inPAINT Magazine Mar/Apr 2020

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Texture Techniques: knockdown and orange peel 3 pros’ must-have prep tools

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT



“When is the last time that you had a great conversation?”


he line above is actually an excerpt from a much longer quote by the Irish poet, theologian and philosopher John O’Donohue. The full quote delves into what makes for a great conversation—hearing yourself saying things that you never knew you knew … receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you … and ideas that continue to sing in your mind for weeks afterward. I was reminded of the quote while at the recent PCA Expo in Phoenix. There, hundreds of paint professionals gathered for what I’d comfortably describe as ‘great conversation.’ While I often feel a bit like a voyeur at the Expo, I am consistently struck by the spirit of the exchanges that take place. Information, ideas, and even company data and numbers are freely shared and explored. And in a year where there were more than a hundred new faces, it was especially heartening and inspiring to see the industry really come together to support and build every member of it. Kudos to all who contributed to it. That said, there was one conversation I found myself having repeatedly with both attendees and vendors at the event. People are often under the impression that inPAINT is ‘sponsored’ by a paint manufacturer and that our articles skew in their favor. As the person responsible for finding the pros whose ideas and opinions are shared in every issue, I’m here to tell you that is not the case. When I’m looking for pros to comment on products for Pro Picks or to contribute to a feature article, I have absolutely no idea what, if any, brand allegiance they may have. I strive to find pros who offer broad geographical representation and work in different sectors of the industry (i.e., residential, commercial, industrial, remodeling, power washing, etc.). As it happens, sometimes one brand is heavily represented in one issue, then may not appear at all in the next issue. But, honestly, that is not up to me. It’s up to you, the pros with whom I connect. If you’d like to be one of those pros, I’d love to connect and find a way to work your experience, opinion and preferences into a future issue. Please reach out. I’m sure we could have a great conversation. Cheers,

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT

2020 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD LeAnn Day President, Paint & Decorating Retailers Association Doug Imhoff Owner, Imhoff Fine Residential Painting


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

Larry Marler Owner, The Works Remodeling and Finishing, LLC Tara Riley President, Fresh Coat Painters Dave Scaturro VP & Director of Commercial Estimating, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors

Nick Slavik Proprietor, Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co., and Host of Ask a Painter! Live Art Snarzyk Owner, InnerView Advisors, Inc.

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DUNN-EDWARDS CORPORATION 4885 East 52ND Place, Los Angeles, CA 90058 (888) DE PAINT (337-2468) | Dunn-Edwards® and The #1 Choice of Painting Professionals® are registered trademarks of the Dunn-Edwards Corporation. ©2020 Dunn-Edwards Corporation. All rights reserved.

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT


This issue’s contributing experts PUBLISHER Edward McAdams MANAGING EDITOR Amanda Haar DESIGN Carl Bezuidenhout CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR Cindy Puskar



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

©2020 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 express or implied, and is subject to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer. 6

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

Kate Adams Drift Sung Dauck Duke’s Painting Jay Emery Hamilton Painting Bob Gundersen Graco Daniel Hendrick Hendrick Painting Anthony Kaid Kaid Painting and Drywall Zach Kenney ZK Painting Seán McCabe Author Chet Oshiro Empire Works Reconstruction and Painting Adam Roe Adam Roe Painting Kannan Seshadri 3M Nick Slavik Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. Art Snarzyk InnerView Advisors, Inc. Tim Sperry Smog Armor Zach Taylor Taylor & Sons Properties Dalton Tomlinson Supreme Painting

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT



inPAINT® Mar/Apr 2020




Inside a prep toolbox


Pro Picks


Set yourself up for successful knockdown and orange peel finishes

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Texture Techniques

3 pros share what’s in their prep arsenal

Pros on primers that perform

The inPAINT Interview

Painting business’ success largely based on its problem-solving skills



10 The News Industry ins and outs

34 Tools of the Trade What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

12 5 Good Questions Painting business owner talks challenges, priorities and performance indicators

36 Teach to Fish The benefits of using a sanding sponge instead of sandpaper

14 Trends A fast look at the forces at work in our industry

38 Upcoming Events The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events

15 Trend in Focus Mind shift the way you think about hiring

39 Bottom Line AI technology as a sales-lead solution

30 Ask a Pro Leveraging Instagram to grow your business

Cover Photo Courtesy of Graco; This Page’s Background Photo Courtesy of Adam Roe Painting 8

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020



Find out more at TITANTOOL.COM/Elite3000


Warp-speed priming option from Zinsser T The latest introduction to Rust-Oleum’s Turbo Spray System lineup, Zinnser’s Cover Stain Primer is a professionalgrade aerosol spray product for medium- and large-sized interior/exterior projects. Available in a mega-sized 26-oz can, it sprays up to 10" wide and four times faster than traditional aerosols. It’s ideal for blocking stains, hiding dark colors, preventing tannin bleed, covering graffiti, and sealing exterior wood. It also seals water, smoke and nicotine stains; sticks to all surfaces; and dries in just one hour.

Titan vet project T Titan Tool, Sherwin-Williams and three Minnesota painting companies recently partnered to support veterans, along with other downtown restoration efforts, in the city of New Prague—45 miles southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Headwaters Painting, LLC, Mr. Mole’s Painting, LLC and Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. teamed up with Titan and Sherwin-Williams to repaint a home and shed located in the area. A vet himself, who spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq, Slavik organized the effort by choosing a job from his schedule to designate as a donation project. His team worked with crews from the other two companies, sharing and learning new painting strategies throughout the day. At the end of the day, all three entities donated the job’s profit to the future New Prague Veterans’ Memorial, which is part of the city’s 2020 Main Street Reconstruction Project effort. The memorial will be built this summer.

StripRight Paint Stripper offers a safer solution T In response to concerns about the recent EPA ban due to potential health risks associated with methylene chloride-based paint-stripping products, Hawk Research Laboratories launched a new methylene chloride-free and N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP)-free paint stripper. Dubbed StripRight Paint Stripper, the new product offers a thick consistency for easy pour or brush application, and the gel-like formula clings well to both vertical and horizontal surfaces. A distinctive blue coloring makes it easy to track application accuracy and reduce waste. StripRight Paint Stripper can penetrate up to 12 mils of coating in a single application in as little as 15 minutes. It’s ideal for use on urethane, epoxy, polyaspartic, enamel and lacquer for a variety of surfaces including: porcelain, ceramic, metal, fiberglass, wood and acrylic. 10

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

DAP reformulated ‘heavy duty’ construction adhesive T If you’re looking for an adhesive that can hold vertical projects in place instantly without the need for bracing or clamping, your search is over. DAP reformulated DynaGrip Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive to provide 50% more instant grab than the previous incarnation. In addition to the quick grab, it also provides excellent adhesion and a strong, permanent bond on common building materials and installs including subfloors and drywall in heavy remodeling and new construction. The new formula is easier to gun for greater efficiency, is compliant with VOC regulations, and offers a weatherresistant bond once fully cured. DynaGrip Heavy Duty is offered in 5 oz., 9 oz. and 28 oz. and is available at select home-improvement retailers and on Amazon.


