Page 1





EXTERIORS Proven approaches for challenging surfaces


Colorful Business Using color to make the most of architecture Pros on Primers Who’s using what where Healthy Homes How to capitalize on consumer demand




While the topics were diverse, the overarching theme was really about sharing what works.


Martha MacGregor DESIGNER

Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR


Every time I have a conversation with a group of pro painters, I am reminded just how much of the painting business isn’t about painting at all. Most recently, I was at the PDCA Residential Forum in Rhode Island, where pros from all over the country came to learn about the forces shaping their business. And not that much of the conversation was about painting. At the event, the conversation was about building an inspiring company; being a strong leader; understanding and managing different personalities; smarter approaches to scheduling estimates; examining the fiscal health of your business; and more. While the topics were diverse, the overarching theme was really about sharing what works. It happened in the presentations, it happened over lunches, and it happened in many, many side conversations. The best advice for any challenge comes from those who have already faced it and lived to tell about it. As we try to do with every issue, we’ve tried to capture some of that spirit of sharing in this issue and tapped a number of pros to share their hard-earned experiences and opinions—some of them even about paint. We hope they’ll provide you with some insight and information to help you avoid some pitfalls, find new ways to get the job done and, ultimately, be more successful. In the same vein, we hope you’ll share with us what you’d like to see in future issues: topics to cover, products to feature, pros and organizations to profile, etc. If we can help you be more successful, then we’ll consider ourselves successful. Cheers,

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

Sally J. Clasen Debra Gelbart Larry Oxenham Jake Poinier Meghann Finn Sepulveda Brian Sodoma Jim Williams SOCIAL MEDIA

Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY

REM Publishing Group LLC 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Suite 103–273 Scottsdale, AZ 85254   ADVERTISE ©2015 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.

FOR THE PROS. SMOOTH APPLICATION FOR FASTER RESULTS. Ultra Spec® 500 is formulated for the professional. With smooth application and a fast dry time, Ultra Spec® 500 helps your interior commercial projects move quicker, while delivering the quality finish and color expected from a professional job. • Exceptional application properties • Quick dry and re-coat time • Excellent hide and easy touch-ups • MPI approved • Qualifies for LEED® and LEED® v4 credit © 2015 Benjamin Moore & Co. Benjamin Moore, Ultra Spec, and the triangle “M” symbol are registered trademarks, licensed to Benjamin Moore & Co.

inPAINTÂŽ Oct/Nov 2015



Pro Picks


5 paint pros weigh in on their favorite primers

Tackling Tough Exteriors

15 tips for dealing with challenging surfaces


Matching pros to projects

Decked Out

The ins and outs of deck refinishing


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

24 + 28 30



34 Business Profile

A fast look at the forces at work in our industry

Painters USA, Inc.

7 Trend in Focus

36 Tech Edge

Rising respect for roofing systems

FieldLens keeps crews connected

8 Ask a Pro

38 Tools of the Trade

Handling seasonal downsizing

Applicators for uneven surfaces

10 The News

45 Upcoming Events

Industry ins and outs

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

12 Work Smart

46 Bottom Line

Healthy home, healthy bottom line

Year-end tax strategies

Photo: FieldLens

Colorful Business

Using color to maximize architectural impact

Unsurpassed Product Lineup / Strong Spec Position / Expert Service The World Leader in Paint & Coatings / Available at More Than 2,400 Locations Nationwide Visit to make a positive change for your business.

© 2015 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PPG PAINTS™ is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. SPEEDHIDE® and Because Every Job Matters are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.



Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT


[ TRENDS ] Moody Blues

Paint Franchises Poised for Growth


According to IBISWorld, the current $946.9 million painting and decorating franchise industry is poised to experience 4.3% annual growth in the U.S. between 2015 and 2019.

The most commonly searched-for U.S. professionals on in 2014: - Painter - Plumber

SOURCE: IBISWorld Market Research Report OD5575, Painting & Decorating Franchises in the US,

- Handyman - Electrician - Roofer - General Contractor - Landscaper - Carpenter - Handyman Service - HVAC Contractor SOURCE:

The top-selling interior blues from six major paint manufacturers:




Roof-Coating Sales on the Rise The market for roof-coating products is projected to be valued at $1,290.18 million by 2020, a 41% increase over 2014’s value of $916.20 million.



SOURCE:, Roof Coating Market by Type, Technology, Roof Type, Equipment, Application & Geography — Global Forecast to 2020  



Reviews Drive Hiring





Cost-Based Hiring Criteria by Age

49% 39% 31% 24% 21%


Millennials (25–34) Younger Gen Xs (35–44) Older Gen Xs (45–54) Younger Boomers (55–64) Older Boomers+ (65+)


Experience with similar scope

Communication/ organization skills

Experience with similar style


Lowest cost


SOURCE: Houzz & Home June 2015, Overview of U.S. Renovation, Custom Building & Decorating in 2014


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015



7% Reviews/ recommendations






hen asked about the projected 41% increase in roof coating sales between 2014 and 2020, Jim Kirby, codes & standards director for the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association responded with a simple, “I’m not surprised.” According to Kirby, “With increasing awareness about climate change and concerns about the environment, everyone from business owners to the government are taking a harder look at roof coatings. Sustainability is THE buzzword for all building construction and rehabilitation taking place today.” Rising respect for roofing systems Dating back to 2010, when then-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a series of initiatives to more broadly implement cool roof technologies on Department of Energy facilities and buildings across the federal government, roofing technologies have garnered a lot of attention and respect. “Today’s roofing systems aren’t just about waterproofing,” says Kirby. Thanks to new technologies, roof coatings can dramatically increase the life of a roof, while at the same time, reduce the amount of heat transfer into a building. “Not only does a roof last longer, cooling systems in the building can be used less and more efficiently. These are the kinds of things that get the attention of building owners.”

Reflectives lead the way While there are a number of new products, including silicones and acrylics with longer-life characteristics coming to market, white reflective coatings are garnering the most attention and sales. According to Skip Leonard, director of technical services for Henry Company, the leading roof-coating manufacturer in the U.S., white reflectives have been enjoying some healthy growth as of late. “Comparing our first quarter sales from 2014 to sales for the same period in 2015, we’ve seen a significant sales increase in the white category,” says Leonard. “The reality is that the people who understand the value of reflectives are the ones willing to invest in it. And more and more, we’re seeing home and business owners becoming more savvy about how the right coating can provide some significant energy savings. That’s good news for them and for the industry.” Using information as a differentiator According to Bill Good, CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association, “Smart contractors understand that building owners and homeowners are looking for more than just pricing in the bids they’re reviewing. They’re looking for information on product and material options, and an understanding of what they mean to not just the cost of the job but the long-term life and performance of their roof.” Good advises contractors to stay current on both products and codes, especially those that address sustainability issues. “There are lots of great resources out there—the code bodies, associations and manufacturers. Tap into the information they provide.” He says, “The contractor who can provide an ROI analysis for energy consumption, or explain how an approach or product minimizes the environmental impact of the project and makes the property owner a good steward of the earth, well, that contractor is going to have a huge leg up on the competition.”

“ Smart contractors understand that building owners and homeowners are looking for more than just pricing in the bids they’re reviewing.” —BILL GOOD, CEO, NATIONAL ROOFING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



Q: How do you handle seasonal downsizing?

A: One thing I’ve learned from being a painting contractor in northern Michigan is that spring, summer and fall are my busiest seasons.

DAN BRADY founded Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration in Traverse City, MI in 2002. He focuses on residential and commercial repainting projects rather than on new construction or remodeling painting projects. And since 2009, he has been producing Dan Brady Painting Tricks of the Trade painting videos for DIYs.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

My business usually slows by 50% during the winter months. I typically employ between 10 and 12 painters during the busy months which, thanks to low-temperature-tolerant paints, I have been able to expand from April through November. During the winter, my staff shrinks to between four and seven painters, depending on the week. We use subcontractors sparingly so most of my employees are ‘W-2s,’ which I believe gives my company more of a family feel. Having this number of W-2 employees during the pleasant seasons makes it tough because our workload is cut in half during the winter. That means I must downsize. My employees understand that they are always being graded and only the ‘A’ players get to work during the wintertime. Seniority doesn’t make you an ‘A’ player automatically. The characteristics I’m looking for in an ‘A’ include positive attitude, strong work ethic, and attention to detail. Spring, summer and fall are kind of like tryouts in baseball and not everyone can make the wintertime roster. This is not to say that all ‘A’ players will get to work all winter long, because there is typically not enough work for all of them and at that point, it is based on seniority and skill. I have several painters who don’t mind time off in the winter and then come back each spring. Or, some will work at local resort hotels during the winter and then come back to me in the spring or summer. I may lose a guy or two but that’s okay; I’m always marketing for new talent.

The greatest challenge for staffing during the winter is retaining enough interior painters to handle all the high-end jobs we have. Interior painting takes more seasoned painters who have both painting skills and customer service skills. You can’t send a painter with one or two years of experience into a high-end home with complex finishes and expect them to be successful. The challenge is finding the right mix of skills in painters to ensure our customers are provided with the highest level of quality, both on the painting side and the customer service side. We are experiencing a severe shortage of labor in northern Michigan because of all the painters who left when the recession hit in 2008. We’re dealing with a labor pool about half the size that it was seven years ago but with double the number of job opportunities today compared with those that were available then. Sometimes we have to turn down work. Knowing wintertime is coming gets me in saving mode. Just because money is flowing in during the summer doesn’t mean it will be flowing in January, February and March. My goal is to go into each spring debt-free and I can only accomplish this by being wise with my spending during the summer, fall and winter months. Michigan winters are LONG, so that is the time to be saving so our company doesn’t have a ton of debt when spring arrives and the work picks up.

