We recently did two commercial painting projects and both involved repair and painting of columns. One job was in Council Bluffs Iowa and the other was in Bellevue Nebraska. The first one in Council Bluffs had columns that were not too bad. Peeling paint and a bit gouged up. These we sanded down and we used a couple coats of glazing putty on them.

column before

The putty is a two component product. You have to move fairly fast. On the upside it sands out easily. We then prime it out and paint it.

column during

The second project had columns in much worse shape. For these we used a commercial filler product because of the depth of the repair. Then we finished it off with the glazing putty.

column after

When doing this type of repair work on columns it is very important to sand thoroughly and correctly. The curved nature will highlight poor sanding. We always do a couple coats of a quality primer as well.

Repairs of this type are time consuming but when done right the results are great.

Spraying in the Wind fails

Spraying in the wind fails…what do you do?

We were just doing a commercial exterior. On the first day all went according to plan. Second day everything went wrong. It was very windy. There was a constant wind of about 17 mph with occasional gusts of 30mph. These are not the type of conditions you want to spray in. We have sprayed in very windy conditions before. It is doable if you know how to compensate.

This job was a time crunch so we went for it. The wind made it feel much colder then it was. Often the hardest part in windy conditions is battling the masking you may need to do. The paper and plastic was giving us fits as they blew every which way but we didn’t give up. The masking we did took much longer then it should have and then we had to go back and redo much of it after it blew back down. Ladders blew over too but I was convinced I could make it work. There are tricks to spraying in the wind and I was determined to use all of them.

spraying in the wind fail

When we finally got enough masked off to get some spraying going, we loaded up the pump and got ready to roll. As fate would have it. One pull of the trigger on the gun and the needle in the gun appeared to go out. That means the paint keeps coming out even after releasing the trigger. We tried everything we could while out in the field. Cleaning it etc.

We decided it just wasn’t meant to be on that day and went back to the shop to fix the gun.

Exterior Commercial

Exterior Commercial

Exterior commercial work is sometimes a challenge because of the traffic flow (customers) and not necessarily the task at hand.

We were recently asked to repaint the exterior of a chain of several grocery stores. The toughest part was the height of what needed to be painted. There was a lot of traffic going in and out as well. It was high work but we planned on using a man lift so the height was not an issue but the constant flow of people was a concern.

It was windy!

Often when a business has customers that are in proximity to the work, extra measures are needed to protect them and us. It is sometimes amazing that we can put barriers up and people will step right over them.

Vehicle traffic is also something we take into consideration. Unfortunately the wind and October/November temperatures were a concern. Each job was only a couple days work but the locations were all over town. We were in Omaha, Plattsmouth, Lincoln and Grand Island.

The reason we were painting The various sections of these stores was because they were rebranding the dining part of the grocery store from Market Grill to Waldburgers.

I was a fan of the Market Grill. They had great hamburgers. I look forward to trying the Waldburger addition. I have heard good things about the restaurant.

Painting Doors

Painting doors. lot’s and lot’s of doors. Putting stickers on painted doors is never a good idea. With the covid virus many hotels started sanitizing rooms and then placing stickers on the door indicating that it had been thoroughly cleaned. Makes the customer feel “safe”. The problem with this is the stickers damage the doors. This is a problem for a hotel and a big problem for a big hotel.

The doors have to be prepped out and repainted. When working on a hotel with 600 rooms, that’s a challenge.

Since the doors had a high gloss finish and were previously sprayed. They have to be sprayed again. This is a bit of a challenge in a high traffic hotel.

Paint odor is a concern, overspray, customer traffic…

Painting doors

Fortunately we can get the rooms in blocks which will minimize traffic flow. We masked the doors out and protected the surrounding areas. The damaged areas needed to be sanded down. We used an auto body glazing material. Sanded that down and primed a couple times. Put two finish coats and cleaned up.

Library Paneling

Library paneling is always a nice project to do. The before and after is dramatic. On this particular project the before photos were blurry. The stain we used was provincial by Minwax. With library paneling there is always a lot of sanding to do. Before staining and between coats of finish.

We did not need to precondition the wood but we did use a sealer after staining and three coats of semi gloss pre catalyzed lacquer.

We timed the project so we had a full day for the stain to dry before spraying the lacquer.

Often the biggest challenge when doing this type of work is venting the lacquer fumes out of the property. It is a rather strong smell.

Wrought Iron Fence Painting

Wrought iron is made by repeatedly heating and working the iron over and over. This process makes the iron very strong and also expensive. We are in the process of cleaning, prepping, priming and painting hundreds of sections of Wrought iron fencing. Wrought iron fence painting is a good example of why the prep work is so important.

Wrought Iron Fence painting
Wrought Iron Fence Sections

The fence sections are very heavy so we need a minimum of two guys to move each one. We use stands to keep the sections upright. First thing we do is use a commercial degreaser. We liberally spray the iron down and wipe it clean. This will remove oil and contaminants from the manufacture process. We use a special degreaser from a local automotive supply house. The nice thing about it is it’s solvent based so it will evaporate off the wrought iron and does not need rinsing.

Then we caulk all the various sections. Where the verticals meet the horizontals. This takes more time then you realize.

The primer we use is a two component high performance urethane and the finish is a high performance urethane as well.. This is a very durable but expensive system. Many years of exterior exposure are to be expected with the system we are using.

