Painter's Handbook

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Loaded with "how-to" information you'll use every day to get professional results on any job:


  • the best way to prepare a surface for painting or repainting;

  • selecting and using the right materials and tools (including airless spray);

  • tips for repainting kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets, eaves and porches;

  • how to match and blend colors;

  • why coatings fail and what to do about it.



Includes how to start a painting business, including the paperwork you'll need to keep. Lists 30 profitable painting specialty jobs that offer you profitable business opportunities. Also includes how to estimate prices, sell yourself, and present bids.

Weight 1.6600
ISBN 0-934041-28-8
Page Count 320
Author Bill McElroy
Publisher Craftsman Book Company
Dimensions 8-1/2 x 11

Loaded with "how-to" information you'll use every day to get professional results on any job:

  • the best way to prepare a surface for painting or repainting;
  • selecting and using the right materials and tools (including airless spray);
  • tips for repainting kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets, eaves and porches;
  • how to match and blend colors;
  • why coatings fail and what to do about it.

Includes how to start a painting business, including the paperwork you'll need to keep. Lists 30 profitable painting specialty jobs that offer you profitable business opportunities. Also includes how to estimate prices, sell yourself, and present bids.

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Contents

An Introduction to Painting, 5

History of Paint, 5
Where Do You Fit in the Picture, 6

Chapter Two
Creating a Profitable Paint Contracting Company, 8

Types of Business Structures, 9
Does Your Area Need Another Paint Contractor, 10
Establishing Your Business, 13
The Contractor's License, 15
Buying an Existing Business, 17
Start-Up Expenses, 18
Insurance, 19
Cost of Doing Business, 20
Hiring Employees, 22

Chapter Three
An Accounting System for Your Business, 24

Accounting to the IRS, 26
Business Expenses, 29
Cost of Materials, 32
Taxable Income,
The IRS Audit, 35
Paying Taxes and Getting Bank Loans, 35
Self-Employment Drawbacks, 35

Chapter Four
Accounting, Inventory, and Management Control, 36

A Typical Company Budget, 36
The Realistic Budget, 37
Job and Quote Forms, 42
Expense Logs, 50
Profit and Loss Statements, 53
Inventory Control, 57
Computer Accounting, 62

Chapter Five
Finding Your Gravy Train, 64

Specialty Painting, 64
Low Cost Specialty Painting, 66
"Specific General" Contracting, 72

Chapter Six
Selling, 74

Proposal and Contract, 77
Contractor Warranties, 80
Presenting Yourself, 81

Chapter Seven
Estimating, 83

Estimating Labor Costs, 83
Rules for Good Estimating, 86
Estimating Materials, 86
Paints for Different Surfaces, 87
Surface Area Calculations, 87
Paint Coverage Charts, 95
Paint Remaining Charts, 95
Estimating Worksheets, 98

Chapter Eight
Painting Safety, 103

Building Codes, 104
Safety Precautions, 109

Chapter Nine
Choosing Paint, 112

Paint Quality, 113
Paint Life, 114
Paint Failures, 115
Specific Paints and Coatings, 119
Primers, 126

Chapter Ten
Color, 128

Residential Exteriors and Color, 128
Industrial Colors, 131
Interior Colors, 131
Color Choice Problems, 133
Color and Estimating, 135
Mixing Your Own Colors, 137
Touch-up Work, 138
Color Properties, 139

Chapter Eleven
Surface Cleaning and Preparation, 143

Cleaning Surfaces, 144
Stain Removers You Can Make, 145

Chapter Twelve
Common Paint Problems: Prevention and Cure, 151

Paint Handling/Storage Problems, 152
Reason for Paint Failures, 152
Paint Application Problems, 153
Poor Coverage, 154
Moisture Problems, 164
Peeling, 165
Plaster, Wallboard and Cement Problems, 167
Poor Adhesion on Wood, 172

Chapter Thirteen
Water and Fire Damage, 183

Looking for Water Damage, 185
Sources of Water Leaks, 186
Repairing Fire Damage, 195

Chapter Fourteen
Selecting and Using the Right Tools, 198

Brushes, Pads and Rollers, 199
Spray Equipment, 202
Paint Removal Tools, 203
Ladders and Scaffolds, 212

Chapter Fifteen
Surface Prep and Painting, 215

Mixing Paint, 215
Preparing Interior Surfaces, 217
Painting near and on Wallpaper, 223
Wallpaper Removal, 224
Preparing Exterior Surfaces, 226
Staining vs. Painting, 232

Chapter Sixteen
Painting New Construction, 234

Building with Painting in Mind, 237
Scheduling the Painting, 238
Doors, Jambs and Trim Painting, 239
Redwood and Cedar Staining, 242

Chapter Seventeen
Spray Painting, 245

Conventional Spray Equipment, 245
Types of Spray Guns, 247
Thinning Paint Properly, 247
Airless Spray Systems, 248
Controlling Spray Patterns, 250
Cleaning Equipment, 250
Correct Tip Selection, 252
Exterior Surface Spraying, 254
Electrostatic Spray Painting, 255
Spray Painting Tips and Precautions, 255
Troubleshooting Guide, 256