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT


[ THE NEWS ] Young, Hispanic Immigrants Face Higher Risk of Workplace Injuries T According to a joint report issued by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Hispanic immigrants who work for small construction firms are the most at risk of being injured on the job. The 2015 report, Overlapping Vulnerabilities: The Occupational Health and Safety of Young Immigrant Workers in Small Construction Firms, identifies Hispanic immigrants, small-business employees (fewer than 20), and young workers (under age 25) as the three groups that, separately, have an increased risk of adverse work-related health outcomes. Further, when the three groups overlap, as is common in the paint and contracting industries, these workers face an even greater risk of injury, according to the report. A press release from ASSE states that Hispanics were the only ethnic group to see an

Sherwin-Williams Rolls Out ColorSnap Color-Selection System T ColorSnap, the latest innovation from Sherwin-Williams, is the company’s most comprehensive,

integrated color-selection system ever offered. Designed to simplify the color-selection process, the system includes an interactive in-store display, enhanced online and off-line tools, as well as new colors. The in-store ColorSnap Studio display groups colors by family, such as red, yellow or blue, then displays colors by saturation level from bright to neutral, with a category just for whites.  New 2" x 3" single-color chips, rather than strips, offer a better idea of how colors will look in a given space. The system also includes an integrated online set of tools including the ColorSnap Visualizer for iPhone, iPad, Android and web, which enables users to match a color in a photo to a specific Sherwin-Williams color. And ColorSnap is fully integrated with the company’s Sher-Color Advanced Computer Color Matching Technology system, which calibrates color formulas specifically for every product and sheen.

increase in the number of workplace fatalities in 2013 when 817 fatal on-the-job injuries occurred on construction sites—more than any other industry. While construction is inherently a high-risk industry, it is even more so for the Hispanic immigrants who account for 82% of the two million foreign-born immigrants working construction in the U.S.  According to the report, many immigrants are unfamiliar with the risks they face on the job, are unaware of standard safety proce-

dures, receive little or no job training, do not speak or comprehend English, and may have work styles different from their coworkers and employers. Recommendations in the report include instructing smallbusiness owners on developing and implementing injury- and illness-prevention programs, and introducing OSHA training at the community college or high school levels.

Green Seal Expands Operations with Launch of California Office T Green Seal, the nation’s first independent nonprofit certifier of sustainable products and services,

is opening an office in California. The operation, which will help oversee and grow a variety of initiatives in the State, will be led by Gary M. Petersen, a current board member and former chair of Green Seal’s Board of Directors. “California has been a leader in helping us to advance sustainability, as we have worked with the State and its cities in a number of projects over the years,” says Arthur B. Weissman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Green Seal. “Opening this office will help us work with leaders in California to bring important programs to fruition.” The new office, to be based in Southern California, will oversee several key initiatives for Green Seal, including working with the City of Los Angeles to advance the Los Angeles Green Lodging Program. The Green Lodging Program is a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, Green Seal, and the LA Tourism and Convention Board to encourage and promote sustainability certification of hotels based on Green Seal’s GS-33 Standard for Lodging Properties.   The office will work to support other Green Seal programs as well, including its green cleaning services certification and Green Office Partnership Program. It will also work with cities currently in the USA Green Communities (USAGC) program and conduct outreach to local universities and schools seeking to expand sustainability initiatives on their campus.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

PPG Architectural Coatings and Nautica Launch Interior Paint T PPG Architectural Coatings, a business of PPG Industries, has partnered with Nautica, the global lifestyle brand—with products ranging from men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel to home furnishings—for the launch of its new Nautica At Home paint collection. Nautica At Home interior paint and primer in one is formulated to deliver the classic colors for which Nautica is known in its apparel and home furnishings through a new signature color collection for the home, delivering beauty and durability in one simple step. The paint is backed by a lifetime warranty and offers exceptional hiding power, excellent adhesion to most new and previously painted surfaces, and a mildew-resistant coating. Available in a palette of 250 beautiful colors, the collection pairs expert design tips with suggested accent and wall color combinations to help customers select the perfect palette for their home. The paint collection is now available exclusively at Menards stores. Retail prices begin at $28 per gallon.



At Sherwin-Williams, our job is to make your job easier.



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Learn more at your local store or visit ©2015 The Sherwin-Williams Company

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT





“ We expect the healthy-home trend to continue to gain traction, especially as we see millennials create households.” —JEFF WINTER, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING FOR SHERWIN-WILLIAMS’ RESIDENTIAL REPAINT DIVISION 12

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

DARRYL WHALEN’S SEATTLE-BASED COMPANY, Healthy Painting LLC, has a motto: Old craft technique – healthy modern slant. It reflects the owner’s four decades of experience, but also hints at something greater. Whalen brings a unique level of professional sensitivity to each job. He’s meticulous about site cleanup and reusing materials. He taps a regional paint company, Miller, for zero-VOC offerings, and combs hardware stores for supplies and products that bring minimal off-gassing and odor—and he attends American Lung Association and National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) workshops to stay on top of best practices. These approaches are now woven into his marketing strategy and have been since 2008. He is not the lowest bidder on a job, but confidently asserts that his methods are the best, the cleanest and safest—and customized for each situation—to assure a repaint will not be a stinky, sticky mess. It’s a practice shaped from years of curiosity about his trade’s role in a healthy-home environment. “In the early ’80s, I started learning about environmental issues and water conservation, and it made me start to look at paint labels more closely. I wasn’t active in the environmental field, but I was becoming mindful of things,” he said. “Today, I still feel like I’m piecing it all together. It’s a living, learning thing. There are always changes and updates to technology and ways you can do things.” Whalen’s approach is a perfect fit for the emerging healthy-home trend, a growing conversation where homeowners are concerned about how their home can impact human health and be a contributor to problems like asthma and respiratory issues, among other health concerns. This trend, some say, is a great opportunity for the knowledgeable, well-versed paint pro. “To me, the healthy home movement is a residential repaint play. As a contractor, you want to have a tool in your selling toolbox so that when you see that homeowner that this resonates with, you’re ready and prepared to respond,” said Jeff Winter, director of marketing for Sherwin-Williams’ residential repaint division. A growing opportunity About a decade ago, the conversation about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) really started to heat up, and manufacturers, in earnest, began churning out low- and zero-VOC offerings. Today, the healthy-home trend is where the VOC conversation was 10 years ago, Winter said. “We see homeowners as the ones starting the conversation now. But the contractor may not be equipped to

answer the questions as thoroughly as the homeowner would like,” Winter explained. According to NCHH, a healthy home is defined as “housing that is designed, constructed, maintained and rehabilitated in a manner that is conducive to good occupant health.” In a 2014 survey, online home-design site found more than one in three homeowners felt their home is ‘less than healthy.’ And media accounts do their part to push the trend too. Earlier this year, for example, Lumber Liquidators was exposed for its Chinese-made laminate flooring, which was reported to have potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde. “We expect the healthy-home trend to continue to gain traction, especially as we see millennials create households,” Winter noted. “This concept is less about what is good for the environment, but more about what is not going to be harmful to me and my family.” A big piece of the healthy-home conversation revolves around indoor air quality and off-gassing from man-made materials like flooring, cabinets and furniture. It’s a concern Chad Ruhoff, vice president of energy services for Oregonbased remodeler and builder Neil Kelly, hears quite often. “Some people aren’t affected by high-VOC levels, but the long-term effects are still there,” he said. “Fifty years ago, we built houses that were loose and air moved through them quite easily. And the furniture was made of real wood. It wasn’t chipboard with lots of glue and formaldehyde in it. I have to be more cautious about what we do because people are becoming more sensitive, and this has really increased in the last couple generations.” Off-gassing can relate to paint supplies as well. Whalen had one client express concern about a sensitivity to caulk odor. Whalen admitted not having an immediate answer and candidly described several hardware-store trips and a lot of label reading to find a product for the situation. “Even some of the tapes can be a concern at times. It’s a relatively small contingent of people who have these challenges, but I really work to help them,” he added. Some consumers can be so sensitive that even the small addition of VOCs from a paint tint can be an issue. “A lot of attention is given to the paint, but the tint can also be a factor. We make sure we use zero-VOC tints as well,” added Steve Wiezorek, director of Valspar’s professional product marketing. A tight-home problem Today’s homes are built tight, largely in the name of energy conservation. But some will argue that indoor air quality could be sacrificed as ventilation is restricted. For this reason, Whalen, in addition to using a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) air-purification system, also makes a concerted effort to open the windows of a home on interior jobs to release off-gassing from his materials and anything else in the home. Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT


“Today’s consumer is not as concerned about oil prices, but if a daughter or son misses a soccer game because of asthma or sinusitis, they’re willing to do what it takes to get that fixed.” —LARRY ZARKER, CEO, BUILDING PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE

“Sometimes, people leave windows closed for years and that can make for an unhealthy environment,” he added. “The truth of the matter is that green building isn’t necessarily healthy building. Everything can be sealed tight, but that doesn’t mean that everything that’s going in there is healthy.”

Ruhoff is a testament to this. His company has several go-to paint teams, and he highlights professionalism and quality as the top two qualities he looks for. His company usually sets the low- or zero-VOC specs on a job, but he is looking for someone who, above all, ‘gets it’ when it comes to healthy homes and building methods.

Pop the question Some building professionals highlight the importance of the paint pro starting the healthy-home conversation with customers. “If you ask if someone in the house has respiratory issues, the homeowner will start to think about why the contractor is asking this. You can be the painter that offers a solution and show them how to do this differently,” Ruhoff said. And today’s consumer is likely willing to pay more for the peace of mind that comes with building or painting to healthy-home standards. Winter says, with the high number of zero-VOC products on the market today, pricing for a premium product is very competitive and it’s not that much of a factor when looking at the entire job anyway. “It’s within reach for any customer, quite frankly. The cost of the product is really only about 20% of the job,” he added. He also said informal surveys from his team indicate that today’s consumer is less price-conscious than some may think. Reputation and professionalism are the top two priorities he is finding. “I think that’s a common misperception in the business, that it’s all about price and being the lowest bidder,” he added.

