inPAINT Magazine Aug/Sep 2017

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CURB APPEAL Choosing colors that command attention and more money




When you need exceptional color consistency, depend on Sherwin-Williams, and ColorSnap Precision — our exclusive system for delivering gallon-to-gallon color consistency. Get reliable color matching across all your properties. From initial product formulation to final tinting at one of our 4,000-plus stores, you can count on our paint to give you easy maintenance and cost-effective touch-ups. Again and again. Find out more at



Get proven safety equipment with long-lasting comfort. Our proprietary Cool Flow™ Valve design helps reduce heat and moisture inside the respirator for cool comfort and easier breathing. So you can keep your cool on the job.

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1 Compared to 3M 8210 inside respirator temperature. Compared to 3M 8200, breathes easier is defined as initial pressure drop. 3 When the quick latch is down, user must be out of the contaminated area. 4 Breathes easier is defined as initial pressure drop of 3M 6001 cartridges compared to leading competitive models. 2

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One of my favorite parts of putting this magazine together is the opportunity to talk to various pros and industry experts.


very conversation reveals a daily challenge of the job or an aspect of the industry that inspires more articles and informs the coverage we provide. I firmly believe that it’s these conversations, along with the insight and opinions the pros and experts offer, that make the content found in every issue of inPAINT worth reading. I also believe it’s important to acknowledge those contributions. So with this issue, we’re introducing an expert contributors box (below) that lists the names and companies of the paint pros and other industry-related experts who shaped the content of the articles that follow. We’re very grateful to them for their time and, in some cases, for the images they shared. If you are interested in contributing, just drop me an email and let me know what services you offer, what products you have strong feelings about, and anything else that you think would help us make the best use of your knowledge and experience.

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT

Thanks to this issue’s contributing experts James Jones Allen Construction Tom Kellogg Kellogg’s Painting Brian Kramer Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications Erin Marshall Kismet Design Jeff Morten Supreme Finishes Chris Noto Wagner Michael Nungesser Five Star Painting

John Petersen 3M Nino Sitchinava Houzz Christopher Spreadbury Norton/Saint-Gobain Peter Weiss Induspray Amy Woolf Amy Woolf Color Consulting Bob Zaffino The Paint Project

©2017 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 | Aug/Sep 2017



Stephanie Conner Stacey Freed Brian Jensen Jake Poinier Meghann Finn Sepulveda Kate Silver Brian Sodoma SOCIAL MEDIA

Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY

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


Steve Burnett DYB Coach Roger Coulter RWC Interiors Marvin Ellison JC Penney Randy Fornoff MTS Painting Johannes Frick Festool Ryan Gill Brush Strokes Quality Painting, Inc. Fred Haber Haber Painting, Inc.

Kathryn Heeder Hocker Martha MacGregor


Ciro Affronti Operations Manager/Field Supervisor, Affronti Property Solutions, LLC Christine DaSilva Manager of Administrative Operations, The Larkin Painting Company, Inc. Cliff Hockley President, Principal Broker CCIM, CPM, Bluestone & Hockley Real Estate Services Mike Kelly VP & General Manager, Crestwood Painting Mary Kay Liston President, Five Star Painting Scott Lollar Director of Operations, Catchlight Painting Tom Lopatosky Founder & President, LOPCO Contracting Jim Norman Owner, Norman Construction Art Snarzyk Owner, InnerView Advisors, Inc. Emma Souder AIA, GGP, GGA, Principal and Owner, Red Iron Architects

No do-overs.

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inPAINT® Aug/Sep 2017


Boosting 20 Curb Appeal with Color

Online Lead 24 Generators An online approach that complements an off-line presence

True Grit 26 Evolving abrasives ease workload, improve job outcomes

Pro Picks 30 Pros talk interior paints

The inPAINT 34 Interview Construction Company


inPAINT | May Jun/Jul Aug/Sep 2017 2017 2017



36 Tools of the Trade

Industry ins and outs

What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

12 Ask a Pro

38 Upcoming Events

What’s your approach to ladder safety?

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

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

39 Bottom Line Pitfalls of estimating

15 Trend in Focus Differing renovation needs of new and repeat home buyers

16 Work Smart Troubleshooting spray equipment

Success means outworking the competition.

Chip Gaines Home Renovation Expert

Professionals, like Chip Gaines, depend on the repeat business that comes from doing things the right way. No half-measures. No cutting corners. And that means insisting on KILZ Products. A family of surface coating solutions trusted by professionals for over 40 years. Learn more at

[ THE NEWS ] ECOBOND Adds Bitrex to Lead Defender Product T Imagine the most bitter substance in the world. Now try to think of a really good use for it (besides pranking an annoying coworker). The folks at ECOBOND, manufacturers of ECOBOND Lead Defender, a paint-on interim treatment used to seal and treat lead paint and lead dust, came up with a practical application that has the potential to reduce the chance of lead poisoning. By adding BITREX, the most bitter substance known, to their leadpaint-treatment product, ECOBOND Lead Defender, the company aims to reduce the accidental ingestion of potentially harmful materials.

There’s a New Weapon in the War on Graffiti, and Its Name Is Gentoo. T Originally developed to keep military jet fighter canopies clean and free of rain, dirt and debris,

Gentoo is a clear coating that repels water and most oils—and paint. A dense polymer, Gentoo comes as a two-part coating that is mixed together and then applied as a single coat. The clear-finish product can be flow-coated, dip-coated, HVLP sprayed, or painted on with a brush or roller—and adheres well to painted, plated, and bare-metallic substrates, as well as glass and surface-primed plastics. Surfaces treated with Gentoo repel paint and are also able to withstand significant abrasion without sacrificing performance. Gentoo has performed well in anti-graffiti testing, including by a major German train manufacturer, and can also be applied to security camera lenses, building and vehicle windows, signage, and other surfaces frequently targeted by graffiti artists.

Finally. A Phone That’s as Tough as You Are T Caterpillar, Inc. knows a thing or two about

building equipment that stands up to the elements and repeated abuse. They recently applied that knowledge to the creation of the CAT S50c smartphone, a phone specifically designed for challenging work environments. Impervious to dust, drop-proof (up to 3.9 feet) and waterproof (3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes), the phone features scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and is fully operational with wet hands or while wearing gloves up to 4mm thick. The phone is available exclusively on the Verizon network.

JC Penney Enters Remodeling Market … and More T If things go right for JC Penney, consumers will start turning to the brand for more than khakis and home

goods. The retailer is test-marketing turnkey services for bathroom remodels, blinds, awnings, heating and cooling systems, home water solutions, and smart-home devices. Each group of services has its own display and signage inside JC Penney’s home goods departments at about 100 test stores. A web site,, serves as an information portal, and allows customers to request a consult, then set up a home visit with an authorized contractor to get an estimate. According to company CEO Marvin Ellison, “There’s a tremendous opportunity to capture additional revenue and minimize our dependence on apparel by catering our services to female homeowners who represent 70% of our loyal customer base, and make the primary decisions regarding any home renovations.” 10

inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017

15,000 Gallons Later and It’s PLAY BALL! T When the very first pitch was thrown out at the brand-

new Atlanta Braves SunTrust Park earlier this year, all 41,149 seats were filled; some with the very pros who helped ensure the park was ready for opening day. Thirty-eight or so pros from Goodman Decorating Company and DACA Specialty Services spent nearly 18 months applying approximately 15,000 gallons of a broad range of PPG Paints coatings throughout the park and the neighboring Battery Atlanta properties including restaurants, hotels, parking decks and office spaces. Much of the ballpark’s steel structure was coated with AMERCOAT 68HS zinc-rich epoxy primer and AMERSHIELD high-build polyurethane, while SPEEDHIDE Zero was used on the Comcast office building’s interior electrical rooms. Industrial coatings PITTHANE high-build urethane enamel and PITT-TECH Plus were applied to many of the various metal elements of the stadium such as handrails, metal doors and frames. And the all-important dugout, equipment storage area, various other areas of the stadium were coated with BREAK-THROUGH!, which was perfectly matched to the iconic navy and red Atlanta Braves colors.

