inPAINT Magazine Jan/Feb 2021

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JA N / FE B 2021

WINNING HOA WORK What it takes and how manufacturers can help


Interior coatings preferred by 5 pros What makes a paint tool right for the job

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT





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“It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the spring, who reaps a harvest in the autumn.” —B.C. Forbes


here I live, late-January is when winter’s cold really starts to set in. Frozen pipes, hesitant engines, the hard crunch of ice beneath your feet, and the crack of trees bursting with frozen sap are a few of the signs we’re really in it. The moment I’m certain I’ll never be warm again, I find solace in what my husband calls my ‘garden porn’ —seed catalogs. Turns out that moment was last week. As I plotted my choices for the coming summer’s garden, I was struck by the parallels of tending a vegetable garden and tending a business. Our garden is already home to an established asparagus bed and next year’s garlic, tucked in and waiting for spring. The rest, however, is a blank slate. We know our strengths—tomatoes, leeks, brussels sprouts, etc. And we know what we don’t do well—peppers. We could grow other things—beans and okra—but we always pass because we don’t love them. And, I grow one new thing every year just for the experience (FYI, this year it’s Tennessee dancing gourds). Like a business, a huge part of the garden’s success depends upon the choices made today. Choices reached by asking basic questions: What does my ideal garden look like? What does it require? Am I prepared to commit to what’s needed? At the end of the season, will I be happy to have a whole lot of what I sowed? And, will it produce enough to last long after summer’s over? I’m already feeling good about the choices I made. Yes, there will be setbacks and failures (curse you, tomato hornworm!), but I will persevere and happily reap what I sow. I hope you, too, will find time to ask yourself questions about what you want to sow in your life. And, I hope, in some small way, inPAINT provides a bit of inspiration for how to achieve it.

Stay warm,

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT

2021 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD We are grateful for our new board members’ time and contribution to creating content that speaks to and serves the needs of pros just like them. Brooke Cambridge Owner, BLC Painting

Zach Kenney Owner, ZK Painting

Ray Rahni Owner, Paint Track Painting Services

Doug Imhoff Owner, Imhoff Fine Residential Painting

Larry Marler Owner, The Works Remodeling and Finishing

Steve Spinelli President, Uni Pro Painting

Rich Purnell Owner, BASE Painters


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

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Pros on exterior coatings


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Business UNusual 4 pros respond to COVID-1 9

What it takes and how manufacturers can help


Pros talk specialty coa tings

Caulk: prep, application & avoiding common failures

Wish lists: what pro s are hoping for in 2021


2 pros’ approach to the same bid


How the industry through products is supporting the pro and services

Interior coatings preferred by 5 pros

stomer Elevating the cu gh ou thr e nc rie expe ment employee engage

What makes a paint tool right for the job

Sep/Oct 2020

May/Jun 2020





Nov/Dec 2020

Jan/Feb 2021




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publishing group REM Publishing Group LLC 8924 E Pinnacle Peak Rd Suite G5 #575 Scottsdale, AZ 85255

This issue’s contributing experts Ryan Anderson Alliance Painting Jason Barnes PPG Paints Chris Berry The Idaho Painter Ben Campbell Campbell Painting & Drywall Tim Clarke Rize Reviews Chris Lonergan Footbridge Media Ryan Markham Cotney Construction Law Connie McKinney Purdy Ryan Parker Mod Paint Works Sommer Phillips Dunn-Edwards Nathan Rust Prestigious Painting Vincent Santino Precision Painting Plus John Seidensticker Behr Geoff Sharp Sharper Impressions Painting Co. Joseph Shriver Shriver Fine Finishes

©2021 REM Publishing Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of content in any manner without written permission by the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed columns and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Publisher assumes no liability for any damages or loss of any kind that might arise from the use, misuse or inability to use the materials or information contained in this publication. All material and information appearing in this publication is distributed and transmitted ‘as is,’ without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, and is subject to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer. 6

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

Nick Slavik Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. Stacey Spear S&S Painting

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Our monthly e-newsletter delivers industryrelevant articles to your inbox—many expanding on our magazine articles—offering additional valuable content professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. Stay informed. Watch for it monthly.

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Getting It On


Pro Picks


A seasoned pro and paint manufacturers discuss the HOA market

Choosing the right applicator for the job

5 pros on coatings for the many types of interior surfaces

20 DEPARTMENTS 10 The News Industry ins and outs 12 5 Good Questions Insights on revenue from a residential painting contractor 14 Trends A fast look at the forces at work in our industry 15 Trend in Focus Take a load off with automated online reputation management


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

Courtesy of Shriver Fine Finishes

Q&As on HOAs

28 Ask a Pro Using caulk and tape to achieve clean paint lines; a controversial technique 30 Upcoming Events The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events 31 Bottom Line Key contract provisions designed to limit your risks and liabilities

Cover Photo Courtesy of Dunn-Edwards. This Page's Background Photo Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.


A podcast by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs T Jobber, a leading provider of business management software, recently launched Built By You, a podcast that explores the real-life highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Each episode includes stories from small business owners, such as painting contractor Graham Audenart, owner of Painters Enterprise, who reflects on the successes and scars from two decades of serial entrepreneurship. Season 1 is now available at or via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Old Masters launches line of professional finishes T Old Masters recently introduced a professional line of wood coatings specifically developed for contractors, builders and wood shops. Sold through independent dealers, the line includes: ■ VersiVar Conversion Varnish ■ Apex High Performance Polymer ■ Integra Vinyl Sealer Interior Water-Based Clear Finish ■ MultiLac Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer

The Home Depot expands Pro Xtra Loyalty Program T Based on direct customer feedback, the Home Depot Pro Xtra Loyalty Program has been expanded to offer a more personalized in-store and online experience. The program’s new mobile-first design allows members to easily track purchases and see savings in real time by using their Pro Xtra Virtual ID in the app at in-store checkout. Every dollar spent on everyday paint-supply products now counts toward earning additional discounts and Perks, which can be redeemed for digital Home Depot reward cards, used toward tool rentals, or even to grab a free snack or drink on your way to the next job. Members receive savings on paint, stains and primers with lower spend thresholds for discounts than previously.


