It seems that even professionals can have a bad day painting. Over time we have received various funny decorating stories and handy tips from trade painters, so we have gathered together a selection for you. Please note that these tips have not been tested by Resene and are included below as supplied to us.
We hope you enjoy these stories and tips and if you have a funny decorating story of your own to share or a handy tip we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny decorating story or submit your handy decorating tip.
Thank you to all those who have shared their funny tales and handy tips.
Always make sure your ladder is set right before you climb…
Using my Resene paint tray, putting two litres of Resene waterbased paint in, fitting in as much as it would take, I climbed up my ladder unfolded but not clicking on the clip for safety. I climbed up with my paint tray putting the tray on the roof against the gutter. The ladder folded in half… I ended up hanging onto the gutter, with all two litres of paint running over my head down my back and front and in between my overalls and bare skin as it was a hot day. I couldn’t let go of the gutter as I could feel my skinned legs between the rungs of the ladder and knew they’d get broken if I fell. I had to yell out to the builders who were laughing to get me down.
From: Beachgrove Partnership
Five tips from felow decorators
I always carry a pump bottle full of water and an old bit of towel because on a couple of occasions a blob of waterbased paint has missed my dropsheet and hit the carpet. Straight on with loads of the old aqua and blot with my towel and it’s gone!
From: First Impressions
Punch holes in colour charts in the middle of colour. This makes
it easier to colour match.
From: Absolute Decorator
Also to help you with this, on many of our colour palettes and charts we are now bleeding the colour chip to the edge to make matching easier, and don’t forget most Resene colour charts are printed using Resene SpaceCote, so it's real paint and a better match than printer ink.
With a low tack tape, mask up the top and one side edge of a metal plastering trowel (or wide knife). Using the handle of the trowel hold taped edges tight against the timber sash and paint away, moving it along the frame as you go. Occasionally wipe any excess off the tape on the trowel and once you’ve finished, remove the tape completely and your trowel is as good as new!
This tip was passed onto me by a painter from Europe and is a real time saver, plus you no longer have to worry about any peeling when you remove masking tape from glass as the paint isn’t drying against the tape.
A perfect, straight line every time.
From: HC Painting & Deco Plus
Tip to help avoid paint going off when the container is only half
full: “Fill up a container with water – e.g. a jam jar or a plastic
container with a screw top lid – and put it in the paint container to
raise the level of paint and reduce the amount of air in the container.
This helps to prevent the paint from going off. It works for me! Try it!
From: Building and Construction Specialists
Another option is to place some clear cling wrap on top of the waterborne paint to prevent skinning.
So simple, when pouring paint from a container pour away
from the label side so as not to obscure the colour code etc for
reference in the future. Nothing worse than trying to scrape off the old
paint to find out the particular details.
From: Ron Brewer Decorator
Try paying your wife – as a test
If you want to know just where you and your business stands, whether your workmen are working for you, or you are working for them, try giving your wife a definite sum each week throughout the year – say at least the equivalent of a journeyman’s wage. You must agree not toborrow any of it back or to permit her to spend any of ‘her’ money in, or for, the business.
If a master painter can do this and keep out of debt, he has put his feet on the first rung of success.
Try out this plan. If you find that you cannot pay both your wife and all your business expenses you will probably end up a bankrupt, UNLESS you do one or all of three things – raise prices, increase volumes or curtail expenses.
Reprinted with thanks to Master Painters NZ. First appeared in Painter and Decorator magazine – No 11, December 1958!
Less than lucky
We were waterblasting the roof of a newly clad plastic/nylon weatherboard house. Before we started we jammed a piece of plywood between the waterblaster exhaust and house, then halfway through the roof we ran out of water. We came down to find the ply had slipped and there was a half metre diameter hole in the side of the house – oops! Same job, removed an ensuite slider (plywood veneer) and lent it against porch wall. During the afternoon the wind blew it down straight through the mailbox sitting on the porch floor. We couldn’t wait to leave the job before the third accident happened!
My parents were overseas and I decided to paint the eaves and soffits of their house. The easel type ladder was used to get under the job and the oil based paint brushed on the edges prior to rolling the broad areas. I was using a 1 litre can of paint in one hand and paint brush in the other. One leg of the ladder suddenly pressed into the soft flower garden soil and I fell onto the soft garden and lawn. The can of oil based paint had an even softer landing on the side of my face. Paint poured over the side of my head, into my ear, into my hair, over my now closed eyes and mouth. I didn't want to open the closed orifices so headed off to the workshop like a blind man. I found rags and began the hour long clean up. Inevitably some paint and turps found its way into my eyes which stung. That was about 30 years ago and I'm still painting houses!
Painting windows on a 2 storey building using ladder brackets with plank in between. Being a green apprentice I didn’t quite have the chains on the ladder brackets tight or straightened out. I stood on the plank with a pot of paint beside me then the chain adjusted, down we went, pot of paint first to take the plunge, me following close behind. Paint hit the ground and decided to come back up – I didn’t want to make a mess so I caught it all – all over my face, the works. Thank goodness for overalls but the roses and other plants didn’t look good!
Patience wins... in the end
When you’re stripping wallpaper it’s amazing what you can find underneath… normally it’s more and more wallpaper, if you’re lucky some of the history of the home reveals itself, but sometimes you might find something a little more unusual as Avi tells us: I was wallpapering a new extension several years ago when I pulled a far-sighted prank. On the base wall I wrote in red marker “I’M WATCHING YOU” before wallpapering over the area. I completely forgot about this over the years until a couple of months ago, when I got someone to come in and paint that room for me.
Naturally he spent the morning taking down the wallpaper. He wanted to stop for a cuppa about three-quarters of the way through and I agreed – the guy was as pale as a sheet. He looked like he’d seen a ghost and it suddenly clicked.
Remembering my hidden
message, I decided to keep the
joke going. Nervously trying
to make conversation, the
guy asked why we’d decided
to redecorate the room.
“We thought it was time
for a change” I answered.
“We had someone renting
it out but one day he just
Thanks to Avi
Stick to what you know best
Sometimes when you master one job, it can be tempting to tackle another. Sometimes it pays to resist that temptation as Kerrie’s story demonstrates… “My mere male DIY husband decided he could save us a bucket load of money by tiling our bathroom himself. He wanted to take care of the whole process himself, and being a painter decorator he thought he would have it all under control. We did the sensible thing and got a plumber in to install the new hand basin and toilet and then went to work on the walls.
The GIB® needed replacing before the tiling could be done and so with great gusto out came the sledgehammer and voilà the GIB® was gone. Now this was when the fun started. New GIB® was installed, great I said, looks like you have done an awesome job. GIB® tape on, sealer applied, couple of days later, now we can start tiling. We had purchased enough tiles to do the job and have about 30 left over to cover for breakages.
About 3 hours into the job hubby calls me in and says I don’t think we have bought enough tiles. Looking at the bottom of the bath I could understand why – there was a mosaic about 2 inches deep in the bottom of the bath and he says to me “By the way I can’t find some of my tools, I think the kids have taken them”.
So I dashed off to the store to buy more tiles (and this would not be the last time) while he stayed to search for his tools. I got back to the kids looking rather upset at the fact that Dad had accused them of stealing his tools and that he did not find it funny. It took about another half hour for the penny to drop.
The tools were now safely enclosed in the wall that he had installed the plasterboard over – he had sat them on the framing for safe keeping. He had to bash a hole in the inside wall of the wardrobe in the spare room to get them out and that hole is still there to this day as a constant reminder of what not to do with your tools.”
And the moral of the story? Stick to your day job!
Painting the hard way
With the cold starts over winter, it can be tempting to either stay in bed or just stay snuggled up in a dressing gown. Still as we all know, when it comes to painting, most shortcuts end up creating more work than they save, as one of our Resene staff found out the hard way… “Never decide to paint a room while you are still in your dressing gown and slippers as I once did. One morning I got up and decided my bedroom was ready for the second topcoat. Not wanting to get dressed right then I decided to paint in my PJs. Up the ladder I go and start painting. As I went to move along the wall my slipper slipped off. As I was lying on the floor with paint all over me I realised I had tried to grab the wall on my way down and across the wall were my fingermarks going from the top in an arch all the way to the bottom. Lesson learnt. I got dressed and finished the job.”
Never a dull moment
You don’t need to join the police to have interesting work stories, all you need to do is become a painter… “At the time of these things happening they weren’t funny but looking back at them now… see what you think! Like the time I was mixing up some wallpaper paste and left it outside near a field, only to find it was empty when I returned half an hour later… a horse had eaten it. Or the time I was rolling a ceiling when a cat shot out from nowhere straight through the paint tray and ran round the house leaving white pawprints everywhere or the time a co-worker threw half a cup of coffee out the van window after smoko and soaked a motorcycle cop who was riding past at the same time. Or the time when we thought we had tied the wallpaper to the roof rack, only to find it wasn’t when we stopped at a red light and it shot off and landed on the boot of the car in front or the time we had a painter help us for a while only to catch him thinning the paint with lemonade…!! Top tip – sometimes stay in bed in the morning.”
Thanks to the Stone brothers
Painting can be a serious task and sometimes it pays to lighten the mood a little – just make sure that the target of the joke has a good sense of humour first…
”At one of the flats we were painting there was always a lot of young people coming and going – all day. The occupiers were students, not young students, but mature students. The occupier always refused to let us get to the rear of the building through his flat.
However one sunny day I was up the ladder painting the window sashes on his flat. Loud music was playing and a bit of a party was going on inside.
I knocked on his window and as he looked at me I yelled “the cops are here, the cops are here”.
Well the partygoers ran in all directions, the toilets flushed and noises of panic came through the glass. Five minutes later I knocked on the windows and told the occupier – “just joking!”
The verbal abuse had me laughing my head off as I jumped down the ladder to be with my painting partner who was also laughing loudly.”
