Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘hotel/facilities’

Following Orders. Taking the Hotel’s Heat

Mark, a hotel painter, told me about a recent “guest” experience. “I’ve gotten over the guest’s verbal outburst. Not the general manager’s verbal attack. He blamed me, again. After I’d followed his orders.”


“I waited till 11 am to paint the concrete walkway outside of a row of guest rooms. The paint takes a half hour to dry, in most cases. At 11:15, a guest came back earlier than expected, and couldn’t get in his room. He had a fit.”


“This sort of thing happens regularly,” explained the painter. “My supervisor or G.M. tells me to do something one way. I follow instructions. One of them – usually the G. M. – comes back later, and calls me out. Or tells me to do it differently. Often the way that I proposed in the beginning. Bob, I know what I’m doing.”


Mark had been the hotel’s lead painter for over nine years. He’d been a journey-level painter over seventeen years. For six of them, he’d run projects for a commercial contractor. And trained people.


“It’s the trickle down effect,” he said. “I recognize that.”


Mark explained that he didn’t mind taking his share of the blame. “I don’t even mind taking all of the blame occasionally. Especially, when it takes a bit of the heat off my boss. The chief engineer. He’s one hard worker….But these frequent attacks…”


I tried to reassure him. “It happens to everyone at some time. Wherever they work. Like you said, ‘Its the trickle down effect.’” But I added, “And, that’s okay, Mark. As long as the trickles are landing on other team members, too.”


How would you handle a situation like this?


What would you say to your G.M., or facility’s operations manager? To your supervisor?


Great leaders have an uncanny knack of knowing what you’re good at, and what you’re not. 

…Paraphrased quote by Philip Gulley.


Daily thanks to you, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik.

All rights reserved.


Painters and decorators are always on the lookout for better, easier ways to run their paintshops, and workshops. Example: I keep an electronic “guidebook.” Tabbed and indexed. Set up so I can select, then print out any part, as needed. Some part of it goes with me, nearly everywhere.


Thirteen tips from Bob’s Painting and Decorating Guidebook.©

1.Keep sandpaper sheets and scraps organized.

Needed: Expandable accordion-style file folder – $4.99 up.

A. Assign/label each compartment a sandpaper grid number.

B. Include the following categories: Emery, Discs, Dovetail, Screens

C. File your sandpaper in the appropriate section.


2. Organize your small supply of screws, nut, bolts, washers, etc.

Needed: Plastic organizer box, with adjustable or molded dividers.

A. Place each type and length of screw in a separate section.

B. On lid, draw horizontal and vertical lines that correspond with dividers inside.

C. Label each section with the type and size of pieces shown underneath. Use permanent marker pen tip.


3. Organize your small supply of nails in the same way.


4. Use a self-made wall and shelf unit to store extra shop-vac hose and attachments.

Building tips: Backboard: Plywood, 3/4 or 1 inch; shelf: 1 inch. Attachment holders: Plastic pvc/plumbing connectors. Hose: Garden hose holder/bracket, wall-mount.


5. Make tack cloths for wood finishing from cheesecloth. Excellent, affordable choice!

Needed: 1 or 2 yards of new/clean cheesecloth – dense weave.

A. Cut cheesecloth into 6-inch or 12-inch squares.

B. In discarded small cooking pot, bring linseed oil and varnish to boil. Remove from heat.

C. Dampen cheesecloth squares in mixture.

D. Store in covered, heavy glass jars, with tight lid.


6. Revitalize paint brushes, hardened with old product.

A. Shellac residue – Soak overnight in alcohol. Rinse and wash in trisodium phosphate (tsp) solution. Use brush comb to help clean and condition bristles.

B. Other products – Soak in paint and varnish stripper to dissolve gunk. Rinse with TSP and comb. Product examples: Latex, polyurethane, wood finisher.

C. Dried product solvent known – Soak brush in that product. Example: lacquer thinner.

— Then use a stripper. Product examples: StripX Stripper, Woodfinisher’s Pride.


7. Evaporate water-based paint products safely before disposing of cans.

A. Set open cans in ventilated area.

B. Allow old product to evaporate completely.

C. Replace lids on cans, if possible.


8. Dispose of left-over oil-based products, solvents, paint removers, and most water-based products at hazardous waste disposal/collection site.

A. Store in cool, dark, dry location in paint shop.

B. Keep out of sunlight, and off of damp concrete floor.

C. Leave each product in original container, with its label still affixed and legible as possible.

TIP: If label is not legible (dried paint), print product name on outside of can, using black permanent marking pen.


9. De-activate oil and other chemicals soaked into old rags.

A. Drop used rags into bucket of water, when through with them.

B. Properly dispose of rags at hazardous waste disposal/collection site.


10. Choose chemical strippers with care. Then, follow label instructions.

A. Avoid dangerous solvents. Examples: Methylene chloride, acetone, tuolene, xylene.

B. Safer choices: Organic-active ingredients; slow evaporation.


11. Use plenty of sawdust shavings to soak up residue from chemical stripping.


12. Store finishing and other flammable products in sturdy, locked metal cabinet.

TIP: A used office cabinet works for this.


13. Keep assortment of clean steel wool/abrasive pads in shop.


My father showed me how to set up a paint shop. He made it very clear WHY it was important to know that. I was only 10 or 11.
“Suppose you have two minutes to grab your tools, and head out to the site. What can you afford to show up without? Nothing, Son, when you need it NOW!”




FREE GO-TO GUIDES: Click on post: Steel Wool Guide and Sandpaper Grit Chart.


