Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘Facilities Services’

Decorative Finishing: Adding Life to Your Space: The Basic Finish

Sitting in your living room or office, are you staring at drab, blank or dreary looking walls?

You don’t have to. Imagine a wall or an entire space with such an amazing finish, no one can stop commenting on its beauty. A “decorative or “faux” finish is the answer to your dreams.

Before selecting a specific design, just like a typical paint job, you must do several things first:


1) Prepare walls for the desired finish; sanding, patching, caulking, priming and base coating.


2) Choose a color scheme which you are excited about, and is suitable to the decorative finish style.

Example: A simulated Oak finish would consist of a combination of earth tone colors – possibly dark brown and a sienna tan.


3) Decide if you personally are up to the task of applying the finish yourself. Or do you recognize it as a job for a professional?

With simpler finishes, you may be able to practice the process, where satisfactory results are more achievable. If you want an exquisite finish, I recommend that you seek the talents of a professional decorative painter or faux finisher.


4) Equip yourself with the tools, paints and materials necessary for the application. You will use special brushes and specially designed tools for the task. Each type of finish often requires the use of different applicators – and modifications of your technique.

In one instance, you may use a blending brush, a sponge and cheese cloth. With another, it could be a liner brush, metal comb and stencil. The type of finish will designate the specific items used to apply it.


5) Overall, to apply a decorative finish, a person needs (a) creativity, (b) an eye for perspective, (c) an insight for visualizing art forms, and, (d) the skill to simulate reality in all of its forms.


FIRST INSTALLMENT: How to apply a basic decorative finish: RAG ROLLING.*

Learning how to apply a basic decorative finish is essential to learning how to apply more intricate finishes. “Rag Rolling” is an example of a basic finish.




Ok, the walls are base coated and ready to go! The walls are a basic beige.

Using a 1 – 2 – 1 ratio, mix together 1-part of a burnt umber( as a colorant or paint ) with 2-parts acrylic glazing liquid (for transparency) and 1-part water (as a solvent).




Before applying the finish on your intended surface, always prepare a sample first. For your sample “surface,” I suggest (1) smooth pressboard by or (2) foam board – a 2 feet by 2 feet square.

You want to establish your technique and determine the exact mixing procedure for the glazing. You may want to add more water or glazing liquid to achieve the desired effect. It’s your call!




1) Apply glazing mixture uniformly with a brush and roller starting in corner of room working to the right. Roll glazing approximately 4-6 feet in width on wall.

2) Take a cloth rag, folded and rolled. Begin to lay the rag on the surface. Simultaneously, LIFT and turn the rag in random, overlapping directions, from ceiling towards the base.You want to eliminate leaving any heavy edges or globs of glazing material. Once it dries, it’s too late to correct!

3) Proceeding down and across the wall, continue to roll out the glazing material several feet at a time.

TIP: To maintain a wet edge, watch how fast the glaze starts to dry, as you “roll the rag.” Adjust the amount of glaze or water accordingly.

4) In applying the glaze, it’s very important to keep the arm, wrist and hand motion loose and free. This allows you to produce a finish which has a random consistency. It is best to avoid having the finished product look as if it was designed with a pattern in mind.

5) Rag Rolling, when completed, produces a subtle, two-dimensional texture to the surface.


* WATCH FOR: Rag Rolling images.


Most of us know what it is like to paint a wall. It’s not too difficult and maybe not much fun either.

A decorative finish, on the other hand, is very creative. It requires you to focus if you’re to be happy with the final results. This type of finish is also very rewarding! It gives you a great sense of accomplishment, even if someone else applies it for you.

Above everything else, decorative finishes can give your space that feeling of contemporary excitement, or the traditional allure.

Remember, you can start small. Maybe you have a small piece of furniture, or a set of candle sticks.

Let your creativity be your guide.

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Let yourself go.  RAG ROLL IT!   Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

The Interim Painter Arrangement: Benefitting Your People, Departments and Organization

In July, I helped a painter friend find a skilled commercial painter to take over his job, during his long rehabilitation from a work injury. One month earlier, Scott (not real name) had suggested the interim arrangement to the hotel management as a solution. He had me in mind to do the job; I was unavailable at the time.

The journey-level painter had been working on a long-awaited, special restoration project, that was part of the property’s upgrade. It required a tight time and spatial schedule, and some skills that the other engineering personnel did not have. And, management did not have the budget to contract out to get the project completed.

The interim arrangement, for a non-management position, was the first for the hotel, and the fourth or fifth for the hospitality corporation. It required the written authorization of the chief of engineering, general manager, and corporation’s southeast region director of operations. In late June, everyone gave their approval, contingent on who would be filling in for Scott.