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

Tip Keeper keeps tips handy T Created by a seasoned pro painter, Tip Keeper is just the thing to keep all the tips, gauges and cleaning tools you need on the job in one place. Designed to securely attach to your sprayer for convenient storage, this handy device holds four tips, two guards, and a wire brush. No more time lost to searching for parts—or money wasted replacing lost tips. Plus, the Tip Keeper can be removed and reattached to a new sprayer if you upgrade your rig.

A new option for high-traffic interiors T ICP Building Solutions Group recently launched ProForMax, an interior coating featuring Zolatone highperformance technology. Purported to be 10 – 15x stronger than standard paint, it was designed and tested for use in areas requiring regular cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants. Available in a broad range of solid, multicolored, textured and metallic colors, it also contributes toward LEED credits and is compatible with the EPA’s List N disinfectants, making it a practical choice for cleaning and disinfecting protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Move over pigments. Structural color is here.

3M adds NO-SLIP GRIP technology to sanding options T Designed for both wet and dry sanding, 3M Pro Grade Precision Faster Sanding Sheets promise a faster sanding experience with less effort. A durable NO-SLIP GRIP backing prevents slipping and reduces hand fatigue while the premium mineral technology resists clogging on painted surfaces, wood, metal, drywall and plastic. Available in a range of grits and suitable for use on large sanding tools, blocks, and by hand, they are sold exclusively at The Home Depot.

T If you’ve ever seen a blue morpho butterfly, you’ve no doubt been impressed by their iridescent wings. But what you probably didn’t realize was that their wings are actually translucent. The blue color comes from blue light waves, which reflect off of the nanostructure of the wings. Inspired by that feat of nature, CA-based Cypris Materials has developed a paint that uses synthetic, self-assembling polymers, which arrange themselves into nanostructures that reflect specific wavelengths of light. The result is a collection of sustainable, environmentally friendly coatings whose appearance is created through structural color rather than pigments (a.k.a. optical coatings). In addition to color, the polymers can also be structured to reflect heat and UV rays; opening a huge range of possibilities for rooftops, windows and outdoor structures—even furniture. It will still be a few years until you’re able to purchase the technology. In the meantime, you can check out some pretty cool videos of the coating drying from clear to all the colors of the rainbow under the technology tab on their website:

PCA’s Residential Forum now available T While COVID may have put a halt to the PCA’s Residential Forum’s Advanced Shop Talk live event, it did nothing to quell the desire of the Forum to provide meaningful learning opportunities for pros. Thus, the group chose three of the slated live-event presentations and adapted them for the web. Originally presented as a three-part webinar in September, October and November of 2020, the presentations (Marketing Strategies for a Growing Painting Company, Shifting Your Sales System for Success During Challenging Times, and Trends in the Painting Industry) are all available now to PCA members and non-members alike at Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT



1 RYAN ANDERSON founded Alliance Painting in 2014 after a 5-year corporate career. Serving the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area, Alliance Painting specializes in residential interior and exterior repainting services.




What actions have helped you increase your profit margins? I can point to two things. The first was making a concerted effort to stop competing on price. We now have a structured sales process that focuses on our value proposition. We help the customer understand our approach to the job and what drives our numbers, which helps build trust and confidence. When you do that, you’re no longer a commodity. The second thing is our ‘preferred partner’ compensation model. We’re 100% subcontractor based. When I started out, I compensated subs based on a percentage of each job. But I realized we were rewarding subs for the result of a great sales pitch by the project consultant (PC). Now we pay preferred partner subs by the job, based on an hourly rate. It’s a win-win; our company is rewarded for our efforts in developing and executing our sales process, and our preferred partners are rewarded with consistent work and competitive pay.


How do you convey your value proposition to customers? Our structured sales process includes a digital slide deck that our PCs use during consultations. Every consultation begins with the PC taking the prospect through a questionnaire that dives into what they want done, why they invited us out, and what their pain points are. Using that insight and the slide deck, the PC builds ‘walls of value’ around our company, which positions us as subject matter experts. It’s 100% scripted and covers our experience, approach and guarantee—and includes testimonials and examples of our work. Throughout the presentation, the PC uses the information the prospect shared in the questionnaire to overcome objections. The goal is to leave the appointment with the contract. In 2020, we recognized a 90% increase in sold projects compared to 2019. We outsold production by $150K. Our recognized revenue increased by 74%, year-over-year. While market conditions contributed to our growth, I believe our new sales process had the biggest impact.


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021



What are you doing to maintain a healthy gross profit margin? Tracking job performance. We track, monitor and analyze every project’s financial performance. We know our gross margin down to the penny on jobs. At the beginning of each week, the office manager and I review every project that closed the prior week. We look at budgeted vs actual costs. If there’s a variance, we turn to the operations team to determine what drove the cost. Every Friday, the team gathers to review the results and, if needed, implement changes based on what we learned. This approach helps the team understand why a change is necessary.


What percentage of revenue do your overhead costs run and how do you keep it down? For 2020, we were at 28%. The key to keeping it down correlates to charging the right price, keeping materials and labor costs in line, and keeping marketing expenses at 8–10%. If we’re doing that and generating enough leads, then we’re good.