Coverage more or less
“A couple of years ago while painting a large block of flats – to get to the door of the property we had to go through one of the flats. We knocked on the door and the female occupier opened the door – ahh – no top on – aghast we told her we needed to go through to the rear. She led us through.
The following morning knock knock – I nearly fell over – the lady appeared totally nude; still in shock we went through to the rear of the dwelling.
Meanwhile the owner had asked me to paint a couple of rooms inside. Gladly I undercoated the bedroom trying not to look anywhere but at the wall.
The next day she answered the door fully clothed and went off for the morning. I worked outside for a while and then went inside to topcoat the room. As I was getting my paints ready the lady returned, stripped naked, and went about her house as if I was not there. Uncomfortably I topcoated the room.
That evening the owner phoned me and asked if I had been drinking – “no why?” “You painted the room three different colours!” I assure you I was a gentleman at all times.”
Short term memory
It’s amazing how fast people forget things, which is why it always pays to block off the area you are painting in to avoid others causing mishaps as Dale Gilmore found out…
“I was about halfway down a service driveway at the back of several shops signwriting a wall, about three or four metres off the ground, on a plank supported by ladder brackets on my split extension ladder.
The driveway was asphalted and wide enough to get a car between my ladders and the tall wooden fence on the opposite side. At the far end of the drive was a dairy and the owner had carefully driven past me several times while I was up on my plank.
This particular time the dairy owner got into his car and started to back down the driveway as he had on earlier occasions. Hearing his car start I looked down and then watched in disbelief as he backed out, making a beeline for the nearest of my ladders. He had obviously forgotten I was there. With the realisation he was going to hit me I started yelling. He didn’t hear me. I yelled louder. He was oblivious. He got closer, I yelled louder. He got closer still, I yelled louder still. His rear bumper nudged and started shifting my ladder. The yelling became desperate screams. The ladder was being pushed over and one end of the plank started descending into a decided downhill drop. I started looking for a soft landing place to aim for when it became necessary to abandon the plank. The car roof, appearing a long way below in my heightened state of terror, looked the best option rather than the painfully hard looking asphalt. The thought flashed through my mind ‘it’s probably softer and will crumple when I hit it, it’s also closer’.
After what seemed a heart stopping eternity the driver heard my desperate screams and halted the car. The ladder had been pushed a foot or two out of alignment and was resting against his bumper, the plank was down quite a way at one end. I slowly inched my way back up the inclined plank to the second, still straight, ladder and gingerly climbed down as best as my shaking, jellied legs would allow. The completely oblivious, untouched by impending tragedy, driver emerged from his car with a cheerful, ‘sorry I forgot you were there’, just as I was still shakily clinging to the last rungs of the ladder. I assured him I was O.K. He got back in the car, went forward, then backed carefully around the ladders and took off for the street. After briefly pausing to reflect on the peculiarity of some people, and to settle down a little, I straightened my ladders and plank and slowly, carefully, climbed back up and started work again.
A while later, having regained my
confidence and carrying on with the job,
I heard a car speeding down the road
toward the driveway entrance. I looked
around because it sounded so obviously
fast and loud. I saw, you guessed it, my
dairy mate. He swung a wide arc into
the driveway, (going miles too fast), and
with an audible thump hit the kerb almost
bottoming the car and coming perilously
close to ripping his sump off. With a heart
lurching jolt of horror I realised the car was heading straight for me,
again! With what seemed a sudden, last minute realisation he saw my
ladders and swerved away. Unfortunately at the speed he was going he
over-corrected, shot across the drive and drove straight into the fence,
ripping the side of his front bumper off and coming to a sudden stop.
This time I could tell, he wasn’t cheerful. He got out his car, looked up
at me, said, ‘that was your fault’, picked up his piece of bumper and
disappeared down to his dairy. I don’t think I saw him again.’
Thanks to Dale
And just in case you thought you might get your family working for you over the holidays, you might want to read this story from MPL, Tauranga first… "My son was home on holidays and I had him working for me to pay a few debts etc. I dropped him off at a house at the Mount and showed him a bathroom downstairs which I had sealed the day before and he was to sand so I could topcoat it before the tiler arrived. I left him to it and went to another job. The house was in two stages; the upstairs bedrooms and two bathrooms were already completed.
I arrived back, the bathroom was all nicely sanded – well done I thought –
he was sitting down reading a magazine – and I asked him was he finished.
“Yes” he replied, “and I also did the two upstairs bathrooms as well”
Yes you guessed it, for some unknown reason he went
upstairs and sanded the nicely finished bathrooms.
He failed to notice the water in the shower or
the towels on the heated towel rack. I was
speechless to say the least…
I was halfway through recoating the upstairs
bathrooms when the owners arrived home…
luckily they saw the funny side of things…
Needless to say he finished with me the same day,
he is now doing very well as an electrical apprentice
and we hope he knows his red from green.
Thanks tp MPL
Watch that artwork
If you’re working in a house with expensive ornaments or artwork, then you’d best avoid the predicament Peter found himself in…
“We had a contract for painting a new double storied French Provencal concrete house. It was very elaborate with a very large foyer and the ceiling was at least 6-7 metres high. The owners had an artist paint a depiction of Michaelangelo’s painting of “The Finger of God”. It truly was stunning.
On the second floor landing above the foyer was a library full of shelving that had to be painted. I had to spray these shelves, so I set out to work with my spray gun machine. I turned the machine on and went to pick up the gun which was lying on the landing. As I picked it up I mistakenly pulled the trigger!! And yes the safety wasn’t on, and to make matters worse there was no tip in the holder!! So it shot out a stream of Resene Lustacryl right across the painting!!!
I went into a frenzied state of panic, and yelled out to my worker to grab some wet cloths. I had to wrap these around roller poles. As we attempted to wipe the paint off the artwork, it became smeared with off-white acrylic and the Finger of God was hidden behind clouds of paint.
At that moment the lady of the manor walked in as she was showing some friends around who particularly wanted to see this famous painting. I looked skyward and wished that somehow I could just disappear. We all looked at each other then up to the painting and all in the room were speechless.
In the end we managed to get this beautiful painting back to its former glory. The artist had coated it with a waterproof sealer, lucky for me! It was one of my closest calls yet.
N.B. What we learned from this is, always take extreme care, and check
tools or machinery prior to using.”
Thanks to Peter
When you are having a less than perfect day on the job, bear in mind Steve’s story. You might just decide your day isn’t so bad after all…
“Some time ago I employed Lindsay, a classic old tradesman who was meticulous in work habits, particularly pedantic in cleaning gear, even roller sleeves past their use by date that would be more cost effective to be replaced. Lindsay and I were working on a house under construction with many other tradies. Cleaning a solvent roller sleeve at our workstation, tins and gear neatly in a semi-circle, he cleaned it perfectly and left it soaking in clear solvent on top of a texture coating bucket.
Later on I arrived at the workstation and plonked myself down on said bucket. Somebody had taken off the sleeve but left 40ml of clear solvent in the lid. Well, as you know these buckets are low and requires one to almost straddle to sit for a decent sized bloke. Holy mackerel! Burning hot solvent up my tender areas, got me jumping, yelping, threatening revenge on Lindsay. Tearing off my overalls I ran outside to the only tap onsite. So there I was shorts around my ankles bending over spraying soothing water on my burning butt when the chippies and plumbers came around the corner for smoko. One of the chippies laughed so much he dropped his pie which only made the others laugh more! The embarrassment was too much so with wet rag on my butt for relief I jumped in the car stripping off my soaked t-shirt.
Driving home for a shower was quite a feat as it burnt to sit down on the seat. Arriving home I decided to make a dash for the slider but my little girl, who was playing inside, had locked the door. Covering my private parts with my hands I was bending down to her level telling her to unlock the door. To my relief she came to the door but I realised she was looking past me. With trepidation I turned round – my mate’s religious and straight laced wife had driven up behind – she was just sitting there at the wheel wide eyed mouth open staring at this naked man bending over with a white rag covering part of his butt.
So I guess the tip is, sometimes it’s better to just buy a new sleeve!”
Thanks to Steve
A prickly story
Just in case you thought moss and mould was something that could be ignored, this story from Don is a handy reminder of just how one little slip on mould can cause more trouble than you’d think. So next time you spot some moss or mould around about the place, tackle it quickly and easily with Resene Moss & Mould Killer or risk the consequences!
“My father and a number of other local farmers descended on the local rural community hall to give it a long overdue coat of paint. As we had one of the few high light front end loaders in the district he brought the old Farmall A along so the painting gang could reach the higher regions of the hall’s walls. Roy was duly lifted up the side of the south wall, which sported a bed of bracken and self-seeded blackberries below. The loader was lifted to its fullest extent with Roy in the bucket – paint and brush in hand. Unfortunately my father had not cleaned up the moss/mould off the surface of the bucket, which had remained parked out in the open most of winter. Roy slipped on the surface and to break his fall reached back with his free hand to steady himself on the back edge of the bucket. However he inadvertently tripped the tipping lever of the bucket which releases the pin enabling the contents of the bucket to be emptied! This resulted in Roy being dumped from some 4-5 metres into the bed of blackberries and bracken underneath. Not only this but Roy’s paint also ended up spilling all over his body and partially turning the Farmall A tractor’s loader (painted bright red) to a speckled white.
Roy struggled to his feet with paint
dripping from his hair complaining of
a bruised back where the back of the
loader bucket had caught him as he
headed into the blackberries. He
was also swearing rather profusely
from the pain and discomfort of
multiple blackberry vine prickles
now embedded in his legs, arms, back and rear end. My father’s initial
reaction of laughter was not well received by Roy but he recovered his
composure and went to Roy’s aid!”
Thanks to Don
Watch out below!
We are a commercial abseil company and I had two of my guys painting a 6 storey building in Newmarket. For one section the guys were using rollers so they had their large roller trays hanging off the sides of their bosun’s chairs. At the bottom of the face there was a glass canopy over the footpath, which the guys had to pass by. They did this by doing a little push out and then quickly descending past the canopy into their exclusion zone set up on the footpath. They had done this manoeuvre a few times throughout the day without a hitch.