Bend the sanding rules. This abrasive takes on any shape to make detail and flat sanding easy. And the unique film backing resists punctures, tears and creases. It’ll change the way you think about sanding.

Š 3M 2017. All rights reserved. 3M and PRO GRADE PRECISION are trademarks of 3M. U.S. patent pending.

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Q: Ten years ago, TOM KELLOGG ended up as owner of his own painting company, Kellogg’s Painting, after his then-paintcontractor employer abandoned the job they were working on. The homeowner asked Kellogg if he would finish the job. He did, and a few months and a few jobs later, he was able to hire his first employee. He now has three employees who focus on residential repaints and log home restoration in upstate NY. Kellogg also is a certified Sikkens stain contractor.


inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017


What’s your approach to ladder safety?

My company does interior and exterior painting jobs, and for a good portion of the year, the majority of our exterior painting includes the use of extension ladders. Safety, overall, is number one. Toward that end, I have taken ladder-safety training through the PDCA, and I hold a number of laddersafety certificates through the PDCA as well as from Werner (a ladder manufacturer) and the American Ladder Institute. Because these are online courses, it’s easy to share my learnings with my team. I cover a lot of the information and show videos on ladder safety for extension ladders and step ladders at least once a month in our company’s weekly ‘tool box’ safety meetings. Whenever we bring on new employees, I always show them how to set up and climb ladders safely and correctly. Even with seasoned guys who know what they’re doing, we do a hands-on demonstration. We cover things like the importance of not overreaching when you’re on a ladder. It’s so easy to lose your balance. We try to drive home the fact that you need to keep both of your feet planted on the ladder. With a step ladder, we start with the obvious: never stand on the very top. We also focus on the fact that every ladder has a weight limit. We teach our guys that when you’re figuring out what kind of ladders you need, based on your users, you have to also figure in the additional weight

of tools and paint, as we secure the paint pail to the ladder with a pail hook. After all these years, I haven’t learned anything truly new about ladder safety, but I think it’s important to have a refresher. Working around ladders every day, people can become complacent. If you’re in a rush and you’re not paying attention, or a ladder is not set up right, or it’s defective—it can fall on an employee or a homeowner. That’s a problem. The safety training benefits anybody on the job or just walking by.

ONLINE LADDER SAFETY TRAINING PROGRAMS Do you or your crew need a refresher on ladder safety? The following organizations offer online training programs; some are free and some charge a fee: - - - - -


I t’s a

k r o w s ’ e f i l r u chapter in yo

a national d n a ls o to r lo o c rofessional p , ts c u d ro p ty to deliver the li a ™ S T IN A P G P With high-qu P u can rely on o y t, r o p p u s f putation. o re r u o y network ld o h p u u lps yo expertise that he

t n i a P r u O

E D I R P R YOU FIND A STORE NEAR YOU AT PPGPAINTS.COM. The PPG Paints Logo is a trademark and the PPG Logo is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. © 2017 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Here’s how much some of the largest paint-franchise businesses have grown over the past five years, and the regions that saw the most expansion:





CertaPro Painters




Five Star Painting



South, Southeast, Northeast

Fresh Coat Painters




Wow 1 Day Painting




SOURCE: Data supplied by individual companies

Per-Square-Foot Pricing Across the Country According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s what pros are charging per square foot for labor across the country. In addition to location, the other key determinants of pricing were size, type of equipment required, type of paint used, and project time line.




Atlanta, GA Boston, MA Charlotte, NC Chicago, IL Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Denver, CO Detroit, MI Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA Miami, FL Minneapolis, MN New York, NY Philadelphia, PA Phoenix, AZ Riverside, CA San Diego, CA San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA Tampa, FL Washington, DC

3.38 3.86 3.91 3.59 3.39 3.54 3.25 3.55 3.14 3.34 3.58 3.42 3.90 3.02 2.83 3.77 4.75 3.61 3.23 3.50

inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017

Where Home Improvement Pros Abound According to a recent article on, the following U.S. cities have the highest concentration of home improvement businesses: 0New Orleans, LA 0Pittsburgh, PA 0Hartford, CT 0Miami, FL 0Boston, MA 0Charlotte, NC 0Birmingham, AL 0Denver, CO 0Oklahoma City, OK 0Cincinnati, OH

Repeat Home Buyers More Likely to Focus on Exteriors According to the 2017 Houzz & Home survey, repeat home buyers are significantly more likely to spend money on exterior feature upgrades compared to long-term owners. For example, one in four repeat home buyers replaces exterior paint, windows, and/or doors, compared to one in five long-term owners (been in their home 6+ years).


Turns out the color of the universe has an official name: Cosmic Latte. Assigned by a team of astronomers at Johns Hopkins University, the color represents the average of all the colors from the light of 200,000 galaxies within two billion light years of Earth. Here are the closest matches from five manufacturers: BEHR PROCESS CORPORATION











What both new and experienced home buyers want in renovations


he recently published 2017 Houzz & Home survey offers overall good news for pros, and some very specific information that could be key to winning new work. According to Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at, “Over half of 100,000 homeowners surveyed by Houzz planned to continue or start renovations in 2017, and planned to spend an average of $27,300— a 4% increase from the 2016 planned spend.” She adds, “The tight housing market is creating opportunities for remodelers and paint professionals. With new construction lagging and older homeowners staying put, first-time home buyers are buying smaller, older homes that need a lot of work.” The first-time buyer opportunity According to the survey, first-time buyers spent 22% more on remodels in 2016 than they did in 2015. “Because the properties they’re buying are old, they tend to renovate four rooms at a time versus the twoand-a-half rooms that long-term owners (been in their home for 6+ years) tackle,” says Sitchinava. The real opportunity with repeat buyers “In almost every way,” says Sitchinava, “repeat buyers represent the biggest opportunity for pros. In addition to representing 80% of the renovation market, the scope of work they take on is bigger, they spend more overall—an average of three times more—and they tend to hire direct.” Also of interest, repeat buyers were found to upgrade exterior paint more frequently than first-time buyers and long-term owners (17% first-time buyers, 21% long-term owners, 24% repeat buyers). Credit cards gaining traction The report also revealed a rise in credit card usage between 2015 (21%) and 2016 (23%) while all other payment methods remained stable. Sitchinava points to a few reasons for the change. “For younger buyers with few financial resources, credit cards are often the only option. If their debt-income ratio is off or their credit score is low, a bank is not going to loan them money. Plus, getting a loan can be a hassle and time-consuming. You skip that when you go with plastic.”