New paint neutralizes 95% of indoor air pollution




Courtesy of Philip Talleyrand/Smog Armor

T When entrepreneur Tim Sperry stumbled upon zeolite, the only naturally occurring negatively charged mineral on Earth that actually absorbs air pollution, he was intrigued. In 2018, Sperry set to work finding a way to maximize the mineral’s potential benefit to the planet and its inhabitants. It didn’t take long till he considered the paint industry. “The paint industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world,” says Sperry. “Beyond pollution related to manufacturing, paint products put a LOT of pollutants into the air. When I considered that the air in our homes is up to five times more polluted than the air outside and almost 1,000 times more polluted when cleaning and painting, paint seemed like a very natural and muchneeded application.” So, working with a paint chemist and a manufacturer, Sperry created Smog Armor. Formulated with an enhanced version of zeolite that is free of natural contaminants, Smog Armor continuously attracts and neutralizes many contaminants in the air. Available in exterior and interior formulas, the coating can be sprayed, rolled or brushed with standard equipment and, once dried, will start reducing air pollution and VOCs within one hour. “Smog Armor is a water- and clay-based paint in which zeolite acts as both the binder and the filter,” says Sperry. “Independent testing has shown its performance as a coating is almost identical to other water-based paints but it has the added advantage of actually trapping air pollutants including VOCs, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and more. The product’s color and adhesion is not affected by the uptake of pollutants and works continuously to clean the air for 4–7 years.” Sperry adds that the interior matte finish is the most effective finish for absorbing indoor air pollutants, but a satin version is also available. The exterior product is currently only available as a satin-eggshell mix. Smog Armor is available at:


Nova USA Wood Products offers new weathered-look stain colors T Nova USA Wood Products, Inc. recently expanded its palette of ExoShield wood stain to include platinum and antique bronze colors. Created as an answer to demands from designers and homeowners for a weathered-wood look, the new hues offer an easy way to achieve the soft grays and silvery luster of aged woods. All six colors provide long-lasting, superior protection for exterior decking, siding and outdoor furniture. Using a proprietary blend of Tung oil, UV blockers, fungicide, and trans-oxide pigments, ExoShield’s waterand acid-resistant formula is ideal for enhancing wood stability, reducing cracking or warping, and protecting against water damage, fungi and harmful UV rays.

ProClassic offers an alkyd finish with the convenience of a water-based formula T Sherwin-Williams has launched a new series of interior coatings, the ProClassic Interior Water-Based AcrylicAlkyd Enamel line in satin and semi-gloss sheens. According to the manufacturer, the new formula provides alkyd performance with acrylic properties, but includes non-yellowing characteristics and cleans up with water. The new finish options offer the same benefits as the original product: excellent flow and leveling capabilities to achieve a smooth and durable finish for doors, windows, trim, cabinets, furniture and other residential and commercial interior areas. It can be applied to drywall, wood, metal, concrete and masonry. Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT






1 ANTHONY KAID started out in the trades as a drywall finisher. He worked alongside his father throughout his apprenticeship, where he learned most of the skills that he currently uses. After 10 years in the painters’ union working for various painting and drywall contractors, Anthony and his wife Ashley launched Kaid Painting and Drywall in the fall of 2014. Since then, they have been building a solid foundation for their business and making clients happy in Madison County, IL.

What’s been the biggest change in how you run your business since launching six years ago? Definitely having structure. When we first started, we didn’t even have a calendar! We learned very quickly that having systems in place for scheduling, job management, finances, etc. is a must. Right now, we are working on finetuning our job costing. I didn’t even know why job costing was an important part of structure when we first opened up. It’s been a learn-as-we-go process. There is always room for improvement but we are much better off now than we were six years ago.


What’s been the hardest lesson to learn? “Just because you can do a job doesn’t mean you should.” This is especially tough when first starting out because you want to take on anything and everything just to fill a schedule. Through hard knocks, we learned that there are certain types of jobs that we just shouldn’t do. The length of a job is also a big deal. We are a small company that relies heavily on referrals. If we are tied up on a huge job for a long time, that keeps us away from the rest of our client base and their referrals. We went through a few hard times where I had to do jobs in the evenings and on weekends just to have money coming in between payouts on big jobs. Not to mention trying to keep everyone else happy.


As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? Customer service is number one. Very simply, excellent customer service equals repeat business. Without excellent customer service, we really don’t have a future. Second is making sure employees are happy. If an employee is unhappy for any reason, that shows in their work and the service they provide our clients. Their happiness isn’t a given. You have to nurture it. We do


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020


that, first, by paying them well for the level of work they’re doing. If their work is quality and their service is top-notch, we all win and they should be compensated for their contribution. In addition, we host outings, holiday parties, dinners with spouses, etc. to show our gratitude and strengthen our relationships with them as well as the relationships between employees. And third is keeping up with social media. Much of our business comes from potential clients being able to see our work and reviews on social media platforms.


What are your main performance indicators? Obviously, whether or not we hit our target on hours for each job. We have been working on spreadsheets to show us exactly what the numbers and percentages are each month. We also make sure employees know that they can ask for help and we work alongside them constantly to help set production standards. Although speed equals profit, we keep the focus on the quality of the jobs. Performance is always there and increases if we are doing everything right.


What would it take for you to feel happy about your progress in the year 2025? I would say being able to spend less time in the field and more time focusing on the business. That’s essential to being able to push our business forward. It’s exhausting working on the jobs and then doing the business-end in evenings and on the weekends. Also to know that we have built a culture within our business that makes you want to come to work every day. Not many people can say that they love their job. We don’t want that to be the case here. We have come a long way in the last five years. I have no doubt that if we keep working hard and pushing forward that I will look back five years from now and smile.

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 2020. All rights reserved. 3M, Scotch, ScotchBlue, Edge-Lock and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.


Help wanted (and wanted and wanted)

The perks of perks According to research gathered by Visa Business: of employees say having food at the office would make them feel more valued and appreciated


Even providing employees with two additional half-hour breaks twice a week results in: healthier weight

lowered blood pressure

better sleep schedules

improved stress management

The employment rate for professional painters is projected to grow 6% through 2028.


of employees say that health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at work

Dogs in the office lead to lower stress and higher productivity

Listening to music creates a 6% increase in employee output

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Reputation management: hands-on vs. hands-off

Shades of blue Since PANTONE declared Classic Blue (19-4052) its color of the year for 2020, we thought it only right to also share which blues paint manufacturers are vibing on:


of small businesses use only human resources to monitor their online reputation Benjamin Moore Hale Navy HC-154

PPG Paints Chinese Porcelain PPG1160-6

Behr Blueprint S470-5

Dunn-Edwards Cape Cod Blue DEC792

Sherwin-Williams Naval SW 6244


use a combination of human resources and digital tools

26% use digital tools only

SOURCE: Clutch’s 2019 Small Business PR Survey 14

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020


Adopting a ‘hiring mindset’ Thinking beyond skills and immediate needs can yield better hires


eán McCabe has devoted a lot of time and thought to the process of hiring. The author of The Hiring Mindset: How to avoid universal pitfalls when building amazing teams says it’s time business owners and hiring managers reframe their thinking on the hiring process. “If you view your people purely as overhead and an expense, then you will probably find keeping a team impossible,” says McCabe. “You’ll have a revolving door of staff and will be constantly hiring and managing churn. Over time, this process becomes extremely expensive, debilitating and stressful.” Instead, McCabe encourages owners and hiring managers to think beyond immediate needs. Hiring for the future, not the present While McCabe is sympathetic to the plight of pros faced with urgent hiring needs, he advises them to take a breath and think about the future. “If you can shift from thinking about offering someone a job to offering them a career at a place where they’ll have opportunities to grow and hone their craft,” says McCabe, “you’ll have turned an important corner.” Clearly, you have to follow through on the promises you make but if you do, McCabe notes, you’ll establish a new way of operating for your company and create an environment that’s hard for people to leave. “When you’re committed to helping people become their best, you establish trust and a connection. It creates a healthy environment that, in turn, becomes a huge competitive advantage that can lead to greater retention —and also attracting future talent.”