Beyond the paint Larry Zarker, CEO of the nonprofit Building Performance Institute in Malta, NY, says it’s also important for paint pros to think holistically about the job and not just be that “last 1/32" that hides the sins of the contractors who came before them.” He encourages paint pros to consider building analyst certification or partner with a building analyst who can conduct a home air-quality audit for concerned consumers. Having relationships with reputable contractors who can fix mold or mildew problems originating deep behind the walls of a home can also be a plus. “Today’s consumer is not as concerned about oil prices, but if a daughter or son misses a soccer game because of asthma or sinusitis, they’re willing to do what it takes to get that fixed,” Zarker said. “This is where a paint pro could be on the front lines. If a painter comes to the realization that some things have been done incorrectly in the past and takes responsibility for correcting them, he can come out of it a hero. I’m not saying you need to be a toxic-mold specialist, but if there are problems behind the walls, it’s often a paint professional who encounters it.”

PRODUCTS THAT PERFORM Critical to any paint pro’s healthy-home marketing toolbox is a paint product that delivers when it comes to low or zero VOCs and low odor. There are plenty of paints to choose from and many won’t break the budget. Here are a few that come highly recommended: - Natura from Benjamin Moore Zero VOC with zero emissions and minimal odor, Natura brings performance and the Green Good Housekeeping Seal and Green Promise designation. It’s great for those with allergies and sensitivities to odor, fumes and other air-quality concerns. It comes at a bit of 14

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

a price premium, in the high-$40s–$50/ gallon range. - Water Blocking Primer/Finish from Sherwin-Williams Used for below-grade concrete block or masonry, the zero-VOC primer brings odor-reducing properties in addition to effectively resisting hydrostatic pressure. Great for killing that musty smell often found in basements, the primer comes with Sherwin-Williams’ GreenSure designation and can be found for roughly $40/gallon. - Harmony from Sherwin-Williams Zero VOC and antimicrobial, Harmony also helps to eliminate odors—and company officials also claim it even

helps to reduce formaldehyde levels in a home, actually breaking the chemical bond of formaldehyde. Around for nearly a decade, Harmony has been fine-tuned through the years. “We’ve taken a legacy product with a lot of name recognition and added unique industry-first features,” Winter added. This interior acrylic paint can often be found in the $50/gallon price range. - Ultra 2000 from Valspar This product is UL GREENGUARD Gold certified, low odor, and boasts zero VOCs. The popular professional-grade interior paint is also reasonably priced in the $20/gallon range. Valspar offers zero-VOC tints as well.

- Medallion from Valspar Another low-odor, low-VOC interior acrylic paint from Valspar that has received plenty of great reviews from pros and DIYers alike. Gets high marks for easy cleanup. - Acro Pure from Miller Paint Company If you’re a contractor in Washington or Oregon, you are probably familiar with the Portland-based 125-year-old Miller Paint Company. Acro Pure is an interior-job staple for Whalen. The zero-VOC antimicrobial product is durable, easy to apply, and brings little odor. “I like to stay local for supplies and materials, if possible, and these guys have been doing low VOC for quite some time,” Whalen added.

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



When you’re hired for a commercial or residential project and the client looks to you for advice on choosing paint colors to enhance the impact of the architecture, are you confident about your recommendations? We asked three renowned architectural color consultants in the U.S. for their guidance on how to select the best paint colors for a particular job.


Here’s a quick look at who they are and some specific examples of how they’ve made color work for them and their clients: -JILL PILAROSCIA, COLOUR STUDIO ( “I think you have to be obsessed with architectural color to become a consultant,” says the owner of Colour Studio in San Francisco, CA and an accredited member of the International Association of Color Consultants/ Designers–North America (IACC-NA). B “You have to understand the human

seem to have in common is keen discernment of the elements of color and knowledge of how color can manipulate a space.” - AMY WAX, YOUR COLOR SOURCE STUDIOS ( The former president of the IACC-NA and owner of Your Color Source Studios in Montclair, NJ, Wax says the single most important characteristic of a successful color expert is an instinctive understanding of color. “Applying color should take into consideration the style of the architecture, the period in which it was built, the lighting, the environment, the paint product and, most importantly, the people who will be living (or working) inside.” Part of the challenge, she added, is to balance those elements with respect for the original architectural design and not overshadow it with too much color.

Color as the solution According to Pilaroscia, questions that can prompt the best selection of colors to enhance the architecture, especially for a commercial project, include: 1) What are the strengths of the architecture that the client wants to play up? 2) Which characteristics of the architecture does the

biological response to color and how much we’re affected by color and light.” And, Pilaroscia said, it’s important to recognize that every geographic area has its own intrinsic color palette, impacted by geographic conditions and their influence on light and color. A


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

client want to play down or diminish? 3) What does the client want to achieve with the project—increase leasing activity? Make the building more attractive for sale? Be mindful of the balance (or lack thereof) of the architectural elements that are part of a home or commercial building, Brown said, along with the building’s size and orientation. In addition to enhancing architectural elements, Brown said, “the proper use of color

Photos: A & B – Your Color Source Studios

- ELIZABETH BROWN, EB COLOR CONSULTANTS ( Design education, experience working in retail paint design, and “further intensive color study through the IACC” are what propelled Elizabeth Brown of EB Color Consultants in Seattle, WA into a successful career. But “it’s each renewed experience on the job that really prepares you [for this profession],” said Brown, an associate member of the IACC-NA. “What my colleagues and I


Photos: C & D – Your Color Source Studios; E & F – EB Color Consultants

can camouflage ugly and unnecessary elements. It can visually extend a roofline or seemingly alter the size and shape of a building.”

Color at work Adding contrast is one of the simplest ways to emphasize captivating architectural elements, Wax said. For a recent residential project (A), she incorporated two shades of a grayish green—a lighter tone (Benjamin Moore Cheyenne Green 1502) for the ground floor, and a darker tone (Benjamin Moore Trailing Vines 1505) for the upper floor—on the exterior of a beautiful, classic, two-story home in Montclair, NJ (B). She chose a deep red (Benjamin Moore Country Redwood PM-16) as an accent color for the windows, surrounding them with a creamy white trim (Benjamin Moore Navajo White OC-95). The color palette specifically designed for this home draws attention to the architectural detail in a creative way, steering the design away from a traditional Tudor color palette (Tudor brown and off-white), Wax explained. “The goal of this design was to create a color palette that gave the home a new identity. Brightening the trim and accentuating the architectural elements revealed all of the hidden charm of this home.” The pop of color around the windows and on select pieces of trim add a whimsical influence and call out the architectural details that, before, were hardly visible, she added. “Bringing out all of the details restored the Victorian charm this home once had,” she said. For another residential project, Wax was asked to reclaim the beauty of a stately E older home in Montclair. The weathered surface on the exterior presented a challenge for Wax because the aged, stuccolike finish could not endure a power washing (C). “SherwinWilliams recommended a product that could be applied to the home without compromising the exterior surface material,” Wax said. “This is a home without a lot of architectural detail, so I used the selected colors (SW 6185 Escape Gray, SW 6088 Nuthatch, SW 6084 Modest White, and SW 6069 French Roast) to accentuate the warmer wood tones of the environment and roof and add a friendlier appeal.” She recommended cutting



down the bushes on the left of the house and accentuating details by adding more color to the windows and window trim (D). “The lighter and darker browns added more charm to the home with understated details,” she said. “I also added more detail to the area surrounding the front entrance with contrasting white molding to bring focus to the center of the large home and create more curb appeal.” Adding visual interest and income Brown consulted on an apartment project (E) in Seattle, WA whose original exterior color was so drab that, “it looked like a prison,” she said. “The clients wanted high visibility to attract tenants. I suggested color blocking with bold, warm colors.” The result: “A monochromatic apartment F

“Color is a great return on investment with a commercial project. It adds value to a building’s scale, shape, form and volume.” —JILL PILAROSCIA, COLOUR STUDIO

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT





inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

Commercial impact According to Pilaroscia, “Color is a great return on investment with a commercial project. It adds value to a building’s scale, shape, form and volume.” With that thought in mind, she took on the task of color consulting for a client that manages three Class A office towers in El Segundo, CA. The buildings, built in 1984, had a conventional-looking, predictable block facade that did not distinguish them from other similar buildings. “The clients wanted to reposition the buildings to attract technology tenants, while not offending any of the current tenants,” Pilaroscia said. “The clients wanted to keep the existing tenants while attracting new ones. They asked us to create an impact for maximum return on investment.” Pilaroscia created a quilt pattern within a repetitive grid of window and panel frames (I). She tapped five shades of blue mixed with white and silver, and incorporated three different types of window glazing. “The shades of blue look good with the surrounding sky,” she said. “We chose the colors to work with the dark window openings, to create texture on the building, and because blue is a popular color with many people.” The project received an Award of Excellence at the 2015 Los Angeles Architectural Awards.