Custom is king Regardless of where they are in they buying cycle—first-time or repeat buyers—home buyers are taking a decidedly custom approach to renovations. “Across the board, home buyers are approaching renovations with customization in mind,” says Sitchinava, “It’s no longer about playing it safe for resale. Owners are doing what they need to do to make the place their own and somewhere they can stay for a long time … it’s a great time to be marketing creativity, high-end design, and craftsmanship.” Leveraging opportunities Steve Burnett of DYB Coach sees a number of ways for pros to use the information in the Houzz survey to their advantage. “The fact that buyers are more likely to use their credit card is great news for the contractor,” Burnett says. “Letting a customer know that you accept credit cards makes it possible to close jobs on the spot and frees up time for you to focus on other things.” While Burnett thinks it makes sense to pitch credit card payments to all buyers, he notes that the opportunity to earn credit card points may have the greatest appeal to younger buyers. “It never hurts to say, ‘Look, if you want to rack up some points on your credit card, you’re welcome to use it as a payment method.’” Burnett also urges pros to “go deep in the niche” to capture more of the high-end and custom work buyers desire. “If you’re a general paint contractor, you’re competing against everyone for business,” he says. “But if you’re the only company specializing in re-toning wood or refinishing kitchen cabinets, then there is no competition.” Both Burnett and Sitchinava suggest pros cultivate relationships with realtors to gain access to potential customers. But Burnett feels it’s not worth going after sellers. “The real opportunity lies with the buyer who is going to invest in the property for the long haul, not just the quick turn.”

“In almost every way, repeat buyers represent the biggest opportunity for pros.” —NINO SITCHINAVA, HOUZZ.COM

Aug/Sep 2017 | inPAINT




Photo Courtesy of Titan



inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017


aintaining your spray equipment in proper working order isn’t just about keeping it out of the shop to save on repair costs. Doing so also improves your productivity in painting tasks, and prevents having to take your sprayer apart in the field. And most importantly, smooth-running equipment results in the best-quality finish for your customers. Within your paint-spraying arsenal, you may have a wide range of equipment, from HVLP and conventional to airless or even static charge. But for Peter Weiss, president of the industrial painting company Induspray, success ultimately comes down to cleanliness. “It may sound obvious, but keeping your equipment clean is going to reduce your failures and troubleshooting down to a quarter or less,” he says.

Gas-powered, electric-powered, and air-powered paint sprayers all basically clean up the same way. Use whatever the coating manufacturer recommendation for cleaning, whether soapy water (preferably hot) for waterbased paints or a compatible thinner such as mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or xylene for petroleum-based paints. If a novice in your crew accidentally cleans with the wrong cleaner, the results can be catastrophic— creating a cottage cheese-like sludge in the machine. Chris Noto, director of products for WAGNER, recommends starting in bypass mode; using the appropriate solution running through the suction tube and returning through the bypass hose for three or four minutes. Once that’s clean, switch the unit from bypass mode (or priming mode) to the spray mode to clean the hose and the spray gun itself.

“One of the biggest mistakes is leaving the tip on the gun while you’re cleaning,” he says. “You want the sprayer, basically, to free-flow during the process, moving a significant amount of cleaner through the pump and hose till it runs clear. Leaving the tip on also drastically reduces the life of the tip. You can add 20% or 30% to its life by cleaning without it.” Cleaning a handheld sprayer that’s been used for water-based paint is even simpler: just dump the unused paint back into the bucket, rinse the cup thoroughly in a slop sink, and spray through one or two full paint cups of hot, soapy water. Spending an extra five or 10 minutes to remove all the dirty solution is worth the effort, ensuring that the next time you pull the trigger, the equipment is perfectly clean—and that you won’t have to unclog a hose or take apart the sprayer tip to remove debris. In addition, thorough cleaning will eliminate problems on color changes and product changes, such as from a dark color to a light color. Cleanup after using a two-part epoxy, urethane or polyurea requires additional diligence. “You really need to pay attention to the pot life, and if you don’t flush that pump, you’re going to be in trouble,” says Bob Zaffino, president of The Paint Project, which provides sales, service, and design of spray equipment and systems. “With two-component coatings, they tend to fuse to the metals, nicks and cavities inside the sprayer.” Beyond cleaning: best practices In addition to appropriate cleaning, there’s a wide range of tricks of the trade that even the most novice members of your paint crew need to be aware of in order to keep spray equipment running smoothly: Pay attention to the pump. The first sign of a problem with a piston pump is when the upper packing begins to leak. That’s a visual notification … paint will come out of the fluid section, which can be observed through a weep hole opening, and it’s time to have the pump serviced. For gas-powered units, you’ll want to heed the manufacturer’s recommendations on when to change the oil—generally 200 or 300 hours of run time. Tips on spray tips. Worn-out spray tips can cause problems with usability as well as finish quality. “The obvious sign that your needles or seals are worn is that they will start leaking or dripping,” says Weiss. “Waterbased paints are generally, although not always, more abrasive. It’s just the nature of the ingredients that go into paint, and that’s what wears out the guns, tips and seals. When you’re dealing with airless sprayers, the tips will only last about 50 gallons.” Don’t neglect your filters. Dirty filters can cause problems with paint flow or, in a worst-case scenario, the need to repack the pump more often. The good news is that maintenance is as simple as taking out the filters, rinsing them, and reinstalling them. “Everyone

recommends it, but it’s a step a lot of people skip,” says Noto. Most professional sprayers have three filters in them, designed to prevent mechanical issues and ensure you’re spraying clean paint: 1) an inlet screen (aka, rock catcher) on the tube that goes into the paint itself and catches debris such as grass, leaves or dried paint; 2) a filter on the sprayer itself; and 3) a filter in the handle of the gun. “They are cleanable and reusable to a point, but will eventually need to be replaced, depending on the coatings you’re using,” says Noto. “If you’re doing deck stain, they could last a year, because it’s extremely fine-

“… keeping your

equipment clean is going to reduce your failures and troubleshooting down to a quarter or less.” —PETER WEISS, INDUSPRAY

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ground and thin. If you’re using an inexpensive barn paint or line-striping paint, you’ll have to replace them more often. It’s not so much the hours of use, it’s what you’re spraying.” Watch the workspace. In addition to paying attention to internal cleanliness of the unit, you need to make sure your paint sprayer is operated and stored in a clean environment. “If you’re running a sprayer in a really dirty or dusty facility, it’s going to be hard on the equipment,” Weiss says. “Operating an electric unit in a dusty environment, for example, you’re going to burn out the armature and brushes, and the engine will start tripping breakers. And it may sound like common sense, but you also should never set up pumps below where you’re painting. Overspray dust is gritty, abrasive, and very hard on any equipment with moving parts.” Rust never sleeps. Water-based paints may be kinder on the environment, but water itself can cause problems in the inner workings of your sprayer due to the minerals and iron in the water supply. “Many of the parts are carbon steel or chrome-plated rather than stainless steel, so there’s a lot of rusting that occurs, especially on the pickup side and the pump sections itself,” says Zaffino. After you’ve flushed the sprayer with hot, soapy water, he recommends storing it with RV antifreeze or another rust and corrosion preventive if you’re not using the sprayer for a week or more. With solvent-based paints,

“ I can’t stress enough how important it is to be trained on things like safety, use, operating techniques and maintenance.”