Beyond profit, what else about your business gives you satisfaction? I spent several years stuck at the $1-million mark. I simply couldn’t get over it and, to be honest, I was feeling pretty defeated. Implementing a structured sales process has proven to be a big deal and it propelled us to $1.8 million. Breaking through that ceiling has been hugely rewarding for me. I also derive a lot of satisfaction from helping our team members succeed. I recently hired a PC who was in restaurant management for 20 years. Zero paint or sales experience. I invested a lot of time educating him on the trade and teaching him our system, and it’s paid off. He sold $750,000 in his first six months. We took a leap of faith with each other and it’s paying off both financially and in terms of personal satisfaction.

The best paint jobs start with No two surfaces are alike — that’s why starting with the right prep can make all the difference. With a family of tapes designed specifically for your surface, Scotch® Painter’s Tape helps you prep right for professional-looking results.

© 3M 2021. All rights reserved. 3M, Scotch, ScotchBlue, Edge-Lock and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.


Ice, ice, baby Here’s how six paint manufacturers capture the icy chill of winter in color:

Behr Ice Cave M480-7

PPG Paints Ice Floe PPG1141-1

Sherwin-Williams Crushed Ice SW 7647

On average, a small business spends 18% of their work week managing their online reputation. SOURCE: Footbridge Media

Dunn-Edwards Ice Fishing DE5847

Benjamin Moore Ice Blue 821

Fine Paints of Europe Winter Sky 7034

75% of homeowners want to finance at least part of their project. Here’s how much they’re looking to fund:

30% 20%


25% recently conducted a survey to learn how employee sentiments have changed since the onset of COVID. Here’s how COVID has influenced the feelings of paint contractors and others in the construction trade.

5% Project up to 25% funded

Project up to 50% funded

Project up to 75% funded

Post-COVID-onset feelings

Fund the entire project

Shifts in feelings January 2020 compared to July 2020

Decline funding

Satisfaction Job with employer satisfaction


Job stress


Remodels and renos remain on the rise The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicts annual expenditures for renovation and repair of the owner-occupied housing stock are expected to rise from about $332 billion today to $337 billion by the second half of 2021. 14

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–1.5% –1.9%



Automated online reputation management A time- and reputation-saving option


sk any professional contractor and they’ll tell you that building trust and credibility are key to landing business. And in today’s digital world, more often than not, the place where that trust and credibility are being established is online. According to a survey by Podium, 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchase decisions. Chris Lonergan, president of Footbridge Media concurs. “In the absence of any other information, consumers will pick a contractor to contact solely based on the quality of their ratings and reviews. For a surprising number of people, that social proof— even from complete strangers—determines whether they will or will not engage with you.” Which is why online reputation management is critical. More than stargazing While keeping tabs on what’s being said about you may sound simple, it’s actually quite complicated. Lonergan says, “First, there’s the effort of asking for a review and actually getting it. Then there’s the matter of getting it online. All the major review sites—Yelp!, Google, HomeAdvisor, Facebook—have rules about how reviews are solicited.” That is to say, you can’t cherry pick who gets to review your business and whose reviews you’ll make public. Staying on top of various platform rules and Google algorithm shifts that can take you from the top of local rankings to nowhere-to-be-seen status can be tedious and time-consuming. Enter automated online reputation management. The ‘set it and forget it’ solution Today, contractors have a number of options when choosing an online reputation management partner. Tim Clarke, senior reputation manager for Rize Reviews, an online reputation management platform and agency, notes that a good partner essentially becomes an extension of your marketing team. “Ideally, you want a ‘set it and forget it’ solution. That requires a program that integrates with your existing CRM and scheduling software so that the entire review management process appears to be handled 100% by your company.

A successful integration will solicit a review at a customer’s peak happiness moment—typically at the close—and gets the great ones out into the world as quickly as possible. That includes the various review platforms as well as your own website. And you want one that can handle the less-than-stellar reviews.” Clarke adds, “The Rize system essentially pauses any review that’s three stars or less and opens up a dialog with the customer to learn what’s going on. The aim is to give the business the opportunity to right the wrong and boost the rating and review before it posts. For some customers, we actually have writers on staff trained to handle those communications for the company. They respond in a tone consistent with the company and handle the issue without taxing the business owner or project manager.” “… better reviews with less effort” For Vincent Santino, director of marketing for Precision Painting Plus, the benefits of online reputation management are clear, but there were some stumbling blocks to finding the right solution. “Different platforms have different strengths,” he says. “Some are good at monitoring reviews but not so great at soliciting them. And then there’s the matter of which ones Google will accept star ratings from. You have to do some upfront research and figure out what best suits the needs of your company. You may, in fact, actually need more than one platform. Because we have eight locations, we use two: One of them is Rize, a reputation management agency that helps us figure out which locations need a boost in ratings and adjusts where solicited reviews get posted. We also use a Googleaccepted platform to make sure our star rating shows in our Google ads. Our monthly time investment is about 4–6 hours. I can’t begin to guess how many hours it would be if we tried to do it all on our own.” Santino adds, “Getting started with a platform can be intimidating at first, but most are pretty point-and-click friendly. Once you get over the learning hump, you’ll be rewarded with better reviews with less effort.”

“ In the absence of any other information, consumers will pick a contractor to contact solely based on the quality of their ratings and reviews.” —CHRIS LONERGAN, FOOTBRIDGE MEDIA

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT


Dunn-Edwards’ dedicated property services provide a bid process designed to work for both property managers and contractors.