They came to the last jump of the day, the first guy successfully did the jump and then stood to one side taking off his harness, the second guy jumped out... and found a fast spot on his rope!! He fell much quicker than anticipated, he flew past the canopy and plummeted downwards. He hit the ground before he could get his feet under him, causing him to land flat on his back... right on top of his roller tray!!! Limbs flailing and paint strewn everywhere, painting his back and the footpath a lovely Resene Double Spanish White!!
This was all in full view of his co-worker, passerbys and the whole intersection load of cars who had been sitting waiting for the lights! It took them a while to clean up the paint but apparently the pure slapstick comedy was worth it!!!!
Thanks to Chris Johnston of Off The Ledge
Think before you leap
I had a job that I will never forget 15 years ago and we still laugh about it today.
We had to paint an interior of a launch that was docked in a marina. We painted the whole interior in Resene Alkyd Gloss Enamel. On this particular day we packed up and decided to go home. We usually just jumped from the launch to the wharf, which was about a metre. My partner went first and made it as usual with no problems... But I decided to carry two paint pots of Resene Gloss Enamel half filled, one in each hand.
I jumped cautiously, but as I jumped the back of my foot clipped the rope that holds the boat, and I fell into the drink!! I can still clearly remember going down holding onto the pots of paint, thinking where the heck the bottom is! I ended up finally letting go of the pots that were dragging me down into a seemingly bottomless abyss!!
As I swam up to the surface I didn't give the paint a thought. As the pots filled up with water they floated to the surface causing a film on the top of the water that I had to eventually break through to get air! As I popped up through the paint slick my partner was in uncontrollable laughter as I was wearing bib and brace overalls and was white from head to toe.
Every orifice on my body had white paint in them, on them, around them - there wasn't an inch of unpainted flesh to be seen! There was a high pressure hose nearby thank goodness - when I was hosed down it got 85% off, the rest I left up to my wife to scrub off me. Bottle brushes had to come out. We managed to disperse the paint that was on the surface of the water with the high pressure hose.
What we learned from this, safety first, NEVER take shortcuts. And
always think before you do anything!
Thanks to Peter Ferris
The joys of paint
After 5 years painting in Sydney town it was time to return to NZ. The last chore of the departure was to rid myself of a small mountain of surplus paint residing in my rented apartment laundry. The obvious solution had to be my expat kiwi painting mate Mike. After settling on a suitable amount of locally brewed lager for parting with my assorted range of oil and waterbased paints we loaded Mike’s ute for the short trip to his place. Not sure if it was Mike showing off his new ute’s cornering capabilities or the summer heat but the first turn saw us with tail gate down depositing a total load of multicoloured product over several parked vehicles belonging to the local police station. I have to confess that afternoon proved to be one of the biggest learning curves in the removal of splattered paint off motor vehicles of my career. All under the watchful eye of New South Wales’ finest I might add. Oh for a Resene paint recycle centre!
Thanks to: Al Wilkinson
A number of years ago I was working for a painting firm which was owned by a Dutch gentleman. My workmate and I were discussing paint finishes while our Dutch boss was nearby. We talked about a certain roller sleeve which would leave an 'orange peel' texture on the wall. Some time later we heard our boss tell our other workmate who had just returned from an errand not to use this certain roller sleeve as we had discussed as it would leave a 'banana skin' texture!
Thanks to Adrian Greenwold of Excel Decorating
The only way to guarantee no bleed on a masking tape edge, regardless of tape type, is to cut the colour that you’re masking on the new colour side of the tape, allowing that colour to do the bleeding onto itself. Then follow with the new colour. It takes a little extra time, yes, but it is well worth it especially in critical areas like feature walls.
Thanks to Dave McLeod
Paint that bounces back
Brent Hare learnt the hard way that it pays to take care where you put your paint!
One Saturday a few months ago I decided to have a cleanup and take some rubbish to the tip. My son and I filled the work van up and off we went. It was all go when we got there, the truck was in the pit clearing all of the rubbish.
I backed up at a cleared area and we opened the back door of the van and started throwing the rubbish out into the pit. Along with the rubbish there was a can of oil based enamel that I had put aside but had forgotten to tell my son to leave in the van. Before I could say stop, I saw the can sailing through the air into the pit landing the right way up.
We both then turned around to get more rubbish out of the van when suddenly we heard a bang and felt a shower of spray come over us. As I looked over my shoulder I saw that a truck had run over the paint can and popped the lid off causing an explosion of paint spray that just happened to land all over us and gave the van a new paint job. The unfortunate thing is that I had just had the van signwritten three weeks earlier.
Thanks to: Brent Hare
We were redecorating a school's smoko room and left our labourer to seal up some stains on the ceiling. All we had in the van was Resene's Smooth Surface Sealer. Meanwhile our labourer who holds his pot under his armpit with his arm wrapped around it instead of holding the handle, slipped off his steps and of course the paint ended up covering his face, hair and cupboard doors. Our foreman turns up to find a VERY RED faced worker who had tried to clean a meths based product off his face with TURPS!
Thanks to Sharon Campbell of Holmes Decorating
First up, the tip:
To keep your hands clean delegate the work to someone else!
And now for the story - this one definitely brought a smile!
While driving along the road miles from anywhere my van so full I had to have the back doors open to accommodate my ladders etc a car came up from behind and proceeded to flash his lights. Thinking he was in need of something I pulled over to the side of the road. He driver got out of his car and came to me with an unusual request for someone so far from anywhere.
"Have you any clean rags and turps in the van?" he asked. I replied that I had. "Come and look at my car," he said. A tin of blue paint had fallen out the back of my van and splashed over the front of his car.
He was smiling as we proceeded to clean the grill lights, etc. I said
he was very good about the misadventure. "Oh you won't believe
it" he said "but it happened to me last week, I'm a painter
too." We had a laugh together and he went his way. I don't think
I even asked him his name. Goodness knows what people thought as they
drove by and saw two people polishing a car on the side of the road
miles from anywhere.
Thanks to John Holt of Onehunga who shared both a tip and a story with us
Watch where you put that pot
Don’t leave your pot of paint on top of steps. An employee of mine left his pot of paint on top of his steps to talk to me. He lent on the steps, tipping the pot over, running paint down the treads, pouring over his hair and down his face. He was covered in paint. Time and time again I had told him not to leave his pot on top of steps etc. A lesson learnt and I never laughed so much, he couldn’t see the humour…
Thanks to Dave Thomasen
Apply a layer of varnish over old marks (i.e. pencil, pen, pen marker, paint) on wood, then, while it is wet, sand it off and you'll find the marks come off too.
Thanks to Emere Bell of Napier
Never work with animals
When building our own house, we were up to painting our first wall with undercoat. At the time we had a young Kunekune pig who lived inside with us as a pet.
I had set up my work area and had popped up the ladder to start cutting in when I heard our pig come into the room. I looked down to say hello to her when I heard her grunting, only to realise I had forgotten to put the lid on my paint! But before I could get down the ladder, the pig stuffed her snout into the paint can and of course lifted her head up at the same time!
She squealed as the paint tin refused to come off and she ran around the room backwards in a panic!
Paint was running out of the can all over the floor. By this time I had got down and was trying to help her but the more I tried to get her to stop the more she ran and as she was backtracking around she was also running through the paint and spreading that around with footprints too! Needless to say the place was a bit of a mess and no painting was done that day – only the cleaning of one distraught pig and our floor!
Thanks to John Schischka
TimberLock to the rescue
Instead of scraping back then sanding up your paintwork then TimberLocking it… Just scrape it back then Resene TimberLock. This saves the edges lifting after you sand and having to re-sand the edges. You sand the following day then do spot priming. As Resene TimberLock absorbs into the timber there’s no problem in sanding it off. Otherwise if you sand too much then you may need new windows.
Thanks to Shane Murphy
I was painting a friend’s roof (alone), when halfway through my ladder was knocked over. Just after this had happened, the weather decided to turn bad, so I was unable to continue. I was stuck on the roof with my airless unit pumping away hard out on the ground. My only way down was to take a flying leap to a bank at the back of the house, which was a four metre leap. I decided against this as I didn’t like the thought of a broken leg as the landing spot was rather rough. So I yelled for help but that was hopeless. What do I do now?!! Bang! My airless blew a hose right at the pump. Paint went anywhere, all over the drive, all the house... so I did a flying leap and landed safe and sound. What a day!
Thanks to Charlie Lawry of Blast It
I have a funny story about the first time I tried to use an airless sprayer… I call it Airless Novice… I was trying to grease up the mother in law and told her I would paint her house. Seeing the old villa was white, the windows were white, it went up to a white spouting and down to lawn, I figured I would use an airless sprayer. My father had bought one, done his roof and then my brother had done his, both were a success. I set it all up and thought I would start around the corner on the house on two concrete Greek urn planters as a practice. After a couple of minutes of no paint coming, with me twiddling the knobs, I went back around the corner to check the machine. There was a horrific sight.
The hose had burst sending the paint 40 feet straight into the air. It was bouncing pretty hard onto the eaves of the house as well. By the time I got there it was rolling down the side of the house about 500mm wide like lava.
No sooner had I turned it off and thought ”How am I going to fix this?” that I realised that the wind had also taken the paint onto the next door neighbour’s house.
Gosh! There were about a 100 drips on the house next door drying fast in the sun. But these weren’t just drips they were about 500mm long and some traversed four weatherboards. I chucked the ladder over the fence grabbed the wet cloth and over the next hour it took to get it off I thought to myself “This could have been much worse”. In the end it looked like I had never been there.
This was unfortunately not the case with the mother in law’s house however. By the time I got back the paint on the wall had dried significantly. Great big sagging festoons of paint adorned the wall that couldn’t be budged with scraping. Luckily there were no windows and I figured well at least that bit was well protected. I got there in the end and as far as I know she has never ever noticed the 3D relief sculpture of Niagara Falls down the far side of her house.