Photo Courtesy of The Paint Project, Inc.


inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017

mineral spirits or compatible solvents should be used for flushing the sprayer. For longer storage, using a 50/50 blend of mineral spirits and non-detergent oil won’t dry out, because they’re petroleum-based. Heed the temperature. Paint that is too viscous is not only hard to atomize, it will produce subpar results. “During cold weather, when you throw the paint in the back of a pick-up, drive an hour to the job site, and the temperature of the coating drops significantly, you’ll have to increase the pressure to avoid tailing in the spray pattern,” Zaffino says. “You need to bring your paint to room temperature for it to flow properly.” Pre-filter your paint. The multiple-filter system will catch most of the crud before it gets into the spray system and causes clogs. It can be prudent, however, to filter the paint before it even goes into the sprayer or before you start to siphon from a can or bucket. A simple strainer, or even a pair of pantyhose, can eliminate problems with a plugged-up siphon and resulting pump malfunction. Prepare for winter. Colder weather will be arriving shortly—which means winterizing your equipment. “In warm climates, you can leave water in the sprayer as long as you use a rust and corrosion preventive,” says Noto. “But in cold weather like we have in Minnesota, it can freeze and cause damage, which is why most contractors pump their sprayer dry. Some people use gasoline or antifreeze, but we tend to stay away from that because it can be poisonous. Mineral spirits are a great winterizer. It pushes all the water out and leaves a coating on the interior surfaces so it makes it through the winter. When you go back to a water-based coating, you just need to run water through it to pump the mineral spirits out.” Zaffino’s company got started in—and continues to do—a significant amount of repair business, giving him a mechanic’s-eyes view of what sends spray equipment into the shop. “I know no one likes to read manuals, and I don’t like to either,” he says. “The fact is, about half the pieces of equipment we see in our shop are in here because of negligence. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be trained on things like safety, use, operating techniques and maintenance.” From small residential contractors to very large industrial contractors, Weiss believes there is one thing in common: the need for productivity. “Being competitive on a spray job means we need to be efficient about labor and material, particularly paint,” says Weiss. “With a sprayer, the way you achieve that is using the correct gun on the right piece of equipment, having a clean pump with no worn parts, and adjusting the pressure to the correct level to atomize the paint particles. If you do that, it gives you more control and makes the equipment easy to use; and if you don’t, it’s going to be difficult to do high-quality work. Experienced contractors recognize this and make sure the equipment that goes onto a job site is in good repair.”




© 2017 Home Depot Product Authority, LLC. All rights reserved.



rin Marshall used to get irritated when she looked out the window of her kitchen in Portland, OR, and her gaze fell on the house across the street. “It was white and it just blitzed my eyeballs in the morning because it faces east,” she says. As an interior design consultant, white exteriors are a pet peeve: “Almost nothing in nature, except a brand-new flower, is white,” says Marshall, who owns Kismet Design. So when the owner of the white home passed away, Marshall approached the new buyer and offered her services to


inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017


recommend colors to paint it. He accepted, and now it’s a soft, terra-cotta red with tan trim and a gray roof. It pops in a neighborhood of mostly neutral homes—and soothes her mood. Marshall also believes that the color boosted the curb appeal and helped the home sell quickly when it went on the market soon after. “If you’ve got a well-conceived palette on the exterior of your house, it sets the package,” she says. “It says, ‘I went to an effort to make my house sparkle because I want you to notice and remember it,’”—and I want top dollar for that.





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Across the country, interior designers, color consultants and home magazine editors agree that when it comes to boosting curb appeal, a little paint can go a long way. “Color is the biggest bang for your buck,” says Brian Kramer, senior home design editor with Better Homes and Gardens’ special interest publications including Do it Yourself and Before & After magazines. “The right color, through paint, is the fastest, most cost-effective way to be the house that stands out.”


“ You can pick

two of the most boring colors on the planet and, with a third color, you can make magic.


When advising clients on choosing color, it’s important that they consider the entire neighborhood, says Amy Woolf, owner of Amy Woolf Color Consulting in Northampton, MA. She advises clients to select a color that’s unique, but also harmonizes with the surroundings. “If all the houses on your street are beige and your house is electric purple, you’re detracting from the value,” says Woolf, who adds that natural hues such as brown, green and gray will often help the home settle into the landscape. The style of the house should also influence color selection. “It’s important to honor the architecture,” she says. For example, she wouldn’t paint a Colonial saltbox house six or seven colors, “like a painted lady,” she says. Nor would she paint a Federal-style clapboard house a vivid blue when it would look better a pale white or pale gray. Marshall, says that size should also inform color selection. For a larger house, she says she’d opt for a more conservative approach, like a darker-gray body color—common where she’s based in Portland. Whereas with a smaller house, a brighter choice like orange would pop. “You can be sassier because it takes up a lot less room,” she says. When he’s scouting for homes fit for a magazine spread, Kramer says bold colors catch his eye. “It’s deep grays that are almost going toward black; it’s deep greens that are mossy to forest; it’s blues that are going toward a black, even as their accent,” he says. “And of course, with all that is a really nice, crisp trim.”

Photo Courtesy of Amy Woolf Color Consulting 22

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THINK IN THREES Three is key when it comes to exterior colors, says Marshall: body, trim and accent colors. “You can pick two of the most boring colors on the planet and, with a third color, you can make magic,” she says. With the body and trim, contrast is imperative, she says. “It almost doesn’t matter what color you pick, to an extent. It’s not necessarily about the hue, whether it’s red or green. It’s about the distribution of light and dark that is really the most important thing.” The accent color is where Marshall advises homeowners to flex their personality. “The door, in my opinion, should always be snappy,” says Marshall. “If you’re going to have a gray house, have a bright-red or bright-yellow door and make it glossy, because it’s easier to clean and it’s bright and welcoming.” Marshall also lets clients know that accent color should appear in more than one place around the exterior, such as details around columns or flower boxes. “When you have a red door on a gray or white house, it definitely calls attention to the door. But what you need is some red flower boxes or a touch of red on your mailbox to take away from the randomness and to create rhythm and a sense of purpose,” she says.

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY When painting, small touch-ups can make a world of difference, says Kramer. He lets readers know that simply painting the shutters and the door can make an impact. One trend Kramer has noticed: using dark tones to emphasize a home’s architectural features, like window trim. In particular, he says he loves seeing shades of black applied to window trim of ranch homes from the ’50s and ’60s. “It looks like off-the-runway architecture,” he says. “And it’s done with paint.” Woolf tells her clients that quick fixes—like updating the paint around the porch and front steps—resonate. “As somebody comes up the sidewalk, it sets the tone. If the paint out there is chipping and everything is looking ratty, that makes a bad first impression,” she says. Another pet peeve of hers: bright-white trim around the windows. Instead, for an update, she suggests selecting a light trim color that aligns with the color of the body of the house. Marshall adds that an easy way to add value to the house is to make sure all of the windows have trim. She says she frequently sees homes where trim is just applied to the front windows. “If the rest of the windows of the house are not trimmed out, that should be the very first thing you do on an exterior. It will make the house look like it’s $10,000 more than everybody else’s house,” she says. All three design experts agree that the key to advising clients on paint is finding balance, both for now and for the future. “What’s important is that colors are well chosen and balanced with the neighborhood, and trim color is appropriate, so when somebody looks at buying the house, it doesn’t scream ‘must repaint now,’” says Woolf. -


When it comes to generating new leads for painting contractors, I’ll be the first to say that off-line marketing is still very effective. BY BRIAN JENSEN


ard signs, branding your vehicle, wordof-mouth referrals, sponsoring community events, mailers, door hangers, etc. can all work well to generate new leads. With that being said, consumers are increasingly going online to find information, products, services and locations. In fact, according to Google, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information, which makes having an established, consistent online presence more important than ever.

