The painters were top notch. They worked very efficiently, courteously and extremely cleanly.
- Jack Bernauer, Inverness
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Archive for December 2009

Chicago House Painter Takes a “Custodial View” on his Painting Projects

When we are hired as painting contractors in the Chicago area, we, at Painting in Partnership, look at it as an opportunity to create value for the homeowner, above and beyond the painting work we are there to do. We look at the client’s property as if it was our own. We seek opportunities to help out our clients enhance the safety, workability and enjoyment of their property, in any way we can. We call that “Taking a Custodial View”. There are four major aspects to us having a custodial view on our house painting projects. Click here to see those four different ways.

Here is a brief example of how we look for the root cause of a problem and offer a solution. As house painting contractors, among other things, we are asked to do exterior painting. One area of a cornice is peeling badly. Upon closer investigation, we discover debris on the gutters from rain water overflowing the gutters. Going a step further, we find out the gutter is pitched the wrong way and has a small downspout. In a situation like this, we would approach our clients with an assessment of the problem, its consequences and what needs to be done to permanently solve the issue. We recommended to replace the gutters on that side of the house and install large size downspouts to help drain the roof better. This way, the owner will not experience the same paint failures and our paint job will last longer.

As painting contractors, the mere fact of looking out for our client’s back and seeking to be of service above and beyond the painting work we are there to do speaks volume to clients about the relationship we have with them and the value we intend on creating for them. Consequently, we view referring other trusted professionals as an integral part of our work as painting contractors.

As a house painting company, we have gone a step further. We have created what we call our “Trusted Partners” group. The companies in this select group have proven themselves to have the same “Custodial View” as we do in dealing with their clients. We actively support our trusted partners by sharing “best practices” with them and actively promoting them to our clients. They do the same for us. Through these close company ties, we help multiply the value we create for our respective clients.

Chicago House Painting Project Brings Life to a Home: Part 3 – Painting Around Families

Painting services delivered in a home environment sometimes present a particular challenge. Minimizing the stress on the family, while maintaining the efficiency of the painting operations is most important. On this particular project, the close coordination of the house painting activities was critical, due to the fact that the owners home-school their three children and the dad works out of the house a good part of the time. Additionally, there is a delightful 160-pound Leonberger dog which is also part of the family and whose needs for space must be taken into account. Her name is Bella, shown here holding one of her furry friends

Mario Guertin, Bella and her Friend

Mario Guertin, Bella and her Friend

Because of the Holidays, it was decided that the painting project would be divided into two phases, the downstairs and the upstairs. A convenient start time for the family was agreed upon. The family then developed an off-premise schooling plan for the duration of the painting project. We then discussed the game plan for tackling the sequencing of the rooms we will be working on. Since painting services involve performing multiple tasks with varying dry-time requirements, we made the decision to only have two painters working on the project and work in no more than 2 rooms at a time. This way, we could avoid disabling the whole house and creating chaos for the family.

Keeping the stress down for the family during a house painting project is critical to producing a successful painting experience for our clients. Balancing the needs of the family with the needs to maintain the efficiency of the painting operations is surely a balancing act. As house painting contractors doing work mostly in occupied buildings, we are committed to maintaining a happy balance between those two key factors.

Craftsman Painting Tips – The Craftsman’s Mindset

Painters are generally not viewed with much respect. Moreover, house painting is regarded as easy. As the saying goes: “even a monkey can do it!” This statement cannot be further from the truth. In reality, the work of painting craftsmen involves eye-to-hand coordination in a myriad of ways, aesthetic appreciation, physical stamina, a great deal of technical knowledge and sound judgment.

In our Craftsman Painting Tips series, we intend to pass on to you tips and insights into house painting that will equip you with some of the knowledge that painting craftsmen have accumulated over time in the course of their diligent work and thereby add to your enjoyment of painting and the quality of the results you produce.

I would like to give you insights into the mindset a painter must have in order to develop into a craftsman in the field of painting (or any domain) and, over time, achieve mastery in this field. In the short-term, I hope to deepen your appreciation and enjoyment of your house painting projects. There are six traits that characterize the mindset of a craftsman, which I would like to share with you. They are as follows:

1- Love of one’s work:
Painting craftsmen love their house painting work. There are in touch with how their work benefits people’s lives and adds beauty to life around them.

2- Thirst to know and learn:
Craftsmen have an insatiable desire to learn, grow and perfect themselves in their field of endeavor.

3- Focus and intensity:
Executing the work of a painting craftsman requires the engagement, coordination and focus of all human senses in order to produce the desired result.

