Epoxy Floors

Epoxy floors were something we use to do very often. It actually became a cornerstone of the business and became so big we split off a separate company; which we eventually sold off.

The biggest problem is you need a large crew to do them right and most large floor projects are seasonal and far between unless you want to travel. You have the problem of how to hold on to your crew while seeking out the next job.

Almost all commercial flooring projects become available at the same. The holidays, while the plants are already shut done for maintenance. So you have several local companies that want their epoxy floors or special coating floors done at the same time.

One of the largest commercial resinous flooring companies in the United States is actually a commercial cleaning company. That’s how they keep their crew busy between jobs.

I really do like doing floors but travel is no longer an option. We have some pretty impressive floors on our resume. Very large, difficult ones.

Every once in awhile we get a chance to do one and then I remember how much fun they are. Most of the coatings we got into were exotic like MMA-Methyl Methacrylate but we did a lot of Epoxy and Urethane floors too.

We just did a very small exterior Epoxy Floor. Small but still enough to make me remember the “glory days” of the past.

This job was a front porch. We treated it as we would any floor. Perfect prep and coatings. There is nothing worse then a failing floor coating. It is always very important to clean the concrete and grind it.

This one got a two component commercial grade chemical epoxy and will perform for many yeaars.

High Ceilings

High ceilings are difficult with even the best of equipment. We just had two back to back. One was a commercial job in the Old Market. That ceiling was at 32 feet high. The second was in a residence that had vaulted ceilings that went to 23 feet at the peek. The residential job required scaffolding because of the way the ceiling was vaulted and the Commercial one required scaffolding because of the height and because it required a lot of scraping which can’t really be effectively done with a pole from the floor.

Scaffolding work can be difficult. The transport and set up is a task in its self. That stuff is heavy!! When using scaffolding it is always important to remember the weight and the floor it will be on. It is always very important to protect the floor prior to setup. We commonly use a product called Ramboard . It protects the floor and doesn’t get bound up in the wheels like a drop cloth would. It’s worth the cost.

The commercial job we did turned into a bit of a nightmare. it was obvious there would be a little bit of scraping from the ground but it quickly became obvious that there had been previous smoke damage and the ceiling was not cleaned and primed when it was previously painted. It took a lot of scraping and a lot of primer.

The primer we used was a shellac based product because of the smoke (big gun). It took quite a bit of it too.

Unfortunately I don’t have any nice after pictures. The new tenant moved in right on our heels.

Cabinet Pulls 2

Customers often ask if they should change out their cabinet pulls or knobs as part of a cabinet refinishing job. You can dramatically change the look of your cabinets by doing so and the cost can be minimal. I have found one of the best places to get new hardware from is Amazon. The prices are dramatically less.

If you have single hole knobs then it is easy. If you have double hole pulls then either find the same spacing between the holes that you have now or pick something completely different and we can fill the existing holes and drill new ones.

cabinet pulls

Be careful. Often packaging says a particular spacing dimension and it actually turns out to be different. If for example you find a cabinet pull at Lowes that you like, I would buy one, take it home and make sure it lines up correctly before buying a box full. I bought an entire box of cabinet pulls at Menards once and every package in that box was marked 3 and 1/2 inches but every one was a different size. Can be very frustrating.

If you are changing the spacing of the knob or pull, it is one of the first things that is done in the shop so you will want to make that decision before having the cabinet refinishing process started so the holes can be filled with an epoxy filler and sanded down.

Cabinets Max Capacity

So as mentioned many times, cabinets are our “thing”. Most likely because I enjoy doing them. I can’t really explain why I do, I just do. Anyhow the problem we are facing is running out of room in our shop so we can stay efficient.

We just finished a job that had over 200 cabinet doors. That’s a crazy number. It was for the kitchen, built-in units throughout the house, vanity’s, etc. Plus all the drawers, shelves, balusters, spindles, etc.

cabinets

So what do you do when you run out of space but hate moving? I like our Bellevue location and in many ways I don’t feel like we have finished moving in yet. Argh!