Not a one-size-fits-all approach

4 in 5



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With digital, there are a variety of factors that can influence which online channels will prove to be most effective for your business. What works well for one contractor may not be fruitful for another. Every online marketing campaign needs to be customized to meet both the needs of your business and the behavior of your customers. Here are six key areas that can provide your company with a holistic approach to online marketing, and work to increase the qualified leads you receive online.


LOCAL SEO Sending clear, concise signals to search engines about who you are, what you do, and the areas that you serve plays an important role in an SEO strategy. If a potential customer sees a yard sign on their way to work and wants more information about your services, how do you think they’ll find it? Likely through a branded search using a search engine. For contractors that serve a specific service area, the quickest local SEO win you can achieve is to set up and verify a Google My Business page. This requires you to:

- Verify your page either via phone or postcard - Complete all required fields including company name,

address, phone number, hours of operation and web site URL - Add your company logo and plenty of high-quality images that showcase your best work - Ask your satisfied clients to post reviews With a verified Google My Business page, you’ll increase the chances that your new listing will appear in Google’s local 3-pack of search results that appear below paid ads and above the traditional organic results. This is prime real estate that’s free for the taking and requires minimal time to set up and optimize.


MOBILE Google released a statistic earlier this year that said 75% of all searches will be from mobile devices and that in the U.S., 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. At Congruent Digital, we are consistently seeing at least 50% mobile traffic for most of our painting contractor clients and I only expect this number to grow. It’s important to provide your web site visitors with a great mobile experience. Some specific items to look at when auditing your mobile site are: - Do you have a click-to-call button enabled so visitors can easily call your business? - Is filling out your contact form easy? - Is text easy to read? - Is it easy to navigate through? - How many seconds does it take to load? Recent research published by DoubleClick by Google found that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if

COMMUNITY Sponsoring events, donating your services through charity events, or simply participating in other local community events, is a great off-line marketing strategy that can also be used to enhance your online presence. If you decide to start or participate in a community event, here are some tips to leverage your online visibility: - Share details about the event across your social media channels and on your web site - Share with your local chamber of commerce; many chambers allow members to post or share news on their web sites - Get in touch with your local media outlets and let them know what’s happening - Work with other organizations and businesses involved in the event to cross-promote each other Community events are great ways to build your local network, increase your off-line and online visibility, and strengthen your unique value proposition as a local business and community partner.

online reviews and that 85% of customers reported reading online reviews. Today’s consumers are doing their research, so make sure that you stand out from the competition by having reviews across all the platforms on which your company has an active presence. Tips for increasing the number of reviews you receive from satisfied customers include: - Ask permission. Ask a customer during a job if they’d be willing to provide online feedback after the project is complete. - Provide options! Not everyone has a Houzz account and not everyone is an active Yelper. Creating a simple ‘Reviews’ page on your web site—or an email template that lists the top platforms you’d like reviews on—along with simple instructions on how to leave feedback on each, can help to increase the amount of online reviews you receive. - Add links to the profiles you’d like reviews on by including them on your invoices, email signatures, etc. - Don’t offer compensation! This is against most platforms’ terms of service and can land you in hot water if you’re caught. Remember, most customers that have an amazing experience with your company will be happy to leave feedback. Reviews are the top organic ranking factor for platforms like Houzz and Yelp, making them essential to keeping your business visible for searches related to your services on these platforms.



pages take longer than just three seconds to load. Translation: a slow web site could be costing you over half of your mobile site visitors. Verify that your web site passes Google’s free MobileFriendly Test (search ‘mobile-friendly test’). Be sure to check your site on different devices to ensure the experience is consistent no matter how it’s being accessed.


THIRD-PARTY PLATFORMS Houzz, Thumbtack, Angie’s List, Yelp … and the list goes on. It seems like a new platform is launched every week. Your time and resources are limited, so which platforms should you have a presence on? Start by performing a couple of searches in Google for your services and the locations that you serve; e.g., ‘painting contractor Los Angeles.’ Pay attention to which networks are consistently appearing on the first page of search results and start with those. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by including: - Professional logo and high-quality images that showcase your best work - Company description that includes your unique value proposition and a call to action - Your address, hours of operation, phone number, web site URL


REVIEWS You’re in business because you do a great job, but are you consistently asking your satisfied customers for online feedback? If not, you should be. A recent survey found that 90% of customers are influenced by

PAID ADVERTISING Paid advertising can be an incredible tool for specific campaigns, and a very effective way to get your business in front of your target audience in your service area. If your web site doesn’t have a strong organic presence, Google AdWords, Yelp and even Facebook advertising can be a great option for increasing brand awareness, building a following, and attracting new leads. For Facebook and Google AdWords, I’d recommend enabling ‘remarketing’ and ‘retargeting,’ which allows you to target those who have already expressed an interest in your company.

Conclusion I’ve only scratched the surface on ways a painting company can increase both their online and off-line presence and attract new, qualified leads. Just like no two businesses are exactly alike, the same rule can be applied to your customers, making a diversified, holistic approach one that will likely yield the highest returns in the long run. -

Brian Jensen is the CEO of Congruent Digital, a full-service online marketing agency located in Huntington Beach, CA. He can be reached at:



Community events are great ways to build your local network, increase your off-line and online visibility, and strengthen your unique value proposition as a local business and community partner.

True Grit

YEARS OF ADVANCES IN ABRASIVES EASE WORKLOAD, IMPROVE JOB OUTCOMES It happens every day. A painter sands a surface, but the job takes longer than expected or the results aren’t quite there. Did they use the wrong grit? Did they opt for a cheap abrasive that required more elbow grease? Did dust build up to impede the sanding process? It could be a combination of all three.



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It’s the image of that frustrated pro that makes John Petersen’s job so unique—and fun. It’s not that he enjoys watching a pro struggle, but 3M’s advanced specialist of product development likes to take that struggle and use it to make products better, ultimately leading to abrasives that make work easier and improve results. “That’s essentially how we develop products. … You see that frustrated painter throw away a piece of sandpaper and you think ‘maybe we’ve got something for that?’ We spend a lot of time out in the field trying to identify their pain points … sometimes pros may not even know they have them … then we develop workarounds,” Petersen said. He and others who develop advanced abrasives say there’s a lot of science behind the sandpaper any pro holds in their hand or slaps onto the end of a sander these days.