It’s not always about skills While it’s great to interview a master craftsman, McCabe encourages owners to look beyond skills. “In my opinion, two of the most important factors to a good hire are the ability to learn and a values match.” To determine ability to learn, McCabe suggests you ask open-ended questions related to how the person spends their time. “If their passion is cars, ask how long they’ve been at it and how they got started. It won’t be a full picture, but the stories they share will give you an idea of their willingness to invest themselves into something to learn and grow,” says McCabe.

On the values side, he admits it’s a bit of a ‘dark arts’ area. “The most important thing, really, is knowing what’s important to you. If you’re clear on that, you can usually recognize it in others. But it’s not a matter of asking a question or two. You need to tease it out of the individual through the stories they choose to tell, the behaviors they demonstrated in those stories, and what they’re proud of in their past performance.” Always be recruiting Art Snarzyk agrees that now is the time to start thinking differently about hiring. “Owners and hiring managers need to stop thinking of hiring as some sporadic thing to be done and, instead, make it a continuous part of their business practice,” says the hiring and retention consultant and founder of InnerView Advisors, Inc. Snarzyk says the best way to build a pipeline of potential hires is the same way you build a pipeline of potential customers: creating connections and building relationships. “That person in the paint store or the waiter who knocks it out of the park with hustle and service may not be looking for work today. But if you’re nice and share a little about your company, they might remember you when things turn sour or work gets slow,” he says. One way to do that is with a tool Snarzyk calls a ‘recruitment card.’ Essentially an oversized business card, a recruitment card is meant to be shared with anyone demonstrating the characteristics or skills that could benefit your company. “In addition to your company name and contact info, it should have a message like ‘I noticed and appreciated your service and I’m always interested in hiring people like you.’ Include compelling information about the work, your culture, career paths, and yes, even pay ranges. Everyone in your organization should carry them. Current crew members can and should be your best screeners.” Great hires are out there. The key is to know what you’re looking for and to always be looking.

Great hires are out there. The key is to know what you’re looking for and to always be looking.

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT


TEXTURE FINISHES Consistently achieving perfect orange peel and knockdown BY BOB GUNDERSEN

S When spraying orange peel texture on a ceiling, using an optimized texture system that can handle up to 100' of hose helps get the job done faster. All Photos Courtesy of Graco 16

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020


equests for textured drywall surfaces are more common in new construction and remodeling jobs than ever before. While typically applied to ceilings, interior walls are now often included in the texturing process as well. In addition to achieving a desired look, finishing walls with a specific texture finish can help hide blemishes, allowing for easier repairs. Each texture finish has unique characteristics, and the most common finishes today are known as ‘knockdown’ and ‘orange peel.’

Knockdown texture finish is common in new residential construction, especially in the central and southern U.S. It is also a very common finish in remodeling jobs when replacing a prior popcorn finish. In fact, it seems that popcorn texture has been replaced by knockdown texture, even in entry-level home construction, where knockdown once was considered a ‘premium’ finish. While the term ‘splatter’ may also be used on jobsites, knockdown and splatter texture finishes are essentially the same. However, the unique leather-like look of a knockdown texture is achieved with one extra smoothing step using a drywall knife. A knockdown texture finish is characterized by a consistent round-droplet pattern on the surface. The droplets can range in size from that of a dime to as large as silver dollars. This texture is typically applied in a medium-density look, allowing the original surface to still show around the droplets. Another desired characteristic is a good ‘reveal,’ or the thickness of the droplet. More is better. Material consistency for knockdown finishes can range from very loose to very thick. Wall applications tend to call for the thicker material, where the material needs to stay in place and also provide a good reveal. Ceiling mix can also be thick or thin; a thinner mix tends to work best, as it provides a better reveal due to the effects of gravity. A thinner mix also gives you more time to finish the application before the material starts to harden, so you can complete the knockdown smoothing step. Sprayer choice for knockdown is dependent on the desired droplet size and the thickness of material being used. If a large droplet size is the goal, your sprayer will typically need a good flow of heavier material, but little air. On the other hand, if a smaller droplet size is what you want, it will require more air to atomize (although not as much as orange peel). Nozzle sizes for applying a solid, workable knockdown texture finish generally run 6–8 mm for small- to medium-sized droplets, and 10–12 mm for the large droplets.

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The rule of thumb with spraying all finishes: the smaller the pattern, the more air required, and vice versa.

Orange Peel texture is definitely high on the list when you look at trending residential finishes in new construction. This is especially true in the western and southeast U.S. The cool thing is that the term ‘orange peel’ completely describes the look of the final finish. Genius. Finishes like orange peel (with small, fine particles) tend to require a lot of air to atomize. This is the rule of thumb with spraying all finishes: the smaller the pattern, the more air required, and vice versa. Finishes in this category also tend to require a very looseconsistency material. Ideal equipment solutions for this will have high air volume (CFM) and a small nozzle, typically in the 4 mm range.

ACHIEVING A CONSISTENT TEXTURE PATTERN When applying a texture finish, it is important to achieve consistency across the entire surface. This is especially important for small- or medium-sized remodeling or repair jobs that require matching an existing texture finish. Achieving this comes


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

down to a couple of key elements remaining consistent: material and airflow. Material consistency

Maintaining uniform material consistency throughout the application is the first step to achieve a uniform pattern. Whether you choose dry powder or ready-mix texture material, both must have the appropriate amount of water added to achieve a specific texture pattern and to provide the best flow—especially when using a hopper gun (shown in the image below). For jobs requiring more than 5 gallons of material, mixing all you will need for the entire job at one time will help ensure consistency throughout the job. Simply mix and compare batches until they are the same. Combining portions of each mixed batch will further ensure mixture uniformity. Another factor that can affect material consistency is when, using a gravity-fed hopper gun, the material starts to set while being exposed to air. For small- to medium-sized texture jobs, it’s best to use a pressurized hopper gun with a sealed hopper that seals out air. The added pressure also improves efficiency and provides additional force to project the material farther from the gun to deliver consistent finishes on hard-to-reach surfaces, like high ceilings.


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Air Pressure Consistency

4. The types of surfaces being sprayed

The air supply in a texture sprayer also plays a critical role, as there is a direct relationship between the amount of material and amount of air mixing together. As the pattern gets finer, the more air is needed to break the material into smaller pieces. Popular texture finishes such as orange peel and fogging require the most air to break the material into the smallest form. When using a hopper gun to apply a texture, a separate air compressor is needed, and not all compressors are well-suited for the job. It is critical to have a balance of low and consistent air pressure through the entire hopper of material. To save time and avoid texture pattern inconsistencies, use a continuousflow air supply system that provides a consistent high CFM air supply at a lower pressure (below 50 psi) throughout the entire job.

