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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here are some more pics a full paint removal

The blue tape square is after the sanding
Hepa Vac Required to meet lead safe rules
The pic with the full wall wood shake shows the siding after grinding but before sanding

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Lead safe practices when you are dealing with wood siding

Q: What is the best way to keep my old growth wood siding, and get a paint job that last while still following the lead safe requirements
A: Use a certified painting contractor with experience is fully restoring wood siding.

There are different levels of prep involved with exterior painting. Sometimes someones wants a standard scrape and scuff sand job and sometimes someone wants the surface to be washed only. Other times a person is ready to remove ALL of the exterior coating and start from scratch. It is the job of the painting contractor to make sure they communicate with the homeowner to be sure they are giving them the desired result.
One area that I run into a lot is when homeowners have lead paint but have very nice old growth wood siding or wood shake. They don't want to simply paint over the existing paint job and they don't want to spend triple what it would cost of paint the house just to put up some composite siding that claims to be as good as wood.
A great solution for wood siding is to grind off the paint using a paint striping machine and then sand the bare wood with a orbital sander.
It should be noted that if this is going to be done you should use lead safe practices and work with a contractor that has removed lead paint before. There are rules covering a safe work place environment and disposal and should be followed.
If lead is present all of these rules need to be followed regardless if you want a standard scrape job or all the paint fully removed.

Here are some pictures of a full lead paint removal job. The homeowners had beautiful old growth wood shake. They didn't want to re-coat the paint that was in terrible condition and didn't want to spend 30 thousand or more on new siding (that many would argue doesn't perform as well anyway)
Call Complete Custom Painting for more information

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to do a Epoxy Floor Coating that lasts

A few years ago I took a class on Epoxy floor coatings offered through Hirshfields. The class offered hands on training in the appropriate way to etch, clean, prime, paint and seal a garage floor coating so it will stand up the the rigors of a Minnesota Winter. Since then we've done quite a few garage floors and I've always followed the same process. I'm going to share it with you so you know a good standard for completing a garage floor
1. Wash any stains, rust marks of areas with dark grime.
2. Etch the floor with a diamond etcher and avoid the Muratic Acid. Spend more time Etching until you are sure that the floor is sufficiently etched. You'll be able to tell because you'll see the color and profile of the surface change.
3. Vacuum the floor not once, not twice, but 3 times. Once after etching, once before the pre-prime, and once before the 1st coat of epoxy.
4. Use a good product and use one system. I use a system with a long history of performance that comes in a 100 percent solids or 84 percent solids. I start with the pre-prime, apply two coats of epoxy (and apply some colored flakes after the 2nd coat of epoxy is still wet). Then I top coat everything with 3 coats of a 2 part urethane. The Urethane is a important step that will help protect the flakes, help protect against fading and chalking and help against salt damage.
5. Let everything dry about a week until you drive on it. You can move general yard equipment in the garage within 48 hours but avoid driving on the floor for a week and then always part on some rubber pads placed under the car tires.

Of course the most important steps are the application techniques, cleaning techniques, mixing techniques and product knowledge that you learn through training and time on the job so if you are thinking of having it done make to consult a expert.

Call Nick D for a free quote
Complete Custom Painting LLC
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to keep paint from bleeding behind the tape

Q: Why does Paint Bleed behind the tape?
A: You are not burnishing it or cleaning the surface.

Lots of times when I am visiting a homeowner who wants their walls painted I'll note a few paint dots that got behind the tape and stained the baseboard or door frame. I always try to point that out to the homeowner in a subtle way before I start painting because if they chose a similar color their may be confusion as to who got the paint there.
I would make the following points for homeowners who are going to do it themselves or homeowners who are hiring a professional painter:
1. Clean the surface. Lots of small particles sit on the surfaces of baseboard and sides of door frames and you have to wipe them, tack cloth them, or at the very least sweep them with a brush prior to taping the surface. The surface may look clean but I would make a point to sweep over it with a clean paint brush after giving it the feel test.
2. Use the appropriate tape. I'm not sure it makes a huge difference between 3m tan, 3m blue, frog tape, or inter-tape tan with regard to preventing bleed (depending on the surface). All of them will prevent bleed if you apply them correctly on the correct surface and all of them will fail if you do not apply them correctly. Generally stick to the instructions on the tapes wrapping. Delicate tape for freshly painted surfaces and the higher adhesion tape for wood that has fully cured varnish and paint, etc etc.
3. Burnish you tape line: Finally, make sure to take a small putty knife (preferably plastic or at least dull) and score over the top of the tape line prior to cutting. This will get rid of air bubbles and make sure all of the tapes adhesive surface will have been pressed into contact with the surface you are trying to protect.
4. Make sure to pull out the paint over the top of the tape line. This basically means that you shouldn't let a bunch of paint pool on the top of the tape line. Although, it shouldn't matter as much if you follow steps 1 through 3. It is still a good habit to make sure you have a nicely even pulled out surface.

It should work every time.

Complete Custom Painting
651-336-0561 cellular

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Measure Moisture on any exterior painting project

Q: If the the bid prices appear the same, what can I ask to help in choosing a painting company for my exterior painting project.?
A: Ask them how long they plan to let the surface sit after they wash it before they apply the primer/paint? Their answer will let you know if they are qualified to paint your house or building

A crucial step in an exterior painting or staining job is making sure you have a clean surface. After the scraping/sanding/grinding and other prep work usually comes the washing. Depending on the surface you can use a gentle hose wash with some detergent or a power washer with a higher psi in some commercial settings.
In most cases water is involved. After the surface is clean but before you prime (or paint) you are absolutely going to want your painting contractor to measure the moisture level in the surface. When I first started I had heard through others in the industry that the general rule of thumb was to let wood surfaces sit in warm sunny weather for 5 days to a week before coating and composite or concrete surfaces sit for the same. Since I wasn't sure one way or the other, I purchased a moisture meter. I figured I needed one to measure moisture for deck staining anyway. I was pretty surprised what I found. Concrete, while it may appear totally dry may have too high a moisture content to paint. The same is true for wood. Never assume because the surface has sat in warm weather for a "general" amount of time that it will be dry and ready to paint. Any painter or painting company should always test the surface with a moisture meter.

