one-of-kind.
  4. Working creatively within the budget draws on untapped energy, imagination and resources.
  5. A special sense of satisfaction bubbles forth as a child’s “special space” takes shape.

 

ABOUT SUSIKA
Susika’s completed room was very special for an added reason. She was a war orphan, legally adopted by her only living adult relative: an American military officer. Susika’s mother, the military officer’s sister, was an American educator that taught the children of enlisted officers stationed in the Middle East. Her father was a U. S. educated Middle Eastern professor and administrator.

 

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“My own room! It’s like having my private place in Heaven.”   Susika

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Thank you, fellow painters and decorators, for brightening the lives of others.
And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Franzen: Restoring Churches and Lives

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

 

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

With equal dedication and selflessness, a true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

More Custom Carriers for Painter’s Tools

small-carpentry-supplies-carrier1small-mechanics-tools-carrie1instrument-case1woodcustomaccessor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tablet-case1

 

 

 

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