Factory Painting

Factory Painting

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Factory painting or commercial painting has it’s own set of challenges. Quality workmanship is of course the objective but other considerations must be taken into account. Safety is always of greater concern. The work conditions are often a challenge.

Speed and strange work hours must always take a second seat to safety. Often machinery and equipment are still operational while improvements are taking place.

We recently had a job that was not only operational but they were also in the process of moving locations so there was a lot of equipment being moved and an endless number of people coming and going to get things moved.

In this situation it’s best to bite the bullet and pick work hours that will have the fewest people and activity going on. There was a deadline to be vacated from the property by the end of the month so that made it a greater challenge.

On any project it is best to have realistic expectations and meet objectives in small slices rather then get rushed and create a bigger problem because of pressure.

Disasters can occur. On a factory painting or commercial job the likelihood of a problem is greater but problems can occur on any scale job when speed overrides common sense.


factory painting


On an upscale residential job a homeowner decided to do some work of his own while we were working on his home. I don’t know if the motivation was speed or an attempt to save money but it ended up costing a lot to correct the mistake. He dropped a staging platform of a Granite counter top and destroyed it. We certainly could have done the work and it would have cost much less then new counter tops.

A steady, well planned approach is always the best course of action on improvement projects.


Smelly Paint

Smelly Paint

All paint has an odor associated with it. Solvent based products have a strong smell and even latex paint will have an odor; just not as strong. What we are discussing is paint that just smells awful. I have had people often ask me why paint sometimes smells like bad milk.

On commercial job-sites I have employees bring smelly paint to my attention and think someone has urinated into open five gallon buckets of paint. Which does happen believe it or not.

The culprit is bacteria. Just like with milk, bacteria will grow in a latex product and produce a strong odor. This normally happens in an older open can of paint but can also occur in any open can where bacteria can get introduced and grow.

Smelly paint is often an indication of bacteria growth. In solvent based products this is not a problem because the solvents kills bacteria. You can sometimes use the product if there is no visible growth or mold but my suggestion is to get rid of it. It is possible to transfer that odor to what you are painting even if the paint appears to be good in all other respects.

If you have already applied a latex product that has an odor to it and it appears sound in all other respects, the fix is to apply a sealer. Preferably a solvent based one and repaint. I would suggest tinting the sealer to your finish coat to make coverage easier when you repaint.

Door Staining

Door staining is not difficult with a little know how and the right tools. Not surprisingly the most important component is the stain. There are the big box store stains and the stains available from paint stores. Even among paint stores there are some that are garbage. I like Gemini stains and prefer to use them when possible. There are some others that are good as well. I’ve previously discussed the different types of stain and for theses doors, pictured below, I used a mineral spirit based wiping stain.


door staining
Stain Match


Besides the stain you will need a good area to work in with good ventilation. Sand paper or sanding sponges, gloves, rags, a few throw away brushes and I like to apply my stain with sheepskin scraps.


stain tools


Once you have your work area picked out and the floor protected you will want to lightly sand the doors. I normally use about 120 grit paper. Then wipe them down with a clean rag.


door staining



On raised panel doors I like to stain the panels first. This is a good area for the brush. To get the stain into all the seams around the trimmed out areas. I next stain the horizontal panels and then the vertical ones. These doors were made from oak so no pre-treatment or wood conditioner was necessary prior to staining. On softer woods or woods with open grain it is usually a good idea to precondition the wood to make the appearance uniform. I make my own wood conditioner and will discuss that in a future post. There are wood conditioners available for sale if you need one.


door staining horizontals


The appearance of the stain can be adjusted by many means. How long the stain is left on the wood prior to wiping, how it is applied, how much you sand, if you precondition the wood or not, etc. If you stain a door and discover it is not quite what you want, you can darken it by staining again or by “dry brushing” addition stain onto the surface.


door staining done


These doors were stained on saw horses. If you need to stain larger doors, a trick is to nail a piece of wood at the top of the door and lean it against a wall.


door stain leaning to wall


against wall


Because you can adjust the look by so many means I recommend first staining a piece of the same type of wood so you know what you need to do when ready for the door or doors.