With another project, Pilaroscia was asked to develop a color scheme for a Class A commercial office building adjacent to the famed Moscone Center in San Francisco. The objective was to make the building more attractive to potential buyers and to attract technology tenants, Pilaroscia said. Originally, the building had repetitive arches and was painted all in beige. “It was unremarkable and no one noticed it,” Pilaroscia said. “We gave the clients many options for color, from conservative to artfully crafted solutions. They surprised us and went for an unconventional, yet well-designed, color solution.” The paint job relied on a palette of bright white with vivid blue, green and white alternating around each window alcove (J). The building sold for $110 million, well over the asking price. Takeaways J Each of the color experts has advice for painting contractors who are expected to provide paint-color recommendations that will highlight the best architectural features of a structure. From Amy Wax: “Choose colors that complement architectural details rather than covering them up with colors that are too bold. That will always be a better direction than using colors that may overshadow the design.” From Elizabeth Brown: “Choose a color that walks the fine line of not being oversaturated for a large application, yet is robust enough to give it some interest and vitality.” From Jill Pilaroscia: “Identify the client’s goals and then provide a color sample in a clean, neat area that’s not distracting and connects with another part of the construction—a corner, a window or a door. Don’t apply the paint in the middle of a wall and let it float. Stand way back and look at it almost as if it were a streetscape.” Any singular color can become boring and monotonous, Pilaroscia said. “There is a biological and visual response to color. If there is no visual or cellular stimulus, the body-mind relationship will be diminished,” she added, referring more to interior environments than exterior environments. “The eye is always attracted to edges and contrasts, and this fact helps us discriminate between colors. In order to use color effectively, one needs to consider color light and darkness as well as color intensity.”

Photos: G & H – EB Color Consultants; I – Art Gray; J – Vale Bruck


complex was brought to life with not only color, but also rhythm and lyricism.” Brown incorporated contrast with Benjamin Moore’s AF-235 Warmed Cognac, Sparrow AF-720 as the secondary body color, and Silhouette AF-655 for the trim (F). For another residential project, Brown used color to visually rearrange unbalanced elements. “This is a home with cool architecture whose original colors had been applied by the builder.” She was hired by the homeowner because the original flat-brown and faded-yellow body colors, along with a stark-white garage door (G), “were driving the homeowner nuts,” she said. She replaced those colors with a warm/cool combination of slate gray (SW 6250 Granite Peak) as the main color, a taupe gray (SW 2841 Weathered Shingle) as the secondary color, and an off-white (Benjamin Moore OC-9 Ballet White) for the trim, which included the window casings (H).


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Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



BY JIM WILLIAMS Can a professional painter be defined by the primer he or she uses? Perhaps. Most pros will tell you that the kind of primer they use can be the difference between a happy customer and one who never returns. We recently asked several industry experts for their go-to choices for primer products. Here’s what they had to say:

FROM OUR PRO: Todd Miller has been in the painting business for nearly 30 years, and more than five years in his current role as general manager at Summit Paint Centers. His Akron-based company serves a client mix of retail, contractors and industrial-maintenance customers. For new construction, Miller says he likes to use PPG’s Speedhide Latex Sealer. “It’s great for new drywall and plaster—it is relatively inexpensive, yet hides and seals the surface very well.” “Over existing paint, my first choice is PPG’s Seal Grip Acrylic Universal Primer/ Sealer. It can be used inside or outside.” Miller says it’s important to use a primer you can trust. “Use the right primer for the job. Multipurpose primers are useful but usually cost more than other primers. Because they have to work on a variety of substrates, they may perform better in one situation but not as well in another. Next to surface preparation, using the right primer is of utmost importance for the performance and longevity of the finish.”

FROM OUR PRO: Lisa Autry took a less-traditional path to get to where she is today. She opened an art school in Charlotte, NC in 1990, which she sold 10 years later to pursue a career as an artist and designer for commercial and residential venues, focusing on murals and decorative painting. For the past several years, she has been working in liturgical art. Her clients include priests, homeowners and designers. “My go-to primer for new construction is Sherwin-Williams’ PrepRite ProBlock Primer/Sealer. Over existing paints, it depends on the type of paint that was originally used to finish the surface … if the surface was painted with an oil, I would, of course, use an oil-based primer. If I am unsure of what the surface originally was painted with (such as in a faux finish), I will always fall back on a good, fast-drying oil primer,” Autry says. “Any finish is only as good as the substrate it is applied to. Primer is as essential as the finishing touch. You can skimp on this step and no one knows, but in the end it will eventually fail and the work will need to be redone.” Like a good wood worker measures twice and cuts once, Autry says a professional painter preps right and never has to worry about returning to redo it or, worse yet, have an unhappy client.

OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS: Erik Nadoban, President Nadoban Interiors, Inc. Brooklyn, NY (917) 887-3797 20

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

Todd Miller, General Manager Summit Paint Centers, Inc. Akron, OH (330) 253-5305

Scott Walsh, Foreman Catchlight Painting, Inc. Newton, MA (617) 734-1696

Ted Wetzel, President The Final Coat Inc. Akron, OH (330) 786-0961

Lisa Autry, Owner/Artist Lisa Autry, Artist and Designs Concord, NC (704) 502-5472

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“ You must have full confidence in the primer that you use because it is the foundation of the final coat.” ­—Ted Wetzel, President, The Final Coat Inc.

FROM OUR PRO: Erik Nadoban has more than 20 years in the industry. As president of Nadoban Interiors, Inc., his East Coast company specializes in level-5 drywall finishes and high-end plastering, painting, and full renovations.“We specialize in level-5 finishes, so we tend to work on higher-quality renovations.” “I prefer Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Multi-Purpose Oil-Based Primer. It seals freshly skimmed walls as well as drywall, and provides a good sanding base for the paint. On skimmed walls, I use their Fresh Start Enamel Underbody Primer if very high quality is desired. It levels the surface amazingly well and produces a very smooth look.”

FROM OUR PRO: In the three-plus decades he’s been in business, Ted Wetzel has seen a ton of change in the paint industry. He understands the importance of doing quality work, providing good customer service, and using the right products for the right job. And in many cases, it starts with the primer. “You must have full confidence in the primer that you use because it is the foundation of the final coat,” he says. For new construction, Wetzel likes PPG’s Speedhide Interior MaxPrime Latex Primer/Surfacer, which he says is great for priming interior walls. “Over existing paint, I like PPG’s Sun-Proof Exterior House & Trim Flat Latex Primer. It’s good for priming previously painted wood, siding and trim. Different substrates require different primers, so make sure to understand the characteristics of the surface you’re painting to choose correctly.”


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

FROM OUR PRO: Scott Walsh was once a painter for Boston’s Symphony Hall, and prior to that, he owned his own painting company, so he understands the importance of quality work. Today, he’s the foreman at Catchlight Painting, Inc. Walsh says his company works on high-end interior projects ranging from historic-home renovation/repaints to newly constructed homes in the Boston area. “Our customers are expecting the highest quality of work and paint finish. Depending on the project, it can be a very challenging position at times, but very rewarding,” he says. “My go-to primer for new construction is Benjamin Moore’s Latex Fresh Start. It’s a very versatile primer with easy application and quick dry time. So being able to use the same product on new drywall, wood trim, and even metal and PVC is very helpful. It is actually one of my favorite paints overall.” Walsh says he usually opts for a selfpriming paint, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura or Regal Select when priming over existing paint projects. “Mainly for color changes and areas where minimal prep is needed, I try to use only acrylic primer and paint products. But for tough stains and sealing, I use Zinsser Odorless Oil-Base Stain Blocker. It works on pretty much everything. While it still has the oil-paint smell, it is much lower odor than other alkyds.”

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



EXTERIOR SURFACES Every paint job has its challenges—but due to the surfaces or the setting, some are more challenging than others. We asked some seasoned pros to share their prep and painting strategies for a variety of surface situations.


CONCRETE TILT-UPS PRO TIPSTER: Bob Cusumano, president of Coatings Consultants, Palm Beach Gardens, FL Cusumano analyzes paint failures, writes coating project specifications, and provides expert witness testimony. TIP #1 Testing, testing The challenges with tilt-up concrete structures start with the fact the horizontal forms use a curing or bond-breaking oil to keep the concrete from sticking. “Most of the oil will dissipate from exposure, but if it’s put on too heavy, it will interfere with paint adhesion,” Cusumano says. “I have seen entire tilt-up warehouses have to be stripped because the paint was peeling everywhere.” His advice: do a sample, let the paint cure, and then do an adhesion test.

TIP #2 Rough things up On some jobs, the panels are so hard and smooth that it hinders mechanical adhesion. Cusumano advises you roughen smooth surfaces through sweep abrasive blasting or acid-etching before applying a coating.

TIP # 3 Know what you’re working with One of the newer issues is the use of more fly ash and less Portland cement in concrete as a ‘green’ solution. Because fly ash is a by-product of burning coal, it tends to be oily, which makes it difficult for some acrylic and latex paints to adhere to. 24

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Cusumano advises, “Ask the contractor what the mix is. This is a relatively new issue and there hasn’t been much testing yet, so no one’s sure what the percent is that’s OK.”

TIP #4 Pay attention to permeability The rule of thumb is that you should wait 30 days before painting concrete. “But there’s nothing magic about that number,” Cusumano says. “If the paint system has a low permeability, it could cause the paint to blister when the moisture tries to escape.” Use primers and coatings with a high permeability—particularly if time doesn’t allow for a full cure.

TIP #5 Use hot-stucco or hot-concrete primers Concrete has a high pH when it’s poured, meaning that it’s very alkaline. Even with the correct primer, be aware that you need to have a highly permeable topcoat to allow moisture to escape. However, with new construction, you may have to paint before it drops to an ideal pH. “If you’re using white paint, you don’t worry about alkali burn,” says Cusumano. “But if you’re using tinted paints, the reaction can cause it to bleach out and you get a blotted appearance.”

TIP #6 Exclude bugholes from your scope of work Small holes in the concrete, called honeycomb or bugholes, need to be filled—and you won’t know how good or bad the pour is when you submit your bid.

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“The question is, ‘whose job is it to fill all the bugholes?’ Cusumano says. “If you don’t exclude bugholes from your scope of work, you could be left with significant patching.”

TIP #7 Avoid caulking conflicts To complicate matters, the caulking contractor is going to want to caulk sealing joints before the paint job because some caulk manufacturers won’t warranty it otherwise. Meanwhile, painters prefer to caulk after the primer and paint are applied for the best adhesion. “It can get the caulking and painting contractors into finger-pointing mode,” says Cusumano. He advises you never guarantee paint that has to be applied over sealant; you can often solve the problem by using a tinted sealant that doesn’t need to be painted.

