The Paint Dealer’s Interior Project
When you get down to it, painting your house is a big deal, picking a color is a big deal, and for most folks, hiring a painter is a…big deal. People live in their house and look at their color every day. So if you or your on-staff designer gets annoyed with a customer spending two (or four or six!) hours picking a color, remind yourself that it’s a decision they have to live with for a long time. (Then, go outside and scream.) But seriously “you can just paint over it,” is, in our humble opinion, not an option people want to exercise.
This Interior Project, held at Mugler Publications World Headquarters in Valley Park, MO (with satellite offices in front of our desks at home), brought to the fore the importance of doing it right the first time, both in color and technique. We’ve got a small office, so “footprint” is of prime importance—decorations, desks, files—if it doesn’t need to be there (and we need our fake fichus!) it can’t be there. Once we moved all the furniture away from the walls there was barely room to get by, and even our painter had to be industrious to access those famous “hard to reach” spaces.
A Word About Our Sponsors
As in every project, product manufacturers sponsor their wares and we show how they’re used during the project. At the same time, we hope to remind you that when a customer comes in for “just a couple gallons” that you can sell them on a “whole project approach” which can get them painting faster and better instead of coming back to your store for whatever is it they should have bought the first time.
Appearing in his third project is painter Jim Estes; Jim shows up on time, does a good job, and he’s personable and pleasant to deal with. Getting all that in one painter is pretty cool, so we’re happy to have him back. And while it’s his third time, many of our sponsors are in a project for the first time, which gives us—and you—a good chance to see them in action. Got something new, old, borrowed, blue you want to show in a project? Give us a call.
All It’s Kracked Up To Be
Abatron’s Krack Kote®, an acrylic crack repair kit for drywall and plaster, is a behind the scenes star-maker. As more and more painters are working drywall, this becomes an increasingly important product to stock. Jim hadn’t seen it before, but he said it was very easy to use, so easy that you could sell it with confidence to a homeowner as well as a pro painter. Our building is 99 this year according to a stone out front engraved with 1919, and it’s pretty much providing 1919-style insulation (i.e. none), so you can imagine there are a few cracks in the walls from temperature swings. This made our office the perfect test ground, as Krack Kote is billed as a flexible repair product that will prevent the cracks’ return.
There’s a three-step process here, but they’re all pretty easy. First, take a brush and apply the product over the crack, and then brush it about an inch and a half on each side. Second, use some Krack Bridge fabric, which comes packaged with the product, and embed it into the paste. Third, wait about ten minutes and cover with more Krack Kote. Smooth and feather the edges with a spreader (also included), and then…paint over it from there! Estes commented several times on how easy it was to use and how well it did its job. And you can see that our cracks are…Koted.
Many homes, particularly older homes, will have cracks in the plaster that homeowners will think they have to live with forever, so remember to ask about that when they come in to paint. We’ll point out…one more time…that it’s easy to use and it will make the final look of the project that much better. As we go up and down and back and forth in the office now, it’s hard to think there were cracks there in the first place! For professionals, it’s one more tool to help them deliver on the promise of a great paint job.
Brandon Pass at Intertape Polymer Group sent us several boxes of the company’s Pro-Mask Blue®, which does an awesome job of packaging. Why mention that first? Because it’s the first thing your customers see, and despite years of urging people not to judge a book by its cover, when people take time to make the cover interesting, we all hope the book is just as good. Customers picking up a roll of Pro-Mask are advised that it’s an “advanced formula” in a purple paint splatter and are appraised of the tape’s Bloc-It clean line technology.
Pro-Mask is a blue fine crepe paper masking tape with a specially formulated pressure-sensitive synthetic rubber adhesive designed for exposure to sunlight up to fourteen days. Use it wherever masking is exposed to weather/out-of-doors conditions and for interior masking of windows (where adhesive will be directly exposed to sunlight). A visit to the Intertape website is quite an experience as you can see that this company is involved in many different industries. If you need tape, they’ve got it! If your customers have friends in the electrical or automotive trades, they might check out Intertape as well.
We used the tape to create a barrier between surfaces to be painted and not to be painted, and also along some of our cabinets (another surface we didn’t want to paint). Also, for our IdeaPaint dry erase paint, we used it to create a “frame” around the dry erase board to set it off from the yellow. To give credit where it’s due, great idea, Hans! Take a look at our finished wall (left) and pass this idea along to customers who might like to try something creative.
Remember too that with painter’s tape, proper application is important. It needs to be smoothed down to the wall so that the paint can’t get behind it, then removed in a timely and proper fashion. Pro painters will usually know this, but occasional painters might not, and as we said at the beginning of the article, no one really wants to paint it again so make sure your customers know how to get the best performance out of their tape.
Just Ask Lindsay
All the ingredients it takes to make up a can of paint have a mind of their own, but a good mix will blend them together. If you keep up with pop music, you know that Fleetwood Mac just parted with Lindsay Buckingham, and Lindsay is known for the song “Go Your Own Way.” Remind your customers that without proper mixing, all the particles in their paint will do the same, and as Fleetwood Mac so eloquently shows us, it’s better when all the ingredients cooperate.
