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Posts tagged ‘groundskeeping’

Painting Gardens, Rest Areas and Walking Trails – Part II

In Part 1, I offered a few tips for finishing and maintaining five areas on hotel property: decks; roofs, covers, overhangs; rails and fences; seating; and tables. Those tips were based on personal experience.


Tips for finishing and maintaining areas 6 through 12 are offered here.




Note: With many hotel properties, substrate, electrical and mechanical repairs and maintenance of these areas are handled by a specialist. An engineering technician. Or, an outside contractor.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Fill all cracks in concrete.

B. Prepping: Scrape loose paint. Or, sandblast to remove all of the paint from surfaces

C. Painting and coating: Apply two coats by brush and roller. Use roller cover at least ¾ inch diameter.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Paint – Urethane or epoxy formulated for concrete; Brushes – China bristle; Roller covers – Synthetic fiber.

E. Challenge:
Finding time in humid air conditions, when surface is completely dry – and paintable!


7. GROUND BORDERS: WOOD, BRICK, STONE, CONCRETE – Caution: Watch your step/stumbling/where kneeling. Avoid creepy crawlers.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Replace all broken, chipped, sharp pieces/areas.

B. Prepping: Pressure clean non-painted surfaces.

C. Painting and finishing: Wood timbers can be finished with exterior stain, or oil-based products to resist moisture and sun. Brush and roller techniques are recommended, for best coverage and neat job.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Masonry patching compound; alkyd enamel, semi-transparent or solid color exterior stain, acrylic latex stain.

E. Challenge: Produce a surface finish which stays cleaner longer, and always looks great!


8. FLOWER and PLANT BOXES – Caution: Wildlife, creepy crawlers.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Tightly fasten boxes.

B. Prepping: Line boxes with plastic, or asphalt paper. Often store-purchased boxes are sold with lining.

C. Painting and finishing: Prime bare wood, finish paint with moisture and sun resistant paint; or apply multiple coats of exterior stain, then finish coat with urethane or Spar varnish.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Solid oil stain or alkyd enamel. Spray can application works!

E. Challenge: Make certain squared/sharp corners, adornments, etc. are (1) smooth to touch and (2) clear of human traffic pattern.




Reminder: Our bird and animal friends rely on us to look out for them, and respect their needs.

Note: Generally, paint products are not recommended for bird and animal feeders.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Replace feeders that have surface cracks, chips, breaks, etc. Tightly affix to posts, frames, or extensions.

B. Prepping: Carefully clean surfaces with gentle soap and water. Please, no abrasives or chemicals.

C. Painting and finishing: Exterior stain works well on wood parts.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Exterior stain on wood parts. Avoid paint.

E. Challenge: To apply stain/finish, remove feeders from bird/animal use area. If possible.




Note: Most hotel and lodging exterior furniture is constructed of plastic, and/or is vinyl or powder coated.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Remove and replace furniture that has worn, frayed, sharp, loose parts, components, and areas. Regularly, check all pieces for stability. You do not want a chair to collapse, with a guest in it. You do not want a table to tip over or collapse because of too much weight, or a weak spot.

General cleaning: Scrub with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly. Mold/mildew removal: Wash down area with gentle bleach and water solution, or a biodegradable product. Rinse very thoroughly.

B. Challenge: Keeping on top of build-ups: mold, mildew, dust, dirt, food/beverage spills, body residue.



11. LIGHT FIXTURES, SYSTEMS, POSTS – CAUTION: HOT ZONE! – Power lines, cables, etc.


A. Repairs and maintenance: Any electrical work should be left to staff, or outside, electricians.

B. Prepping: Clean surface; sand, if necessary, to remove loose debris. Prime bare areas with suitable primer, either for concrete or metal.

C. Painting/finishing: Prime bare areas with suitable primer (wood, metal, concrete) to remove debris.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Concrete surfaces – Acrylic latex products; meta; – oil-based. Tools – Brushes and rollers. Equipment – Manlift needed to access and work safely in area.

E. Challenge: Safely accessing and working on high and/or hard to reach areas.



12. SIGNAGE – Caution: Any power sources/lines involved?


Note: Read “The Art of Sign Painting” blog, posted August, 2015, for commercial sign painting tips.


A. Repairs and maintenance: If the base is cracked, replace the sign material. Carefully, wash surface with a detergent and water solution. Brush gently to remove all accumulated dust, residue, grit, etc.

B. Prepping: Remove all old, cracked letters, numbers, graphics, etc. Remove any left-over fasteners that may have been used to affix components to sign base. Sand entire surface smooth.