Q&As on HOAs Insights and services for finding success in a growing, lucrative market


ccording to the Community Associations Institute, between 2010 and 2020, the size of the national HOA market grew by 13%. That equates to roughly 8,000 new HOAs forming annually. Altogether, the now 352,000+ market segment holds the key to $27.3 billion in reserve funds earmarked for repair, replacement and enhancement of common property. For contractors lucky enough to land the work, there’s a lot of money to be made—often at a very nice margin. But, as you might expect, winning HOA work isn’t as straightforward as residential projects. And with roughly 74 million residents calling HOAs home, managing the workflow also comes with its own set of challenges. To help you understand how to operate in the space and how manufacturers are poised to help, we put a few questions to some seasoned professionals from both the contractor side and the product side.


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

What’s the key to winning HOA work? HOAs by the Numbers

Geoff Sharp, Founder Sharper Impressions Painting Co. Operating in Atlanta, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Nashville

73.9 million Americans live in community associations.

Without a doubt, patience. The bidding process itself can take quite a few more steps than a residential repaint bid. You’ll often jump through many hoops in the process including talking to multiple members of the HOA board and attending several meetings during the bid process—and you have to be prepared to provide a detailed bid. Then, even though you jumped through all those hoops and think you’re getting the job, they may discover a roof leak, or a tree branch comes down and breaks a fence, and the whole painting project gets tabled until the next year. It’s not unusual to provide a bid one year, have it put on hold, then update it the next year—or even the next two years—while they contend with other things. Eventually, it will become a priority and the project will get started, but you’ve got to be patient.

The average community association has 120–140 homes but some of the very largest have 70,000–100,000 residents.

Top 15 States for HOAs

by Number of Associations:


49,200 Florida

Courtesy of Alby Lorenzo of ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING

48,500 Texas


What’s your advice for a pro looking to break into the HOA market?


18,800 North Carolina

when you need it. You want to be on great terms with your paint rep, as they often hear about jobs you might not otherwise know about. If they respect your work and how you run your business, they can provide an excellent pipeline for future work.

Sommer Phillips Manager, Property Services, Region 4, Dunn-Edwards Courtesy of Dunn-Edwards

Geoff Sharp, Founder Sharper Impressions Painting Co.

Beyond having the patience it takes to work with lots of decision makers and extended time lines for approvals, you have to be ready to work every minute that you are on-site. Not only do you have the property manager and the board members looking to see every bit of manpower working nonstop, you also have the residents paying attention. In addition, you need to cultivate good relationships with your paint store and paint rep. Having a demonstrated history of buying the best paint, using it properly, and paying your bills on time goes a long way to making sure you get exactly what you need

You should definitely contact your Dunn-Edwards sales rep and let them know of your interest. You should also join local associations for community managers. Their events offer a great way to connect with property managers, manufacturers and networking partners. Right now, many associations are operating on a virtual basis but still provide an avenue to promote your company and services. Keys to success for a pro who chooses to participate in the property services program are: attend all job walk meetings, submit bids on time, demonstrate a commitment to the process, and be dependable. In addition, referrals and word of mouth are important avenues to grow business in this industry. Property managers share experiences on different vendors, both positive and negative. So it pays to be diligent, provide good service, and follow through.

14,100 New York

14,000 Massachusetts

11,100 Georgia

10,750 Washington

10,475 Colorado

10,300 Arizona

9,675 Virginia

8,725 Ohio

8,485 Michigan




Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT


What services does your company offer pros to help them land, then manage, jobs? John Seidensticker Senior Vice President, Behr

Our aim at Behr is to help pros not only land jobs but to use the best product and system that will ensure the quality and integrity of the work. If a pro reaches out about an opportunity, our rep will do a job walk with them and look at what’s included and excluded in the scope, write a spec with specific products for the various substrates, and put a warranty against it. If necessary, we’ll meet with the board members or HOA to help present the products, the system, the warranty—and to convey our confidence in the contractor. We’ll discuss the repaint cycle and guide them toward products that will last the stated period of time, and even some that could extend the warranty. If there’s color work to be done, we take it off the pro’s plate by taking pictures and rendering different schemes. When the pro gets the

go-ahead and colors are signed off on, we’ll do drawdowns to go on the wall so that we can be sure everyone’s 100% onboard with the choices. We want to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts and make sure everyone’s on the same page. We really try to do whatever we can to put the pro in the best position to win the work and execute a great job. When the project begins, we’re there to make sure the products are being applied correctly so that the warranty holds up. If there’s an issue with a color choice or a problem with a substrate, we work with the board to resolve it so the contractor can stay focused on the job. And, of course, at the close of the job, we provide a maintenance file and color record to the client. That same info is also stored at the local Home Depot and on the BEHR PRO website to ensure everyone involved has access to the complete history of the job.

Jason Barnes Senior Corporate Accounts Manager, Residential, PPG Paints

Courtesy of Dunn-Edwards

HOA jobs are inherently complicated. We aim to make things easier for pros through a variety of services that span from initial introductions to key stakeholders in the segment all the way through to weekly inspections while the job is underway. Our support includes, but is not limited to: project-specific product recommendations; joint project walks; color selection and image rendering assistance; invoicing; market-competitive products; digital project management tools; professional-driven store hours and availability; and product deliveries. Our goal is to make sure our partners—be they pros, large multifamily owners and managers, new home builders, etc.—can get the job done, no matter what. As an example of our commitment to that, we recently delivered 200+ 5-gallon buckets of product at 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday, the best drop-off time available for our partner.