This is especially for clients who are property or rental investors. To save files and records and hassles of colour matching, do all interior walls with one colour, such as Resene Pearl Lusta. This is for all your rental properties. Ceilings white and doors possibly one colour. Touch-ups between tenants will be so much easier.
Thanks to Winsome Lam
Thirty years ago my father was working for me as a painter. We were painting a pensioner’s flat. The lady was about 90 years old with no teeth. After completing painting of the lady’s bedroom the lady sat on the bed. She put her hands on my hips and said “I could eat you”. My reply was “I’ll be back in a minute”. I went to the next bedroom and said to my father “Dad can you put the old girl’s lampshade and bulb back please” trying not to laugh. Dad went into the room, achieved this and made no comment. You can trust a registered Master Painter!
Thanks to Michael Oldham of Décor Decorating Contractors
Alan’s rule number one when painting: Do NOT have a coughing fit.
This rule particularly applies when you are standing beside a full paint tray while precariously balanced on scaffolding on a first floor deck with your van parked below – with both doors open. Full paint removal from the scaffolding, deck, van roof, van interior and the concrete drive on both sides of the van… as the paint flies in one door and out the other… just can’t be done.
Thanks to Heather
I look forward to purchasing from our Resene shop and leaving with a black plastic bag or two. These bags are really good for putting the roller into overnight or two! They keep the paint well and truly wet on the sleeve and it’s so easy the next morning to just take the roller out of the bag and keep on rolling on. When we can we put the roller into an old supermarket bag first – this helps to make the black bag last longer. The quality of the bags is exceptional and much appreciated by not only us but Resene customers overall.
Thanks to Peter Plummer
Vary your sheens
Using the same colour but changing from a low sheen to a higher sheen can enhance the look of the room. We do it to wide cornices around rooms and it can really make a nice subtle difference.
Thanks to Peter Plummer
When I was still an apprentice my boss got me to paint some renovations on a house that was owned by our builder. I had to spray out a new pantry room in the kitchen. This was located on the fourth floor of his beachfront mansion. When I finished spraying I turned off the spray gun and went to turn the bypass switch. Suddenly an explosion of paint went streaming across the kitchen. This was due to dried paint on the end of the release hose. It covered the cabinets, the granite bench and their brand new $5000 black fridge, the size of a small car.
He had an office downstairs with five staff that have their morning tea at 10am on the fourth floor. It was now 9.50am so I only had 10 minutes to clean up. I gathered all their tea towels using them to mop up the paint. When they were used I got the towels from the bathroom.
With my heart racing I knew any minute now the boss with all his staff would bust me. Sprinting down the stairs I threw the tea towels and towels into the washing machine in the garage. Just as I started to walk upstairs the office door opened and everybody followed me upstairs, luckily their meeting ran overtime. As I got to the kitchen I quickly scanned the area for any sign of the mishap – to my relief it was spotless… until I walked past the fridge and noticed where I cleaned with Scotchbrite pads that there were dull patches on the glossy surface of the fridge. So I strategically slid some fridge magnets around and placed a couple of post it notes over the patches until everyone left. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and drying the towels, as well as lightly buffing the entire fridge with the Scotchbrite pad to blend in the dull patches and get an even finish over the surface. From then on I have never used the bypass switch on my spray machines.
My tip is: I release the pressure from my hand piece.
Thanks to Rick of Glasskote Decorations
On a very hot day using 2 litres of acrylic on weatherboards drop two ice cubes into your pot and you will find the paint will run real smooth through the cooling. It truly works.
Thanks to Peter of PJ Painters
Sometimes even the simplest of instructions can get lost in translation...
During the crash of the nineties I worked for a while with a painter who wanted me to paint a state house made of stucco and I said ‘make sure you give me the specifications of the job so there are no mistakes or misunderstandings’. Ok he said and wrote on one of the paint bucket lids ‘box tens’. Well that’s what I did. Mixed them altogether like he said. But how was I to know that the red was for the roof and the white for the walls? Anyway I thought the old lady liked the pink on her walls after all that.
Thanks to Max Tollenaar of Paint the Town
Back in the old days
One of our staff had a request from a customer for a durable limewash. As they are often asked fairly diverse questions they try to keep up to date with new Resene products as well as having a library of books – old and new – to refer to. In this particular case the customer was shown Resene Colorwood Whitewash and after enquiring about the cost he commented paint was much more expensive than when he was younger and that he ‘used to help my father who was a painter and we made our own paint’.
The Resene staff member asked the gentleman if he could wait a minute and copied a recipe from one of the reference books in case he wanted to make his own durable whitewash…
For one barrel of wash, slake ½ bushel of white lime, then add 10lb umber, 1lb of Venetian Red, 1/4lb lamp black, mix well together, add three pecks hydraulic cement, and fill barrel with water. Let it stand 12 hours before using, and stir frequently while putting it on. This is not white, but a light stone colour, without the unpleasant glare of white. The colour may be changed by adding more or less of the colours named or other colours. It can be improved by adding a strong solution of sulphate of magnesia. It covers well, needing only one coat, and is superior to anything known excepting oil paint.
From Recipes for the Colour, Paint, Varnish, Oil, Soap and Drysaltery Trades.
Compiled by an Analytical Chemist.
Published by the Aberdeen University Press Ltd – 1902.
They both had a chuckle, he admitted that ‘times have changed’ and he bought the Resene Colorwood Whitewash and wished our staff member a Happy Christmas! It’s amazing just how much paint has advanced in just a century.
Some years ago my oldest son and I were doing a paperhanging job. Winding up at the end of the day we asked the client if we could leave our workgear in her laundry. The woman agreed. So we were back early the next day. We set up and started working everything was going to plan. However about 11.30am that morning the client’s mother came out of the laundry with a brazen look on her face. Standing at the door she motioned us over to look inside the washing machine. To our shock and horror the poor woman had inadvertently picked up the wrong bag, which she thought was washing powder. This resulted in a bag of powdered glue being used. To this day we will never forget the sight of seeing a washing machine full of clothes smothered in a thick gluey substance. The look on that woman’s face was one of disbelief plus on ours also. At the end of the day, it pays all of us to read the labels first!
Thanks to Charlie Waterhouse
A few years ago I left one of my men on a job wallpapering. When I arrived back later in the day he complained that he could not get the paper to hang straight and that the plumb bob must be faulty!
Thanks to Ged Moore
How long do you spend cleaning out roller gear trays and pots? How can you store rollers soaked in acrylic paint for days without cleaning them? Easy! Use supermarket grocery bags to line your roller trays and paint pots. Tape the handles of the bag to the underside of the pot as normal. Empty remainder of paint at the end of the painting to stock pot and toss the bag. Less paint in waterways, no mess, 30 seconds for the can. Same for the tray. As for the roller, store it in another bag, no air, nothing dries, clean it when you are ready. Save yourself a heap of time and increase your productivity.Fbehind
Thanks to Greg Fulton
A few years back when I hadn't long been signwriting I was given a job signing on a hamburger shop.
On arriving I got out my gear and did the big hard job first - hamburgers on the front shop window. I then proceeded to lay out and sign the menu and pricing board and then quickly in fast casual script completed the job.
That Friday night on the way back from a night out, I thought I'd shout
my mates a feed, so proceeded to the Hamburger shop to show off the
afternoon's work. The shop manager was very friendly but before making
our purchases kindly asked me to look at the price board. A customer
had pointed out a spelling mistake - HAMBUGERS. You did a great job
my friends still say but you need to learn how to spell!
Thanks to Peter Faithful of Greymouth
I recently served a lady who was after a 4L of Spanish White in semi-gloss acrylic. I proceeded to tint up some Sonyx 101 to Spanish White and labelled it as normal, writing the colour name, shop name and my name - MATT. Twenty minutes later I received a very abusive phone call from a lady accusing me of supplying her with flat paint rather than semi-gloss as she had asked. I replied 'No I mixed up a 4L of Spanish White in semi-gloss acrylic'. By this stage the lady was furious because not only had I supplied her with the incorrect paint but I was also accusing her of being stupid. She quickly replied 'Excuse me, but on the label it says 'Spanish White and underneath that it says MATT'.
I quietly giggled and promptly explained to her that MATT was actually
my name and not the sheen level of the paint. She quickly apologised,
had a bit of a giggle herself and apologised again.
Thanks to Matt of Resene
It pays to stay awake on the job as this story from one of our Wellington customers shows…
A few years ago I was painting a house in the Makara Valley and I was also at Vic Uni trying to learn other stuff. A penniless student approached me about a job, so I checked him out and on his first day told him what I wanted him to do, gave him the linbide scraper, bit of sandpaper, told him where the boghouse was and left him to it. Now it was about 8am when we started and about 9.30am the owner came out with a big smile and asked me to follow him. He showed me a very tired student lying on the scaffolding planks out to it and said as soon as I had disappeared this guy had laid down and gone to sleep.
The planks were directly over some big thick plants and I was all for giving the planks a shove when the householder took me onto the roof where he had a bucket of water he had prepared earlier. The student didn’t really have a chance. He was a wet lad. Up on the roof we had a good laugh. As for the student he went and hung out his stuff and later in the day said he had had enough and would I take him home and he also wanted to be paid. That was the second laugh of the day – I gave him $20 and told him to go away quickly before I changed my mind. It was $20 well spent to see the back of him.
Use a soft brush end on a telescopic roller pole for cleaning houses. Good for smaller gaps too.
Thanks to Leigh Utton
Clean up time
When clean up time rolls around… instead of washing out my water based brushes and rollers at a client’s house I wrap the used tool in a recycled shopping bag and place in a clean lidded 10L bucket. This stops the gear from drying out and makes it safe for transport home at the end of the working day.