“Back in the day, sandpaper was just rocks on paper,” he added. “We continue to push the envelope of what is a very old category.” A history of improvement Some researchers argue that sandpaper is a centuries-old category, having traced its origins as far back as 13th-century China, where it was made predominantly from crushed shells. Since then, there have been varied accounts of sandpaper’s early use in London, Paris and areas of Europe in the 1700s, until in 1834 when—according to the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents—a patent for mass manufacturing of sandpaper was filed by Isaac Fisher, Jr. of Vermont. In the early 1900s, 3M developed a sandpaper specifically for automobile repaints. After that, the company went on to create abrasives for many other applications. Contrary to any silly lore you may hear, sand is not an ingredient in sandpaper. For Petersen, today’s abrasives are still an evolving technology but, fortunately, now an idea sparked by a job-site frustration can be almost immediately addressed. He is able to assemble a team of productdevelopment specialists, engineers, and other technical minds rather quickly. “Within a few days, we can get a half-dozen people into a room. Few companies in the world can pull together technical resources like 3M can,” he added. One unique improvement came from Petersen noticing paint pros constantly folding sandpaper in half when using it. The sheet would quickly become creased, worn and unusable. The reason, he discovered, is that the untreated sandpaper backing is rather slippery when folded onto itself, causing the sheet to slip while sanding—slowing down the work, tiring the user, and even hurting the hands at times. The solution came in the form of 3M’s Advanced Abrasives with ‘No-Slip Grip’ backing. This premium product line has a coating on the back that eliminates


Mi-T-M has the equipment for all of your projects.


Photos Courtesy of Festool

slippage and allows a pro to easily use their entire hand when sanding. “You can use your bigger arm muscles instead of stressing the smaller muscles in the hand, and you can use more of the sheet. You can be more productive with less fatigue,” Petersen added. Clogging, longevity Abrasives have needed to keep pace with the industry’s shift from oil-based paints to water-based formulations and low-VOC offerings. Removing an oil-based coating tends to clog up the abrasive surface quicker and wear it down faster, said Johannes Frick, head of business development for Festool. With the shift from oil- to water-based paints, Petersen has noticed a movement toward finer-grade preferences. Many pros seem to be asking for grits 220 or finer, which was not the case in the past. “There’s very little need for coarse grades unless you’re doing a refinish job where a coating needs to be completely stripped off,” he added. Aluminum oxide is the primary ingredient in abrasives for commercial and residential painting applications. Petersen emphasizes, however, that aluminum oxide has made quality strides through the years. Many lower-grade products will use a brown aluminum oxide with a square, blocky shape to the abrasive mineral upon close inspection. Premium aluminum oxide has a more angular shape and is much harder than traditional aluminum oxides. “They’re heat-treated and sharper out of the gate,” Petersen said of the premium-quality aluminum oxide. Along with aluminum oxide advances, manufacturers continue to tinker with better ceramic/aluminum oxide combinations in products. Festool’s ceramic-grain-coated Granat sheets for sanders are popular among painting professionals for their longevity. “You can be more efficient and have less down time. What took two or three discs [on an orbital sander] in the past, you can now do in one,” Frick said. Ceramics aren’t new to the field. 3M developed its first ceramic about 25 years ago with its Cubitron brand, then started incorporating ceramics into other lines. Other manufacturers like Mirka with its Abranet line, and Klingspor’s newer CS610 and CS612, offer longer-lasting ceramic grains for pros, and DIY markets as well.

800-553-9053 Aug/Sep 2017 | inPAINT


“A good system can reduce time—and reduce disruption of a customer’s routine and life.” —JOHANNES FRICK, FESTOOL

Messy factor Christopher Spreadbury, U.S./Canada market manager for Norton/Saint-Gobain Abrasives, which markets Norton-brand abrasives, says THE 3M PRO GRADE PRECISION longevity, from the standpoint of the actual ULTRA FLEXIBLE SANDING SPONGE abrasive itself, is one part of the conversaACTUALLY CHANNELS DUST AWAY tion he often has with pros—but many are FROM THE ABRASIVE SURFACE. also trying to reduce dust as well. Heavy Photo Courtesy of 3M dust is one of the most talked-about factors among pros for how it can cake and ruin abrasives and also compromise job quality—not to mention create a mess for owners. Norton designed its ProSand Multi-Air Cyclonic Sanding Discs with dust mitigation in mind. The product features holes in a spiral pattern across the abrasive’s surface, which creates an upward force, like a cyclone, to effectively extract dust. Users don’t need to worry about aligning holes like on traditional discs for orbital sanders; just slap them on and go. Because small holes are distributed across the entire face of the abrasive surface, dust extracts evenly and does not clump in trouble spots, like the center or the edges of the disc. The abrasive also includes ceramics that, for a time, re-sharpen themselves with use, allowing for 20% to 30% greater longevity, according to Spreadbury. Dust-extraction systems for sanders have also played a role in improving longevity and minimizing dust overall, adds Frick. Festool offers its patented multi-jetstream dust-collection technology with its pro-grade sanders, which incorporates additional fresh airflow to clean the pad and reduce heat for high-efficiency dust extraction. “For us, it’s important to get the dust out really fast,” Frick added. “By doing that, the user is spending less time sanding his own dust and more time sanding the paint they want to remove. A good [dust-reduction] system can reduce time—and reduce disruption of a customer’s routine and life.” Working by hand, sponges Considerable attention has been given to the paper backing for abrasives as well. That backing plays a role when dealing with fine details like the contour of a railing or a raised panel on a cabinet door that can’t be sanded effectively with a sander. Festool’s Granat abrasives line also offers unique sponges and rolls for hard-to-reach corners. It comes with a thinner backing, almost as thin as aluminum 28

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foil, Frick said. 3M’s Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls use a thin, urethane backing instead of paper, which allows it to be tear and puncture resistant—and extremely flexible. “It really has changed the game for pros when it comes to sanding details,” Petersen added. Sanding sponges also can be used for detail work. The same clogging problems tied to sandpaper, however, also apply to sponges. 3M recently developed an Ultra Flexible Sanding Sponge with grooves in the face of the sponge. Petersen explained that the grooves channel the dust away from the abrasive surface, reducing airborne dust, and significantly increasing the life of the sanding sponge. Getting a handle on grit Grit choice can also play a role in how well a job turns out and how well the abrasive performs. Painters have often turned to CAMI (Coated Abrasives Manufacturers’ Institute) grit ratings to understand which sandpaper is best for which job. In general, the lower the number, the coarser the sandpaper is. CAMI ratings in the 40 to 60 range are extremely coarse and are used for heavy removal applications like stripping floors. Fine-grit ratings can start from about 200 and go up to 600 for super-fine applications like polishing work. To help simplify the grit choice, Norton created a colorcoding system for use on its ProSand Multi-Air Cyclonic Sanding Discs:

40–80 coarse grade for heavy removal and stripping 100–150 medium coarseness for moderate to light removal, surface leveling, and fine surface prep 180–320 fine coarseness for final surface prep, sanding between coats, and after priming, sanding, and staining Spreadbury said the color system has helped to better inform pros and those new to the industry. “Most pros know what to use, but we still put it on there because a pro could be someone using a certain grit for years out of habit … but there might be a better grit sequence that can work for a job,” he says. -

The magazine created for professionals just like YOU inPAINT magazine delivers engaging and informative articles on the latest industry news and current trends. This is the kind of information that can set you apart from your competitors, and make your job easier and more profitable. Stay informed by subscribing now.



Do you need vibrant colors or the whitest white? Do you need something durable for a homeowner who insists on a flat sheen? Is scrubbability a key characteristic? Depending on your customers’ needs and budget, your interior paint preference might vary. But all pros have their favorites. Here are a few:




Brush Strokes Quality Painting, Inc.