What’s the most critical service a pro should look for when choosing a manufacturer to partner with? Sommer Phillips Manager, Property Services, Region 4, Dunn-Edwards

Commitment to the market. Dunn-Edwards pioneered a program for property services more than 30 years ago that’s still in place and going strong. The members of this team are not sales reps who happen to handle property management as part of their client portfolio. Instead, these are professionals whose sole focus is the property management segment of business. Their goal is to help contractors and managers with paint specifications by outlining appropriate product and application selections. With a single specification in hand, managers can solicit ‘apples-to-apples’ bids with regard to scope and products, and pros can feel confident that they’re bidding the job as desired. I think the service we provide that is of most value to pros is that of creating an incredibly detailed paint specification that becomes the project RFP. It includes absolutely everything the contractor needs to bid the job. Once it’s created, we provide it to all bidding contractors and then coordinate a jobsite meeting that includes them and the 18

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

property manager. This is the moment for contractors to ask any questions, review product choices, and raise any issues of concern. After the meeting, our property services team members send all the notes from the meeting and the final paint specification to all bidding pros to use when creating their proposal. Again, we’re aiming to create an ‘apples-to-apples’ bid process that works for both the pros and the property manager. Once a job is awarded, the specification and related notes get passed off from our property services team to a Dunn-Edwards sales rep, who coordinates with the contractor. The paint specification is then referenced when products are ordered and painting begins. The property services team member stays in contact with the property manager throughout the project to make sure the work is proceeding as planned. -

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PAINT TOOL SELECTION Choosing the right applicator for the job BY CONNIE MCKINNEY


ith all of the applicator options out there, it’s not uncommon, even among professional painters, to be unsure which option is best suited for the job at hand. Many considerations play into such decisions— surface, coating type, weather, etc.—and the knowledge that choosing the wrong applicator could cause real headaches all combine to complicate the decision-making process. Here, we take a look at applicator options for a variety of surfaces and explore what makes them a solid choice for the job at hand. Plus, pro painter and craftsman Nick Slavik of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. shares his thoughts on tool selection.


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

Choosing a paintbrush NATURAL BRISTLE BRUSHES (typically made with white or black hog hair; often called China bristle) are used for applying oil-based paints, varnishes, shellac, polyurethane and other finishes. The natural ‘flagging’ (splitting or fuzzy tips) of these brushes hold more paint and help assure a smooth release and finish.

When painting indoor surfaces in a controlled climate setting, a 100% nylon brush is a great choice because stiffness retention is not a critical factor in most cases. An easy paint release from the brush and smooth flow onto the working surface are more important, particularly for trim. When cutting in around trim and baseboards, a brush offering a blend of Tynex nylon and Orel polyester filaments can give you more stiffness retention and ‘flex’ for superior edging performance. Where heat and humidity are a concern, brushes that include a blend of polyester can perform better, especially on textured surfaces. Polyester filaments act as the ‘backbone’ of the brush, helping to maintain their bend and recovery. 100% nylon brushes tend to be much softer than brushes blended with polyester. For outdoor surfaces, including concrete, wood decks and siding, choose a durable, stiff brush such as a 100% chinex brush that will hold its shape and perform well on different textures. For smooth surfaces, a blended nylon/polyester brush is a smart choice.

Courtesy of Nick Slavik

If you are painting a smooth surface such as walls, ceilings or trim, a natural white bristle is your best option. These brushes are made with hair that is very soft and porous, making them supple, so you can get an ultrafine finish with no brush marks. When painting a textured surface like stucco or poured concrete, a natural black bristle tends to provide better results, due to its greater stiffness. These brushes are ideal for oil-based paints, primers and enamels. The thicker hair also holds more paint and is more rigid, making it easier to hold a straight line when cutting in.

Considerations for indoor vs outdoor surfaces

SYNTHETIC FILAMENT BRUSHES, made with various blends of Tynex nylon, Orel polyester or DuPont chinex, are easy to clean, work well with all paints, and can tackle any project. The combination of nylon’s durability and polyester’s shape retention is the mark of a high-quality brush—one that also produces a high-quality paint finish. With proper care, synthetic filament brushes can last for years.

In general, synthetic filament brushes better resist abrasion that can damage natural bristles, making them well-suited for rough surfaces like brick, stucco and concrete. Many painters also prefer synthetic filaments for applying oil-based finishes, due to various processing steps in their manufacture that soften the synthetic material, eliminating ‘drag’ when used with these paints.

Courtesy of Nick Slavik

Meanwhile, for many types of wood surfaces, a white bristle brush blended with ox hair can offer a glass-like finish on trim, furniture, cabinets, doors and shelving. Ox-hair brushes are known to be extra soft and to hold their shape. Some also use natural black and/or synthetic bristles for added stiffness.

Courtesy of Purdy

“ Brushes are purposebuilt tools. People underplay the added coverage, efficiency and accuracy of choosing the right tool for the right application.” —NICK SLAVIK, NICK SLAVIK PAINTING & RESTORATION CO.

Size and style matter too Also consider the size and style of the brush you choose before painting different surfaces. Each offers advantages that help the job go smoothly. For instance: ■ Small-size brushes with narrow widths are good for detailed work in tight spaces, such as furniture spindles or muntin bars on windows. ■ Angular-style brushes are excellent for getting into tight spaces, such as cutting into corners and along trim, ceilings and baseboards. ■ Large-size brushes are good for big surface areas where a roller isn’t ideal, such as fences or curved surfaces. ■ Flat-style brushes are great for laying off paint and coatings on continuous surfaces, as opposed to corners where angular brushes are used. However, both can be effective in these scenarios depending on your painting style. For trim as well as for largesurface painting, fencing, siding and decking, it is recommended to reach for a flat brush. Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT


Choosing a roller cover

Time-saving tips to boost your bottom line

Even though roller covers might look and feel the same, they can provide very different results. Here’s how to choose the correct nap size and fabric type for your painting project:

“ To simplify the roller cover selection process, I use this thinking: Rough surfaces benefit from knit covers with thicker naps, and smooth surfaces benefit from woven covers with shorter naps.” —NICK SLAVIK,

For smooth surfaces such as doors, paneling and walls, woven roller covers are an excellent choice to provide a beautiful finish. Look for woven material that is virtually shed-free, where every thread that makes up the face fabric is locked to the back of the fabric, so loose fibers won’t be a problem. For rough or semi-rough surfaces, such as roughcut siding, stucco or textured walls, roller covers that are made of knitted material tend to perform best. These often contain a high-density material that will hold and release a large amount of paint without dripping, so you get complete coverage in less time with less worry about touch-up.