COASTAL EXTERIORS PRO TIPSTER: Dave Wenners and Carly Baker, co-owners of C & D Painting, Newburyport, MA Situated on the eastern seaboard of Massachusetts, Wenners and Baker deal with the elements year-round. Wenners says, “The key is knowing which product is appropriate for which seasons and conditions.”

TIP #8 Let it breathe

BONUS TIP: It’s a good idea to incorporate the PDCA’s industry standard P17 about tilt-up concrete into your proposals:

One of the big problems Wenners sees is that clients think their house should be watertight, so they caulk everywhere—even at the bottom of clapboards, where it is designed to breathe. Exacerbating the problem, about five years ago, Massachusetts offered caulking incentives for homeowners to caulk every square inch of their houses. “Now they’re finding that it actually did more damage than good,” Wenners says. He advises you never seal up a house too tight. Make sure it’s caulked only where it needs to be, and breathes where it should.

TIP #9 Be sand smart New England is famous for its brutal winters, but this year was worse than most. Wenners cites a client whose beach house had been stained last summer, but looked like it had been sandblasted after the high winds in winter: Little areas had started out as a pinhole, and grew to be seriously damaged. When blowing sand is an issue, an oil-based product or epoxy may hold up better. And always avoid painting on days when sand can get blown into freshly sprayed paint.

TIP #10 When needed, turn to the experts In addition to water and blowing sand, old coastal houses often still have lead paint, which means dealing with constantly changing rules and regulations on lead-paint mitigation. Wenners suggests you keep your local lead inspector’s number on speed dial. He’ll know the best current collection and containment solutions, and he can also help you educate the homeowner. 26

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TIP #11 Keep ahead of coastal salts Salt, mold and mildew are ever-present issues on the coast—and all of them cause bonding problems. Sometimes a light power wash will do the trick; in other cases, scrubbing and agitating with a scrub brush and chemical solutions is required. Wenners advises once you’ve power washed, get a primer on right away before new salt deposits hit the house.

METAL EXTERIORS PRO TIPSTER: Mark Miller, president of Performance Industrial, South Glens Falls, NY According to Miller, the ideal preparation for steel is to sandblast all the way down to bare metal. “It removes all the paint, surface latents, rust, and inferior material that might be on there,” he says. “It’s the only way you can guarantee a sound, solid substrate that you can anchor the coating to.” TIP #12 Good prep leads to good results Pressure wash all surfaces first to remove contaminants such as oil, pitch, pollen or chemicals. After you’ve sandblasted down to bare metal, a three-part coating of epoxy primer, epoxy mid-coat, and a urethane topcoat is the ideal. Make sure to get the primer on immediately, because you can have overnight flash-rusting in all but the driest climates.

TIP #13 Make Plan B as good as Plan A If sandblasting isn’t an option, either because of budget or other factors, Miller says the next best solution is a very aggressive pressure wash: 4000 psi with an aggressive spinner tip to get as much loose and flaking paint off as possible. Hand tools—whether angle grinders, chippers, or pneumatic hammers—can then be used to remove as much of the remaining rust and coating as possible. After pressure washing, use a rust-inhibiting pre-prime, which goes on clear over any tightly adhered rust, sealing it and preventing oxygen from getting in. Then, topcoat with the three other coating layers.

TIP #14 Be thorough When spraying or rolling, if you’re not thorough, there may be little spots you miss—known as holidays or pinholes—that allow water and oxygen to get in. Once they’re through the primer or topcoat, they’ll start attacking the metal again. In addition to ensuring 100% coverage on primary surfaces, always do a stripe coat, hand-brushing all the nuts, bolts, seams, and right angles.

TIP #15 Know when to walk away If a customer wants you to paint steel that’s rusted and has flaking paint, but they don’t want you to pressure wash or do an epoxy pre-prime, it’s going to fail. “Walk away,” Miller says. “Go do a job where you’re appreciated and let someone else deal with the problems.”

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT




T WAS A UNIQUE IDEA that came to Matt Ehrlichman one day in 2012 during the early stages of building a dream home for his family in Seattle. Ehrlichman

needed dozens of professional contractors to get the job done but was uncertain of which were the best to hire.


In-store kiosks give Lowe’s customers access to professionals.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

As a data-driven entrepreneur, this thought inspired him to create an online tool for homeowners so they could easily connect with professionals in all areas of home maintenance, improvement and renovation— from plumbing and lawn care to painting and roofing. Today, has grown from a small start-up to a trusted online network employing a team of more than 400 and consisting of 3.2 million home professionals featuring more than 132 million projects—and a strategic partnership with national retailer Lowe’s. Porch platform According to Porch, millions of homeowners search online to find home-improvement professionals, with painting as one of the top five categories. Porch has connected hundreds of thousands of industry pros with homeowners and jobs by securing new business through a comprehensive search tool that can be customized by type of service and zip code. This gives pros the opportunity to gain quality homeowner referrals and leads by working in the specific neighborhoods of their choice. “We make that connection between homeowner and professional,” said Porch CEO Matt Ehrlichman. “We have the data homeowners want so they can make an informed decision, which ultimately creates trust and transparency for our users.” With a free basic Porch profile, pros can upload projects and photos; monitor ratings and reviews; have access to analytics and data; show up in homeowner searches; and connect with Porch partners including

Lowe’s customers at 1,720 stores across the country. Pros looking for more significant exposure can upgrade to a premium membership, which includes additional benefits such as reputation monitoring, customer support, competitive insights, search engine optimization, and more. “I encourage every professional to create a profile on the site,” Ehrlichman said. “Many pros rely strictly on Porch for representation instead of maintaining a separate business web site.” Porch profiles include company background, services provided, number of years in business, average project costs, and contact information. To date, Porch has verified 560,000 licenses of its pros, which are posted to those individual profiles, and has a technology partnership with the Better Business Bureau to include BBB ratings on the site. Later this year, Porch will be rolling out its Guaranteed Professionals program. “Select professionals will have a guarantee badge next to their profile,” Ehrlichman said. “All professionals who receive the badge have been prequalified and have met initial eligibility requirements, including a background check.” Business investment John Shearer, owner of Shearer Painting in Seattle, WA, was approached by Porch before its official launch and asked to participate in the site’s beta testing. A very visible painter, he was happy to oblige. “What sets Porch apart from its competitors is that it’s the best return on investment,” Shearer said. “It gives people the opportunity to look at the work you do and view real projects that were completed right in their neighborhood, which is not only appealing to potential customers, but brings qualified leads.” Jeff Clark, president and founder of Three Sixty Solutions, a Seattle-area-based professional painting and flooring business, never advertised before joining Porch in 2014. “I had made a conscious decision to make myself more visible,” said Clark. “I was given a dedicated

resource who held my hand through the entire process, which made it very easy.” Like many pros, Clark has seen a steady increase in business since creating his premium membership profile with Porch. “From a design perspective, the site is so visually friendly and simple to understand,” Clark added. “I can very easily add new work that we’ve done and update my profile. To me, that is key.” Lowe’s partnership One very unique aspect of Porch is its relationship with Lowe’s. When the national home-improvement retailer began seeking a partner who could connect its customers to local, reputable professionals to help complete a job, it interviewed 62 companies and ultimately chose Porch based on Ehrlichman’s entrepreneurial drive, tech-savvy ability, and business expertise. According to Jay Rebello, vice president of new-business development and corporate innovation at Lowe’s, “By working together with Porch, we have been able to connect customers from our 1,720 stores with local, experienced professionals for any home-service need outside of Lowe’s current installation services.” Following a successful pilot program at select Lowe’s stores, the partnership eventually expanded to every location in April 2014. Today there are dedicated, freestanding Porch kiosks at specific Lowe’s, which gives customers in-store access to industry professionals. “Our staff is well-equipped to help customers with any home-improvement project from start to finish—including projects like painting, landscaping, and other handyman services,” Rebello added. “We have also strengthened our partnership with our professional customers who shop at Lowe’s by providing them with business leads.” Becoming a Porch pro All ‘basic’ Porch pros have the opportunity to grow their business and gain recognition, demonstrate their work, develop a brand, and monitor their reputation while managing their clients. Pros can upgrade to a ‘premium’ membership for approximately $100 per month (cost may vary based on zip code and household income levels). “We estimate our premium members receive 15 times more leads than basic members,” says. Ehrlichman. Premium members receive more exposure, and have access to sponsor and advertising opportunities, as well as dedicated support and account management services. “Pros need to ask themselves how much business do they want and what can they really

take on,” Ehrlichman said. “We work with every member through our partnership to make that happen.” Busy painting pros like John Shearer, who is expecting to contract an estimated $500,000 by November in projects booked through Porch, credits the network’s overall design and functionality for his success. “It’s a win-win situation,” he said. “It’s been great.”

To learn more, visit

“What sets Porch apart from its competitors is that it’s the best return on investment.” —JOHN SHEARER, SHEARER PAINTING, SEATTLE, WA




ON’T YOU LOVE BASEBALL-MOVIE ANALOGIES, especially if Kevin Costner has any role in it? “If you build it, they will come.”