Once the doors are stained you can lightly sand and seal/finish with your preferred finish. These doors got 3 coats of Pre-Catalyzed lacquer.


Five Gallon Bucket

Five Gallon Bucket

A five gallon bucket is what you are most likely to be getting your paint in for many home painting projects. A bathroom or similar small area you’ll likely get a gallon or two.

The vast majority of the paint we purchase is in fives so that brings with it the question of what to do with that bucket when it is empty. One thing is certain, we try to never throw those buckets away. It is worth the time and effort to clean them out. Especially when you consider how long that bucket is going to be sitting in a landfill. We typically go through hundreds in a month so we give them away to schools, daycare centers, etc.

A five gallon bucket has so many uses from storage to gardening, etc. No point in going into all the uses for them. There are actually some “books” out there on what you can do with them. Some of them have good ideas and some rather silly ones. The point is that if you had latex paint in that bucket it is very easy to clean out and you should do so.

The biggest trick to making the job of cleaning out that bucket easy is to put the lid on it when empty. Wet paint is much easier to remove and clean. If the bucket has dried paint in it we will usually line them up and fill them with water to soften the paint and then into the sink it goes. We pour the water from the dirty bucket into the next one to be cleaned so we don’t waste more water then necessary.


cleaning buckets


A little hot water and a plastic scrubby makes for an easy clean.



Efflorescence is something I’ve mentioned before on this website. It is the movement and deposit of salts on masonry surfaces. That movement is because of the presence of water. This is the reason that efflorescence is a good indication of having a potential water problem. If you discover this on your basement walls, you have water coming through the wall and need to address the source of the problem. Sometimes it is as simple as extending your down spouts away from your home or cleaning out your gutters.


We recently had an interior commercial job and discovered this problem. The walls we were working on were high up from the ground. Actually 20 feet up on a second floor; so the source of the problem was a roof issue. It was obvious the issue was old. The walls were dry and we could see the the efflorescence was old.




The best way to deal with this is to scrape the surface to remove as much of the efflorescence as possible. I recommend putting something down on the floor to catch as much of the debris as possible. You will also need a shop vac after you are done. The best tool for this is a drag scraper.


Drag scrapper


After the areas are scrapped they should be sealed/primed with a masonry sealer the painted. We used an exterior grade product for some extra kick.

Products like drylok are great but a waste  of time if the surface has been previously painted. They are only effective on 100% bare surfaces.

exterior grade finish


Finished product

Color Of The Year 2018

Color Of The Year 2018

Color of the year for 2018 is Black Flame, a Pittsburg Paint color.

I like Dark colors and especially dark purple so I really like this color with its indigo undertone. It would be a great accent color for many homes and would work in any room where you might be looking for an elegant, sophisticated feel.

The colors red, green and yellow would be great accents to this so when picking rugs, pillows or wall hangings, these would be colors to consider.

A room with Painted white wood trim would look fantastic with Black Flame on the walls!

Can Frozen Paint Be Saved?

Can Frozen Paint Be Saved?

Can frozen paint be saved? While we would never use frozen or even leftover paint for a customers project, we are often asked if paint left in the garage or likely frozen paint can still be used.

Paints are composed of liquids and solids held in suspension. With latex paint most of the liquid is water and the solids are suspended into that water. When the water freezes the solids are often squeezed out of the water, become separated and no amount of mixing will force the solids back into suspension.

The separation of water and the solids is a process and often it will take more then 1 freeze to render the paint unusable. How hard or complete the paint freezes is also a factor.

In my experience many latex paints can slightly freeze 2 or 3 times and be salvaged. A quick indicator is the consistency of the paint after it is remixed. Pour the paint from one container into another. Does it appear smooth or does it have a consistency of cottage cheese? If it is lumpy it’s no longer good.

If the appearance is good you will still want to test it. Often the paint may look ok but when used there is often differences in the sheen. It looks streaky or nonuniform on the substrate. Put some one a piece of drywall to check appearance and see how well it adheres.