At home I remove the gear and place it in my washtub. When doing the daily load of laundry I am then able to give the brushes and roller sleeves a really good clean in the grey water coming from the washing machine. It works a treat and the detergent helps maintain the softness of the brush bristles and the nap of the roller sleeve. A final rinse in clean water and you have pristine gear once again. I try to use collected rainwater for the final rinse.
And then for the dropcloths… when it’s raining I spread out the soiled cloths on clean concrete and give them a squirt of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. Then with a hard bristle broom I give them a sound scrub. For a rinse they’re put on a washing line to wash off the scum and residue detergent in the rain and then they eventually dry when the sun comes out.
Thanks to Ken Sands
Our client was pretty fussy and liked everything just so - she went to Oz for a holiday and Jimmy and I had to paint her bedroom. Right in the middle of painting the ceiling with Alkyd Flat enamel the plank broke and we all fell in a heap on the shagpile - the paint went everywhere.
“What the bleeding heck shall we do?” (or words to that effect).
Well this is what we did. Firstly we mopped up and scraped (with a spade) and scrubbed almost everything and were left with a great big whitish stain in the middle of the green carpet. Jimmy’s brain had a flash of genius and we mixed about 10L of turps with a can of Alkyd Flat and painted the whole carpet – man alive the smell was incredible.
Well nothing happened on madam’s return, the cheque arrived in the mail and around six months later I met the woman in the street - she said “You know Peter, I always knew you people did the best jobs - the paint you used in the bedroom was so good I can still smell it”.
Thanks to Peter Edmonds
Beware where you put your ladder
Myself and Stephen were the two apprentices. Stephen was the senior. We were instructed to paint a storage room of a local school. The height was around 4metres high. There was an open manhole on the floor. We positioned our ladder in front of the manhole and Stephen went up with the paint pot. I toed the ladder and Stephen asked me to get some putty for the scotia nail holes. I went out of the room to get the putty, when I returned there was no sign of Stephen. I looked down and saw Stephen had stepped off the ladder and into the manhole. He had one leg in the hole and one leg out. We laughed like crazy as Stephen was ok.
Thanks to Jamie
Here’s a handy way to store working brushes/pots on the job. I just plop the brush/pot into an old empty 10L pail and put the lid on. With acrylics you can take it out and carry on painting the next day – won’t dry out or skin as long as the 10L lid is on properly. It pays to label what’s in what bucket as you end up with quite a few of them. Doesn’t work with alkyds though.
Thanks to Martin of Martin Orme Painting
Over the years I have had an intermittent but ongoing contract painting a local church and its out-buildings. My usual attire is paint splattered Resene overalls, shirt and cap. This is how the local parishioners usually see me dressed on the occasions that I am invited to share their yummy morning teas they prepare (all home baked of course) for the daily organised church activities. Over the years my referral network has blossomed thanks to these lovely people.
On one occasion I was painting a new hospitality room. This room was to be named for a parishioner who had passed on and an event was to be held to name and dedicate it. One of the ladies suggested that my wife and I might like to attend the official opening.
The day duly arrived and at the entrance was an official ‘meet and greet party’. There were a lot of people who my wife had not met before so I was busy doing the introductions when the lady, who had invited me, came over to be introduced to my wife. After I had introduced them to each other, the woman made the comment to my wife “I did not recognised your husband with his clothes on”.
Did that get the tongues wagging???... and YES my wife is now talking to me again. Perhaps that shows that people will recognise tradesmen in Resene uniform before civvy street fashion any day!
Thanks to Errol, Home Improvement Contractor
Ladder on wheels
Going back some years, Arie Preesman of Whangarei tells us this story of his time in a small village in the Netherlands in the late 60s. “Life was pretty laid back, you didn’t lock your doors and the sole village policeman rode his bike keeping an eye on everything.
Those were my apprentice years. The painting firm I was working for didn’t have a car. Everything got done on pushbikes. We were doing a job at a farmhouse and a big farm barn outside the village where we needed our very long and heavy 20 foot extension ladder.
My boss got a bright idea of how to get the ladder to the job. He said ‘we put our arms through the rungs on the ladder. I hold the front and you hold the back’.
So off we went on our bikes down the street. My shoulder was already sore and we still had about 5 kms to go. Here we come sailing around a corner and there was the village cop, watching the traffic. We needed both our hands on the handlebars to keep ourselves upright and straight. The cop saw us coming and yelled out to my boss ‘eh, can’t you indicate?’.
My boss yelled back ‘yeah yeah I’ll do that when I come back’ and carried on, the village cop shaking his head after him.
Imagine that same scene today and the chaos that you could create.
This incident happened to me when I worked in the UK. I was going to quote for a job - as usual I was smartly dressed and had my folder under my arm. I went to the address, a baker’s shop, and asked for the client. The assistant called through to someone in the backroom who shouted back ‘oh he’s upstairs’. I was duly ushered through the shop and up the stairs I went into a room where an old man lay waiting for the District Nurse to give him a bed bath! What an embarrassment for me. I don’t think he noticed. I am a lady painter/decorator who was mistaken for the District Nurse. P.S. I never did send them a quote!
Thanks to Sara
Quick door painting
I paint the majority of doors hanging on the hinges. I use a piece of flooring vinyl 500cm x 1100mm long. It slides under the door easy, over carpet or hard flooring. The vinyl does not move, stay flats and you can roll or brush the bottoms of the doors easily, then once done either leave the vinyl flat in the van or roll it up ready for the next project.
Thanks to Wayne MacDonald
Handy time saver
When painting window sashes, rather than taping around the timber frame try this instead… with a low tack tape, mask up the top and one side edge of a metal plastering trowel (or wide knife). Using the handle of the trowel, hold the taped edges tight against the timber sash and paint away, moving it along the frame as you go. Occasionally wipe any excess off the tape on the trowel and once you’ve finished, remove the tape completely and your trowel is as good as new! This tip was passed onto me by a painter from Europe and is a real time saver, plus you no longer have to worry about any peeling when you remove masking tape from glass as the paint isn’t drying against the tape. A perfect, straight line every time.
Thanks to Hayden Cronick
I was asked to quote on an interior job. When I arrived I found it had scrim on the walls so I called the client to advise him to re-GIB®. He was hoping I could hang new paper over the baggy paper and scrim. I told him that it could be possible to hang the new paper with a staple gun but not by me. I got the job after the new GIB® went up.
Tip: what looks like the cheap option is often false economy.
Thanks to R Williams of Prime Decorating
Take a roof that needed coating in 600L of Resene Silvalusta, then throw in one nesting bird to make the project extra challenging.
When the contractors (Laloli) on this job went to paint the roof they found a bird nest in the corner. Keen to get the job done without upsetting the wildlife, one of the contractors held a waterblaster (not turned on!) pointed at the bird, while the nest was placed in a Resene box so the roof underneath could be cleaned. They cleaned the roof, then put the nest back… then had to repeat the process when it came to painting – no mean feat when you consider the size of the bird.
The roof is now clean and painted and the bird is back on its nest, albeit in an environmentally friendly Resene cardboard box!
Little Master Painter vs Big Master Painter
Like a typical day, I get out of bed, have breaky, hop in the car and off to work I go, but this day was like no other I have ever experienced before. This job involved a two year old boy and a lot of extra work...
I was casually going about my business plastering patches and preparing the ceilings for painting... out comes this little curious man and he starts hanging around watching my every move. His mum then informs me that he won’t be a problem and that they would spend the time in his room playing with his toys so they wouldn’t get in my way.
I was ready to start painting and decided to put all my gear and paint in the garage away from little hands… well was I wrong...!!
I finished sealing the patches and while I was preparing for the topcoats I put my brush down in my paint bucket out in the garage as I didn’t want the brush to dry out. Unbeknown to me within half an hour disaster would strike. Carrying on with my job in the kitchen I noticed the mother was in the lounge. Mmm I thought to myself... but no worries the young fella was in his room playing.
A minute later I heard a funny noise and little footsteps coming into the entry foyer. Feeling sick from shock there was this little man in his ‘little blue overalls’ just like mine standing there looking at me covered head to toe in paint and holding the wooden end of the paint brush in his mouth!! Oh no!!! I looked at the mother to see what her reaction was going to be as I thought ‘O boy I’m in trouble now”… she just burst into laughter. Phew… I thought!
She grabbed him and threw him in the laundry sink and I thought I better go and check out the disaster. I retraced the little paint foot steps from the entry tiles back to the hall carpet, all along the hallway to the laundry wooden flooring and into the garage where my paint was. I was right about the disaster. The little painter had climbed into the paint bucket to get the brush and must have tipped it over. Paint had gone everywhere so he must have decided to proceed and paint the guard and wheels of his Mum and Dad’s parked Camry… and then came to show us his proud handiwork.
Thank goodness it was water based sealer and his Mum was a good sport.
I quickly ran and got some wet cheesecloths and cleaned it off everything.
Lucky for me and my client it came off reasonably well. The lesson I learnt that day was… never leave your paint and never turn your back on a two year old!!
Thanks to Mark Adamson of Lasting Impressions Decorators
Both myself and my worker had to paint an office after hours in Newmarket. After doing all the prep work and sealer coating it was time to put on the final coats. We opened up the paint they had kindly left us to use, and it was full of lumps. No prob it’s only 9pm. We raced to the van, and yup typical no straining cloth. Now this job had to be finished tonight due to a series of problems from builders and other tradesmen. No problem I said to my worker I will go to the garage and get some cloth. Well, what a waste of time – they only sell pies and the odd few groceries.
So off I go walking up the street in search of a store. Then I saw the sign ‘The Den’ (for those not in the know it’s an Adult shop). The light went on in my head. Up the stairs I raced. There were a few people up there who took a sideways glance at me. I headed for the assistant and said “Ok you’re going to think this is odd but do you have any stockings?”
She looked at me and said “of course, what size and colour would you like? We have a huge range.”
“No I need them to strain some paint with lumps in it.”
She looked at me and laughed. “Oh yes she said, we do get some odd requests but that’s a new one.” Anyway we started looking to find something suitable. The fishnets were no good as the holes were too big. “How about this nice pair she said at $48.00.”