Expansion is a better option then moving but the spaces on either side of us have been in “limbo” as far as when they will be available, if ever.

That being said, I believe we will be looking for additional space specifically for cabinet work and likely keep our Bellevue location as a base of operations.

It will be nice to be able to set up several spray booth areas to do multiple jobs in tandem.

Cabinet Checklist

To avoid a potential problem, here is a general guideline on do’s and don’ts or “cabinet checklist”.

We are well known for our cabinet and wood finishing work. I am shocked by some of what I see in the average week of estimates. Often we are asked to “fix” a cabinet job or during a discussion with a potential customer I am told what another paint contractor is planning to do.

#1. If the contractor is not planning on spraying all primer and finish coats…run. It is amazing to me that there are outfits out there not spraying cabinets and they think that is acceptable. If you are told you won’t be able to tell the difference, don’t believe it. Most contractors that do not spray cabinets don’t because of the amount of work involved in prepping a job to spray. It is lots of work. The end result is worth the effort. There is a very successful outfit in Omaha that sprays all the doors in their shop and brushes everything else at your home. You can ( I can ) tell the difference.

#2. If the cabinets are being refinished, i.e. they have a coating on them now. Stain or paint. They need to be solvent cleaned to remove grease and dirt before sanding.

#3. Everything must be sanded after cleaning.

#4. All seams, gaps, etc must be caulked. Crown molding, trim pieces, cabinet door seams, etc. This is another one that is skipped and it’s amazing what a big difference it makes in appearance.

#5. Everything will need both a stain blocking and bonding primer. We spray three coats of primer total.

#6. The choice of top coat is a big decision. What we use now is a far cry from what we used long ago. over a few decades we have refined the finish coat to what I believe is the best. Everyone has their favorite brand or type of finish. I’d put what we use up against anyone. That’s why we give a ten year warranty on our cabinet work.

High Performance Coatings

High performance coatings are something we do a lot of and when you find a system that works well it sells itself.

We did some coating work for the Olympic Trials Pool in Omaha a few years ago and that system has proven to be very effective.

We are in the process of doing several projects this year and just completed a set of exterior stairs in the old market. They were in very bad shape and had obviously been neglected for some time.

We used an epoxy primer and an aliphatic top coat. Amerlock Sealer From Pittsburg Paints and Amershield . Both of the products are in a class all by themselves.

high performance coating

We spend the necessary time to prep the surface by grinding, sanding and wire brushing the surface. Then a vacuum and solvent cleaning. The surface gets one coat of a 2 component primer followed by two 2 component top coats. There is a recoat window on the finish coat that must be followed. In the mid 80’s it must be recoated within 12 hours.

The results were great. we have several more projects in the old market yet this summer!!!

The next project outside of the old market will be coating some steel at Stratcom.

Cabinet Pulls

Cabinet Pulls

Cabinet pulls, handles or knobs are something we are often asked to change or add when refinishing a set of cabinets. It is not a difficult task.

Changing out the hinges can sometimes prove to be a challenge when the old hinge was mortised into the cabinet box. This creates a large opening that must be filled and sanded smooth before new hinges can be installed. It can be time consuming to fill an entire set of cabinets but it is doable. When we are asked to fill old hinge pockets we use a two component epoxy filler. It sets extremely fast and hard but is still shapable by sanding.

Cabinet pulls are much easier to add or change. It can dramatically change the look of a set of cabinets. Especially in combination with refinishing the cabinets.

When we add cabinet pulls to drawers or cabinet doors we create a jig for the dimensions of the handle or pull the customer has picked out if we don’t already have one made.

After the jig is made it is simply a matter of lining everything up and drilling the holes. Helps to use new/sharp drill bits.

After the holes have been done we sand the area well to eliminate any fracturing or splinters around the drilled area. The holes can be done prior to or after finishing. I prefer to do them prior to help seal the drilled areas as we proceed with the cabinet finishing.