Chapter Eighteen
Cement Products and Texturizing, 261

Masonry Paints, 263
Texture Coatings, 265
Spray-On Textures, 275
Repairing Texture Coatings, 278

Chapter Nineteen
Alternate Wall Coverings, 279

EPA Rulings, 279
Wallpaper, 281
Murals, 283
Wood and Paneling, 284
Tile, 286
Plastics, 290
Brick, Marble, and Rock, 293
Fabrics and Carpet, 295
Sound Control, 296
Charging for the Job, 301

Appendix
Paint Chemistry, 302

Why Paint Adheres, 303
U/V Radiation, 305

Glossary, 310

Index, 317

Chapter One

An Introduction to Painting

Painting is as old as the history of man. In fact, the first history was recorded with crude paint on rock in caves. Both paint and painting have come a long way since then. Today's paints are synthetics based on complex technology that was unknown as recently as the 1940's. The paint you dip a brush into tomorrow is a high-tech by-product of research done for military and aerospace applications.

Any painter worth his pay needs both an understanding and some appreciation of paints and coatings. That's the starting point of this book and the primary subject of this chapter. Once we've covered what's in a paint can, we'll turn to painting itself. My intention is to give you all the information needed to handle nearly any residential, commercial or industrial painting job - quickly, efficiently and profitably.

There's more to painting than just slapping color on a wall. There are good painters and bad painters, profitable painting companies and unprofitable painting companies. Anyone who reads and understands what's written here is well on the way to becoming a knowledgeable, skilled, professional painter or paint contractor.

The History of Paint

The next few paragraphs provide a brief history of paint and painting. But before getting into that, let me define a few terms. For ease of understanding, I'll use the term paint to mean all coatings that are liquid at room temperature and are applied either to protect or color a surface. This includes dyes, stains, clear coatings and paint. For convenience, I'll use the term he to mean painter - whether male or female. I don't mean to imply that this book is written for men only. Where you see "he" in this book, please understand that I mean "he or she. "

The first paints- These were made from clays and plants ground into powders, then mixed with water. Some were exceptionally good: they're still around today. Pottery and cave-wall paintings exist which date back to prehistoric times, some 50,000 years ago.

The Egyptians probably invented the paintbrush. They were also the first to manufacture what we would call paint, some 8,000 years ago. Around 1500 B.C., both Crete and Greece produced paints. Somewhere between 400 B.C. and 400 A.D. the first metallic pigment was developed: The Romans used white lead. But when the Roman Empire declined, so did paint technology.

In the Middle Ages, English priests and monks began to use paints on their churches. In the late Middle Ages, around 1500 A.D., the artists of Italy developed excellent paints. Some formulations were closely guarded secrets - and remain a mystery to this day.

American Indians used paints for both decorative and religious purposes centuries before Europeans began to settle the New World. The Indians, too, found that rocks could be ground into pigment and that the leaves and bark of some trees produced stains. Many paints made in the U.S. in the late 1700's and early 1800's were based on formulas that came from American Indians. As late as the 1860's many painters carried bags of powder which they mixed into paint as needed. The first liquid, premixed paints were manufactured and sold in this country in 1867.

While all this was going on in Europe and the United States, China and Japan were also developing paints. The Orientals had an advantage: The Tung and Lac trees grow only in the Far East. Tung oil is still used to make varnish; insects from the Lac produce the base for shellac. The Japanese also found that sap from the Sumacs made an excellent tinted varnish.

Modern-daypaints- The first modern paints were made during World War II. The old ways of protecting the surface of equipment and weapons had to be improved. The quantities of paint needed were too large. Materials that had been used previously weren't available. The quality just wasn't good enough. The answer was synthetic paints - synthetics that went on faster, lasted longer and could be produced in volume.

In the 1950's and 1960's, nearly all paints were improved beyond anything that had been known before. The number of pigments, dyes, additives, carriers, and application methods multiplied. Research and testing resulted in lower cost, better ways to protect and decorate every type of surface.

As paints evolved, the methods and equipment for applying them evolved. Cavemen used fingers and sticks; the Egyptians and the Romans used paintbrushes. We use everything from brushes to electrostatic sprays. This book will cover them all.

Some safety history- Lead has been used in paint for centuries - poisoning millions of people. Finally, in 1972, the U.S. government restricted lead content in most paint to less than one-half of one percent. Many paint manufacturers now use no lead at all in their paints.

Today, hundreds of brands and types of paints are being marketed by dozens of companies. Many of these products are toxic, flammable, poisonous, or reactive when used incorrectly. Local and state governments, as well as building departments, are becoming more aware of the dangers associated with painting. Some communities have adopted regulations that require empty paint cans to be separated from regular garbage - so they can be disposed of at hazardous dump sites. Some building codes restrict the use of some paints to certain types of buildings or products. Other building codes require that special facilities such as paint booths and fume/dust scrubbers be used when painting.

You can expect that both paint manufacturers and painters will be more heavily regulated in the future. That's just one good reason to read the section in this manual that deals with paint safety and paint chemistry. Every professional painter should be a safety-conscious painter. Safety is just good business. It pays! That's all you need to say.