4- Pursuit of excellence and efficiency:
Excellence within the constraint of time is the ultimate pursuit of craftsmen, not just quality without regard to the time element.

5- Openness and desire to share with others:
A real craftsman is not a hoarder, rather a SHARER of knowledge. A craftsman understands that shared knowledge means expanded knowledge.

6- Passion:
Passion is the result of engaging one’s heart in the process of one’s work. Passion is charismatic and inspires others exposed to it. True craftsmen have passion!

Craftsman Painting Tips – Planning your Interior Painting Project

Before launching on an interior house painting project, it is a good idea to plan out your project. Answering the five questions below will help you have a successful and enjoyable painting project.

First, what needs to be done to the room?
Do you want to only paint the walls? What about the ceiling, the trim, doors, windows? What about the dreaded closet? Answering these questions will help you decide what paints you need for your house painting project. For the ceiling, you might need a flat paint, for the walls, a matte enamel or eggshell, for the woodwork a satin finish. Once you settle on colors, you are ready to order paints.

Second, what is the condition of the surfaces?
An interior painting job (and exterior painting one just as well) is only as good as the preparation work. Are there cracks? If so, you will need fiberglass tape and patching material. Are taping joints failing? You will need drywall paper tape. Are there nail pops? You might need pliers (or hammer) and screws. You may also need two or three grades of sandpaper (100, 120 and 220 grit). Yes, do not forget caulk, painters’ best friend. Make a list of all the non-paint materials you might need for your project and what you need to order, in addition to the paints.

Third, what supplies will I need?
Protecting surfaces during the painting process is an important part of any house painting. You might need two or three types/sizes of tape. Two- inch painters tape should be used to tape the carpet along the baseboard. A two-inch “low tack” tape could be used on the top of the baseboard after painting it to avoid spatters when you paint the walls. The level of tack in the tape is important because too strong an adhesive will ruin a paint finish. You will also need tarps to cover the floor and plastic sheeting to cover the furniture. Depending on the paints you plan on using, you may need different brushes and rollers, perhaps some thinner as well. Oh yes, do not forget the rolling pan, bucket(s) and a roller handle.

Fourth, what equipment will I need?
Depending on the height of the room, or its location, like in a stairway, you will need a ladder of the appropriate height. In a stairway, you will need an expandable plank. Investing in safe and appropriate equipment is critical to your health and the success of your house painting project. An articulated ladder is the most versatile of ladder for use in houses. For speed, consider using an expandable pole (2’ to 4’ or 4’ to 8’).
You are now ready for a trip to the paint store!

Fifth, how do I sequence my steps?
Having a clear plan of attack is critical to the success of a house painting project. Here is the recommended sequence:
1-Protect all surfaces not to be painted. Use tarps, tape and plastic sheeting as needed.
2- Complete ALL surface preparation on all surfaces before touching a brush.
3- Caulk all surfaces as needed.
4- Paint ceiling.
5- Paint all trim elements. The doors and windows can be done last.
6- Paint walls.
7- Clean up the work area after completing the house painting project


Chicago House Painting Project Brings Life to a Home: Part 2 – Plaster Restoration

At the outset of their interior painting project, the owners of this 1927 vintage Four-Square House made it clear that they liked the blemishes of their lime-based plaster walls and ceilings, as well as the worn out paint edges of the wood casings and trim elements. They felt that these imperfections gave character to their vintage house.

When estimating the cost of a house painting project, it is always important to properly assess, on the one hand, the level of surface preparation that a client is looking for. On the other hand, it is equally important to assess the repair that surfaces actually require, whether the owners realize it or not. This is where clear communication with the owners is critical in order to ensure that painters and owners are on the same page with what needs to be done. Taking the time to explain the purpose and process of plaster repairs goes a long way in gaining the client’s support for the plaster restoration needed prior to the house painting portion of the work.

Historic three-coat plaster is extremely strong and durable. It is fire resistant, mildew resistant and allows the walls to breathe. Replacing plaster is expensive. Therefore, it is worth making every effort to do plaster restoration wherever possible. By so doing, you preserve a piece of history and the authentic feel of your house!

Plaster Consolidation and Repair

Plaster Consolidation and Repair

Plaster being mounted over wooden lath, it has a tendency to crack, over time, when the lath is exposed to moisture. Movement in the building also causes plaster keys to break off from the lath and cause cracks or failure in the plaster. A number of methods can be used to address these issues.

The picture in this article shows a crack that was stabilized by the use of two plaster buttons and wood screws. The screws re-fasten the plaster to the wood lath. Depending on the size of the crack, fiberglass tape can be placed over the crack prior to the patching process.