Whether you’re spraying drywall, exterior surfaces or concrete, each have their own needs when applying the desired finish. Considering the surface—as well as where the surface is located (overhead vs horizontal vs vertical)—will help you understand tip sizes needed, as well as flow required from a sprayer to support those tips. Taking this into account will also help you choose the best sprayer and accessories for the job. For example, spraying large vertical walls with a boom lift will probably have different equipment requirements than smaller interior walls and ceilings. Large vertical walls may require extra-wide tips with big orifices, while smaller jobs may not need this extreme. And concrete surfaces may need to be sprayed and back-rolled.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT Whether you are adding spray equipment to your fleet, replacing old equipment, or are a first-time buyer, the decisions you make are critical to your bottom line. With the right equipment, you have the best chance to deliver a quality finish and your profits grow. With the wrong equipment, more work will be needed to achieve the desired look, eating into your profits. Here are 8 considerations to help guide your equipment choices for applying texture finishes: 1. What materials you typically apply:

BOB GUNDERSEN joined Graco in 1998 and is the global product marketing manager for the company’s texture segment, where he is responsible for developing and implementing marketing product and development plans across the professional texture industry.

■■ ■■

■■ ■■

Waterborne, oil-based or high-viscosity materials If the material requires high or low atomizing pressure How fast the material sets up and dries The mil thickness are you trying to achieve

2. How many gallons are being applied for each job

Properly sizing equipment to the job is the key to productivity. ‘Undersizing’ can be a ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ mistake and results include poor production rate, unwanted component failure, and even work stoppage. In general, larger equipment tends to last longer, and is more productive and more forgiving with materials, aiding in future growth opportunities. 3. The type of power available at the jobsite

Utilizing the most reliable, convenient and cost-effective power source is key to continued productivity. Equipment solutions are available in various ‘flavors’ including gasoline powered, electric 120v and 240v, and air-powered solutions. Some equipment is even convertible from gas to electric for ultimate versatility. Inside texture finishing work is typically completed with electric units due to abundant free electricity and zero emissions. Besides also running quiet, they offer great performance with materials typically used for interior work. 20

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

5. How many spray guns you will use

Typically, most contractors only run a single gun—even on units that can utilize more than one gun efficiently. In circumstances where it is feasible to use multiple guns, doing so can greatly increase productivity without the need for adding another sprayer. 6. What types of jobs you bid

Whether it’s new construction, remodeling, commercial work or residential work, each job has different requirements and demands. These include differences in crew size, coatings utilized, power available, jobsite conditions, etc. It’s always important to also consider requirements for potential future jobs. 7. Hose-length requirements

Since it is unproductive to continually move equipment on a jobsite, working with the right length of hose is critical to maximum productivity. Factors affecting hose length include materials being sprayed, tip size, and hose diameter. Ultimately, equipment must have the right pressure and flow specifications to support the hose required to complete the job. 8. How much you want to spend

Let’s face it, buying a sprayer is an important investment in your business and your livelihood. You want to maximize profit but, to do this, you must also maximize productivity. Selecting the right equipment is critical to ensuring high productivity and higher profits as your business grows. Set yourself up for success by understanding the importance of material consistency, the unique combination of air and material needed for the particular finish you’re applying—and working with local experts to choose the right equipment to handle the jobs you’re spraying now and for jobs in the future. -

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT


INSIDE A PREP TOOLBOX A look at what some pros have added to their prep arsenal through the years, and why BY BRIAN SODOMA

What you’ll find in these pros’ prep toolboxes … NICK SLAVIK



FrogTape Pro Grade Painter’s Tape (blue) 3M Patch Plus Primer KILZ UPSHOT Aerosol Primer 3M Floor Gripper Anti-Slip Runners Heavy-duty canvas drop cloths; not brand-specific Handheld LED lights; not brand-specific 3M Sanding Sponges; medium grit Microfiber rags; not brand-specific Shop vac; 1 for each crew, various models Box fans; not brand-specific Hyde 3" scraper

Festool DTS 400 REQ Orbital Sander Festool CT Mini Dust Extractor system Krud Kutter Prepaint Cleaner Ram Board; temporary floor protection roll Trimaco Quick Drop (drop cloths) FrogTape Delicate Surface Painting Tape (yellow) Everbilt furniture sliders in various sizes USG Sheetrock Easy Sand 5 Joint Compound Wal-Board 8" Taping Knife DAP Alex Plus Latex Caulk Floor mats; not brand-specific LED headlamps; not brand-specific Microfiber rags; HDX brand

Husky Plastic Sheeting; 20' wide Sherwin-Williams Professional Grade Masking Tape (white) FrogTape Pro Grade Painter’s Tape (blue) Grip-Rite Synthetic Roofing Underlayment PORTER-CABLE Drywall Sander Dustless HEPA Wet/Dry Vacuum ZipWall system Portable ventilation exhaust fan with 32' hose; not brand-specific Putty knives; 3" stainless steel, not brand-specific USG Sheetrock Easy Sand 5 Joint Compound

Owner, Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. New Prague, MN


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

Vice President, Hamilton Painting Round Rock, TX

Owner, Supreme Painting Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX


ros are a fickle bunch, especially when it comes to prep. How they go about doing it is one thing, but many also differ on the types of tools they use as well. Different climates and job types influence some decisions, then you always have to think about cost and whether that high-dollar latest-and-greatest tool is really worth it for the amount of use it will receive. Whether it’s coatings, sprayers, brushes or other tools, at inPAINT, we spend a lot of time asking pros about their

preferences. Here, we take a somewhat deep dive into the world of prep tools with three pros who kindly handed over a list of prep tools you might find on any given day in one of their crews’ supply bins. It’s a mixed bag, for sure, but here’s what these pros shared about their prep necessities, and why these items (some of them surprisingly simple and not even paintindustry specific) are key to their companies getting prep right for their valued customers.

NICK SLAVIK Slavik is a craftsman with nearly three decades of experience. Today, the Minnesota native is known for his online training videos and candid shares about do’s and don’ts in the painting trenches. He’s not just committed to sharing knowledge online, he loves to train those new to the field. He also raises his hand to ask other pros about techniques and preferences. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pro more curious about best and better practices than Slavik. His company’s workloads tend to follow weather patterns. In warmer months, calls for residential exteriors with plenty of wood clapboard surfaces dominate and in cooler times of year, he finds interior work. Slavik has about 20 painters working for him, ranging in all levels of experience. So, when it comes to prep tools … simplicity, streamlining and minimizing decision-making are the top priorities. He likes to make sure most, if not all, the tools fit into a small storage bin any crew member can carry. “For me, it’s about simple methods, simple processes … and I’m always looking for that one product that does 98% of everything,” the pro said. So, when FrogTape released its Pro Grade Painter’s Tape (blue), he loved how it was strong enough to prevent paint bleed but not so strong as to leave a residue on finishes. The versatile new tape allowed him to consolidate his tape needs, too. For a while, his teams used FrogTape’s green tape for interiors and Scotch blue tape for exteriors. Now, he uses the new FrogTape offering for both environments. “It’s a good feeling to have 20 guys in the field and to know nobody’s going to be grabbing the wrong tape. And when we reorder, it’s just going to be one tape,” he added. 3M Patch Plus Primer is another versatile product that his crews use. It’s resistant to shrinking and cracking and can be painted over in 30 minutes. “It’s nice when it dries fast and you can move on with life,” Slavik said. Each crew member also carries a can of KILZ UPSHOT Interior Primer (an aerosol), what he refers to as the ‘nuclear option’ for containing water stains.

