• Q Coating Weathered SteelCoating weathered steel can be a challenge but with the right products and prep, it's a snap. The system I like to use is Amerlock Sealer which comes in a 2 component kit and Amershield Aliphatic Urethane which also is a 2 component product.  Both products are pricey but worth the cost.Often you may not need to mix a full kit as was the case this past weekend. We only needed to deal with the door threshold of a commercial location. As long as you honor the mix ratio it still works fine and you don't end up burning a whole kit which with Amerlock is 2 gallons and with the Amershield it's 1 gallon. The Amerlock ratio is 1 to 1 and the Amershield ratio is 4 to 1.Coating weathered steel often means dealing with rust. In this case we wire brushed the steel and sanded it. After cleaning up the debris and vacuuming up the dust we wiped the steel with denatured alcohol to pull any remaining moisture out of it. weathered steel We mixed a small quantity of the Amerlock sealer and gave the steel a good brush coat. The next day we mixed up the Amershield and gave it 2 brush coats 2 days apart. Problem solved. coating weathered steel This is also a system for the exterior as well. There is a set of metal stairs in Omaha that still looks great 14 years after application.
  • Q Steel Toe BootsSteel toe boots are usually a requirement on commercial job sites.  OSHA 1910.136 says, “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee's feet are exposed to electrical hazards.”The reference is always about "steel toe boots" but if you actually read the OSHA requirement, it specifically says "steel toe and shank ".It's a bit funny on a job site when you are asked by safety inspectors "hey are those steel toe boots" or if you get the same question from a general contractor.I have never had anything dropped on the toe of my boot in over 30 years but have had many screws and nails pierce the bottom of my steel toe boots. That is the real danger on a construction site. They are all a maze of things to not step on. My advise is to buy/use steel toe and steel shank boots and that actually makes you compliant with OSHA regulations. The shank is a piece of steel between the inner and outer sole.There is also a tremendous advantage for a painter with the steel shank. When standing on a ladder that steel shank helps with foot fatigue. Your foot wont curve down on the rung of the ladder but will stay straight and be supported by that shank. It makes a big difference at the end of the day!!!
  • Q Wood GrainWood grain. All wood has a grain to it. When wood is stained we are bringing out the beauty of that grain. When wood is being painted we sometimes want to minimize to appearance of that grain. A good example of this is when we are asked to paint cabinets. Either new wood or previously stained cabinets.Sometimes this can be a challenge. Some woods like oak have a naturally open grain and on previously stained and lacquered cabinets there is often not enough lacquer to fill in the grain.Let's use as an example a new oak cabinet door. The best approach is to sand the wood smooth with a 220 grit paper. Next dust it off well. Next you will want to spray a fine coat of primer. We use proprietary primers and finish on our cabinet work. The scrub that primer into the grain of the wood using a quality brush. Work fast enough to not let the primer start drying. When dry you will want to sand the surface again and repeat. wood grain minimize We will normally do this about three times depending on the customers preference.The next step is finish. We will spray and scrub the first coat of finish. Then sand. This last sanding we take special care to not burn any edges and we make sure to sand the surface well. Most of the wood grain will be minimized at this point.We will spray two additional coats of finish and once, dry it will be perfect!!  
  • Q Back PrimingBack priming is the process of priming the "back side" of material to be hung. Usually it is exterior siding. Sometimes it is interior siding or another product. The idea behind this is to add an extra layer of "security" in case water migrates to the back side of the material. It also minimizes warping of the siding.We have done a fare amount of it but I'm neutral as far as my opinion is on the necessity of doing so. Back priming seems to be more of something a particular architect gets locked into and then never deviates from. For example many years ago we did two Pier One stores. At that time the facade was a stained lap siding with painted black brackets connecting the various posts and beams. The two stores were in different states and had different general contractors. One store they insisted the siding must all be back primed. The other store it was not a requirement.It is a real pain in the butt to prime a piece of lap siding when you know the other side is going to be stained and so no primer can touch or run onto the other side. We got it done.Fast forward many years and at about the 15 year mark the two buildings looked the same. A couple years later one building was torn down and the other was turned into a health clinic.There are probably valid reasons to back prime in certain circumstances however in the real world I see little difference as long as the exposed side receives the proper prep and paint.
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