Basically, here’s how the “interim painter” arrangement worked.

1.  The hotel property hired the painter as a temporary staff member, and insured him under a short-term employee liability and disability clause.

2.  The painter was issued a staff member number, I.D. badge, computer access password, discount dining/shopping card, uniforms, and a set of master and paint shop keys.

3.  He was assigned an engineering department locker, parking space, the regular painter’s golf cart, and mobile communication equipment. NOTE: He was not issued any keys to areas that did not relate to his temporary job there.

4.  He clocked in and out with other first or second shift staff members.

5.  Once a week, the regular painter had clearance, from his attending physician and hotel management, to come back on site to inspect the interim’s progress. Also, the one-to-two hour walk-through gave the painter the opportunity to offer needed instructions or advice.

6.  The interim painter was accountable for the special project only. And, he was answerable to the chief of engineering. Note: During the three-week arrangement, the hotel’s general manager came around once or twice a week. Out of curiosity, primarily.

7.  In a pinch, the interim painter handled several of the regular painter’s key tasks. Also, he assisted the chief engineer and other regular team members to solve two critical emergency repair situations.

8.  The interim painter was issued a hotel payroll check on the same dates – 1st and 15th – as the regular staff members. All required payroll taxes were deducted.

9.  Final inspection and sign off of the project was conducted by the chief of engineering and  the corporate director of operations. Arrangements were made for the regular painter to be present.

10.  A simple “project completion” celebration buffet followed the inspection, held in the morning. The lunch was open to all first shift staff members, during their respective lunch breaks.

The interim arrangement was a big success. The project was completed ahead of schedule. It exceeded the company’s standards. Everyone, especially management, was pleased with the results. The interim painter got a great job reference. My friend got an unexpected pay bonus.


My painter friend is back on the job. In early August, he told me that the hotel corporation was looking into replicating the “interim painter” solution.

On large construction projects, it’s common for construction management companies or commercial contractors to hire “specialty painters” or “project painters.” Generally, they are high-performance and detail-oriented journey-level craftpersons. And, they are hired to perform work that the regular crew members are not equipped to handle. For whatever reason (s) – eg. craftsmanship level, company workload, time constraints, physical stamina and strength, product and surface experience, tool and equipment proficiency.

“Interim painters” are a newer phenomenon within the realm of facility painter – eg. special hotel staffing situations. It is gaining popularity, and becoming more necessary. Like in administration and management, some front-line responsibilities and projects must be taken care of, versus put on hold – or shelved.

Also, fewer properties are keeping full-time painters on staff. Thus, facility/engineering teams must regularly adapt and reinvent themselves.

Facility/engineering teams’ skill-sets must change, as needed, to keep up with property management and operation’s priorities, policies and restrictions. A broad scope of generalist engineering and maintenance abilities are essential in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, mechanical, painting, plumbing, tiling and carpeting, even groundskeeping. And, computer and technological proficiency are a necessity.

Engineering teams must be able to work on/with/around advancements in design, build and construction. Currently acceptable methods and practices, products and materials, etc. Moreover, everyone in the department must function in compliance with both established and newer environmental, health, safety, and materials handling standards and codes.

Their biggest job? Facility/engineering teams must keep on their toes to help the facility/the business satisfy guest and customer needs, demands and expectations.

An interim – fill-in – staff member can be the answer to a stretched-thin, stressed-out engineering department’s “wish list.” (Or, that of any other department.) Especially when one of its top workers gets injured, or has to take an emergency leave.

The “right-fitting” INTERIM can contribute the following benefits to your organization and people:

     1.  Initiative – takes charge, gets things done; is pro-active and independent;

     2.  Normalizing – helps restore sense of order, and conformity;

     3.  Talent – skilled, experienced, able to do job right;

     4.  Energy – physical, psychological, social, even spiritual;

     5.  Responsibility – accountability;

     6.  Interest – in project/job, company, people (staff, guests), effecting results;

     7.  Maturity and mastery – sound decision-maker, perceptive, professional.

Interim staff members or employees are unique. They make great project workers or co-workers. Usually, they are persons of integrity and self-responsibility. They are highly-skilled and knowledgeable…clear-headed and focused…very adaptable and resourceful. They are friendly and fun to be around. And, they tend to fit in amazingly well with the regular group.

GIVE IT A TRY!  Whether you’re an “interim” type, or someone in the employer’s solution – “hot” – seat.

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Diversify! Stay strong! Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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