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“ For me, it’s about simple methods, simple processes … and I’m always looking for that one product that does 98% of everything.” —Nick Slavik, Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co.

For floor protection on interior jobs, Slavik’s crews use 3M’s Floor Gripper Anti-Slip Runners. They’re foldable and convenient. For larger spaces and exterior work, he also uses simple heavy-duty canvas drop cloths; he isn’t brand-specific with those. Many pros also use LED lights to check and see how the paint is covering. Slavik sees large, expensive lighting systems as overkill. Instead, he arms each crew member with small, handheld LEDs he finds at hardware stores. This is something else where he’s not partial to any brand or model. Through the years, Slavik has also simplified sanding. All his crew members’ bins contain 3M Sanding Sponge blocks in medium grit. The pro says

good sanding technique leads to great results and he thinks a lot of pros may over-complicate the process by using multiple grits on basic surfaces like wood or drywall. Instead, he teaches his team how to get the most out of one grit and, as is the case with his tape, he only has to order one product here too. Last, but not least, microfiber rags are one of the most important tools in his team’s toolbox, he asserts, though he isn’t brand-specific about which ones he buys. “Especially with cabinets, a little water on a microfiber rag will make them squeaky clean,” he said. “And you really need to make sure everything is clean for that final coating.”

JAY EMERY Emery comes from a long line of problem-solvers. His father was an engineer and hardware store proprietor, and his grandfather owned a machine shop. Emery found his problem-solving niche as a painter when he seized the opportunity to land multifamily public-housing painting contracts, which made up the bulk of his early work. There, his teams would repaint the interiors of both vacant and occupied individual apartment units. The extent of drywall repair and prep work needed to perform these repaints in hundreds of units honed his crews’ skills sharply, providing almost any repair scenario imaginable for practice. Today, his work skews mostly toward traditional single-family residential interior repaints, where he is able to put his repair and prep experience to good use. His Festool DTS 400 REQ Orbital Sander, which looks like a mini iron, is probably his team’s most important prep tool. Because of its shape, it’s great for reaching corners, he says. The sander is key because, over the years, his company has adopted the practice 24

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

of sanding all drywall surfaces on interior jobs before painting, no exceptions. “Repair is also a big part of our business, and we hold ourselves to a very high standard,” Emery explained. “We fix ALL drywall issues before we paint. We’ve found that sanding walls beforehand gets rid of all the imperfections and does away with any runs and sags from other people’s paint before us. After a while, we just adopted this as standard practice.” With heavy interior sanding, naturally, dust extraction is an important part of Emery’s prep work.

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That’s why he relies on the power of a Festool CT Mini Dust Extractor system. From time to time, Emery’s team will also need to degloss surfaces, such as trim boards. Krud Kutter Prepaint Cleaner (a TSP substitute) is a go-to for this work. For heavy floor protection, he turns to Ram Board, but for simple spill prevention, Trimaco’s Quick Drop folding mat drop cloths do the job. “It’s nice how they maintain their rigidity for a straight edge, so you can quickly put them right up against a wall,” he said. For the many different indoor surfaces his teams touch, he also likes to use a delicate surface tape because it can be applied over a relatively fresh coat of paint. So, FrogTape’s Delicate Surface Painting Tape (yellow) is what he uses for all areas of his interiors.

More recently, he also added Everbilt felt/foam furniture sliders to his teams’ prep toolbox. “I bought a few packages of these from The Home Depot, and I use them all the time. You put them under the feet and one person can move a couch when it would’ve usually taken two people,” he said. “It’s amazing how something very simple can help so much.” Having worked on many multifamily public housing units where residents didn’t want a paint job disrupting their lives, Emery embraced the thinking that prep tools and practices should support good customer rapport. “I know it may sound cheesy to say this, but my best prep tool is good rapport,” he said. “With everything we do, we communicate, and we’re always trying to make sure every task is done in the least inconvenient way possible for the customer.”

DALTON TOMLINSON Tomlinson has been in the painting business since the mid-1980s and has seen his share of helpful products come and go through the years. While his company covers the gamut as far as the type of work it performs (both commercial and residential interiors and exteriors), residential interior repaints make up about 75% of his current workload. His crews see their share of popcorn ceiling removals, too, he adds, and given the delicate nature of some interiors, his painters are trained to be extra cautious about protecting personal belongings, furniture and floors. To help them, he uses Husky’s 20'-wide plastic sheeting instead of drop cloths on carpet. He says drop cloths allow dirt and debris from one job to travel to another. He also didn’t like the time he spent washing drop cloths when he used them. In the last couple of years, he’s turned to the plastic sheeting and appreciates its durability and how its 20' width allows him to cover just about any size room without a seam. 26

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Hamilton Painting has adopted the practice of sanding all drywall surfaces on interior jobs before painting, no exceptions.

“I found that buying the plastic just works out better. I also like how you can cut it to the exact size of things,” he said. Sometimes, if a seam on plastic or paper coverings is required, he’ll use Sherwin-Williams Professional Grade Masking Tape (white) to save on costs. But for masking around trim and windows, like many other pros, Tomlinson has switched to the new FrogTape Pro Grade Painter’s Tape (blue) for both interiors and exteriors. To protect wood and tile floors, he turns to something less conventional for painting professionals— Grip-Rite Synthetic Roofing Underlayment. It prevents slipping hazards, he said, that may arise if using plastic on a hard surface. For walls with considerable patching, or with removing those popcorn ceilings, minimizing dust is his primary concern. He has a few go-to prep tools to help him with these tasks. He has been loyal to PORTER-CABLE Drywall Sanders for more than a decade. Tomlinson says the 4'-long angled handle on the model he uses allows for plenty of reach and connects easily to his Dustless HEPA Wet/Dry Vacuum to keep dust to a minimum. For cabinet work, he’ll often use a ZipWall system to contain the dust while also incorporating a dust-removal system he put together himself using a ventilated exhaust fan with a 32' hose to move the dust outdoors. “When we do cabinets, it’s about the only time we spray in someone’s home, so it’s important to have the area closed off and a fan working to filter out the dust and overspray,” he added. To many pros, prep is often seen as that magic combination of the right tools and technique. With experience and changing job types, prep tool preferences change. Our guess is that if we were to check back with these three pros in a few years, their toolboxes would be a collection of old standbys and a few surprisingly helpful tools they’ve added along the way. -

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Multipurpose Sherwin-Williams PrepRite ProBlock is a great example of an overall priming solution that seals out stains and blocks tannins.

