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By Dan Hounsell, Editor-in-Chief
February 2017 -
Plumbing & Restrooms Article Use Policy
Armed with up-to-date product information and an understanding of the areas of facilities in which the paint application will take place, managers and painters can focus on other key steps in the process.
Despite the central role that surface preparation plays in the success of paint and coating applications, painters too often do not devote enough time and resources to it.
“We did some research that showed us that the amount of time actually spent painting is a fraction of the overall project time,” O’Reilly says. “But surface preparation is about half of the job, and then you have travel and breaks and that sort of thing. It was surprising to us, even though we’re in this industry, how much time is spent on prep.”
Manufacturers have even quantified the portion of a project’s success that relates to surface preparation.
“Up to 80 percent of all coating failures can be directly attributed to inadequate surface prep,” Watson says. ”It affects coating adhesion, and if my coating is not adhering, then it doesn’t have a fighting chance.”
Managers also must be certain that painters are trained and experienced enough to do the work that meets the organization’s demands.
“In some cases, painting work is being done by general maintenance personnel who may not have the expertise required for the prep and application of some products,” Spillane says, adding that tailoring the work to the worker can produce better results. “Sometimes, it is better to split a larger project into smaller projects that are more manageable and may allow for proper preparation, application and cure. This may add additional cost to the job, but will produce better results, which may save money in the long run.”
Managers seeking successful projects also must be sure that painters have the most appropriate tools.
Too often, Watson says, “They’re using the wrong or cheap application tools. (Managers) buy this expensive, high-quality paint and put it on the wall but use a $1 special roller cover that ends up causing all kinds of issues. If they would buy that $5 cover and continually clean it, they’d be far better off than having to come back in a retouch and repaint.”
Used in the right circumstances, spray equipment can deliver two important benefits. It can shorten the project time, and it can produce a more appealing painted surface.
“If you have the opportunity to apply the coating in the absence of the people in the building and they can spray, sometimes that’s a lot faster,” O’Reilly says. “Sometimes, that can be a lot faster versus a brush or roller, depending on the size of the job. For broad-wall applications such as large facilities and meeting rooms, (spraying) works very well. Usually, when you’re dealing with maintenance-type applications, you don’t have that option, but there are some small handheld sprayer options.”
Finally, both managers and painters need to be aware of odors related to paints and coatings, both when specifying products with few if any VOCs and during the project.
“It’s hard to make sure you’re not letting any of the odors or the VOCs reach any of the people in the area,” Burroughs says. “It’s very important to understand who’s going to be in the building and what the regulations are for your state. One way to reduce the liability is to use low- or zero-VOC coatings.
“Compliance can be a couple of different things. It can be making sure that you have products that are VOC compliant for the area. So whether the facility is health care or schools or commercial buildings, it’s important to keep in mind the overall performance that you’re looking for. But you also have to keep in mind that you’re going to be painting areas that are occupied.”
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