Back to the original question. If you are having a painting bid and ask the painting contractor how long they are going to let the surface sit before they paint and they tell you that they have a set amount of time and don't need to test the surface for moisture, then throw their proposal out.

Complete Custom Painting LLC
651-336-0561 cellular

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to hire a good painter.

How can you be sure you are getting a good paint job (large or small)?

There are a lot of painting companies that run around with a lot of sub-contractors who paint for them and give them different names like "production managers" and then grade them on some type of "sign off" system where the homeowner or manager grades the painters. The claim is that this "sign off system" ensures a quality job. There is also the school of thought that only employees provide top quality work.

The truth is that only individuals provide top quality work. Work status (regarding employee or subcontractor) has nothing to do with performance. Generally a "sign off" system doesn't ensure the job will go smoothly (after all, you can give them a poor grade for the job and none the less have to pay for it).
Nor does an employee of a company ensure quality. I don't even need to expand on this point because it is simply human nature that some employees are good and some are not.

So how do you make sure you hired a good painter?
While some painters or paint companies may not agree with my style, here is how my company makes sure to do a great job on every project:
(I've broken it down into 4 points)
1. The owner of the painting company (me) is on site or at least stops in every day.
This is important because nobody cares more about the job then the owner of the company. If the painting company is so big and disconnected from the field that the job is left to employees or sub-contractors who have THEIR best interest in mind, not the companies, then they probably care more about their work schedule, their breaks, their profit (if they are a sub-contractor) then if you are getting the best job possible. So make sure the owner of the painting company is on site (at least for awhile everyday)
2. I give lots of references. We suggest our customers actually call the references and ask the questions that are relevant to their painting job. If it is a small residential job then you may want to call homeowners. If it is a big Multi-housing project then you may want to call some Multi-housing property managers we have worked for.
3. We pay our painters a bonus on a sign off system. After the job is done we ask the homeowner/builder/manager to grade our performance. It only makes sense that on larger jobs that require more painters, you pay them an incentive for better performance. Sub-contractors specifically should be paid (at least in part) on performance.
4. We give before and after pictures (on the appropriate jobs) and ask a TON of questions on the front end. If you hire a painter (weather you are a homeowner, a builder or a property manager) and you can't be on site for the project, you'll want a painter who is in contact with you a lot. Make sure they bring this up before they hire you. Some keys to look for are: Did they ask for your email, cell phone number, questions on scheduling, questions entry to the house, questions on working late, questions on potential unforeseen work. Here is the bottom line, if they were not detailed in the first meeting prior to selecting them for your painting project then the likelihood is they are not that detailed a person. You can then decide for yourself if you want a painter in your house who is not that detailed.

Call Complete Custom Painting for top quality painting jobs in the Twin Cities Area
651-336-0561 cellular

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What to do when another contractor is reponsible for a change in your schedule

Something happened to me on a commercial job site that may change the way I approach all commercial jobs.
Here is what happened: We were given a deadline for a very nice commercial project. The painting portion of the project consisted of 14 days of work. All trades had roughly 2 months 2 finish by the time I got involved. The drywall contractor was more than 2 weeks off schedule and as a result, moved me very close to the overall deadline for the project (and well past the painting deadline). Any potential reader of this article would know that you can't paint drywall that has not been taped and sanded so it is obvious that the painter can't start until the drywall is complete. Being that the drywall was completed 2 weeks late, us painters started 2 weeks late and had to work along side lots of contractors that would otherwise not be in our way. Electricians, flooring contractors, network wiring, finish carpentry, etc etc. In the original schedule we were supposed to have the place to ourselves for the period that it would take to finish. In the new scenario we had to work around multiple contractors and instead of completing individual rooms or sections we were forced to do portions of rooms and then come back to them. When it started occurring that we were working in the exact same area as a contractor who needed the area to themselves (like the concrete staining contractor) sparks started to fly. He started yelling about how this was his area and he needed it to himself and I pointed out to him that I had not had my allotted time to finish my area. It caused for a lot of confusion.
The project got done and it looks great but what a mess the scheduling became because of one contractor who got off schedule.
My old philosophy went as follows: Do your best, show up on time, be on schedule and do excellent work and if the schedule gets thrown off by someone else, the General Contractor will know that all following schedules my be backed up as a result (or you'll have to work longer/ bring more guys in order to finish on time)

That philosophy worked well until got a call from the General telling me that the Concrete Staining Contractor called him all upset about how I had put him off his schedule and was in his way. I couldn't believe that the General wasn't aware of the fact that the Drywall guys had put me off schedule by better than 2 weeks.

My point of course is that you should never assume that a General actually knows what is going on, on a job site. Point out everything. Do it in a polite, professional way. Take pictures of finished work and send a lot of completion schedule updates. Had I sent a email saying that the drywall contractor was way behind and as a result the painting portion would get started late, the General would have been prepared for the concrete staining guy's complaint and told the concrete staining guy that the area belonged to the painters.

It is not in my nature to complain or point out how someone else is screwing up on a job site. I try to mind my own business and do my work. Unfortunately, you are not always the only factor in the completion of your work on a commercial job site so be detailed, take good notes and let the general know of every single...(and I mean every single) change. It can save you a phone call.

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