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams


Primed and ready: Pros share their primer preferences

When it comes to primer preferences, pros can fall into two categories: those always on the lookout for something better or creatures of habit who lock in with a product for the long haul and don’t change it up unless absolutely necessary. Regardless of which group you fall in with, there are a lot of good primers out there that solve problems on the substrate level and improve the look and performance of a topcoat. Here, four pros from different areas of the country shared their preferences.


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DANIEL HENDRICK Hendrick Painting

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020


SUNG DAUCK Duke’s Painting


ZACH TAYLOR Taylor & Sons Properties


CHET OSHIRO EmpireWorks Reconstruction and Painting


In business since 1999, this San Antonio-based pro sees a roughly 50/50 split between commercial and residential jobs. His teams have worked with a lot of different primers through the years, and his knowledge of the available options is downright encyclopedic. For Hendrick, on exterior wood-siding surfaces, SherwinWilliams PrimeRx Peel Bonding Primer works great. If peeling is a huge concern, some of his crews also request Zinsser Peel Stop Triple Thick Primer from Rust-Oleum. The product is also great on raw wood, Hendrick added. For exterior wood fascia, Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Base Primer from Rust-Oleum is a go-to, but he’ll sometimes turn to Sherwin-Williams PrepRite ProBlock Primer/Sealer as well. The multipurpose primer also works well with raw wood and drywall and for certain stain-blocking situations, he noted. For new plaster, he prefers Sherwin-Williams High Build Primer. “It levels up the surface really well on those joint compound and taped surfaces,” he added. Hendrick also sees his share of new cabinet work. That first prime is critical for adhesion, so he likes Chemcraft 550-1600 Aquaprime WB Pigmented Primer, a lesser-known product by AzkoNobel but a top-notch option, he says. “It’s water-based, but it dries really fast and powders up like an alkyd so it levels out really nicely. It makes sanding very easy. … You can sand in about 45 minutes,” he noted. Some of his teams also work with industrial steel, I-beams and metal surfaces. For those projects, he’ll turn to Sherwin-Williams Pro Industrial Pro-Cryl Universal Acrylic Primer; and for difficult-to-adhere-to plastics, he uses Sherwin-Williams Extreme Bond Primer.


This South Carolina-based pro focuses primarily on residential interior repaints. For years, he used a wide range of primers but, in the past year, he switched almost exclusively to Sherwin-Williams Drywall Primer. The product performs well and comes at a great price, he says. “What I also like about it is there are rarely any artifacts that stand out and have to be sanded afterward,” he said. For water damage cover-ups, drywall repairs, as well as wood cabinets, he prefers Sherwin-Williams ProBlock Interior Oil-Based Primer. The heavy-duty primer does well with wood “especially if that wood is really knotty,” he added, “and I’ve found that it just seems to blend repairs a little better, too.”

Courtesy of Zinsser


This Massachusetts pro has been in the business for more than 30 years and isn’t opposed to experimenting with different primers. Dauck likes to check back on his jobs a few years down the road to see how coatings are holding up, and a good primer, he has found, goes a long way toward making his work stand out. Doing primarily residential work for new plaster and interior repaints, he likes Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Multi-Purpose Latex Primer. For exterior wood surfaces, he has tried a number of primers and recently settled on Sherwin-Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer. The slow-drying primer performs better than others that may dry faster, he said. He does caution, however, that the coating is very thick and requires spraying with back brushing. For fresh unpainted wood and for blocking out ceiling water damage or strong odors, Dauck turns to the oil-based KILZ Original Interior Primer as opposed to latex primers. “Oil-based primers will block out that stain; latex will not,” he said. “And with wood, after you prime it, sand it and you can feel the wood is smooth, like marble. Then you can put a finish coat on it. With latex, it feels rough.”


This California-based painting professional’s teams primarily perform exterior repaints of condominium and apartment complexes. In these environments, crew members work with a lot of stucco and wood fascia surfaces. Most of the jobs usually only require spot-priming, but Oshiro says there are a couple of primers his teams prefer. One is Sherwin-Williams Multi-Purpose Latex Primer, which they use for repainting or covering existing paint on concrete stucco and/or wood fascia. And for raw wood and patches, his teams have enjoyed great coverage when using Sherwin-Williams PrepRite ProBlock Primer/Sealer. His crews also work with some unique surfaces, such as vinyl or metal. For these jobs, Oshiro turns to X-I-M Advanced Technology UMA Primer/Sealer from Rust-Oleum. “If you need adhesion and you’re dealing with those surfaces you think can’t be painted, that’s the one for the job,” he added. -

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT




How are you leveraging Instagram to grow your business?

ZACH KENNEY, the owner of ZK Painting, is a Rhode Islandbased custom paint contractor. As one of 13 Master Certified Fine Paints of Europe painters in the country, his company specializes in high-endcoatings applications. Kenney thrives on pushing the limits of both painting techniques and customer experience.


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020


I cannot say enough about the power of Instagram (IG). We tripled our revenue last year and I am able to attribute a half-million of that growth to the social media platform. When we started using it about three years ago, my goal was simply to grow a following. But when I crossed the 10,000 mark about a year and a half in, I asked myself, ‘why am I doing this?’ and I decided then that the purpose of my posts would be to educate and entertain viewers. Since then, I’ve done daily posts from our jobsites. I don’t spend time on introductions but, rather, get right to showing the work being done. Most videos run about 30 seconds, with many being sped up to show a time-lapse. I think offering a behind-the-scenes look really builds trust and confidence with potential customers. We’re putting it all out there for them to see. They get a sense of what it’s like to have our team in a space and they can see that we’re not trying to get away with anything. Plus, they can see that we’re proud of our work and how we accomplish it. And, of course, I want potential customers to see our work. I achieve that through both direct messaging and tagging. I follow a lot of designers, builders and contractors on IG and will sometimes direct message them through the platform to introduce myself and my body of work. That connection gives them access to everything I’ve posted so they get a good picture of what we do and how we do it. I’ve definitely landed jobs through that effort.

In addition, I’ll often get tagged in a post by the contractor or a designer I worked with on a job. They’ll throw up a photo and mention me as the painter. That post goes to all the people who follow that contractor, which includes a lot of people who might have never heard of me. In fact, tomorrow I’m going to bid a job thanks to a post that a designer tagged me in. The prospect trusts that designer and, through that relationship, wants to talk to me about a job. Plus, our followers, who include builders and designers, give us added exposure. They often tag us or repost, which then puts us in front of all of their followers, many of whom then become our customers. I also encourage my crew to post. They each have an IG account tied to the company and they like showing off what they can do. And, on days where I don’t get to a jobsite, I’m able to repost their videos. Beyond marketing, doing daily posts has caused us to step up our game. The crew knows we’re going to be filming every day so our jobsites are neater, people are following protocols, and are all in all being more professional. In addition, I was recently looking to hire and ran an ad on Indeed. At the very bottom of my ad, I included a line to the effect of ‘direct message me on IG for brownie points.’ My last seven hires all did it. By driving them to IG and our videos, they got a chance to see what it’s like to work for us. I really think that’s helped streamline the hiring process.


RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL PAINTER What was the reason and process for expanding from your initial market to others?