Many homeowners across the country are saying the same thing, and there are no bats or balls or gloves in sight. If we build it, people will come … to entertain, to relax, to enjoy. The next great American pastime is most likely already in millions of Americans’ backyards … and it comes in the form of an outdoor deck. Patio and deck construction is big business to the tune of $885 million in annual revenue, according to IBISWorld, an international market research firm. Up 2.6% since September 2014, it’s a trend driven by a slow but steady housing market recovery. There is no denying the popularity of decks. In recent years, they have become a haven for outdoor

entertaining and enjoyment as homeowners seek to extend their indoor living space outdoors, which is as much about lifestyle as it is expansion. And it’s this quality-of-life factor that is driving many homeowners to turn to the pros to bring new life to their aging decks. Embrace the differences The most consistent and obvious truth about deck projects is this: no two deck projects are alike. When considering any job, whether it’s refinishing a deck or building a new one, it’s important to manage your customers’ expectations, says Bill Gradisher, East Coast field technical services rep for PPG Architectural Coatings. Some factors in a new deck, says Gradisher, are things such as which side of the home the sun rises and sets on. “This will help determine the amount of sun exposure the deck will receive and, as a result, which type of stain is ultimately needed,” he says. Gradisher also says pros should take note of any awnings or pergolas that might hang over the deck, as well as expected foot traffic on the deck. “This will also

help determine the type of stain that should be used, based on expected wear and tear.” Contractors and homeowners should discuss the look they’re hoping to achieve, he says. “When the project is complete and the homeowner is having a barbecue, it’s important to consider what they want to look at. A transparent, clear-coat stain will provide a clear sheen, whereas a solid stain will provide an opaque look,” Gradisher says. State-of-the-deck address “I think the first step is to consider the current state of your deck,” says Bret McGowne, a field operations consultant with Renew Crew, a Springfield, MO-based outdoor-surface restoration company. “New wood has different requirements than old wood and a deck that already has some type of finish on it may require a different finish than what you had planned on.” McGowne says the second step is to understand that all deck finishes offer you a middle ground between the life of the product and the appearance of the product. “Different finishes also offer a compromise in terms of ongoing maintenance.” Gradisher says maintenance is an important factor. “Transparent stains tend to require maintenance more often than solid stains.” Good rep for prep One of the most important keys to any successful deck-refinishing project is deck preparation, says Rick Watson, director of product information and technical services for Sherwin-Williams. “It’s important to prepare the deck properly before you do anything,” Watson says. “Lack of preparation is the cause of 90% of failures. Our product is only as good as what is underneath it. When refinishing a deck, it’s important to bring the wood back to its original substrate.” Gradisher concurs. “Many times, contractors use water from a pressure washer to clean decks,” he says. “This does not clean the wood, and it can actually cause damage to the wood if the pressure is too high or the nozzle is too close to the wood. Using cleaners designed specifically to clean the deck will eliminate the possibility of damage and provide a much cleaner surface to stain. This can be thought of in terms of washing a car. Cleaning it with a garden hose will get off some dirt, but it certainly isn’t worthy of a wax after simply being rinsed with the hose.” Jeff Spillane, the senior manager for training implementation at Benjamin Moore, agrees. “Whether a new or old deck, previously stained or bare, surface

preparation is the key to success. If you have never prepared a deck to be stained before, ask a manufacturing expert.” Mistakes and misconceptions McGowne says one of the common mistakes a pro can make is to rush through the cleaning process or not even do it all. “Many people will choose to wash their deck with just water or a water/bleach solution. Neither of these will do a proper job of cleaning, and using bleach has the added detriment of being environmentally unsafe,” McGowne says. “A poor job of cleaning and prepping the deck will cause the most expensive deck finish to look bad or even prematurely fail.” Experts from the wood-care team at PPG’s Olympic Paints & Stains advise that proper cleaning can affect penetration, adhesion and ultimately, the durability of the coating. Removing dirt, mildew and loose wood fibers significantly improves the adhesion of stain to a wooden deck. Cleaning with the proper deck-cleaning product has a big impact on the final color and on the regrowth of mold, mildew and algae. Coatings that have not been applied sufficiently and stain that has been applied over dirty wood or mildew is definitely a problem, says Gradisher. “In some cases, mildew is dormant within wood. Once a water-based stain is applied, the mildew germinates and causes problems.” Gradisher says application errors are also common mistakes he sees in the field. “If lap marks, drips or runs are visible from previous staining jobs, the stain will need to be removed before new stain can be applied,” he says. He suggests using a wood stripper product to remove latex, oil, semitransparent and solid stains to prepare wood for a new finish. “In addition, contractors should always ensure the deck has a sound surface and is in good repair,” Gradisher says. “Protruding nails should be removed and replaced with deck screws and Liquid Nails Subfloor & Deck Construction Adhesive whenever possible. Using a construction adhesive is a great way to add reinforcement to the board itself.” Many pros believe that new wood shouldn’t be treated for a minimum of 12 months, which is simply not true, says McGowne. “New wood does need to cure but waiting 12 months or longer is too long. Give new lumber a minimum of three months to ‘dry out.’ You may find that some boards will start to warp and you should replace those. In that three- to 12-month window after installation is the best time to get your first protective

“A poor job of cleaning and prepping the deck will cause the most expensive deck finish to look bad or even prematurely fail.” —BRET MCGOWNE, RENEW CREW

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT


finish applied. I would recommend a penetrating, water-based sealer for new wood.” Another misconception, says Gradisher, is that homeowners don’t know to call their contractor back every year for a thorough deck inspection and cleaning. “This is because they tend to believe the deck needs to be stained every time it’s cleaned. It’s important for contractors to set up annual maintenance check-ins with their customers to evaluate exterior wood and clean as necessary. This is a great way to build the relationship and secure business the next time the deck needs staining.” Watson says one of the best pieces of advice he can give a pro to avoid a costly mistake is perhaps the simplest. “Read the label,” he says. “Not all products are alike. Simply read the label to see how the product should be applied. What we did 5, 10, 15 years ago is not the same as what we do today. Technology has advanced so far.” Watson also suggests getting the product data sheet. “These are always available at the store where the product is sold, and also online.”

One trick of the trade, says Watson, is something he calls the water test. “Once you’re done preparing the surface, we suggest sprinkling water over the deck. If the water penetrates into the wood quickly, the wood is ready to finish. If the water beads up or does not penetrate, allow the wood to weather longer, or use a stain and sealer remover to remove existing finishes.”

Innovative new products for your next deck project While every customer wants a better-looking, longer-lasting deck, pros don’t all share the same idea of how that’s achieved. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers have been working on new products that offer a variety of finished looks and attributes for the most common decking surfaces.

Sherwin-Williams’ new SuperDeck Deck Care System features premium Duckback technology, and includes products for staining, sealing, stripping, cleaning and restoring decks. It can be applied on a variety of substrates including new, uncoated, pressure-treated or weathered lumber, cedar and redwood.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

Photo: PPG Architectural Coatings, Sikkens ProLuxe Wood Finishes

The newest Olympic family of stains, Olympic ELITE Advanced Stain & Sealer in One includes clear, toner, semitransparent, semi-solid, and Woodland Oil. A superpigmented semitransparent stain, Woodland Oil comes in four colors that use only transparent iron oxide pigments to deliver intense color and durability.

Sikkens ProLuxe Cetol SRD RE, has been reformulated within the last two years to provide a low-VOC option. Part of Sikkens ProLuxe Wood Finishes, it provides a premium, furniture-like finish.

Benjamin Moore manufacturers a variety of stains under the ARBORCOAT umbrella. Two of the newer products are the translucent and semitransparent deck and siding stains. Made with a blend of acrylic resin and a waterborne alkyd resin, they offer the best of both worlds, delivering the penetration properties of an alkyd stain and the protection and UV stability of an acrylic stain.

Rust-Oleum’s Restore Deck Start Wood Primer simplifies the project preparation and can be topcoated with any solid-color coating, which boils the process down to three easy steps: clean the surface, prime and coat. When applied over existing coatings, it eliminates the need for sanding or stripping. And it can be applied directly to the deck, locking down the surface while promoting topcoat adhesion.

As an alternative to stain, BEHR PREMIUM DECKOVER Wood & Concrete Coating is 100% acrylic resin, fused with ceramic microspheres. The coating dries four times thicker than conventional stains and fills cracks up to 1/4." Ideal for weathered decks, this product requires the usual prep and two coats to create a smooth, water-repellent and slip-proof surface.

. t i t a e w s r e v e , r e v e n t u B With the NEW SuperDeck® premier deck care system, you can tackle every job confidently. From stripping to staining to sealing, SuperDeck gives you products for every phase. So it’s quick and easy to give your customers a great look every time. To learn more, visit or contact your local Sherwin-Williams store or representative. ©2015 The Sherwin-Williams Company

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



Painters USA, Inc. takes full advantage of its feminine qualities—at least when it comes to attracting new clients.



inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

The woman-owned company, based in Downers Grove, IL, has grown from a $2-million business to a $15-million operation in five years, and its success has something to do with the fact that its president and cofounder, Meg Cook, is a woman, according to Craig Nichols, director of marketing. “Larger corporations require a certain percentage of contracted work be given to minority or disadvantaged enterprises,” says Nichols. While Painters USA has always been a woman-owned business, Nichols attributes the company’s recent ability to promote the company to corporate clients to earning a national certification from the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) a year ago. The industry certification is an important vetting tool for woman-owned businesses to get traction with top companies and government agencies in the country and become a serious contender for project approval. “It’s not an easy certification—it’s a lengthy auditing process. But we’re just starting to see the fruits of our labor,” adds Nichols.

