If you have been painting professionally for very long, you have no doubt come across a wide range of thickness gages. From interchemical gages to dry-film thickness gages, measurement of coating thickness both during and after a job is critical to your success as a professional. But knowing that a variety of different film thickness gages exist doesn’t necessarily mean you know which one is right for you and your paint team.
“Can you please make sure the paint will hold up to my young son’s enthusiasm?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he throws the football inside…he rides his skateboard around the house…he is an eight year old boy, so I guess it’s to be expected. But our house always looks ‘lived in,’ and while I’m excited about this new paint in the living room and kitchen, I want to make sure it holds up well.”
The painter knew exactly what his client was talking about, and he was confident that the paint he was using would be more than tough enough to handle whatever a third grader could throw at it. Why was he so confident? Because the paint he was using had been chemically engineered not just for color and gloss, but also for hardness and damage resistance.
“It needs another coat. Don’t you think? Definitely needs another…”
Andrew’s voice trailed off. He and his partner Edgar were reviewing an interior paint job they thought they had completed. They had painted dark walls with a primer and two coats of beige paint. Andrew trusted his eyes and they were telling him that even with the second coat, the previous color was coming through just enough that he couldn’t overlook it. Edgar knew they would be late for the next job, but his partner was right. They got back to work, added a third coat, and once the paint was dry, both they and their client were satisfied. But did it have to be this way? Was there another way that would have been less time consuming and would have kept them on track for the second job? As it turns out, there was.
Everyone knows that different light sources produce different spectrums of color. Some LEDs produce a cold, white light that seems more appropriate for a factory floor or warehouse than a kitchen. Incandescent lightning often produces a softer, golden glow that may make dens and living rooms more comfortable to sit in. Sunlight looks different then artificial light, and some lights are bright and direct while others are muted but cover a large area. As such, it should come as no secret or surprise that different paint colors and glosses can look substantially different depending on the light source shining upon them.
Andrew and Louis had finished a paint job at an apartment complex just outside of Dallas in Rockwall, Texas. When the paint had dried in each of the units, the duo returned to inspect their work before telling the client they were finished. With any luck, a job well done would lead to more work from this property owner.
Sometimes when considering the work of professional paint production and professional painting, it is easy to focus on just the job at hand without viewing the broader context in which we work. Perhaps a chemist at a paint manufacturer spends each day thinking about viscosity without ever looking outside to see a building across the street being given a fresh coat of paint. Maybe an automotive painter finishes a custom paint job without giving a thought to the hours and hours of experimentation it took to derive a paint that would adhere well to the metal of the car body.
My friend Rick just had all of the wood trim and moldings in his house repainted, as well as all of the kitchen cabinets. The home is 18 years old and he’s always been happy to entertain friends and family. After nearly two decades of use, he decided the inside needed to be refreshed.
Rick and the interior designer he was working with had picked out a gorgeous Ralph Lauren paint color that would liven up the baseboards and crown moldings, while also giving the cabinets a fresh new look after years of looking drab and dirty. He was smart enough to discuss the color decision with the painters he had hired before purchasing gallons and gallons of paint. While they all thought the color would look wonderful when they finished their work, they counseled Rick that the type of paint he was considering wasn’t the best choice.
Every painter knows what VOCs are. Volatile Organic Compounds can be disastrous for the environment and despite continued progress in reducing VOC levels in many paint products, they still exist as a necessary aspect of commercial painting. VOCs are what give the paint its consistency in everything from adhesion to color. As the paint dries, VOCs evaporate and enter the atmosphere, combining with oxygen and sunlight to create ozone in a way that is harmful to the environment. While some ozone in the upper reaches of the atmosphere are good for the environment, ozone closer to where humans, plants, and animals live can produce catastrophic and unintended consequences.
Silas painted safes that held everything from jewelry to family heirlooms to firearms. His customers weren’t end clients, but rather stores that carried safes for resale to individuals. The store would drop off two or three safes at his workshop and return to pick them up later in the week. His safes always had a great look and, just as importantly, could maintain their finish under all kinds of conditions. The stores that contracted with Silas to paint the safes always marveled at how his work stood out on the showroom floor compared to other safes.
His work commanded a higher price and he was developing a reputation in the area for being a skilled craftsman. Customers wondered how safes painted by Silas held up their appearance so much better. Some spoke of having had one of his painted safes sitting in their garage for over a decade without a single scratch or nick on it. What was his secret to not only such great looking work, but also such strong coatings?
From time to time we receive questions that involve problems professional painters are having on the job. Most often these questions are complex and result in interesting solutions. Occasionally, however, we address an issue that we take for granted as common knowledge but, in fact, is not readily known. I recently received an email from a new home-painting business based in Connecticut. The message read as follows:
“We recently were painting the inside of a 3 room bungalow and couldn’t get the primer to adhere to the walls. We made sure the primer was properly stirred and checked moisture levels but still had issues. Is it possible there was something left on the walls that was causing the primer to not behave correctly? Do we need to be looking for additional additives? ”