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Special thanks to the following: and’s group; also,

Home Depot’s Bill, and; and’s commercial consulting.

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Thank you, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob,” and for connecting.


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

Finishing a Table Top

One surface stands out in both residential and business settings: a smooth table top. This includes the kitchen variety, wood desks, living room coffee tables, lamp and corner tables, and many others.

A top, which has a fine finished surface, has always been a desirable, and valuable, addition to any living and office space environment.

The goal is to create an ultra smooth, high performance finish. One where the grain of the wood or painted surface is pleasing, aesthetically.

Typically, the choices of finish include (1) a stain-clearcoat application and (2) a semi-gloss, or full-gloss oil-based coating system. The stain-clearcoat uses a semi-gloss or full gloss coating system. If the table top is to be painted, a semi-gloss or gloss oil-based paint is recommended.

COMPLETE FINISHING METHOD  – (To achieve the highest quality finish available.)


1. Suitable work area.

– Includes: covered floor (eg. dropcloth), adequate lighting and. proper ventilation.

2. Proper safety attire, gear and equipment for finishing process.

– Includes: Safety glasses/goggles, rubber gloves (up to mid-forearm), breathing respirator.

– Suggested: Disposable work suit.

3. Necessary items such as products, tools, supplies and equipment.

A. Products: Coating(s), primers, paint and varnish remover, lacquer thinner, etc.

B. Supplies: Mild soap and water, sponges, garbage container, “Tack rags,” clean/soft rags, masking tape, clear plastic sheeting (roll), clean drop cloth(s), sandpaper (grades No. 120, 180 or 220, and 320 or 400).

C. Tools: Scraper, wire brush, paint/finishing brushes, rollers/roller covers, putty/wall joint knife; also tools for painting process.

D. Equipment: Sander (air-operated or electric).


For a Stain-Clearcoat Finish

1. Remove top surface layers from table top.

A. Evenly spread the chemical remover onto the surface.\

B. As finish begins to lift, scrape clean until no more residue exists or comes off.

C. Clean surface with soap and water solution until clean.

D. Then thoroughly dry with a clean, soft cloth.

E. Re-wipe surface with lacquer thinner to remove any residual finish, and to open wood grain.

F. Leave to fully dry.

2. Sand surface in stages, using sandpapers in gradually-decreased grades.

A. Begin with #120. Sand entire surface in the direction of the wood grain, if it is to be finished with a stain and clear coat system.

B. Sand with #180 or #220 sandpaper.

C. Remove all dust, using dry, clean cloth.

D. Final sand, using #320 or #400 grade paper.

TIP: An air operated or electric sander can be used to promote production and ease sanding.

3. Fill wood grain with filler, if ultra smooth finish is desired.

A. Evenly spread paste-type water based filler or putty onto surface, using a putty knife or wall joint knife.

B. Let the filler and surface dry, according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

C. Sand with #220 grade sandpaper; then follow with either #320 or #400.

D. Reapply if necessary. And, re-sand surface as in “C” above.

4. Wipe entire surface clean and “tack rag” the surface in preparation for the initial finish.

5. Apply stain, using a rag or sponge.

A. Liberally wipe the surface from one end of table to the other.

B. Depending on penetration of stain, reapply it to achieve desired color.

C. Let dry for 12-24 hours.

6. Seal stained surface with appropriate wood sealer or shellac.

A. Apply a thin coat of sealer on the table top surface.

B. TIP: Make several passes to help eliminate bubbling.

Tools: 1 inch china bristle brush, and a 9 inch by ¼ inch Mohair, or non-shed synthetic, roller cover and frame.

C. Let dry for 8-12 hours.

D. Sand the surface with #220 sandpaper, followed by #320.

E. Dust the surface with cloth rag.

F. Then, with “tack cloth, remove all particles. TIP: Take your time. Get it all!

7. Apply second coat of sealer to table.

A. Let dry.

B. and accordingly.

C. Tack down surface.

8. Apply selected top coat finish(varnish, urethane, acrylic, or polyurethane) to top.

A. Use same application method used in the sealing process in step 6.

B. Let dry 12-24 hours.

C. and surface with dry #320 or #400 sandpaper, OR wet sand with #600 paper to dull surface sheen.

D. “Tack cloth” surface down.

9. Apply second coat of top finish.

A. Let dry.

B. Sand using suitable graded sandpaper.

C. Tack surface if multiple coats are desired, or specified.

TIP: After surface has fully cured, a wax can be applied for protection.

For a Painted Finish

1. Painting a table top.

A. Strip previously each failed coatings.*

B. Sand in stages. TIP: Sand after each step, also before applying each finish coat.

C. Fill low areas as needed.

D. Wipe surface with tack cloth.

E. Prime the entire table top if necessary.

F. Apply the finish coats. Use the same application method used to apply the sealers or clear top finishes. (Recommended paint finishes include enamel, polyurethane and urethane.)

* TIP: The quality and appearance of the final finish will depend, in large part, on the careful and thorough removal of maximum layers of previously failed coatings.


1. Apply the paint or clear finish as thinly as possible.

2. Clean and “tack cloth” the surfaces between each stage of sanding.

TIP: The table can be finished using a fine spray finishing method, if an automotive-like finish is desired.

Refinishing table tops tends to be a standard part of any hotel or facility  painter’s job.

RELAX! if this is the first time you’ve been faced with refinishing a table top.

TAKE YOUR TIME! Do one table first.

ALLOW YOURSELF plenty of work space. Great ventilation. Low or no traffic area.

Allow yourself plenty of BETWEEN time. Between steps. Between coats. Between steps and dry times.


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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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