“Yeah right, how about your cheap and nasty pair? It’s ok if parts are missing I don’t need much material.” Looked like my luck was turning. We found a pair for $20. Sweet that’s great.
By this stage people were looking. Being the typical saleswoman, she said in a loud voice “Now would you like something to stir the paint with sir. I’m sure you will be able to find something here over in this glass cabinet” as a big grin appeared on her face.
Yeah right… Well I raced back to the job had a good laugh with my painter and what do you know they worked perfectly. Job all finished, packed the gear away and left. Hey I said to my workmate “What did you do with the packet the stockings were in?” He replied he left it on top off the builder’s rubbish. “Oh no, we have to go back and get it.” Can you imagine what the office staff, let alone what the builders, would have thought we were getting up to when they saw a sexy stocking packet with a naked women on it and they knew there were only a couple of painters (males) working alone?” The mind boggles.
A different day, a different painter's nightmare - a paint spill and this one was a cracker. We arrived on the job and had to repaint the exterior windows with black enamel paint. We'd done all the prep work and we were ready for topcoating on a beautiful day. One of us placed a 1 litre can of enamel on the windowsill so we could open the windows when suddenly a gust of wind slammed the window shut and knocked the paint right into the middle of the lounge floor onto the lovely (well I'm sure the homeowner thought so!) pink carpet. Panic stations set in... we got inside to find not only did the carpet cop it but the three piece suite, the stereo and the wallpaper. Thank goodness for insurance!!
And last but not least... how's this for bizarre? Last job of the day we puttied up the skirting boards. The next day when we arrived there was no putty in the skirting, instead there were a trial of mice droppings around the house, starting off as brown ones and ending up as pure putty. The little bugger had scratched them all out and eaten them.
Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch
He’s a winner
Many years back in the UK, when I first parted company with my employer to go self employed, something happened soon after I began working for myself which certainly wasn’t funny at the time; though I can look back and laugh now. What happened really highlights the need to keep a clear head when something goes wrong, openly admit to your mistake and above all else have adequate (insurance) cover.
On this particular job I was using a paint that required cellulose thinners (a very strong solvent) for thinning/cleanup. As I was carrying a 10 litre pail of the paint up the customer’s immaculate tarmac drive, I tripped, fell and ‘decorated’ the surface with most of the contents of the tub. In my panic, I rushed and grabbed a large tin of thinners from my van, and doused the affected area in the vain hope of dispersing the paint. It only took a second or two to realise my mistake, but now the damage was done. By the time I’d found a garden hose to try and wash it off, the tarmac had started to dissolve in front of my eyes! Further attempts with detergent and water proved a waste of time and effort, and I finally gave up, resigning myself to my fate.
Needless to say, when the customers arrived home they weren’t overly impressed with my attempt at modern art, and I could only apologise and try and reassure them that my insurance would cover the damage done. Well, I finished the job, got the drive sorted, and parted company with the customer expecting to never hear from them again. Long story short, not only did I hear from them again, but they became one of my most loyal customers. It turned out that they were impressed with the way I dealt with the situation and were happy not only to put more work my way, but recommend me to others.
Thanks to Mark Loveday of Mark Loveday Decorating
When something goes wrong, don’t try and cover it up, even if you can - chances are the customer will spot it sooner or later. Admit to your mistake, sort the problem out - even if it’s at some cost to yourself, and likely you’ll have a customer for life.
Thanks to Mark Loveday of Mark Loveday Decorating
We had just finished sealing the walls of a new house when the owner arrived to discuss the colour scheme with me. We were talking for 30 minutes and my foreman of 20 years experience was getting itchy to carry on and butted in to ask what the colours were. Spanish White for the lounge I said. He asked about the rest and the client said ditto for the rest. He came back with 4L Spanish White and said those idiots at Resene can't find the colour 'Ditto' anywhere!
Thanks to Kevin Stone of Christchurch
A few years ago I was working on a building site in my landscaper capacity when the client turned up and was talking very angrily with the main contractor.
The freshly painted colour on his new house was wrong. He insisted the colour he had chosen was definitely not what was on the walls and he wanted it redone. The builder reluctantly agreed to get the painter back to put things right. It would be done while the client was on holiday overseas for the next fortnight.
I was on site again two and a half weeks later when the client arrived back from his holiday. He was very happy, said that the colour was perfect and thanked the builder for sorting it out. As he happily walked away the builder told me the colour had not been changed because the painters hadn’t been back as he had forgotten to contact them.
Thanks to Greg of In Harmony
When the cow comes home
This summer I had a new house booked in to paint. When it became ready I was flat out and could not get to it soon enough.
I rang our local ColorShop for the name of a top tradesperson. Bob made a first class job. When the house was finished, carpeted and ready to move in the owner was shifting the cows when one ran across the new lawn through the lounge into the hallway and turned around putting its rear end through the wall also smashing some wooden panelling, then it dropped a couple of deposits on the floor and ran back outside. Surprisingly No. 387 hasn’t ended up on the barbecue and still roams on the farm.
Thanks to Kevin Dovey
He was a nice young fellow, decent, trusting, a little naïve. We were working in a prominent North Island hospital many moons ago. I’ve always enjoyed working for hospitals. You don’t take your health for granted in that environment.
This time we were painting the maternity ward. The colour scheme was a screamingly original blue and pink. Smoke time and our young decent man is tasked with making us morning tea.
Presently whilst enjoying the break the sound of raised voices is heard. The altercation continues. It seems someone is accusing someone else of theft. The charge nurse bursts into the room and demands to know if one of us has been in the kitchen fridge. All eyes turn to the decent naïve young man. I shall never forget the words she spoke next “Do you realise the milk you took wasn’t Anchor milk, it wasn’t Meadowlea milk, it wasn’t Pam’s milk, it was Belinda’s breast milk.” Silence.
Cheeks blushed in unison and sincere apologies all around uttered forth. She smiled and suggested the young fellow might like to wear a dummy for the rest of the day. No one finished their tea that morning. (Belinda’s name changed to protect her!)
Thanks to Ben Prattley
Close to home
I had decided that I was over Auckland traffic and preferred to work locally so I canvassed the area and scored some work next door to my home, literally over the fence for a seemingly prim and proper middle aged lady. A few days into my job my wife was at home as it was her day off and I found myself in a difficult predicament.
I didn’t know what to do so I needed some unusual advice. I knocked at my front door. My wife opened it to find me standing there looking very nervous and holding what appeared to be a vibrator. Her reaction was to tell me indignantly “I don’t think so” but intrigued she asked me what had happened.
I explained: Spike, my fox terrier who goes to work with me, often spends time fossicking around various jobs hunting for rats, sticks, balls and what not. This particular day he had returned to me wanting to show his latest find and engage me in a game of fetch. Of course I went to oblige but was mortified to find the item was actually not a toy or a stick. Having no idea where it came from and not wanting to be faced with asking the customer if it was hers, I, naturally returned home to ask my wife’s advice.
After some discussion it became apparent that Spike the dog had been inside the lady’s home, found a ‘stick’, taken it outside and began playing in the back garden with it. Then deciding it was fetch time he wanted it thrown for him.
She advised me to just take it back and leave it somewhere. But where could I put it? I couldn’t leave it anywhere in the house because it would be in a different spot to where she had left it and I’d be suspected of foul play. Quite possibly an embarrassing situation all round. And of course not wanting the dog to find it to play with it again. What a dilemma!
Unconvinced and not wanting to be caught in the act of returning it I reluctantly went back to work. My wife never did get out of me what I actually did with it until a number of months later. In a state of near panic I simply buried it in our own backyard. It has since been dug up and thrown in the rubbish!
Moral of the story: Don’t let your dog run about in someone else’s house unattended – there may be strange toys about!
He was up on a steep roof painting and had taken an extra 10L can of paint and balanced it near the top. It started to slide down the roof so he slid down and grabbed it but realised he was going to fall off the roof so he threw the bucket off and managed to stop. The bucket flew over, hit a tree branch and was catapulted back to the house at great speed. It went straight through the French doors and burst its contents all over very expensive lounge furniture. It was oil based and took him a week with cleaners to clean.
Thanks to Mike Bagley
I was helping a mate spray enamel on walls inside a big commercial building. My mate thought it would be good idea to put a gas heater inside the room to speed up the drying time. Things were going great but the heater was up against the wall that he was about to spray. Not thinking (doh!) he carried on spraying right over the top of the heater and almost blew us and the whole building to high heaven. So the moral of the story is to never use a gas heater to speed up dry times. Paint (especially enamel) is best left alone.
Thanks to Tim
Attention to detail
And on the note of apprentices, one of our ColorShops reported on a rather diligent new staff member of our own…
A few months ago we had a new guy start who had his own way of doing things. We had a regular tradesman come in who wanted fifty sheets of sandpaper (now most of us would scan one piece then go to quantity and type 50 in). Well he proceeded to scan every single sheet of sandpaper. Meanwhile the tradesman was having a quick coffee he then came back to sign his one packing slip but instead it turned out to be six pages long!
Many years ago we had an apprentice working for our company. We were working at a very exclusive address in Remuera. Picture this a newly installed state of the art kitchen with everything that opens and shuts. All the bells and whistles. One tradesman up the ladder cutting in. Apprentice armed with roller pole and tray. Neck is bent backwards rolling the ceiling. Apprentice moves tray into position that was not ideal. Tradesman steps off ladder not into but onto side of paint tray. The tray full of paint goes catapulting through the air. Oh no panic! As if frozen in time we watch the paint cascade down the front of the new kitchen drawers. After lifting the covering sheets we discover a huge clean up job. All down the front of the drawers, handles etc. A long time later the cleanup job complete we breathe a sigh of relief. Yay we are out of the woods… BUT NO! Tradesman opens up drawer to reveal beautifully velvet lined cutlery drawer full of paint. PANIC! Tip – never take your eye off the job in, on and around you! From Doug
Many, many years ago when I was a painter’s apprentice, our then, at the time rather shortish, boss would quietly park his little runaround vehicle and stealthily but rather quickly, pop up on the job… just to see how things were progressing.