For decades, humankind has tried to find a way to mix up paint and pour it out neatly. One product you might try is the Mixing Mate® from Rockler. Available for quarts and gallons, this product will thoroughly mix latex or solvent based paint or finish—without the mess! Easy to assemble (seriously, really easy!) it locks in place over the can. Customers turn a crank to mix it and then pour it out of the spout. With its slogan of Stir, Pour, and Store, it will keep paint fresh for future use—when the customer can stir and pour it again. Realistically, one never knows when one will “kick the bucket” or just knock a can over and spill it, so the Mixing Mate can make whole process much cleaner.
After Jim used it, he took it to the sink to wash it off and store it for the future. If customers are painting up a few different colors, they might want to buy more than one so they can keep their project moving
If you do spill something—and it’s going to happen sooner or later, you can again quote Fleetwood Mac and sing “I Don’t Wanna Know” or you can clean it up. When we saw Jim come to work with some ratty old rags hanging through a loop in his painter’s pants, we pulled them out and replaced them with some PFC™ (Precision-Fiber™ Cloth) Rags from Intex. If a painter’s going to let you stick something in his pants, you know it’s got to be good, and these products are perfect for wiping up spills or just getting some dust out of the way before you paint.
The good news is that when you reach into your bag or box of PFC rags, you don’t have to fish for just the right one—they’re all “just the right one.” Each rag is the same as every other rag. They are Made in the USA of t-shirt like material. They’re very strong—company literature shows it holding a 20 pound kettlebell—and they’re super absorbent. Great for staining, too, but in our case Jim used them for wiping and cleaning.
Other painters have noted that reaching into a bag of rags can be quite the adventure, because you never know what you’re going to pull out. The adventure with Intex Paint & Cleaning Rags comes from always knowing you’ll get the same quality. You can pull one out with your eyes closed and know it’ll be the same as the one you left in the bag for later. Plus no crew members fighting over who got the best rag! With their consistent size and shape, sold by number and not by weight, this company tells us that paint rags will never be the same again!
We’ve never used Richard’s Paint on a project before, and since it’s been cold here in St. Louis a lot longer than we expected, we were excited to have something sent up from Florida. While they can’t enclose 80-degree weather in a paint can, they sent some cool colors and great product. Richards is a family-owned business that sells through the independent, so if you’re in their coverage area, give them a call about adding their line.
We fanned out the color cards, looking for some hues that would brighten our place up. We kept with tradition by leaving the ceiling unpainted in the white that was already there, and Jim repainted white on the baseboards, trim, and doors. For this part of the project, Richards sent us its Signature Series Exterior Semi-Gloss House Paint. This is a good choice, since with all the file cabinets, desks, and the various products we carry around, an exterior paint will have the endurance to hold up against the bumps and grinds of daily life.
The walls were to be painted a pastel yellow called Lemon Lilly, and on any of the “bump outs,” we chose an accent color called Peeps, named for the well-known yellow-bird Easter candy. Faithful readers have heard us complain about the sloppy brown that was here when we moved in, so it’s a significant improvement. While we at The Paint Dealer are all about color, this bold contrast we chose might not be for everyone, but the combo of the bright and the light yellow work together to create an environment that they didn’t individually—remind customers that colors working together is an important part of the final effect. New colors, no matter what, can be a shock to the system after you’ve seen the old colors for so long, which is why it’s good to have your customers, as much as they can, live with their choices before they commit.
For the walls and accents, Jim applied Richard’s Signature Ceramic Interior Eggshell Paint and Primer in One. The first coat served as a primer and then from there we put on the finish, though of course it all comes out of the same can. Since we were painting a lighter color over a darker, it took a couple coats of “finish” to hide the brown. And since no one was fond of the brown, we really wanted to make sure it was hidden.
Since our surface was relatively sound, a paint and primer in one was a good call, but make sure to ask enough questions of your customers to make sure this kind of product works for them.
One thing Jim noted was that because our walls were cold—again thanks to the insulation—products took longer to dry. Remind your customers that environmental conditions can impact dry time.
Ideas on the Wall
From IdeaPaint™ came what we thought was a great idea—a paint on magnetic dry-erase board. This is easy to apply, but it’s got a lot of moving parts, so it’s important to follow the directions. Jim did just that—we’ve seen him consult directions several times as one of the things he likes about these projects is the chance to get familiar with products he hasn’t used before. After 40 years of painting that’s a good attitude to have!
There are a few cool things about this: for one, if the kids write on the walls with markers, they’re supposed to! Just can wipe it off. For two, you can write up a few things of your own: take out the trash, mop the floor—of course they can wipe it off and claim you never did it.
Three, it’s a fun project for a customer, or even in an office like ours where we like to hash out ideas for future projects and magazines. Many offices these days have “idea walls” and with both magentic and dry erase features, so you can recommend IdeaPaint for those environments.
The set comes with everything you need—plus a very easy labeling process of a two-component paint. You pour “this” into “that.” It should always be so easy! It includes paddle to stir, a roller to roll, markers, erasers, cleaners, everything needed to keep the wall lively and clean. Plus, note how the Pro-Mask Blue from Intertape left a nice frame around it to set it off from the rest of the wall.
Again thanks to our sponsors, and when you give them a call to find out more, tell them you saw it in The Paint Dealer.