In short: economics. When the economy started to tank, we were pretty focused on residential work. We had dabbled in small commercial stuff, though nothing major, but I knew that’s where the heavy hitters were operating and I wanted to be there. So when the market turned and homes to paint dried up, we took our first serious step into the commercial field. The processes were largely the same but we did need to work with some new product. That shift is really what kept us in business. There simply weren’t homes to be painted but there was plenty of commercial work. Since then, we’ve continued to diversify into other markets and it’s helped sustain us as different segments lulled or surged.


Discipline, determination and diversification lead to 35 years of success (and a lot of string cheese) Starting at the tender age of 12, Adam Roe earned a little cash helping his dad out with his parttime painting business. Working alongside his dad and several other veteran craftsmen, he had the chance to develop solid skills and habits. That exposure paid off when he graduated high school and joined a local crew doing mostly residential repaints. It didn’t take long until Roe decided to hang his own shingle: Adam Roe Painting (ARP). Instead of being annoyed, his boss turned out to be the source of his first project—and many, many others in the years that followed, including some projects his team is working on today. While Roe started out as a one-man show doing mainly residential repaints, his company has since grown to include 20–25 field crew members and six administrative folks, and handles residential, commercial and light industrial work. Tackling projects ranging from zoos and museums to banks and cheese factories, the ARP team is recognized for their application and problem-solving skills. As Roe likes to say, “Nothing’s a problem unless you can’t find a solution.”


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

Which segment do you enjoy the most and why?

Every segment has its own pluses and minuses but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with commercial. The main reason being is we get to work on some really interesting projects. Right now, we’re finishing up a first-of-its-kind automated manufacturing facility. It’s 400,000 square feet and, once it’s completed, they’ll be using robots to build high-volume, multi-unit housing complexes, like apartments and hotel rooms, as individual modules. It’s pretty cool to be in on the ground floor and see that come together. Another interesting project we tackled last year was a 300,000-square-foot tortilla factory where they turn out 8 million tortillas a day. Around the same time, we did a job for Sorrento Cheese. They purchased an existing cheese factory that had a lot of block walls with literally years—or even decades—worth of paint that was failing. The EPA told them they had to do something about it before they went operational. We came in and completely stripped the walls down to the base then coated them with TNEMEC’s mat lay-up system called Stranlok. The remaining work had to be done during shutdowns that typically lasted three days. We worked around the clock to get it done. Over the course of several years, we tackled 80% of the property. It was a lot of work and, yes, we ate a lot of string cheese along the way.

Given the scope of work you tackle, how do you go about training your crew?


While the jobs are different, there’s not a whole lot of variety in applications. It’s all similar best practices. If there’s something special to be done, we’ll do training in our shop space. There’s plenty of room

(5,000 square feet) and a small spray booth to test things out. For example, we have a multifamily project coming up that includes a clubhouse to be done in a limewash. We’re going to set up some sheetrock then bring in the project foreman and journeyman painter and let them test it out. They’ll send samples to the customer for approval and we’ll then share the approved technique with others who will be on the job.


We do a LOT of safety training. We attend Safety Fest in Boise every January. It includes three to four days of courses on everything from OSHA protection and ladder safety to working in confined spaces and chemical safety. All of our crew take at least one course at the event. We give our foreman a monthly supply of green tickets that they can give out to crew on the jobsite when they ‘get caught doing something right.’ At our company-wide monthly meetings—where we also discuss safety—tickets can be cashed in for swag and tools from the company store. All the tickets get turned in then get tossed into a bucket. We draw one and the winner gets a $100 cash gift card. I like to think it reinforces and rewards good habits. We also hold leader meetings every Monday throughout the year, where we discuss a book on leadership, review jobs in progress, discuss personnel issues, cover safety topics, and do toolbox talks that the leaders then take in the field the same day.

What are your benchmarks for determining which projects you will take on?


Right now, the primary factor is timing. That is, when is it going to hit? We can’t take on work if we don’t have the people to do it. The next ‘benchmark’ would be repeat customers. We try hard to be available for past customers who we really enjoyed working with. And, of course, profitability is also important, but sometimes we do take on projects that are interesting and might lead to new learning experiences.


ABOVE: The Nampa Industrial Building in Nampa, ID at the halfway mark of a job requiring 1,200 gallons of dryfall.

What’s your approach to safety training?

What decisions have contributed the most to your success today?

I think the biggest is the choice to do whatever it takes to make a customer happy. Over the years, we’ve taken on work that others didn’t want because it required weekends or had to be done on a graveyard shift. Some work was really challenging or downright nasty. Stuff like chemical stripping.

“… our willingness to do whatever needed to be done is a big part of the reason we’re in business today.” We made the choice to take it on because we wanted the customer relationship. That commitment to doing right by the customer really paid off; now we’re ‘their’ painting company. Doing the dirty work up front earned us more—and easier—work without the hustle. Another important decision we made was during the downturn. Again, we didn’t have any residential work coming our way, so when Chase Bank decided to buy up a bunch of local banks and rebrand them, we raised our hand. There were about a dozen buildings and they weren’t sure one company could do it all so they split it between us and another company. We ended up wrapping up before the other team so we stepped in and helped them. We also helped a separate drywaller who was trailing behind a bit. When it was all done, we asked Chase where they were going next. They said they had 12 more banks to turn in Vegas. We put together a bid including demolition and rebuild through drywall and paint. They liked it and said ‘come along.’ We took about 20 guys down and hired 50 locals in the area. It was a HUGE project for us but, because it hit at a time when absolutely nothing was going on, we did it. After that, we handled the remodel of 120 Quiznos restaurants on the West Coast. Neither of those jobs were convenient or easy but our willingness to do whatever needed to be done is a big part of the reason we’re in business today. That ‘never say die’ spirit is still very much a part of our company. Things can get tough but, really, nothing’s a problem unless you can’t find a solution. -

ADAM ROE, a native of Boise, launched his residential newconstruction paint company in 2005. In 2007, he expanded his scope of services to include specialty coatings for commercial, industrial and food-service projects. He is a member of the PCA and the PDCA Commercial Forum Board, and was recognized with the PDCA’s Best Commercial Project Award in 2019.

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT



Courtesy of Graco


inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

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Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT



inPAINT ® presents an industry-specific question and invites an expert to share their insight.


I'm using a sanding sponge instead of sanding paper on drywall for the first time. How do I maximize this tool?

A: KANNAN SESHADRI, Ph.D., is an advanced product development specialist for 3M. He has extensive experience with the development of products, including abrasives, and also holds patents and has published scientific articles related to coatings and abrasives. Here, Seshadri answers a question about how to work with sanding sponges.

A sanding sponge is a more ergonomically friendly tool than sandpaper alone or even when used with a sanding block. When using a sanding block, you grip the sides of the sponge with your fingers, allowing the abrasive to do the work instead of needing to push down with the palm of the hand on the block. Sanding sponges also offer flexibility, which allows for the abrasive to more fluidly move along the contours of a curved surface. When sanding drywall, you’re likely dealing with two scenarios: a seam on a new wall or a patched hole on an existing wall. The condition of the wall and joint compound will play a large role in the successful use of the sanding sponge.