Staying on schedule is critical to keep your customers happy and keep your profitability where you need it to, and your choice of application tools can actually play a part in determining your productivity rate: PAINT FASTER: New laws and regulations have eliminated many VOCs that were traditionally used to give paint a ‘milky’ consistency and flow. Today’s paints are slightly more viscous, so a stiffer brush that can move paint more easily can also help the job go faster. CUT CLEANUP TIME: Paints with reduced VOCs tend to dry faster. Pros accustomed to stepping away for a bit are finding the open time on their paint is not what it used to be. Often, this means more trips to the sink to clean brushes. A chinex brush uses specially extruded filaments with a very smooth outer surface that makes it easier to clean, cutting cleanup time significantly.

NICK SLAVIK PAINTING & RESTORATION CO. Courtesy of Room for Tuesday, Sarah Gibson

CONNIE MCKINNEY is a senior product manager with Purdy Professional Painting Tools. With 24 years of experience, she has a passion for finding innovative solutions to the challenges that painters face.

When selecting the nap for your roller cover, a longer nap is desired for more textured surfaces. Typically, a 1/2" nap is ideal for painting a stippled effect common in many homes. Nap length on some roller covers can be as much as 1-1/4" for painting heavily textured surfaces or getting into the grooves and recesses of some rougher surfaces. And, a shorter nap is preferrable for smooth finishes, particularly on walls in areas such as a kitchen, bathroom or utility room. Roller covers having a 3/8" to 1/2" nap are a good starting point for most types of indoor jobs. A 1/4" nap is best for trim, doors, floors and other very smooth surfaces like wood cabinets.

Your choice matters While many brushes and roller covers can be used effectively on a wide range of surfaces, some tools are simply better for specific tasks. Choosing the best tool for the job takes just a little time and knowledge. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with the desired outcome, and potentially save time, material and money in the process. 22

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

LOAD IT UP: High-capacity brushes are uniquely designed to accommodate a larger paint reservoir within the brush due to the stadium-shaped ferrule. These brushes hold a lot of paint and can save repeated trips to the bucket. GO WIDE: A 9" roller cover has traditionally been used for painting great rooms, hallways, ceilings and large spaces in commercial buildings, but pros are increasingly moving to 14" and 18" options to boost their efficiency. Some manufacturers offer wire and jumbo mini rollers that are only a few inches wide and use the same nap style as larger roller covers, so you can make the switch when transitioning to a kitchen or bathroom area and still get an identical finish.

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT


PRO PICKS 5 pros share their interior coating preferences Interior jobs often involve a variety of different substrates—wood, metal, drywall—and that can mean a wide range of coating types on any given job. Keeping up with ever-evolving coatings technology that makes a coating right for one surface but not for another isn’t easy. Here, we tried to make the task a little easier by asking five pros to share what coatings they prefer for different interior projects. BY BRIAN SODOMA

Mod Paint Works of Denver used Benjamin Moore's Advance Interior Paint high gloss in Newport Green to create this stunning home office.


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NATHAN RUST Prestigious Painting

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021


JOSEPH SHRIVER Shriver Fine Finishes


BEN CAMPBELL Campbell Painting & Drywall


RYAN PARKER Mod Paint Works




Rust oversees the light commercial and residential markets for Baton Rouge-based Prestigious Painting. For the walls of custom residential interior repaints, he likes Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 Interior Latex Paint. “The coverage is really predictable, but we know its limitations, so if we’re going with a color or sheen change, we’ll suggest the company’s SuperPaint or Duration Interior Acrylic Latex Paints for better coverage. We like to fit the product with the goals of the client,” Rust explained. For metal surfaces, he turns to either Sherwin-Williams Metalatex Acrylic Coating or All Surface Enamel Oil Base. And for trim and crown molding, it’s the company’s Solo Interior/Exterior Acrylic Paint. But for color changes on trim, he gets maximum coverage out of their ProClassic Alkyd Interior Enamel.


This Pittsburgh area pro has been in the business for more than two decades; but his primary work for the past four years has been kitchen upgrades. “Those people who are really looking to change the whole look of their kitchen … that’s been a lot of our business,” he clarified. His go-to coating for this work is M.L. Campbell cabinetgrade lacquers. “I like the durability and the dry time,” he said. “It dries really fast and allows us to do more in a single day. Plus, if you’re spraying a flat surface, it levels nicely and it’s easy to cover any imperfections.” If some wall painting is required on the job, it’s SherwinWilliams Emerald or Duration Acrylic Latex Paints, and in bathrooms, it’s their Cashmere Latex Paint in a low lustre.


Campbell’s Anchorage-based company sees a roughly 50-50 split between commercial and residential work. On the commercial side, his firm has performed work on the Alaska Airlines terminal in Kodiak, as well as Planet Fitness locations, McDonald’s, Taco Bells, Wendy’s, and other fast food restaurants. Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec SCUFF-X has been a go-to for his commercial environments and even most residential projects for the past couple years because its “durability and washability is absolutely phenomenal. It’s perfect for gyms, schools … it’s my go-to interior for any sort of high-traffic area. It’s the most durable paint I’ve ever used.” For metal railings and door frames on commercial jobs, he likes Benjamin Moore Super Spec D.T.M. Alkyd, but if he needs a lower-fume acrylic option, he looks to the company’s Advance. For cabinet refinishing, after cleaning, de-glossing and lightly sanding, he starts with Benjamin Moore Premium Fresh Start Interior Primer and follows that with two coats of SCUFF-X.