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Five Star Painting (478) 412-4354



Haber Painting, Inc. (415) 595-3459



RWC Interiors



Supreme Finishes

“ [Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex] tends to be a heavier-bodied paint that has better coverage.” —RYAN GILL, BRUSH STROKES QUALITY PAINTING, INC.

71123 DT TREX 2017 InPaint HP ISL.pdf



Photo Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams 3:45 PM


Though his company is just three years old, second-generation painter Ryan Gill has been around the block a time or two. His father sandblasted bridges in Georgia for years and painted grain silos, textile mills, and high-end residences. Based near Augusta, GA, Brush Strokes Quality Painting, Inc. focuses on high-end residential and commercial repaints, and new commercial painting. For his repaints, he prefers Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex. “It tends to be a heavier-bodied paint that has better coverage,” he says. “It also tends to have even less odor than low-VOC paints claim. Any sheen you pick … they are all very durable paints. They would stand wiping down and a lot of abuse.” For trim, his latest go-to is Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd in semigloss. “It brushes well, sprays and rolls,” he says. “Its only downfall is that it doesn’t come in deep or ultra-deep colors.”

* ®


Michael Nungesser is the owner of multiple Five Star Painting franchises. His company focuses on interiors for both residential and commercial jobs near Atlanta, GA, and his top pick is Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex; its flat sheen is their go-to. “It covers well and touches up extremely well,” Nungesser says. “It has a nice finish; it doesn’t look chalky or cheap. And it has a nice, buttery finish when we’re done.” He finds that a lot of customers ask for paint with a sheen for the washability, and Cashmere’s flat finish washes up great, he says.

©ShurTech Brands, LLC 2017/71123

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… we’re there to make the place look both elegant and sophisticated.” —FRED HABER, HABER PAINTING, INC. Photo Courtesy of Haber Painting


A few interior paints stand out for Roger Coulter, who started RWC Interiors 16 years ago in Lake County, IL, northwest of Chicago. For walls, he turns to Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Paint in eggshell. “I feel it is, by far, the easiest to use,” he says. “And it gives the customer the best benefits of scrubbability, durability, low odor and easy touch-ups.” Coulter appreciates the easy touch-ups, too, because his warranties include one hour of touch-ups a year for seven years. For trim, he likes California Paints Ultra Aquaborne Ceramic Interior Paint in semigloss. The fact that it’s offered in a high-hide white, he says, is a selling point. And he notes that while satin is common in a lot of markets, semigloss is extremely popular in his service area. “Because of its ceramic quality, it has a nice, lacqueredfinish look to it, and the hardness of this paint is much better than a standard acrylic latex for a long-lasting effect,” he says. The ease of application is important too. “Sprayers aren’t productive in our work. These homes are lived in,” he explains. “So we do a lot of brush and roll, and this product is really amazing. It levels off like it’s been sprayed.” 32

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With 25 years in business as Haber Painting Inc., Fred Haber has finely tuned his paint preferences and project choices over the years. Haber is a Certified Fine Paints of Europe Painter with a focus on higherend homes and discerning clients in San Francisco. “I work for the owners,” he says. “And we’re there to make the place look both elegant and sophisticated.” For interior jobs, he uses Fine Paints of Europe Eurolux, ECO Brilliant and Hollandlac. “They’re all great,” he says. “You can choose water-based, hybrid or oilbased, depending on customer preference and your assessment.” For a lot of high-rises in San Francisco, water-based paints are required. But when oil is permissible, Fred Haber likes the Hollandlac Brilliant for the ultimate in sheen and durability. “Brilliant is a sheen above high-gloss,” he says. “It’s great for doors and trim. You can have an average door but when using Fine Paints … it becomes a conversation piece. There’s no other paint like it in the world. It’s incredibly durable, and the coverage is phenomenal.” As a backup, Fred Haber likes using Benjamin Moore products. For regular off-white jobs, their Regal Select Interior Paint is the right product, he says. For trim, he prefers their ADVANCE Interior Paint. And for the rare job requiring darker or brighter colors, he likes Aura Interior Paint. “Aura requires a skill level that only the upper 20% of painters have achieved,” he says. “It has phenomenal characteristics. For example, there’s no transitional line between brushing and rolling.”


Jeff Morten, who grew up in the commercial paint industry in Dallas Fort-Worth, started Supreme Finishes in Austin in 2001. With a split of residential and commercial interior and exterior projects, Morten’s pick for interior paint for most jobs is Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200 Zero VOC Interior Latex. “That’s our go-to for walls, ceilings and even trim,” he says. “It’s priced competitively and performs well … it covers well and is workable right out of the can.” And ProMar is available in a wide range of sheens. Morten’s default is flat on ceilings and eggshell on the walls. -

Stay informed with inPAINT Teach to Fish eBlast “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This wise adage served as inspiration for a new type of communication that offers industry professionals education and instruction they can learn by—and build on. Each month, we’ll present an industry-specific question and invite one manufacturer and two professionals to share their advice, giving you the benefit of a well-rounded conversation and multiple recommendations on the topic. Look for its debut this summer, and prepare to sharpen your skills.

inPAINT eNewsletter Expert insight for professionals, brought to you by inPAINT magazine as another way to help you stay informed and relevant. Our monthly e-newsletter delivers three articles to your inbox, each expanding on upcoming inPAINT magazine articles, and offering additional valuable information professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. And because we’re constantly evolving, our eNews now sports a fresh, new look. Watch for it monthly.

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Aligning trades with culture and core values HOW ONE INNOVATIVE DEVELOPER BY MEGHANN FINN SEPULVEDA FINDS THE RIGHT CONTRACTORS TO PARTNER WITH FOR SUCCESS. For more than three decades, Allen Construction has been building, remodeling, repairing and maintaining custom homes and commercial spaces, while also creating energy and solar solutions for their clients. Headquartered in picturesque Santa Barbara, CA, and with six regional locations, Allen Construction has developed a reputation based on the unique and valuable expertise of their employees and trade partners, who share a passion for their craft and a dedication to their projects and clients.


James Jones, VP of production for Allen Construction, discusses the process of hiring pros—including identifying the desired skills and traits—along with the importance of setting achievable expectations for better performance and consistent results. What is your process for selecting paint contractors? A: Considering we have a very broad portfolio that includes residential remodels, tear and repairs, minor touch-ups and complicated finishes, one of the first things we want to know is the contractor’s scope of services, capacities, and abilities as it pertains to applying coatings to walls, ceilings, flooring and cabinetry. We look at the type of equipment a pro uses, and ask if an off-site space is available to accept products or can be used to apply finishes for a controlled environment.



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We’re also very interested in knowing how a pro organizes his or her business, their schedule and availability, as well as the size of the crew and how they are managed. This helps us find the right fit for any given project. Our goal is to have contractors bid on work that is tailored to their business. This allows us to properly align opportunities, which not only benefits us, but the contractor as well. After an initial phone interview, we’ll follow up with an in-person meeting to discuss bidding, estimating, and contract deliverables for a very specific scope of work. We’ll also review compliance standards such as insurance and safety requirements, and share overall company policies. How do you find qualified pros? A: As we diversify and expand geographically, we continue to partner with seasoned designers, vendors and suppliers who bring us their recommendations for trade professionals who have performed well in the past. Most of the pros we hire have come to us from either a direct or indirect referral. We have a tremendous amount of respect for all the trades we work with and their talents. We view our relationship as an extension of our company. That said, we expect each pro to take ownership and responsibility. We want to ensure the pros we subcontract share our same core values and fully understand our culture to create an environment of success.