Ceiling Repair

Ceiling repair can be a challenge when done correctly. It is often not the repair but the texture work after the repair is complete that makes or breaks the success of the repair. I always say that if you can find the repaired area, it is a failure. That is tough to accomplish. Many years ago I did work for a restoration company in Omaha and got so good at the drywall repair and texture work that they use to send me out instead of the dry-wall contractors. Sometimes being a perfectionist is a good thing.

Maximum overspray protection

Doing the repair is a slow, meticulous process and will take a few days since there are dry times involved. This is not something you want rushed or it will look like it was.

This is not something I would suggest a homeowner try on their own but I will go through the general steps so you can spot if someone is skipping steps or rushing it.

Ready for a final sand then texture

If you have a crack on your ceiling it will likely be at a tape joint. Whether it is on a tape joint or not and whether it is on a ceiling or wall it will need to have the loose material removed, be sanded and re-taped. You want the repaired area sanded lower then the textured area and the layers of mud should be applied after adequate dry times and proper sanding between coats of mud.

Needless to say all this type of work creates a lot of dust and debris. drop cloths, plastic sheeting and a good shop vac are a must.

You don’t want anyone using “hot” or fast set mud. They are just rushing the job and it will show.

In the Omaha area a crows foot texture is common. Smooth ceilings and even a knock down texture is popular too. Practicing the texture on pieces of cardboard is a good idea. The appearance of the texture can be controlled by many factors such as how diluted the mud is with water, drytime before texturing, and technique.

these photos are from a knockdown texture so after everything was ready to go the mud was sprayed on, allowed to set up and then knifed off.

The repaired ares are allowed to dry, primed and then the entire ceiling is painted.

Painting Brick

Painting Brick is not my first choice when painting a home. I like the look of brick in most cases but occasionally we are asked to paint it. Sometimes it is a good look but it is essentially forever so it is a decision you want to give thought to.

To do the job correctly there are steps that must be followed. Just like painting a house, the brick must be thoroughly washed and allowed adequate time to dry.

The brick must be primed and the primer must be sprayed and scrubbed in using a thick nap roller cover. I like a 3/4 cover. The primer of choice is XIM 400. Expensive but worth the money. You can go with a high Alkali primer but I have found that in most cases it is not necessary.

A quality exterior latex is the way to go for the finish coat. On this project we used Pittsburg Sunproof Satin. A minimum of two coats are required. Both coats should also be scrubbed in to insure good coverage and fill all cracks and pin holes in the mortar joints.

brick before
brick after

This home turned out well. Interesting color selections a sharp contrast of before and after.

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Paint Your House

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Paint Your House

Some times it is obvious when it’s time to paint your house. If it is not obvious, here is a short guideline for when it is time. The trick is always to try and catch your home before it has extremely failed paint. It can reach a point where it becomes much more expensive to repaint just because of the extent of the failure.

Your paint is failing. Peeling, flaking, blistering paint are all signs that it is due for a makeover. Some paint may appear to be sound but has faded considerably. You can sometimes remove a downspout to see the “before and after” or track how much your home has faded. Faded paint is a early sign of failure. Don’t ignore failing paint, it can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Selling your home. Curb appeal is always a factor when selling your home. Repainting your home is a small investment for the big sale. A freshly painted house is a sign of a well cared for home. You have one opportunity to make a first impression.

Carpentry issues. Damaged siding, window trim, etc. can be signs of additional issues. Have them addressed as part of a new exterior paint job. You may have wood rot, water damage issues, carpentry ants/ termites, etc.

Failing Caulk. Once caulk fails the above begins. Water damage, etc. The best time to have your home professionally caulked is as part of a exterior paint job.

It’s due. You don’t have to wait for damage or obvious signs of paint failure. It’s better and cheaper if you don’t. The life of an exterior paint job in the Omaha market is dependent on several factors. The quality and degree of prep work, the quality of the paint, How often the home is washed and minor paint issues addressed, etc. If everything was done right, you should expect 10 to 15 years on the life of you painted exterior. High Quality Paint makes a big difference. If your paint job is 10 years old or more, it’s time to paint your house.