One splendid day however he got a little more than he bargained for. Upon silently parking and slipping around to the rear of the house, he quickly zipped up the back steps. The only problem was the awning style kitchen windows, that were a little lower than usual, were wide open as I was preparing to apply some paint to them. From inside I saw the top of a head out of the corner of my eye, and there was an almighty BANG! Just as quick as he appeared he then disappeared, in a scowling use of very colourful language, which we’d never heard from him… so it must have hurt a fair bit!
To this day I’m still not too sure whether he went flat on his back or not, as I was too nervous to put my head out through the window to have a look. I did however very gingerly pull them a little bit more shut… just to be sure that nobody should walk into them by accident.
Thanks to Jeff of Ideal Decorators
Problems in drying weather with paint build up on the top of your paint bristles? Wind 50mm of carton tape around the brush so it comes down approx 20-25mm over the top of bristles. This helps retain moisture at the top of the brush, makes cleaning the brush easy and helps to keep rough bristles in place. It only takes a few seconds to put on and remove and works well. Try it!
Thanks to Rob McDonald of Palmerston North
The following little tip would save time, money and effort. Our resthome has recently been fully redecorated and during this process the fire alarm has been set off by our own staff and several contractors. To get a nice wallpaper finish they tried to unscrew the manual alarm(s) point (break glass and push button type), which activated it. It would not be hard to imagine for anyone that evacuating the resthome, even in stages, entails plenty of work. Great hilarity... the first time! We figured out how this had happened, but after the second and third time the joke wore thin. Getting invoiced for a false alarm involving three fire engines also wiped the smiles off management's face. Thank goodness renovations are completed. One plus - staff are now very competent at evacuating the building!!
Thanks to Tamahere Eventide Home
I was explaining to my client, a couple, their architect and building supervisor that their normal painters could do all the prep work up to the base colour. Then I would come along and do the paint effects that they wanted. This would save them money and me a boring few hours on the end of a roller and sander.
When the woman said “oh just like my gynaecologist” I probably looked a bit confused and the other males in the room looked downright embarrassed. Until she explained “like my GP says, I do all the boring stuff then send you off to the gynaecologist for the interesting bits!”
Thanks to Andrew Tindall of Opulent Effects
I have used this and variations of this filter cleaner in a bottle for about eight years and it is very effective. The hand piece gets clogged with paint flakes, sand and loose fragments. Cleaning out your filter is very messy. This way is quicker and cleaner.
Materials: 2 x 600ml container – one for the container and one for the scrubbing pieces. The plastic scrubbing pieces should be roughly cut irregular shapes with many points. Bend and fold the points opposite ways until each piece is about 40mm in size. The bends and folds will help keep them in the bottle.
Step 1: Take a 600ml bottle and place six plastic scrubbing pieces (cut from another bottle) into the bottle.
Step 2: Take the dirty filter and place with a little water or turps into the bottle.
Step 3: Close the lid and shake. The plastic scrubbing pieces move up and down cleaning and scraping the mesh while the water flushes away flaked paint and loose fragments.
Step 4: Carefully pour out the dirty water and the clean filter will slide out leaving the scrubbing pieces inside.
Thanks to Riki Nelson
How to look like a smurf... Matt up on the first level of scaffolding is passing Jarrod on the ground a full tray of Resene Woodsman stain tinted to Resene Pickled Bluewood. As everyone knows you’d better have a steady hand and keep level when lowering - Jarrod did not and the stain started dribbling over the edge of the tray and once started it wasn’t stopping. Pouring onto his head the stain made its way down his face, ears, neck and the rest of his body (I’m sure you can imagine), before finally flowing onto the concrete tiles, which were to be kept clean.
Fortunately being the waterborne version and having a hose handy all was cleaned up fairly quickly except for the blue painter - need I say he needed new overalls. If only I had a camera...
Thanks to Reuben Brand of Astra Painting Contractors
A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of ladies come into the shop carrying an old can of Resene Lustacryl. They handed it to me and asked what the colour was. The can was covered in paint but I could see that the colour name written on the can was Resene Half Pearl Lusta. The lady paused slightly and then said “Yes I can see that but what is the other half?” It took me a few seconds before I realised what she meant and then went on to explain that Resene Half Pearl Lusta is what ALL the paint in the tin is tinted and that the reason it’s called that was because it is the half formulation of the colour called Resene Pearl Lusta!
Thanks to Tim Rhodes
My story relates to an incident that took place during 1960 whilst we were repainting the exterior of a 40 year old farmhouse at Glen Oroua. On the property was a collection of old farm buildings that held a wide range of old machinery and many varied, from the past, used farm items.
One day when the farmer went to town for a stock sale curiosity got the better of us and we went 'exploring' in one of the old sheds. This one had been used as a general store shed and on a bench in one corner was a collection of partly filled paint tins. One that caught our eye was a 1/2 gallon tin in a very rusty state, which was bulging at the seams and top under great pressure.
Being young and naive, I commenced to prize the lid off with my putty knife when lo and behold, the lid disappeared towards the heavens at a great rate of knots and the seam split spraying us with an unsightly white gooey emulsion substance that stuck like peanut butter on carpet. But the worst was yet to come. The stench was something out of this world. It was worse than a Turkish camel driver's armpit or even the inside of a septic tank cleaner's gumboots - it was putrid.
We staggered outside only to be greeted by the sight of cows in the adjacent paddock showing their disgust by walking away with their heads bowed and waving their tails in the air and watched in awe as one of the free range chooks laid the same egg three times. We had to discard our overalls they were in such a mess.
When the farmer returned we told him what had happened and he just laughed and said a lot of the stuff in the shed belonged to his grandfather who had been attached to a stores unit during the First World War and there will be all sorts of things there.
Six months later we returned to the farm to redecorate the interior
of the house and the farmer told us that since that day, his cows had
not contracted mastitis, his apple trees were clear of codlin moth and
his wife was pregnant and due to give birth at Christmas!!!
Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North
Common sense says that you should always make sure you put your paint tray in sight… it pays not to leave a paint tray behind you because Murphy’s Law says you’re almost guaranteed to forget it and end up stepping in it, as Allan Sheppard and Quintin Hercock respectively report…
I once walked in a room of a house I was painting to find one of my workers had stepped into a bucket of paint so hard he was shaking his leg to get it off because he knew that stepping into paint means it’s his shout.
Never trust apprentices with holding your paint bucket. My apprentice and I were painting a roof in Upper Hutt when I asked him to climb down and grab a new roller. When he took too long I went down the ladder to see what was keeping him – when I stepped down off the ladder I found his paint pail around my foot. As you can imagine I caused quite a mess!
As a painting contractor in my own business I was contracted to paint a roof on the main clubhouse at the Remuera Bowling Club. This building overlooked the Main No.1 Green where the finals of a High Tournament were in progress and any interruption of such contests was deeply frowned upon.
There I was sitting up on the roof hip and had just finished spraying the whole roof face overlooking the top Tournaments in progress. The colour at the time was a strong Burnt Orange - similar to Hi-Glo Twizel. Just then I started a major bout of sneezing and out shot my upper denture plate, which started skidding down the roof collecting not yet dried bright orange paint as it went. Down the roof they careered towards a group of very professional looking men standing around measuring the distance of a finished game from their kitty.
My fervent prayer was of course that it would hit and lodge in the spouting and that would be that. But no such luck - such was the force of the sneeze and the pitch of the steep roof that those blasted pinky whites (now covered in bright orange) jumped the spouting, hit the flexible canopy extending from it and launched right out onto the green among the circle of men in very serious contemplation. And further to my horror as I sat frozen to the spot I could see those dreaded choppers of mine °bouncing in among the bowls and coming to a stop (to my utter amazement) close to that dear little white ball in the middle.
Well - time seemed to stop still as this ring of white clad Doctors, Lawyers and Managing Directors stood frozen to the spot. No one - it seemed - capable of making a move for a very long time. Finally after an eternity one of them bent down and picked up my offending choppers and called out to me in loud Queen’s English (Stanley-Livingstone style) the overstated obvious "These are yours I presume?" he said.
And all I could toothlessly mumble back was "Yes they are - did I win?"!!
Thanks to Marshall Paddison of Alpha Painters
This story happened during my apprentice years. I had spilt some paint on a path and needed a rag to clean it up with so I asked my boss for a rag. He told me to cut off a piece from his old overalls as he had just bought a new pair. I then found a pair of overalls lying over a table so got out a craft knife and cut off one of the leg pieces and went and cleaned up the spilt paint. All was fine until the next morning when my boss tried on his new overalls only to find the left leg was cut off - oh bugger!
Thanks to Tony Coker of Coker Decorating
When applying paint over silicon causing sissing, wipe the silicon areas with vinegar to allow the paint to adhere - this will stop sissing.
Thanks to Andrew Boulton of Timaru
We recently completed a refurb and it was decided to paint over 20 year old wallpaper. We chose to use Resene Thixalon and it has been a godsend. Resene Thixalon covered all rips and blemishes of which there were a lot and has worn well since. If we need to repair a wall, Resene Thixalon is easy to match and as long as the paint is feathered you cannot tell the difference.
Thanks to Geoff Milne of the Copthorne Hotel
If you ever feel that you should have just stayed in bed in the morning, this story from Joe Szentpeteri of Nelson just might give you hope that bad things can turn out ok… if you’re lucky! Plus make extra sure when delegating that the instructions are fail safe!
7.30am and the daily grind begins, as it does for many in the industrial coatings industry. From my second storey office window the view across the Nelson industrial area presents a vista of roofs sprawling over many acres. The contrast between the iron roofs capped by distant snow covered mountains never became monotonous. One roof in particular had always showed itself as the proverbial tall poppy with its orange hue of rust to which my eye was always drawn. How dare it interfere with my view!