A progressive approach to grit ratings It’s important to start with the right sanding sponge grit. For rougher surfaces, I recommend a 60-grit sponge. If the drywall professional did a great job with the seam and it appears smooth to start with, you might be able to use an 80-grit sponge. Do not start with a very fine grit. You’ll end up applying too much force and the caking will ruin the sponge, then you may end up harming the surface. When starting with a coarse grit, you’ll want to apply very light pressure at first. Being too aggressive could create scratches that show through the final paint coat. Then, it’s important to move through each grade of grit to the finest grit. Do not skip grits. For drywall, a 150-grit sponge is usually the finest grit needed. I also recommend shining a light on all jobs to give a clear and accurate view of your work as you progress through the grit levels.

Channeling technology benefits Sanding sponges with channeling technology allow for the easy removal of dust particles—and reduce the 36

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

likelihood of them caking on the abrasive surface. You can sand for longer periods with these tools, and all it takes is a couple light taps to easily release any extra build-up of particles on the abrasive’s surface. Channels also minimize airborne dust, a potential job safety hazard. The one caveat with using sponges with channels, however, is to make sure you are not overly aggressive on rough surfaces. This can contribute to a patchy look. Other considerations A common scenario painting professionals encounter is a homeowner’s patched hole on a wall. Often, you need to take into consideration the patch material and the finish/sheen around the hole. In these cases, when you use the sponge, start with a coarse grit, but you’ll also need to feather past the area where the patch compound ends and the old paint starts; you don’t want sheen differences or lines where they meet. When dealing with these situations, you’ll want to check the sponge regularly. If the paint is a water-based acrylic, you’re less likely to encounter a problem. But if the coating is an older, heavy, solvent-based one, the abrasive may fail early due to gumming of coating material on the abrasive. In addition, corners can sometimes have heavy buildup of joint compound. It’s almost impossible to fold sandpaper at the correct angle to get into rough corners. That’s why a sanding sponge is ideal for hard-to-reach corners. Consider using 45˚- or 60˚-angle-edge sponges for these areas. More pros are turning to sanding sponges for drywall sanding due to the ergonomic benefits and ease of use. But, to fully realize the sponge benefits, it’s important to be aware of the surface condition and to utilize proper techniques as well.

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This wise adage served as inspiration for a new type of communication that offers industry professionals education and instruction to learn from—and build on. Here, we present an industry-specific question and invite an expert to share their insight. Prepare to sharpen your skills.

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day. lifetime.”

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.

a dustry o learn


Stay informed. Watch for it monthly.

inPAINT eNewsletter


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.

Our monthly e-newsletter delivers industry-relevant articles to your inbox— many expanding on our magazine articles —offering additional ls, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE! valuable content professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. Watch for it monthly and stay relevant.

Teach to Fish eBlast

Video of the Month

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

A picture is worth a thousand words.

To receive these valuable tools, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE!

This wise adage served as inspiration for a type of communication that offers industry professionals education and instruction to learn from—and build on. Here, we present an industryspecific question and invite an expert to share their insight. Prepare to sharpen your skills.

To receive these valuable tools, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE!

This communication delivers video instruction and product and service awareness via your inbox on a monthly basis.




What, Where & When 1

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


5–7: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV



24 & 25: PCA Residential Forum AST, Milwaukee, WI



7–10: Color Impact, New Haven, CT


15–17: 21st Century Building Expo & Conference, Charlotte, NC


17–19: Apartmentalize, Boston, MA


23–25: PDCA Commercial Forum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada


27–30: BOMA International Annual Conference & Expo, Philadelphia, PA


24–26: Wallcovering Installers Association 2020 Convention, New Orleans, LA


New Haven, CT—June 7–10

To register, visit 38

inPAINT | Mar/Apr 2020

Courtesy of Michael Marsland

Whether you are an architect, interior or industrial designer, color consultant or paint professional, come learn how to incorporate the latest research in lighting and color science into your practice and your passion. A collaboration between the Inter-Society Color Council and the International Association of Color Consultants of North America, this four-day event features numerous keynote speakers, short courses in color theory and application, panel discussions, architectural tours, and plenty of networking opportunities.


AI Technology that helps solve sales lead-quality problems for mid- to large-sized contractors


s a service provider, you know that lead quality is everything. But if you spend too much time prospecting and qualifying the wrong leads, the result can be longer sales cycles, lost deals, lessened productivity and, ultimately, lowered morale. All of this points to the importance of proper saleslead qualification in creating a healthy business and bottom line. But where do you even start? One approach is utilizing ‘conversational marketing’ technology.

How conversational marketing can help qualify leads Instead of forcing your website visitors through lengthy lead-capture forms where they might not get a response back for days, conversational marketing uses targeted messaging via chatbots to engage them while on your website. By employing artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology, chatbots understand sentence structure, and are able to engage, build relationships and create authentic personalized experiences with prospects, all while gathering the information needed to determine qualification. Chatbots can ultimately save you tons of time identifying qualified leads, though you do have to put some work in up front to ensure they deliver the desired results. Take these steps to define your target prospects, then engage and qualify them: 1. Define what makes a qualified lead Work backward to determine your ideal customer profile and what separates a qualified lead from an unqualified lead. And make sure this variable is quantitative, not subjective. A variable might be anything, such as the size of your prospect’s budget or their location. The variables that matter most to you will depend on your individual business goals and needs. Ultimately, you should consider qualification through four different lenses: ■■ Firmographic: Does this prospect have traits similar to your current customers? ■■ Demographic: Does this prospect have the decision-making power or the influence to get this deal done?



Intent: Are there signs that this prospect is truly in the market for what you are selling? Behavior: Has this prospect taken actions that would indicate they are at a stage where it makes sense for you to invest the time to pursue them?

2. Engage prospects, then qualify Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can create a strategy for engaging, then qualifying, the prospect by asking the right questions. While it’s tempting to jump straight to your qualifying questions, it’s important to first build a sense of rapport. You want to be sure their artificial intelligence experience flows naturally like any in-person conversation. Use engaging questions to get their attention such as: Hey [name or ], thanks for coming all the way over here from [SOURCE]! Can I ask you a question? Remember, personalization is key to grabbing someone’s attention. Everyone wants to feel understood, and personalized messages are a great way to deliver this type of experience. Once you have the prospect’s attention, you can move onto the qualifying questions, but make sure there’s a reason behind each one. Reasoning phrases include “so I can” and “I ask because ...” Don’t waste the prospect’s time. Continue to make it easy for prospects Now that you’ve qualified the lead, it’s time to follow up. Regardless of what the next step is—a color consult or an appointment to estimate—you want to make it easy for the lead to take it. For example, a calendar link provides instantaneous scheduling and eliminates tedious back and forth. Similarly, if you offer financing, a direct link can keep the lead moving through your pipeline. Conversational marketing can not only help improve your lead quality, but can also help move leads from ‘prospect’ to ‘qualified’ faster. And that’s just better for your bottom line.

KATE ADAMS has more than 15 years of tech marketing experience and is passionate about creating amazing customer experiences across the entire customer lifecycle. Currently, she is the VP of Marketing at Drift, a ‘conversational marketing’ company whose tools enable targeted messaging and intelligent chatbots to engage with potential customers when they’re on your website.

Mar/Apr 2020 | inPAINT


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or else... Change is bigger & faster than ever. The only way to catch up, let alone get ahead, is to engage with the industry, empower yourself with the most recent insights and equip your customers with state of the art tools at the National Hardware Show.