Before and After

Sometimes we do a project and the before and after is dramatic. Recently we did an exterior and it is an example of this.

The home had steel siding and the color was rather awful. I honestly wasn’t keen on the new color selection but it actually turned out great. Perhaps because it looked so bad before.

Before image of house

This is how the home looked after painting
Exterior Painting 2021

Exterior Painting 2021

The exterior painting season (2021) for Omaha got off to a slow start the weather was rather cool in the spring, especially at night, and now in August we have non stop heat advisories. Many people ask me when the best time of the year is for exterior painting. It is in the late spring or early fall. Those are the ideal weather conditions.

Most exteriors take about a week regardless of the time of year. Rain will of course always cause delays. There hasn’t been any major changes in the color trend this year. A few more people painting their brick and a bit more dark colors. Dark grays and blues.

We have had many steel and vinyl paint jobs so far this year and a lot of exterior commercial repaints. Strip malls and such.

The biggest challenge this year is the shortage of paint. If we need 20 gallons of paint we can find 6. It is very frustrating and make scheduling difficult. We have started buying the un-tinted base for many of the products we normally use. It’s a little odd to walk into our supplier with the paint in hand and ask them to tint it up but times area different at present.

The shortages are across the board. We are having a difficult time finding blast media for some industrial projects that need sand blasting.

We have an industrial project that is hung up because of the blast media shortage. We were able to find enough paint to do a small masonry building while waiting for additional supplies.

Unfortunately we are being told the shortages will only get worse.

Interior Lift Work

Interior lift work is common on commercial painting projects. We recently used one of our man lifts on a project in Omaha. It was the only way to get to the project besides scaffolding.

The project was in the Omaha Hilton downtown. There was a leak in the ballroom ceiling that caused some damage to the drywall and paint. It was more work getting set up to do the work then the work itself.

interior lift work in Hilton ballroom.
lift work

We masked off the surroundings and had several drops down on the floor. The damage was next to and under some decorative lights. Doing the work around these intricate light fixtures was challenging.

The ceiling was scraped and then sealed with an oil base primer. Several skim coats of mud and lots of sanding and it was ready for paint. The painting was straight forward to do. Couple of coats of paint and then it was time for the worst part. Cleaning up all the drywall dust from the sanding. The dust accumulated on the underside of the light fixture. It is a delicate glass fixture and it was difficult to vacuum all the dust up without causing any damage. Lots of the areas were hard to get to even with an extension on the shopvac.

The remaining dust landed on the drops on the floor so that cleanup was easy.

At this same Hotel we did some ceiling work that we couldn’t get the lift to so we had to use a step ladder. We used a ten foot one. This repair was also a water leak but it caused enough damage that a piece of the drywall had to be replaced. pieced in some drywall and lots of sanding. It would have been much easier to do off of a lift but that was not an option.

ten foot ladder work
ten foot ladder
Best Cabinet Painting Practices

Best Cabinet Painting Practices

I think we do the best cabinet painting in Omaha and the surrounding communities. I have seen what the “other guys” do. There is some good work out there but ours is by far much better in craftsmanship and the materials used. We use the best coatings available and I am always looking for something better.

How do you know if your getting the best cabinet painting?

Cabinets must be sprayed. Period. If a paint contractor tells you they can brush it and you can’t tell the difference, run. You CAN tell the difference. You wouldn’t have someone brush a new coat of paint on your car? The reason many paint contractors don’t spray is because of the prep involved in getting your kitchen ready to be sprayed. It is a lot of work to prep out a kitchen for spraying. I have had many customers tell me that they had no idea so much work went into getting it ready to go.

One of my biggest cabinet painting competitors brushes the cabinets and takes the doors and drawers to his shop to spray. This makes no sense. Obviously avoiding the time involved in prepping to spray in an occupied home.

Best cabinet painting prep

The steps we take when painting or staining cabinets are as follows. Glazing cabinets has a few extra steps:

  1. The cabinet doors and drawers are labeled and removed.
  2. The door and drawer pulls are removed as well as the hinges. The doors and drawers are transported to our spray booth.
  3. Appliances that need to be removed are.
  4. The floor is completely covered with rosin paper.
  5. The countertops, walls, appliances, sink are masked off and protected.
  6. Zip walls are installed. These are plastic barriers enclosing the work area.
  7. The doors and drawers are worked in tandem with the work being done at the Home.
  8. The cabinets are cleaned, sanded, caulked, puttied as needed.
  9. Any repair work is done as well as drilling and filling door and drawer holes if new pulls are to be installed.
  10. The cabinets get two coats of bonding primer and one coat of stain blocking primer. Sanded between coats.
  11. The cabinets get two coats of finish. Sanded between coats.
  12. The cabinets get 2 coats of clear sealer. The best is General Finishes Polyurethane.
  13. Doors and drawers are reinstalled, hardware installed.
  14. Everything is cleaned up.
Best cabinet painting results

Cabinet work is a time consuming process. The best cabinet painting requires many steps to follow, as you can see. If you look at the list above you will notice it is mostly prep work. Getting everything ready for paint. That is the key to success. Professional results require the skills of a professional cabinet painter.

In Omaha there are many painting contractors and a few that are skilled at cabinets. Ask questions about the process and how much prep goes into the job. The Paints, primers, stains and clear coats and glazes should be high end specialty products for professional use. The contractor should have many years experience using these products.