C. Painting and finishing: Paint base of sign with exterior oil-based product. Apply stencils. Affix new or repaired graphics, logos, etc. Brush in letters, numbers; borders and edgings for affixed components.

D. Products, supplies, tools, equipment: Products – Commercial lettering oil paint, clear coat to help keep dirt and residue off letters, numbers, affixed pieces. Brushes – Assorted artist brushes. Stencils. Tools – Electric sander.

E. Challenge: Keeping signage clean from exposure to wide variety of contaminants – environmental and man-made. Preventing or minimizing damage, wear, rotting, etc.




Note: Many hotels, resorts and convention centers feature garden and rest areas that are fully enclosed.

Amenable for use 24 hours a day, and year round. These amenities are climate-controlled, especially regulated to protect and preserve the flora and fauna.

Challenge: Care and maintenance of the many types of surfaces in a regular and timely manner. Requires painter to possess a diverse of knowledge of atrium/under-roof construction and configuration, surfaces and areas, and both existing and potential environmental conditions, Painter needs standard and special knowledge and abilities, related to surface/area treatments, products, supplies, tools and equipment.


Maintaining and repainting and refinishing these areas tends to involve more work, time and money than budgeted for them by management. Do your best to keep these special areas in great shape.


In the short-run, your guests, visitors and co-workers will love you for it. In the long-run, your supervisor, hotel managers, and property owners will appreciate your efforts.


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Any quiet space is a soft place for any soul to sit and simply be!   rdh

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Many thanks for your great emails, snail’s mail, and calls. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


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


Hotel Engineering Team Training – Pilot Project 2015

In August of 2014, a large hotel chain conducted a three-day run-through of a skyp training program that will activate in 2015. The unique, standardized program is geared toward the chain’s facilities services’ team members. The company’s goal: Establish, standardize and unify practices and operations in its engineering departments throughout the chain.

The double goal for team members is specific: preparedness for change, and job security. Each worker – painter, maintenance tech, engineering tech, HVAC technician, etc. – will be able to (1) check-mate his or her basic techniques and skills, (2) update capabilities, and (3) learn to use newer and/or better methods, products, materials, tools, equipment, and systems.

The program was developed by experienced craftspersons in construction, property maintenance, and power systems operations. It features multi-disciplinary, hands-on workshops in painting, maintenance, HVAC, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing, power plant, groundskeeping.

Each session will be skyped, on a rotational basis, into each property’s secured, employees-only telecom system. Each will be offered three days a week, at different times – again within forty-five days. This flexible feature tries to accommodate for unexpected departmental work surges, emergency situations and worker demands.

Participation is required. Each team member takes every workshop in his or her core job description. In addition, each person takes at least one workshop in every other job area in the department. And, every team member takes each workshop during his or her work shift.


Basically, here’s how it will work…


  1. A team member signs up for each training session two-to-three weeks in advance.
  2. A team member is encouraged to take all training sessions in his/her area before taking others.
  3. A team member can sign up, in advance, for the entire series of workshops in his core area.
  4. A team member reserves the option to take any other session before completing core program. 5. Class “size” is limited to two team members at a time.
  5. Each workshop runs thirty minutes.

Each workshop will follow a similar format…


  1. Each engineering department site is set up, in advance, for the next scheduled workshop.
  2. At his or her respective site, each team member “student” is provided with the same products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment being used by the trade craftsperson and instructor.
  3. Each team member uses the technique, or performs the task, that’s being demonstrated by the craftsperson/instructor.
  4. Every team member can e-mail or text questions and comments to that workshop’s instructor after each session, or at a later time or date.
  5. A team member completes each workshop by logging onto his or her online registration page.
  6. After completion, a team member can access the DVD-version of each workshop – at any time, at work.
  7. All products, materials, supplies, and tools used at a specific hotel site become part of that engineering department’s inventory – and can be used by team members in the future.

The training program draws on the filmed systems used for years by employer and franchise giants in nearly every industry. A painter friend works for the hotel chain, and attended the three-day run-through in August. He described the five-minute, on-line/mobile app critique at the end of each workshop.

“The questions were very specific. No ‘strongly agree to strongly disagree’ rating system. No multiple choices… Clearly the program’s developers – and the hotel people – wanted honest feedback. Input they could use to make the training even more helpful to engineering people.”

His enthusiastic attitude about the required program reminded me of something:

Every facility painter – every painterthat I know is always learning new things. In fact, they look for new things to learn. And, they look for ways both to improve and to upgrade what they already know. That’s what makes every one of them stand out from the crowd!


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“The top quality paintbrush can be improved upon only so much. The painter that puts that brush to work is always looking for – and seeing – room for improvement.”  RDH


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