Maximizing Painting Projects

By Jennifer Burroughs

Facility managers are responsible for the everyday upkeep of the interior and exterior of buildings. They often have to wear many hats in their jobs and are expected to maintain the appearance of a facility, while ensuring it provides a suitable working environment for occupants. It’s easy to imagine that no two days look the same for these professionals. And each organization may have its own requirements, or distinct occupancy concerns. As such, facility managers have numerous and varying requirements for the commercial painting jobs they commission. In any case, there are common criteria that maintenance professionals should be considering to help make painting projects a lasting success.

commercial paintingApproaching The Project

First, it’s important to assess the scope of the project to determine resources needed.

Facility painting projects can range from small touch-ups and maintenance to a full interior or exterior repaint. The former is typically completed by a facility’s internal team, while the latter may often require additional outside help from a painting contractor.

The next step is to take measure of the overall environment of the area being painted. Is it a high-traffic area like a hallway or kitchen, or a less-trafficked area like a conference room? How is this space used and what is the level of abuse on painted surfaces? Also, will the area be closed off to occupants during the actual painting?

The answers to these questions and more help to determine the appropriate level of surface preparation needed as well as assure proper product selection.

From ease of maintenance to a great appearance and a long-lasting, durable finish, there are various considerations facility professionals must keep in mind to achieve desired painting results. Protecting the health and safety for both painters and occupants is also an important factor.

Surface Preparation
Proper surface preparation is the most critical step to ensuring a successful painting project that maintains a long lasting, desirable finish over time. Parameters such as the current condition of the surface, size, and use of the area being painted can drastically affect the steps involved in proper surface preparation, as well as product selection for desired results.

commercial paintingProduct Performance
Another key consideration for facility painting projects is product performance. Choosing a high-quality, premium paint product can help to ensure the job is done right the first time and upholds its original integrity. While premium offerings may require more of an upfront cost investment, these help to minimize the hassle of continuous maintenance burdens and labor costs over time.

Key product features that provide optimal application and finish include good washability (for cleaning), stain blocking (for application over stained or marked up areas), low volatile organic compound (VOC)/low odor (for painting in occupied spaces) and quick dry (for reducing overall downtime of a space).

For example, there is a low-VOC formula product on the market that is dry to the touch in 15 to 20 minutes and offers excellent adhesion and outstanding early block resistance for increased productivity, making it ideal for several maintenance applications.

It is also important to hire a trusted applicator for the job. Selecting a universal product that can easily be applied by junior-level and experienced paint professionals alike helps to ensure proper application and reduced job time. Paints that offer spatter-free application and good dry hide are candidates here.

Understanding that color directly affects mood, colors chosen are most effective when suitable for the functionality and use of the environment. For instance, in high-traffic areas like hallways, select more neutral colors that are easier to maintain over time. While bright colors can serve as a nice accent for entryways, lobbies, or conference rooms, these may need to be touched up or repainted more often when subject to heavy abuse.

Health and Safety
Maintaining indoor air quality is crucial for projects that take place during operating hours and/or in occupied areas. Seek out low-VOC, low-odor products, which allow maintenance professionals to paint in occupied spaces with little disruption to everyday activities.

GREENGUARD-certified products can provide an additional level of air quality protection during and after painting.

All of these factors and more should be carefully considered when tackling a new facility painting project.

J_Burroughs_PPGBurroughs is a senior product manager for PPG Architectural Coatings. She has been with PPG for 11 years, serving in various roles including product management, and technical service. Additionally, she has been in the paint industry for 20 years, gaining her initial experience by working as a painting contractor with her father from a young age. Burroughs is a graduate of Trine University in Angola, IN, earning a Bachelor of Science with dual majors in Chemistry and Environmental Science, as well as an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.