We’ve spent a lot of time discussing how to prepare for an upcoming paint job. From making sure the color is correct to calculating the right quantity of paint needed, there are a number of important steps to perform before starting a paint job. One thing we have not yet covered is the importance of making sure environmental conditions are optimal for proceeding with your work. And though it might seem obvious that excess humidity might keep a paint from curing while an excessively dry environment might lead to paint cracking after drying too quickly, there are a staggering number of painters that don’t objectively measure all conditions and properly prepare all aspects of the upcoming job.
Jerry was anxious to get the job finished. He had spent three days on a project that was originally supposed to only take two. Now he ran the risk of running late for the next client and creating scheduling conflicts that would last well into the next week. Despite trying to stretch the last gallon of paint to finish the last wall, he had come up short and was going to need another gallon of paint. Jerry raced to the industrial paint supply store across town and placed his order. Already stressed over the predicament and anxious to get back to the job site and finish, Jerry asked the man behind the counter to please hurry with the paint.
“I’m sorry, Jerry,” he replied, “I’m doing the best I can but I can’t rush this process. I have to do it right.”
Last week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced that it had concluded a fatal explosion at an Illinois manufacturing facility in 2009 was ultimately caused by unnoticed cracking due to corrosion at the facility. A high temperature tank exploded, killing one nearby technician. An employee standing over 200 yards away was struck by a flying piece of steel and severely injured as well. An investigation after the accident found that the tank had been slowly cracking over time due to improper protection inside the vessel. The company that owned the plant thought the material inside the tank would create a protective layer and did not perform inspections to confirm that no corrosion was taking place.
When most people think of choosing a paint, the first thing that comes to mind is choosing the color. Should the bedroom be beige or ivory? Should the trim be green or burgundy? Once the color is selected, the next order of business is deciding how much is needed (a quart, a gallon, etc.) and what gloss is appropriate. Flat, eggshell, satin… Most anyone who has ever painted a room has had the exact same conversation with the attendant at the paint counter about the differences between glosses.
Most people know that there was once a time that lead (Pb) was a key ingredient of paint. Lead was also commonly used in the manufacturing of toys, pipes, and even gasoline in the 20th century. Years of absorbing exhaust from automobiles using leaded gasoline even contaminated soil, making it difficult for plants to grow. Most people also know that lead poisoning can be fatal in adults and creates environmental issues for plants, water sources, and pets and animals. Even a minor amount of exposure to lead paint can damage the central nervous system and cause everything from headaches to stomach and digestive problems. Tragically, a high percentage of the severe health problems associated with exposure to lead paint happen in small children.
My friend Oscar spent years building a reputation as an excellent commercial painter. Living in South Texas, he had developed a niche business painting equipment in the oilfield supply sector. However, as competition increased, Oscar felt the need to lower prices to remain competitive. Oscar’s reputation for doing a great job turned in to a reputation for being inexpensive, and being inexpensive meant he had to race from one job to the next to generate more revenue instead of taking his time.
Early in my career as a professional painter, I took for granted the importance of consistency in the paint I was using. I suppose I never thought about the quality control processes that must exist to ensure that every gallon or quart of a paint produced at the factory maintained the intended chemical and physical properties. If the label said the formula and color were correct and the mixer said it was correct, who was I to second guess things?
Many tools take on peculiar shapes and sizes. Tools found in the industrial paint sector are no exception. One of the unique tools utilized by paint professionals is the Interchemical Gage. The interchemical, or “IC” Gage looks like a bulky pizza cutter to those that are unfamiliar with its proper usage. Interchemical gages are also sometimes known as Inmont Wet Film Gages or “Wet Film Wheels.”
Chances are good that you already know what viscosity is, but you’ve probably never needed to put the definition into words. Quite simply, viscosity is the measure of the thickness of a liquid. More specifically, viscosity is the resistance offered by a fluid to outside stress placed upon it. More viscous fluids are thought of as “thicker,” while less viscous fluids are usually considered “thinner.” For example, syrup is more viscous than water, and oil is more viscous then vinegar. Absolute, or dynamic, viscosity is the resistance a fluid offers to flow when placed next to another fluid moving at a given speed. Kinematic viscosity is the measure of a fluid’s absolute viscosity when divided by its density.
To a person uneducated about the nuances of commercial painting, measuring coating thickness may seem like a simple and straightforward task. In reality, there are a variety of ways to measure the thickness of an applied paint or coating.