From the suburbs to the nation When Meg and her husband Paul started Painters USA, Inc. in 1976, they were the only employees on staff, and their sole business market consisted of interior and exterior residential painting customers in the Chicago area. Eventually, the couple hired a few painters and started networking locally to gain more exposure, joining the suburban Chicago affiliate of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). “From residential, the company started doing office painting and then began doing warehouses, followed by epoxy-floor services,” says Nichols. “Given the climate in Chicago, we needed to offer something to offset the seasonality of our work.” Today, the company has 100 employees, and three business divisions (one based in Arlington, TX), and specializes in industrial and commercial painting, cleaning services, epoxy-flooring services, and food and agricultural services across the country with clients that include global retailers and food processors. “Approximately 41% of our business is industrial painting,” says Nichols. “We still have some residential customers but we don’t market to any new ones.” Managing growth In addition to leveraging its woman-owned status, Painters USA is fanning its growth spurt with the development of customer maintenance programs, which help drive and protect long-term relationships, says Nichols. “It goes hand in hand with growth, and our estimators are doing a great job of selling this aspect to customers.” Another element that strengthens Painters USA’s ability to generate business on a national scale is a commitment to maintaining impeccable credentials, as well as providing the highest level of training for employees, which is ensured by having a full-time training instructor on staff. “Some jobs are pretty complicated, especially industrial ones. By having

Stats COMPANY NAME Painters USA, Inc. the right safety training in place, it narrows the pool of candidates considered for a project, so we are able to bid on larger industrial jobs,” explains Nichols. To manage customer experience and expectation, Painters USA streamlined its entire operation, including centralizing incoming call requests for estimates, billing, and other paperwork trails that often become complicated when crews are working in different locations across the country. “We want to be a onestop shop for customers instead of them having to deal with 20 different contractors, particularly with larger, corporate customers who we do business with across the country,” says Nichols. Growth also has made it necessary to increase the amount of man power running the daily operations of a nationwide company with active projects in several states. “Meg and Paul invest heavily in the company, such as buying equipment that is needed like fleets of trucks. But they also invest in our personnel and make sure that we have enough staff to handle our growth,” adds Nichols. “Five years ago, we only had five operations staff. Now we have nine.”

“You have to clean everything before doing a paint job …That discovery inspired us to develop a cleaning segment, a service that really wasn’t being offered in the industry.” —CRAIG NICHOLS, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, PAINTERS USA

Filling a void Besides boosting internal staff, the company recently added another business division to its lineup of services. Eighteen months ago, Painters USA created K-Clean USA, an idea generated from a basic concept of supply and demand. “We visited so many industrial plants and saw a need to fill. You have to clean everything before doing a paint job but we noticed on some jobs that after the cleaning stage, the paint below was in good condition so our services weren’t needed,” says Nichols. “That discovery inspired us to develop a cleaning segment, a service that really wasn’t being offered in the industry. On many industrial sites, you have to clean from top to bottom in order to pass inspection, so it was an opportunity.” Though less than two years old, K-Clean USA now makes up 10% of Painters USA’s annual billings, according to Nichols. To drive business to all of its service areas, the company uses its web site as a major marketing resource to attract new clients. “Twenty percent of our sales come

FOUNDED 1976 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 100 SERVICES OFFERED Industrial and commercial painting, epoxy-flooring services, cleaning services, food and agricultural painting and services ASSOCIATIONS • Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) • The Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC)

from our web site. It’s our No. 1 marketing tool to acquire new customers,” says Nichols, citing the use of a combination of SEO, SEM, and Google Ads to drive traffic to the site. “We recently did an upgrade, so our web site is compatible with all platforms—smartphones, iPads, etc., which also boosted our Google rankings. Participation in trade shows has also been an invaluable resource to promote and position Painters USA nationally and increase its customer base, adds Nichols. “It takes you right to the source of procurement. For example, the last one we attended included reps from Coca-Cola and Monsanto.” Bottom line Painters USA’s trajectory is headed in the right direction but it’s not been without challenges, according to Nichols. “It’s important to not bite off more than you can chew,” he says. “Do what you promised someone you can do.” And don’t get ahead of yourself, he recommends. “We’re conscious of not growing too rapidly. We want to make sure we can handle the growth.” The thriving, privately held company, which has been in business for nearly 40 years, by all estimates appears to have a handle on effective, measured expansion. “We’re not 100% perfect but we haven’t had any major disasters,” says Nichols. “That’s rooted in having the right systems in place and the right amount of qualified personnel on staff.”

AWARDS • PDCA Safety Award for exemplary effort and achievement in establishing a safer work environment in the commercial painting industry • BBB A+ & Complaint-Free Awards • Summit Bronze Level • Associated Builders and Contractors STEP Award for achievement in the safety training and evaluating process CERTIFICATIONS • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) • OSHA 10- & 30-hour courses • NACE Inspector Level 1 • Confined Space Certification • Aerial Lift Certification • Swing Stage Certification • CPR Certification • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) (Paul Cook certified as a Core Curriculum & Painting Instructor; Certification of Painters USA as a NCCER Training Sponsor) • American Building Restoration (ABR) Products (Matt Nichols certified as an ABR-Certified Wood-Restoration Specialist) TOTAL ANTICIPATED BILLINGS IN 2015 $15 million CONTACT Painters USA, Inc. (800) 999-8715 Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT




Developed by a team of project managers with years of genuine boots-in-the-field experience, FieldLens works for people on the job site, not just those back in the office.

“The goal of FieldLens is to help the members of a project team—including subcontractors—communicate and collaborate better,” says Julian Clayton, vice president of product (and creator of the PunchList app). “One of the keys to that is having a communications platform that everyone can access. That means by phone, by email, by tablet, or a computer. The idea is to make information related to every aspect of every job available to everyone involved. So now, instead of waiting for a report at the end of the day to tell you if a floor or room is ready for painting or what needs to happen next, you can check that at any time from any location.” Eliminate lost or missing information It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a small team or on a huge project, there’s always a ton of information to be shared. And when that information gets shared in writing, by email, by phone, and by text, some of it inevitably gets lost or goes missed entirely. 36

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

FieldLens solves that problem by putting everyone on the same platform. Tasks can be assigned to individuals, companies, or even email addresses (ideal for communicating with subs who aren’t on FieldLens yet) and progress is tracked in real time. If a job finishes ahead of time, the schedule can be changed globally and immediately shared with all involved, ensuring the next trade in line knows it’s showtime. Tasks can be sorted by due date, status, or assignee, and users can add comments or even upload videos or photos to illustrate the challenges they’re facing—or demonstrate work completed. Plus, the entire history of communication for every aspect of the job is saved and available for viewing by all. Collaborate and integrate In addition to putting you in touch with team members, FieldLens seamlessly integrates with some of the most common and popular construction software and tools.

FAQs for FieldLens PLATFORMS

iOS, Android, web


Navisworks, Revit, DropBox, Box, Google Drive, Bluebeam


FieldLens Basic: Free Includes unlimited projects with unlimited communication, unlimited photo and video sharing, cost code and manpower tracking, real-time sync across multiple devices. Includes 30-day free trial of FieldLens Pro. Free for up to 3 users per company. FieldLens Pro: $25/user/month Includes all the features of FieldLens Basic—plus: unlimited drawings, daily reports, safety reports, punch-list reports, phone and email support, advanced filtering and search, Revit and Navisworks integration, auto-sync of Bluebeam linked sets


Yes, corporate licensing available, including accounts for subcontractors


Yes, 30-day free trial available for first-time users


Online and on-site available


Yes, secure, cloud-based backup with automatic off-line syncing

You can connect with Navisworks, Revit or Bluebeam and upload files from DropBox, Box, or Google Drive. You can attach drawings, and even mark them up and share them instantly. Plus, you can track time on the job by day or by hour, and eliminate the guesswork of how the job is running. Details, details Unlike other software platforms, FieldLens comes fully loaded (i.e., no sneaky add-on costs later). Every FieldLens account includes the ability to create unlimited projects and items, all with access to the functions of the app, including unlimited photos and videos, and the security of automatic cloud-based backup. But what about subs who don’t have FieldLens? You can still communicate with them by assigning their tasks to their email address. Updates they send back via email are automatically incorporated into the overall job tracking. Plus, if you set up a company account, you can provide subs access to FieldLens on a project-by-project basis.

“FieldLens makes organization my best friend. I can communicate very clearly and save myself money by not having the same conversation 10 different times.”

FieldLens lets you create and share tasks team-wide on the go.

Share drawings, photos or videos to ensure everyone is on the same page and communicate needs clearly.


“FieldLens gives me back five hours each week that I would have spent tracking down people to understand where we stand on issues. That’s five hours that I can put to work somewhere else.” —MITCH KENNEDY, PROJECT SUPERINTENDENT, ROGERS-O’BRIEN CONSTRUCTION Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT




Photo: Graco


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

Uneven surfaces like stucco and cinder block can eat up a lot of time when applying coatings. But some clever folks at several manufacturers have developed products that cut application time and make easy work of tough surfaces.

Graco’s JetRoller gets the job done in half the time

To learn more, visit

Introduced last year, Graco’s JetRoller is fast becoming a favorite of pros working on both uneven and smooth surfaces. Really a three-in-one accessory, the JetRoller includes an inline gun with a replaceable filter in the handle, a 20" extension pole, and an adjustable roller handle. The entire unit is industry compatible so you can continue to use your favorite 9" roller covers and up to 9' of extension pole. Compatible with all Graco Pro sprayers, the JetRoller lets you spray and backroll all in one action. According to Mark Andersen, Graco parts and product manager, “The sprayer provides a continuous feed to the wall just below the roller, so you never have to stop and dip the roller. It literally turns a two-man job into a one-man job.” Andersen also notes, “The pressure for the JetRoller is just 1000 psi to minimize overspray. It’s a great solution for interior surfaces that you might have been hesitant to spray in the past for fear of mess, as well as for outdoor spray jobs on windy days. The pressure’s low and the roller catches any overspray.”

Textured surfaces are no match for Wooster’s Polar Bear roller cover

To learn more, visit

While nooks and crannies might be a great thing in your morning muffin, dealing with them when rolling over rough or textured surfaces isn’t so pleasant. Simply put, not every roller is up to the job. “For stucco, knock-down textures, and other rough surfaces, we have a unique solution with the Polar Bear roller cover,” says Sharon Dentz, customer programs coordinator for The Wooster Brush Company. Speaking of the roller’s fluffy nap, she adds, “The fabric is composed of tiny fibers that are twisted into fine, little tufts that reach into the surface texture and create a smooth finish.” Made for use with flat, eggshell or satin paints, stains, waterproofing sealers and primers, Polar Bear fabric also works well with metallic paints and glazes. Available in 4" and 6" Jumbo-Koter minirollers as well as 9" and 18" full-size rollers, Polar Bear covers fit standard roller handles.