What traits and skills do you look for? A: We seek pros who have proven experiences with a very diverse background in painting and finishes; not only interior walls or exterior surfaces, but also with raw materials, metal, wood, stucco and plaster—the whole spectrum.


Winery photo at left courtesy of Patrick Price. All other photos this article courtesy of Jim Bartsch Photographer.

The ability to use a variety of coatings, techniques, product lines and equipment is paramount and provides us with options when hiring a contractor. We respect that, in today’s market, there are highly skilled and tremendously technical pros who can perform these very intricate finishes yet, at times, we also need people who offer more straightforward skills because of the variety of work that we do. In addition, we look for pros who are prompt and timely, clean up properly, protect their work environment, and manage themselves in a professional manner. What makes for a great working relationship? A: We set achievable expectations and hold contractors accountable for quality consistency, which is a fundamental requirement. Like most large construction companies, we’ve had pros who, when called upon to complete a task on a larger scale, were not able to deliver that same level of quality. Pros should provide samples of work that truly and accurately represent their deliverables—not just on a small application but a full-scale job.


We want to ensure the pros we subcontract share our same core values and fully understand our culture to create an environment of success.

Are paint pros involved in the paint or color selections? A: Absolutely. We rely heavily on the expertise of our trades to either perform a job or provide alternate means or methods they feel can help us achieve greater end results that offer better value, improved quality, and less maintenance by following the design intent and genre—whether that be modernistic or antique.


How important is a pro’s understanding of green coatings in your decision to work with them? A: Allen Construction is recognized both locally and nationally as a leader in green building practices. Therefore, the use of green coatings is a large part of our core values. We adhere to very stringent specifications for environmental products and look for alternate ways to align with our eco-friendly goals. We are respectful that all considerations are taken seriously, especially for clients who are hypersensitive to allergens and chemicals. We want to be on the forefront of how we can deliver environmentally conscious products on all our projects.


What are your terms for paying contractors? A: We’re proud of the fact that we pay our trades in an extremely timely manner, so they are incentivized, especially when we are in a pinch and need to call upon them quickly. Our contractors are not paid based on when we receive payment from the client, but within 30 days or sooner.


JAMES JONES has worked in nearly every aspect of the construction industry from apprentice to union journeyman carpenter, drafting engineer, sales/ production estimator, project manager, and superintendent. His vast industry experience includes luxury hotels, historic renovations, and commercial construction, including mixed-use developments.

Aug/Sep 2017 | inPAINT





inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017

in today’s professional toolbox? New Scotch® Masking Tape for Humid Conditions Stick it to humidity with a revolutionary new tape. Featuring cutting-edge Humi Bond™ Adhesive, this tape sticks and stays in humid conditions. It also works on zero-VOC, scrubbable and deep-base paints. For clean lines and great results, get the tape with staying power.

Titan RX-PROTM Airless Spray Gun Titan’s new RX-PRO paint sprayer gun has ergonomic features that make it possible for paint contractors to spray longer with more comfort and less fatigue than ever before. With the lightest trigger pull in its class, it requires 30% less force than the closest competitor. The FingerPrint GripTM is customizable to fit any paint contractor’s hand size, and the gun is easier to maneuver with an improved free-flow swivel. The RX-PRO works with any brand sprayer that has maximum pressure ratings of 3,600 PSI.

ADVERTISER INDEX 3M Pages 4/5, 7, 11 & 37




GRACO Back Cover



TITAN Page 21 & 37


PDCA Page 23

SHURTECH & Pages 17 & 31





13–15: CONSTRUCT, Providence, RI


19 & 20: Home Improvement Research Institute’s Insights Conference, Chicago, IL


19–22: PDCA Commercial Forum, Banff, Alberta, Canada


4–6: Construction SuperConference, Las Vegas, NV

JA N UA RY 2 01 8 9

15–18: SSPC 2018, New Orleans, LA


25–27: Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE, Nashville, TN

3 5 7


8–10: Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Boston, MA


8–10: 2017 Design-Build Conference & Expo, Philadelphia, PA


14–17: PastForward: A Conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chicago, IL


2017 Design-Build Conference & Expo PHILADELPHIA, PA | NOVEMBER 8–10

This is the largest gathering of the year for the design-build market and the only event centered exclusively on design-build. The threeday event hosts nearly 2,000 attendees and features hundreds of exhibitors from across all design and construction sectors. Ron Jaworski, former NFL quarterback and ESPN NFL analyst, will deliver the keynote address, and education sessions will cover everything from leadership skills for high-performance teams to legal issues in design-build agreements. Attendees can also earn up to 12 CEUs to apply toward their DBIA or Associate DBIA credential or renewal.

To register, visit 38

inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2017








Pitfalls of Estimating W

hether you’re an experienced estimator, a new recruit, or you’ve been a painter all your life that just knows what it takes to paint a structure, we all make estimating mistakes. It’s rare when we get to celebrate the perfect job. My sales team always looks at me funny when I celebrate the perfect 15% net profit we aim for— but we all moan at the losses, and get quite proud over the 30+ percenters. The key to hitting those positive numbers and celebrations is a good estimating system. THE UPSIDE OF A SYSTEM A good estimating system reduces errors and losses, is repeatable by any estimator, and develops trustworthy pricing. It can also have field operations advantages such as a job budget for hours and paint quantities, from which you can develop production rates and material coverage rates. The PDCA has studied estimating for decades and advocates the Developed Area Pricing Method for both large and small contractors. This method includes: 1. Identifying all items and surfaces to be protected, prepared or finished 2. Measuring all surfaces or counting all items to be finished 3. Calculating the labor cost to perform the job 4. Calculating the cost of materials to perform the job 5. Identifying and calculating additional job costs such as special insurance, bonds, subcontracted work, equipment, etc. 6. Adding proper overhead costs 7. Adding the desired profit It may sound like a lot of work to set up, but the investment increases the chances for consistent profit, and then confidence in your estimating system, which makes you the expert in front of your customers.

A good estimating system reduces errors and losses, is repeatable by any estimator, and develops trustworthy pricing.


COMMON PITFALLS No matter if you use a digital or paper estimating process, there are always simple mistakes that can cost you. Here are a few I’ve fallen victim to over the years: - Missing items from scope of work (which is really a sales issue in repaint) - Misreading or relying on incomplete plans and specifications - Wrong measurements or ballparking too liberally - Bad math; especially not double-checking totals - And the most common: improper assessment of surface prep Avoiding these common pitfalls mostly takes discipline. Take your time, be thorough, and be thoughtful. It may take a bit more time but it can save you both time and money in the end.

president of MTS Painting, a family owned and operated business based in Mesa, AZ specializing in repaints. He is the current president of the PDCA Residential Forum, the past president of the PDCA Arizona Council, and the current EPA LRRP training manager of the PDCA Arizona Council. He also presents PDCA Contractor College business courses, webinars, and podcasts to help owners and managers in their quest for personal and business improvements.

Aug/Sep 2017 | inPAINT




Visit your local Graco Distributor for current contractor offers. EXPERIENCE THE POWER OF AN ULTRA IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND!


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