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This Colorado-based pro serves primarily high-end home clientele in the Denver area. His go-to wall coating is Benjamin Moore Regal Select Waterborne Interior Paint. The coating brings tremendous value for the price, and is great for touch-ups, too, he says. For an upgrade, he turns to Fine Paints of Europe Eurolux Interior Acrylic Paint in a flat or matte finish, or Benjamin Moore Aura Waterborne Interior Paint in matte. “Eurolux competes with Aura price-wise, but Eurolux’s bonus is it’s actually washable, which is pretty amazing for a flat paint,” Parker said. “I’m a fan of low sheen and flat paints, and if they have that characteristic, it’s even better.” For trim and doors, it’s Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint in a satin sheen or high gloss, or, more preferably, Fine Paints of Europe ECO Satin. For cabinet painting, and even on metal, he likes the company’s Hollandlac Brilliant 98 for its durable high-gloss sheen. “Hollandlac Brilliant 98 is the ultimate upgrade to any surface in a home—cabinets, trim, doors, ceilings, walls—providing a high-gloss work of art,” he added.

S&S Painting chose Benjamin Moore Regal Select in a matte finish to lend some understated elegance to these walls.

Courtesy of Fine Paints of Europe


Fine Paints of Europe ECO Satin combines the advantages of both modern acrylic and traditional oil formulations for a beautiful, durable finish. 26

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

This Virginia-based pro started her company 16 years ago and specializes in high-end residential repaints. Spear’s team does its share of cabinet painting these days, and PPG Paints BREAKTHROUGH! in a satin finish is the winner for these jobs. “We settled on Breakthrough! two or three years ago. Its recoat time is amazing and it doesn’t tack up while you wait for it to dry,“ Spear said. She also likes how “it lays flat and sands well between coats” when rolling cabinet bases. For cabinet primer, she likes Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Interior Primer. If a shellac is needed, it’s Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer from Rust-Oleum. For interior walls, Spear uses Benjamin Moore Regal Select Waterborne Interior Paint in a matte finish and SherwinWilliams Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex Paint. For bathrooms, Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa Waterborne Interior Paint is a must for “its ability to prohibit surface leaching.” On trim, it’s Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel. When painting over oil-based paint, she turns to ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd. And for ceiling repaints, it’s only Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint. “On ceilings, you have to be careful to avoid angular sheen. That paint is ultra-flat, so you’re not getting that angular sheen, just a nice, bright white,” she added. -

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To find a drop-off location near you or request a large volume pickup, visit or call (855) PAINT09. CALIFORNIA | CONNECTICUT | COLORADO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | MAINE | MINNESOTA OREGON | RHODE ISLAND | VERMONT WASHINGTON and NEW YORK — COMING SOON

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT



Not everyone’s a fan of this technique but, for me, it’s been a huge time-saver and money-maker.

Q: CHRIS BERRY (a.k.a. The Idaho Painter) is the creator of the YouTube channel Paint Life TV. Drawing from his 28 years of painting experience, Berry’s channel is home to more than 1,000 videos featuring how-tos, hacks and product reviews.


inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021

How do you use caulk and tape to achieve clean lines?


I developed this technique years ago and have tremendous success with it. But, in some circles, it’s considered controversial. I’ll tell you why, and then I’ll tell you how we do it. First, a lot of pros think that if you can’t paint a straight line without tape, you probably should be doing something else. I agreed for a long time but, over the years, I came to realize that I can mask a job, paint it, and pull it all off a lot faster than I can when cutting in freehand. If you put down enough tape, you get really efficient at it and the whole job goes faster—and it frees up your time to make more money. Plus, if you hire a lot of guys with zero painting experience, you can teach them how to mask, tape and paint a super-crisp line in a matter of weeks, not years. Second, a lot of people will say you can’t paint over caulk. And, to a certain extent, they’re right. You certainly can’t use an oil-based paint over latex caulk. For that reason, we only use this technique with latex caulk and latex paint. You also can’t do this technique with a flat paint, as it will crack. For the most part, the walls we paint are finished in a satin and this works great for that sheen. One of the keys to being successful with this technique is timing. In order to get a clean line, you can’t let either the caulk or the paint dry. If that happens, you’ll end up with ‘shark teeth’ caused by paint bridging from tape to surface. What you want to do is apply your tape

to the wall or baseboard. If you’re working alone, you probably only want to do one wall at a time to avoid the potential for drying as I mentioned. Once you have your tape firmly in place, you want to put a really thin bead of caulk on the surface of the tape just along the edge to be painted. I typically use a clear caulk, which is thinner than a white caulk, which has colorants that give it more body. But if you’re painting along a white baseboard, especially one with large gaps or cracks, you definitely want to use white caulk for both the heavier body and the white color. Next, you want to run your finger over the caulk to smooth it out along the seam of the tape and the wall. Only a thin residue should remain on the tape and wall. Then you apply your paint over the seam using a soft filament brush. I like the Premier Hampton for this task. You want to use just enough pressure to get the paint on the surface, but not enough to force it under the tape. I avoid rollers because they tend to push paint under the tape. Once you’ve got the length of tape painted with your first coat, you want to immediately pull the tape. You’ll end up with a clean line, even on textured walls. If you’re doing two coats, you want to tape and roll to within 1/4" of the masked baseboard with your first coat. Once that’s ready for a second coat, you use the same caulk-tape technique and apply your second coat on the walls. Again, pull your tape while the paint is still wet. Not everyone’s a fan of this technique but, for me, it’s been a huge time-saver and money-maker.