If after testing the paint it appears ok, it may be safe to use on a small project or touch-up.

Frozen paint can still sometimes be used but the safer bet is to use that frozen paint to get a paint match and complete your project with a quality paint you can have full confidence in.

Painters Pants

Painters pants are easy to recognize and one of the original posts here was about why painters wear white pants. I recently got a pair made by Blaklader. I’ve had my eye on these for a while. The price is a little crazy and that’s why I’ve never purchased a pair but decided to take the plunge.

painters pants










A nice feature about these pants is that there are built in pockets on the knees for knee pads. This feature gets rid of one of the biggest headaches about knee pads, the straps. If you have ever worn knee pads you know that the straps rub the back of your legs and quickly become uncomfortable and since my knees have too many miles on them I like this feature.

The pants have many pockets on them. Much more then any other pair I have owned. They even have bellowed front pockets that you can tuck inside your front pockets or pull them out to be filled with tools, nails, etc. No shortage of pockets on these pants.

They are very well made and comfortable to wear. They are made in Sweden so perhaps that is why the sizing is a bit off. You will want to go up one size in the waist and down one size in the leg length. I ordered a pair according to my usual size and it was a no go.

If I could change a feature on them it would be the grey knee pad pockets. I would prefer white. The grey definitely draws attention and perhaps that is what the manufacturer was looking for.

Blaklader makes all types of workwear and many of the pants incorporate the knee pocket feature so even if you aren’t looking for Painters pants, they might have a pair that will interest you. Especially if you have old knees, like me.

Reducing Stress

Stress levels are at a all time high. Especially this time of the year. The approaching holiday season. Reducing stress is easier then you think.

There is an endless list of suggestions online on how to lessen your stress. Something I find helpful is being organized. Basic organization is a business must. Stacks of clutter like bills, mail, receipts, etc are stressful.

Idea Number 1

Go paperless. While it is difficult to go 100% paperless, there are many apps that can help. Get one that will scan and file receipts, photos, documents, etc. Don’t forget to get rid of the items after scanning. Saying goodbye to all those stacks of files and mail will be a big help.


Idea Number 2

The TO DO LIST. Since we have decided to go paperless, get an on-line to do list app. There are several good ones. I use Do.List . It is simple and easy to use. One tip is to limit your “tasks” to a manageable number like 6 items.


Idea Number 3

Loose the junk . Being surrounded by junk and clutter is stressful. Just get rid of it. Whether it is a junk drawer or your garage, all that stuff adds up and up. Set a reasonable goal and go for it. If it makes sense to have a garage sale, do it. If it makes better sense to just give it away or donate it, go for it. One thing I find helpful is to NOT go through everything. Just box it up first.  For example dump that junk drawer into a box. Instant empty drawer! Then one evening while watching TV maybe, go through the box. You will be surprised how much goes in the trash.

Another idea to consider is “subbing” things out. If you are inclined to do “everything” yourself, consider getting help. There is someone out there qualified and willing to do almost everything you do daily. Cutting your grass, Painting your house !!!, etc.

Reducing stress starts after taking the first step. Trying any or all of these ideas is a great way to start.



Painting Exterior Metal In Cold Weather

Painting exterior metal can be a challenge, especially in the cold. When cold outside you can’t feel your hands, face, etc. Imagine trying to work outside in such conditions.

The biggest challenge with painting exterior metal in a cold environment is it tends to retain the cold and is slow to warm up during the day.

We were lucky enough to recently have a window of opportunity to paint a commercial exterior that was largely corrugated metal. We only had two days but made the most of them. We of course used a product that would work in the cooler climate. Sunproof is a good choice for colder weather painting.








To be successful, stay well away from the days dew point temperature. Check to see what the temperature is dropping down to at night and wait several hours for things to warm up before you start laying down the paint. The North side of a structure can sometimes pose a challenge. The sun doesn’t have a chance to warm that side up. Waiting until the warmest part of the day for that side will help.








Try to pick a day where the temperature is within the coatings range of temperature for 24 hours and don’t forget to stay away from the dew point temperature.