Where Do You Fit in the Picture?

You, like every painter in the trade, help protect and beautify property. You communicate style and mood through design and color. You're dealing with modern materials, competitive conditions and human emotions. It's not easy to survive in this business. And many don't. But painters who know how to make the most of the equipment and materials available, who price their services fairly, who deal intelligently and honestly with clients and fellow tradesmen, and who take pride in their work, will thrive in this business. That's true today and always will be.

That's what this manual is all about. It's meant to help you establish and build a career in painting. It shows how to stay out of trouble while building a reputation for quality and professionalism.

Setting up your business- If you don't already have a degree in business administration - and I know a few paint contractors who have graduate degrees - this book can be your introduction to setting up and running a paint contracting business. You need some goals and should know what to expect. The first section covers all this, and more practical details like insurance, taxes, and estimating ... everything you need.

Chemistry and color- You need to know something about the chemistry of paint if you're going to recommend the right paint for the job. Will it cover? Does it have the weather-resistance you need? Will it react with what's already there? Don't be like a painter I know who did a nice job on a huge airplane hangar. His client was a communications company and had sensitive antennas in the hangar. Eager to do a lasting job, my friend used top quality lead-based paint. He clean forgot that lead reflects radio waves. His next step was to remove all the paint he had applied so carefully the week before.

But paint does more than protect exposed surfaces. It can also change the way form and texture are perceived. Color is the finishing touch for nearly every building. That's why this book has a section on color and its psychological and physical effects on people.

Doing the work- The last section of this manual explains how experienced painters apply coatings: do's and don'ts, the problems and solutions. There are plenty of creative ideas and tips here for your use, even if you've been painting for years.

If you're an experienced painter, congratulations. But I'll bet the price of this book that there's plenty of information that you can use between this page and the back cover - practical tips that even an old master painter could use.

If you're just starting on a career in painting, I can offer some encouragement. The field is wide open for enthusiastic, eager young men and women willing to work hard, deal honestly and develop the skills needed for success. You've made the right choice, both in following a career in painting and in picking up this book.

Having covered these important preliminaries, let's get down to business. How do you start and build a profitable paint contracting company? That's the subject of Chapter 2.

Painter's Handbook
by Bill McElroy

This complete guide explains what painters and paint contractors need to know to thrive in the paint contracting business. It’s loaded with practical “how-to” information you’ll use every day when preparing surfaces for coating, applying paints, bidding jobs and running your paint contracting company:

Doing Professional Quality Work Selecting the right tools (including power equipment). Preparing all types of surfaces. Tips for repainting kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets, eaves and porches (whether wood, drywall, plaster or metal). Handling new construction (what to insist on and what to avoid). Getting good results from your airless spray rig (with a troubleshooting guide). How to apply every common type of paint, coating, texture and wall cover, including paper, plastics, laminates and fiberglass.

Paint Problems and Their Cure – Why coatings fail. Testing for blisters, chalking, poor adhesion and condensation. Recipes for removing all types of stains. What to do about voids, skips, holidays, pulls, wrinkles, color changes, gloss spots, streaks, yellowing, peeling, alligatoring, powdering, chipping, checking, cracking, crazing, fisheyes, graining, roller stipple, water stains and fire damage.

Using the Right Paint and Color – Avoiding paint oxidation, chalking, and fading. Creating special effects (cobweb, crackle and splatter). Using stains, varnishes, lacquer, shellac, plastics, preservatives and primers. Avoiding customer complaints about color match. Tried and true color schemes for everything costs by mixing your own colors. Making touch-ups blend in perfectly.

Setting Up Your Business – Selecting your area and specialty. Where to get start-up cash and how much you need. Protecting yourself with insurance. Controlling expenses. Staying legal (taxes and licenses). Getting top value for your advertising dollar. Typical budgets for paint contractors. Keeping your paperwork straight (including blank forms your should use). Tracking job expenses.

Finding Your Gravy Train – Over 30 profitable specialty painting businesses you should consider. How to sell the job (at your price). Estimating areas, material quantities and labor costs for walls, overhangs, gables, molding, trim, doors, and windows (including worksheets you can use).

Whether you’re an apprentice just learning the trade or a master painter with years of experience, this complete manual will open your eyes to better, faster, more professional ways to make a good living in the paint contracting business.

The Author

Bill McElroy started painting homes, offices, and apartments in the 1960’s. He soon found that being able to swing a brush didn’t guarantee success as a painter – far from it. He had to learn to supervise painters, keep books and records, and sell jobs before his business was consistently profitable. Over the last 20 years Bill McElroy mastered the art of paint contracting. He’s learned the tricks of the trade – how to do professional-quality work in the shortest possible time. He’s handles every type of work, applied every type of coating, and kept notes on his work and the manufacturers and master painters. In this book he’s recorded the wisdom collected in his career as a paint contractor.

Now operating in Southern California, Mr. McElroy’s paint and construction company specializes in shopping centers and larger homes in the Malibu area. A recognized expert in the field, he is a consultant to a number of California corporations. His articles about how color affects perception have appeared in several trade journals.