Foundation Repair and Paint

Last year we did some limestone repair at Omaha’s Old Market. It was at the corner of 12th and Howard. This was part of a exterior panting project at wheatfields. This was followed by some foundation repair on a residence in La Vista and we used the same process

The home had lots of foundation damage that needed repair prior to our painting it. We used the same mixture as before. A bonding cement mixed with a urethane bonding agent. I mix it up to about the consistency of silly putty. When using this mixture you always want to have several pairs of chemical resistant rubber gloves. The stuff is hard on your skin.

I find that using your hands works much better then any tool for forming and pressing it into the surface to be repaired. It’s necessary to build the surface up with several layers of cement spaced over several days to allow for drying.

Once the surface is where you want it you will want to use a Alkali resistant primer prior to painting. We did two coats primer and two coats of Satin Latex.

The metal railing got and epoxy primer followed with an Aliphatic Urethane. We made certain to caulk where the rails went into the concrete to prevent moisture problems and damage down the road. We used Sikaflex caulk for this. Sikaflex is a single component polyurethane.

Quickie Exterior

If you read this blog then you know I’m a stickler for doing things right. We typically don’t do exterior work in November. Certainly not mid November. We made an exception this weekend with a quickie exterior because the weather was almost hitting 60 plus the fact the customer is anxious.

A quickie

It’s not the time of the year so much as it’s the weather conditions. If the temperature is right and the dew point is acceptable then we can get things rolling.

I’ve mentioned the specifics of acceptable temperature and dew point before so there is no need to go into any detail there. Just stay at least 5 degrees away from the dew point and stay above 50 degrees. Be aware what the conditions will be in the evening and overnight. That’s how most contractors get burned. The conditions are good while they are working but they go bad fast after they have left for the day.

It is very important to make it a short work day. Quit much sooner then you normally would. You don’t want to stop as the weather is getting cooler. You want to quit while it’s still nice out. That’s hard for many. There are still many hours left in the day that can be worked. The paint is curing and needs that time to set up.

This job we will only work maybe 3 or 4 hours a day and only as long as everything stays within the parameters.

Best of Omaha

If you live in Omaha then you are most likely familiar with the “Best of Omaha” contest for all the different businesses in town. People apparently vote for their choice as the best Dentist or in our case Painter.

I know that some businesses really get into it and hire PR people, social media experts, etc. to get their business voted number one. I have had various companies approach me with their pitch to get to number 1.

I have always assumed it was a bit of a gimmick or that it was a rigged “contest” with employees logging in under different names/email addresses to “vote”. That may still be the case, I don’t know, but imagine my surprise when I opened a letter notifying me that we were number 1. Voted the Best Painting Company in Omaha. I didn’t vote and only one person I know voted for us and they told me after I told them of our new professional standing.

we’re number 1

It’s kinda cool. Nice to be recognized. Have you ever voted in one of these contests? I may next time around.

Oh and I got a couple banners, a sticker and the card informing me of the results.

Glazing Cabinets

Glazing cabinets is not really difficult. It is more time consuming and does take a bit of technique or experience. There are several way to glaze a cabinet. It can be done both when staining or painting a cabinet. The attache d photos are of a job we just did that was originally a classic golden oak cabinet that we prepped out and painted. Then we glazed it.

no glaze yet

So we went through the same process as when we paint a cabinet. The same masking, sanding, priming, etc. then we started the glazing process. In this case we used two different dyes and a glazing paste. We covered the cabinets or doors and then removed as much glaze to achieve the desired look.

glazed

We did several samples to determine the look the customer was looking for. After the cabinets have been glazed with the custom mix they are sealed with a clear coat. In this case we used a Satin Laquer.

Many different looks can be achieved by simply how much you wipe off, how you wipe it off and slight adjustments to the formula can have a dramatic change in appearance.

Occasionally we will dry brush a second glaze or more to achieve a unique look.

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.