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT


Purdy XL Elite Series makes smooth work of rough surfaces

To learn more, visit

Purdy has a long history of producing quality brushes that yield a smooth finish. And thanks to their line of XL Elite brushes, you can achieve the same smooth, professional look on uneven surfaces with even the most challenging coatings. “The XL Elite collection is a great choice for uneven surfaces,” says Marcelo Orchon, Purdy product manager. “Using a blend of high-performance DuPont solid, round and tapered (SRT), Chinex and Orel filaments, it works well with any type of paint and stain—especially, high-solid, low-VOC paints and heavy-bodied latex coatings that can be difficult to apply smoothly.” Available in both angular and straight trim models and in sizes from 1" to 3," Purdy’s XL Elite brushes hold paint well and clean easily, so you can spend more time getting the job done right.

Scotch Masking Tape for Concrete, Brick, and Grout (#2060) It’s not enough to have the right applicator for uneven surfaces, you also have to have the right tape. Designed to offer high adhesion on rough, uneven, or hard-to-stick surfaces, Scotch Masking Tape for Concrete, Brick, and Grout is the first choice for many pros. In addition to excellent adhesion to challenging surfaces, it doesn’t lift or curl, and produces an excellent paint line. Plus, it removes with little or no adhesive transfer for up to three days after application. For best results, tape should be removed at a 90˚angle. May also be used use with lacquer coatings. To learn more, visit

If you have a product that you think other pros should know about, let us know:


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015


See Worker Times and Locations Put an End to Rounded Time Cards Connects to QuickBooks WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? START YOUR 14DAY FREE TRIAL TODAY!



To learn about being featured in an upcoming issue of inPAINT, email

Behr Process Corporation


Benjamin Moore Paint Company


0 Premium DeckOver Wood & Concrete Coating, p 32

0 Natura, p 14 0 Aura, p 22 0 Fresh Start Enamel Underbody Primer, p 22 0 Fresh Start MultiPurpose Oil-Based Primer, p 22 0 Latex Fresh Start, p 22 0 Regal Select, p 22 0 Arborcoat, p 32

0 FieldLens Basic, p 36 & 37 0 FieldLens Pro, p 36 & 37 0 JetRoller, p 39

Liquid Nails Adhesive

0 Subfloor & Deck Construction Adhesive, p 31

Miller Paint Company

0 Acro Pure, p 14





Mi-T-M Page 13




PDCA Page 44

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

0 Elite Advanced Stain & Sealer in One, p 32 0 Woodland Oil, p 32

PPG Architectural Coatings 0 Nautica At Home Paint Collection, p 10 0 Seal Grip Acrylic Universal Primer/ Sealer, p 20 0 Speedhide Latex Sealer, p 20 0 Speedhide Interior MaxPrime Latex Primer/Surfacer, p 22 0 Sun-Proof Exterior House & Trim Flat Latex Primer, p 22

Purdy Professional Painting Tools


Olympic Paints & Stains


0 XL Elite Series Brushes, p 40


0 Restore Deck Start Wood Primer, p 32


0 Scotch Masking Tape for Concrete, Brick, and Grout, p 40

Sherwin-Williams 0 ColorSnap ColorSelection System, p 10 0 Harmony, p 14 0 Water-Blocking Primer/Finish, p 14 0 PrepRite ProBlock Primer/Sealer, p 20 0 SuperDeck Deck Care System, p 32


0 ProLuxe Cetol SRD RE, p 32 0 ProLuxe Wood Finishes, p 32

Valspar Paint 0 Medallion, p 14 0 Ultra 2000, p 14

Wooster Brush Company 0 Polar Bear Roller Cover, p 39


0 Odorless Oil-Base Stain Blocker, p 22



New Orleans, LA

MARCH 9-12, 2016


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015


What, Where & When N OVEMBER



3–6: PastForward: A Conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C.


16 & 17: NAA Student Housing Conference & Exposition, Chicago, IL


17: Pacific Building Trade Expo, Honolulu, HI


17–19: International Roofing Expo, Orlando, FL


18–20: Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Washington, D.C.



9–11: 97th Annual Associated General Contractors Convention, San Antonio, TX


6–9: Finishing Industries Forum, Las Vegas, NV


9–12: PDCA Painting and Decorating Expo, New Orleans, LA


7-9: Construction SuperConference, San Diego, CA


11 & 12: PDCA Craftsmanship Forum, New Orleans, LA


8: 31st Annual TRENDS Rental Housing Management Conference & Trade Show, Seattle, WA




8 4

19–21: NAHB International Builders’ Show, Las Vegas, NV

1 3




11 10

12 9

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo Greenbuild is the premier event for sustainable building. Featuring three full days of uplifting speakers, unmatched networking opportunities, showcases, LEED workshops and tours of green buildings in Washington, D.C., Greenbuild offers a place for thousands to gather and renew their commitment to the green movement. A Materials & Human Health Summit will explore and critique the progress made toward better building products. Additional educational sessions will examine the special features of today’s most advanced coatings and offer insight into how to specify products that meet or exceed environmental standards.

Oct/Nov 2015 | inPAINT



“Now is the time to get the proper legal entities in place to reduce your 2015 taxes and set yourself up for tax savings in 2016.”

LARRY OXENHAM is a senior advisor with the American Society for Asset Protection.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2015

An improving housing market could translate into higher income for painting professionals in 2015 and 2016. This creates a high-class problem: potentially more taxes. We say ‘potentially’ because the smart painting professional will structure his or her business to earn more and pay less in taxes. Here are three strategies to put more dollars in your pockets and fewer dollars in the pockets of the IRS.

STRATEGY #1 Maximize deductions There are thousands of items that are allowed as business expenses. You want to make sure as many expenses as possible are deducted as business expenses. For example, I rarely take vacation because vacations are not tax deductible. However, I do take a lot of business trips, which are tax deductible. Look for ways to make your trips tax deductible by having a business purpose for the trip, such as attending a painting convention or setting up appointments with business contacts prior to your trip. Another deduction you may not be taking full advantage of is medical expenses. Within a sole proprietorship or an S corporation, there is a limit on deductible medical expenses. With the right provisions in a C corporation, you can deduct all medical-insurance premiums and all out-of-pocket medical expenses for copays, medications, first aid items, etc.

STRATEGY #2 Defer income One way the IRS allows you to defer income is by contributing to a retirement plan. A retirement plan that works well for many professional painters is a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account (SEP IRA). The IRS allows you to contribute 18.587% of net profit (maximum of $50,000 per year) to your SEP IRA for retirement. If you have $100,000 net profit in your business, you would be able to contribute up to 18.587% (or $18,587) to your retirement account. You would get to deduct the contribution, saving you thousands in federal and state taxes. The money goes into your SEP IRA taxfree and grows tax-free. SEP IRA funds are taxed at ordinary income tax rates when qualified withdrawals are taken after 59.5 years of age.

STRATEGY #3 Proper use of entities The tax rules are different for S corporations, C corporations, and sole proprietorships. You want to use the entity or entities that require you to pay the least amount of tax. For example, if you operate your business as a sole proprietor, all profit (up to the taxable maximum) is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. In an S corporation, profits are distributed through a K-1, a tax document like a W-2 used to report income, and are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Having your profits flow to you as K-1 income, instead of as profit from a sole proprietorship, could save you thousands each year in Social Security and Medicare taxes. For example, if a sole proprietorship has a profit of $100,000, a 15.3% tax (12.4% Social Security tax and 2.9% Medicare tax) would have to be paid on the entire $100,000, totaling $15,300. In comparison, if an S corporation has a profit of $100,000 and you pay yourself a reasonable salary of $40,000, the other $60,000 would flow to you as profit (K-1) and is not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. You only pay Social Security and Medicare tax on the $40,000 salary, for a tax of $6,120. In this scenario, using an S corporation would save $9,180 in taxes each year. While it would be nice to have the whole $100,000 excluded from Social Security and Medicare taxes, the IRS requires that owner-employees of an S corporation be paid a salary that is a ‘reasonable amount’ for the work being performed. Conclusion Reducing your taxes to the legal minimum can greatly increase your ability to build wealth. Supreme Court Justice Sutherland wrote, “The legal right of the taxpayer to decrease the amount that would otherwise be his taxes, or altogether avoid them, by means that the law permits, cannot be doubted.” Now is the time to get the proper legal entities in place to reduce your 2015 taxes and set yourself up for tax savings in 2016. For more information, call (800) 848-9238 or visit:

Buy right. Use it up. Recycle the rest. PaintCare is the non-profit product stewardship organization established by the American Coatings Association to represent architectural paint manufacturers. We’re working to provide environmentally sound and cost-effective paint recycling programs in states with paint stewardship laws.

Oregon 2010

California 2012

Connecticut 2013

Rhode Island 2014

Recycle with PaintCare • 855-724-6809

Vermont 2014

Minnesota 2014

Maine 2015

Colorado 2015

Be a part of Home Builders Blitz 2016!

Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz is a partnership between Habitat affiliates and the local building community to make sure more families have the chance to live in a simple, decent home. Our goal for June 6-10, 2016, is to build, renovate or repair 300 homes across the nation.

Join us! #HomeBuildersBlitz • 15-44593/PDF/OOM/6-15

Profile for REM Publishing Group

inPAINT Magazine Oct/Nov 2015  

The magazine for professionals

inPAINT Magazine Oct/Nov 2015  

The magazine for professionals

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