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT




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3M Page 13 Ames Research Page 2 Dunn-Edwards Back Cover

What, Where & When

EPA Page 31

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16 & 23: The Full Circle Marketing Plan Workshop

11–13: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV


14–16: NARI Home Improvement Show, Cleveland, OH

29– April 2: PCA Rising Above the Rest—Data-Driven Decision Making (a members-only event) 1

NIX Color Sensor Page 3


9 & 10: BUILD Expo, Houston, TX


16 & 17: BUILD Expo, Dallas, TX


16–18: Apartmentalize, Chicago, IL

31–April 3: Crank Nashville 2021, Nashville, TN


Mi-T-M Page 25

11–14: AWCI Convention, New Orleans, LA

M AY 3

PaintCare Page 27



Due to COVID-19 regulations regarding gatherings, many events have been cancelled or rescheduled. Visit the event websites listed below for the latest information.

FrogTape Page 23 Habitat for Humanity Page 9



1–6: 2021 IDAL Regional Convention, Clayton, MO


18–21: BOMA International Annual Conference & Expo, Boston, MA

Get ready for CRANK NASHVILLE, the Professional Painters Network’s (PPN) “biggest, baddest in-person Crank event yet.” With a specific focus on team-building, this event will include team development activities and 2–3 hours of group discussions with contractors from around the country. And because some of the best networking doesn’t take place over lukewarm coffee at tables of eight, there will be plenty of relaxed and fun social activities (think rooftop parties, golf tourneys, team paintball, and more). Space is limited.

PCA Page 19

March 31 – April 3, 2021 30

inPAINT | Jan/Feb 2021


Limit your risks and liabilities Tailor key contract provisions to your company’s needs


s a contractor, a well-written contract is your strongest defense against potential risks and liabilities and can help avoid entering into disputes with customers. So let’s review some of the key provisions that should be built into every contract: Scope of work: It is important that your scope of work is clearly defined in your painting contract. Often, plans and specifications are referenced in the scope of work section of a contract; review those carefully before you agree to adhere to them, remembering that all painted surfaces may not be shown in plans, such as the underside of balconies, so estimate accordingly. And if a contract’s scope of work broadly references plans or structures to be painted, spell out exclusions in your scope of work that cover what you will not be prepping or painting. Payment terms: Payment terms outline both the timing and the amounts you are paid, and are key in any contract. On larger projects, you can set up payment for when you hit certain project milestones, like completing a floor or a structure. You can make payment due within a given amount of days of completion of painting or achieving a specific painting milestone. There can even be interest provisions whereby you charge the customer interest for late payments; however, check the statutory interest rate in your jurisdiction before implementing to make sure your interest charges would not be considered usuary, meaning too high of an interest rate for your jurisdiction. Change order process: If a customer asks you to do work outside of the agreed-upon scope of work, or wishes to modify your scope of work in any way, a written change order will help protect your interests and ensure that you are paid for the additional work. If the additional work will increase the amount of time to complete a project, you will want to have additional contract days included in your change order. Having a written change order process laid out in your contract will help you and your customer navigate extra work or changes in your work, including the costs, payment and extension of time associated with the change in the scope of work. Indemnification: Indemnification provisions can protect both you and your customer for the negligent acts, errors and omissions of the other. But your indemnification provisions should not require you to indemnify another party such as the owner, or another subcontractor for their own negligence or acts.

Termination: A good termination provision will allow you to terminate the contract when it is no longer practical or beneficial for you to continue the project. Most commonly, this type of provision allows you to terminate the contract for nonpayment issues, but there can be terminations for convenience as well. In terminations for convenience, you want to make sure that you are paid for the work you already performed on the project. Be on the lookout for termination for convenience provisions that convert your painting contract into a ‘cost-plus’ contract, which would convert your flat-rate deal into the costs of your work plus a fee. If you have a substantial profit built into the project, you will likely not benefit from a conversion to cost-plus. Delay damage: Look out for delay damage provisions as well. Liquidated damages usually come in the form of a per-day monetary damage figure that you will be charged for every day that project completion is delayed. Liquidated damage provisions can be very costly on certain projects. To be legal, they must be related to a reasonable estimate of what a party’s damages may be if a project is delayed. For example, if it is a restaurant project, the liquidated damages can be tied to the lost revenues for every day the restaurant is not open. If you word a delay damage provision in your favor, it can pay you your extended overhead and impact costs if a project is delayed through no fault of your painting company. In conclusion, always be aware of the terms of any contract you sign. If you are using your own contract form, address the scope of work clearly and ensure that the payment terms and all important categories mentioned here are spelled out and are tailored to your company’s needs.

RYAN MARKHAM, attorney at Cotney Construction Law, has extensive experience with delay claims, liens, defects, bid protests, contract drafting and review, and OSHA defense.

Jan/Feb 2021 | inPAINT



“From start to finish, Dunn-Edwards makes it easy to shine in a challenging market segment.” —MSG Painting | Brenna and Mike Garcia, Owners

505 North Brand Pacific Systems Interiors Dino Romero, Senior VP Painting Division

“Working on difficult projects separates us from others and Dunn-Edwards is a huge reason why this division works. The customer service and product quality is second to none.”

Creekside Marketplace Pro-Tech Painting Chris Cena, Business Development and Sales Manager

“Of all the brands we use, we have a 100% success rate with Dunn-Edwards because of the level of service they provide.”

Port Marluna Homeowners’ Association Ernie Romero & Son Painting Ernie Romero, Owner

“I buy all my painting materials— rollers, sprayers, tape, pressure washers, everything—from Dunn-Edwards; if we ask for it, we get it.”

We have a complete repaint program for commercial properties, multifamily communities and homeowner associations designed to save you time and make your job easier.

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