As my foreman enters my office I point out the tall poppy that needs painting. The answer was simple in the end – ‘get it sorted’. After several visits to the owner of said roof who cries 'I don’t have any money to paint my roof', as familiar as this sounds, I’m sure, a deal is struck to my surprise. Before heading away on a business trip that would take me out of the country for a fortnight I explain the scope of the work and the intricacies of ‘the deal’ with my foreman who replies ‘leave it with me boss, by the time you get back it will all be done’.
Arriving back late in the evening I decide to go straight home and deal with whatever the office has lined up for me the next day. During the staff meeting first thing in the morning I am delighted to find all is in order and everyone is happy. As I walk upstairs to my office I am told by my foreman that the roof painting of my tall poppy was a great success. This statement said with chin held high of a job well done. Now I can’t wait to see my tall poppy in all its glory. You can imagine my confusion as tall poppy stands up proud and defiant with its rusty orange hue. Looking at my foreman as he proclaims ‘so what do you think?’ – what do I think?, I am speechless! Summoning patience from deep within and fighting down the knee jerk reaction… blind rage… I ask my foreman to point out this painted roof that looks so good.
As the fantastic blue roof jumps into view I am floored, not only by its size but the fact that it is the building next to tall poppy! Mild sweat and rising bile taking hold, I slowly take a seat.
After contacting the owner of this abandoned building who is just delighted with the job, I am informed that he has just purchased the building and wanted it painted anyway. I walk away with a contract to paint the rest of the building and a friend I continue to do business with to this very day. Tall poppy was eventually painted by another
contractor. I can only presume we lost the job because we never showed up. The blue roof still looks good some five years on and the colour matched New Denim Blue supplied by Resene continues to perform.
Thanks to Joe Szentpeteri
With over 20 years as an interior decorator I have many great stories to tell, many involving children and animals but rarely the husband of the house.
My clients, let’s call them Peg and Joe, were renovating a grand villa in a leafy Auckland suburb - including the addition of a storage/loft area above the house.
Hubby comes home very keen to see the progress of said loft. Now Joe is a jolly little man with a stature that can only be described as abundant, so negotiating the rickety builder’s ladder was a feat in itself. A visual symphony in fact. Very shortly after there was a loud crack, eerie silence and plaintive wail “P-e-e-g, P-e-e-g”. To say Peg is an excitable person is an understatement at the best of times but she excelled herself on this occasion with an Oscar winning scream - flushing out the entire trades force at lightning speed.
Well, what was on view will forever be etched in my mind. There above our heads was a pair of chubby legs dangling furiously through the ceiling. Poor Peg was in the sweet tea category, so the rescue mission was carried out by three builders. Two to climb up and extract Joe from the ceiling and the third to steady the rickety ladder (which survived).
It didn’t quite end there though - on his return from a medical visit in walked Joe wearing a neckbrace. The ceiling mishap resulted in quite a few bruises but the neckbrace was for the whiplash on the way to the doctors when the builder had to apply his brakes very quickly for a red light!
All part and parcel in the day of the life of an interior decorator.
Thanks to Sandy Clark, Interior Decorator
A long weekend spraying
If you’ve ever worked through a long weekend only to have things turn to custard, then you might just appreciate that it does happen to others, as evidenced by Roy Steed’s true story…
When two guys decided to give being in business a crack, we never guessed what one of our first contracts was going to be or what was involved. Over ten years ago now we set up our new business and our biggest obstacle was to leave on good terms with a boss who in previous years had re-employed Grant after an O.E. and helped me complete my apprenticeship. Leaving on good terms meant he offered to subcontract us our first major contract at a Pak N Save. The job was major but as we had already painted New Worlds for him in the past he knew we were capable.
The realisation of how big this job was going to be set in straight from the chemical cleaning. We spent two weeks on the roof of the building waterblasting it clean, but that wasn't going to be the only major cleaning we were going to have to do. With the vast mass of customers and trucks unloading all the food supplies, we knew the only way to get the loading bay docks and the front of the store painted would be when the store was closed. This was only going to happen when by law the store had to be shut Public Holidays, so we eyed the opportunity of a long weekend, Easter, to come in and spray the loading bay and front entrance, as any other time of the day there was always queues of trucks waiting to unload and an endless stream of customers.
Getting there early Good Friday we decided to make the most of the roller doors being down and closed in the unloading bay so we set up and loaded our airless spray unit with the door colour. There were three doors on the unloading ramp and one around the corner. As most painters would, we set up where we wouldn't have to move the airless unit again, opting to spray the smaller door first around the corner. The spraying of the first door was almost complete when just out of the blue the pressure completely died. First reaction was "Oh no power cut, just our luck!" but as soon as we walked back around the corner, a power cut would have been a lot luckier.
The gun had blocked, and under the pressure the airless hose line had split and the whole time we were bagging off power companies our airless had been pumping paint all over the concrete unloading dock. It was a scene from Mr Bean’s blow up the paint can episode - the line had whipped around enough to get paint in just about every direction - needless to say though none managed to reach the target of the doors. We had to clean out our airless, which we thought as soon as clean water was in the line we could use to clean the paint off all the concrete. But unfortunately we couldn't get enough pressure in our airless unit to cool our frustration, let alone clean any paint off concrete. We packed up, went back to our depot and loaded up our waterblasters and spent the rest of Good Friday cleaning the concrete. Needless to say when we did spray the other coats on the Easter Monday we wrapped that loading dock up like a crime scene! And the front had to wait until the next long weekend to complete our long weekend spraying plans.
Get in behind
Years ago my Dad was wallpapering the lounge in their flat and a large cabinet stood against the east wall. Mum suggested they move it out to wallpaper behind it. Dad's reply was that the cabinet was attached to the wall and it was far too big to move anyway. Mother agreed. When mother died and as Dad had passed away earlier it fell on me to redecorate. I called in a painter and we discussed redecorating behind the cabinet. An argument began, I said it couldn't be moved as it 'was attached to the wall' - he said it could be moved. A compromise was reached, the cabinet moved out and lo and behold the wallpaper stopped directly around the cabinet - noone else had ever papered there either. Amongst a lot of laughter the walls were papered, the cabinet returned to its original spot and in due course I married the painter!
Thanks to Dècor Decorating Contractors of Paraparaumu
Two of us were painting a garage roof. My mate painted himself into a corner. He thought he'd take a couple of steps to get out. Wham, he fell off the roof. He was OK but covered in paint. I thought silly bugger.
I decided to finish the square he'd left by standing on the lead head
nails. Double whammy - I came off too. We were both cleaning ourselves
off when a neighbour came over to see if we were OK. A retired couple
had been watching us as they washed their lunch dishes. The lady couldn't
believe it - she said to her husband at the time 'Look George the painter
has fallen off the roof. Look George there goes the other one.' True
Thanks to Dennis Brown Painters of Christchurch
Another long day on the roof…
A hot blood spraypainter on the final day of a school project. Down to the last 30 litres of a 400L roof, all that could possibly go wrong does. On the last section of roof to go (using the flue line as his harness) he gives the line a good tug… line is twirled around the paint drum and over she goes. This story is over 10 years old and I’ve never forgotten the creative language used to this day.
Thanks to Paul Perez
Top painting tip: Don't take up painting as a career!!
Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch
Did you know that the only way to eliminate brush and rollermarks when applying size to new hardboard is to spray it on?
Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North
While painting a roof recently my tray slipped - sailed past me - couldn't do a thing about it. It hit the next door neighbour's concrete driveway with a resounding crash. The next door neighbour promptly appeared and went off her block! She stood and watched me clean every last drop up. Now her concrete driveway is cleaner than it has been in years! It was only later on how funny it was - paint everywhere, her yelling and screaming...
Thanks to Ron's Renovations of Timaru
They always say you shouldn’t work with animals or children, and Byron Roil from Cottages NZ reminds us of just one of the reasons why…
Having done a lot a DIY the hard way over the years I was thrilled when the (very generous!) boss at Cottages New Zealand let me borrow the new sprayer for a home job on the weekend. After numerous lessons from the chief painter on how to use his very prized tool, I took it home for the weekend to paint the house.
Having huge plans, and being such an efficient way to paint, especially after painstakingly using rollers for past jobs, I arrived home with a supply of Resene paint and the sprayer confidently telling the wife it had taken her longer to pick the paint than it would for me to paint the whole house! – if only that were the case!
The roof prepared, I tipped the paint into the bucket, fired it up and positioned myself on the roof. I called the wife out after the first 10 minutes to make her remark on my impressive job and as she did that she took her eyes off our darling 2 year old in the sandpit and reluctantly admired the work of the super sprayer. I carried on happily for the next few minutes while my two year old decided to quietly blend up a new kind of paint in the ‘spray cake mixer’ with her bucket of sand.
While I was momentarily, blissfully unaware, she made ‘Ironsand’ mud cakes in the bucket below me, giving a new meaning to the sand in the name and making my super speedy paint job a little less than super speedy!
Would be graffiti artist
I used to work for a maintenance painting firm and part of my work was to fix graffiti in schools. Working on this job I used to use spray cans to cover graffiti. On this one day, I used the spray can as per normal to cover the graffiti and walked back to my van. A cop car screamed in the front gate and the cop dashed around back and the second cop yelled out to me ‘where’s the tagger?’ I cracked up laughing – someone had rung the police saying someone’s tagging the school and it was me trying to cover the graffiti up. The cops didn’t see the funny side of it… but I certainly did!!!
Thanks to T Hook of Palmerston North
And if your furry dog pal is working with you, never forget that dogs and paint don’t mix… as Marguerite from Town and Country Painters reports…
Never tie the dog up near paint buckets…
Once a black labrador called Abby needed to be tied up for the day… but in our rush we didn’t shift all the paint or check to see how far her rope would stretch. We can only imagine how much fun she would have had tipping over the can of SpaceCote… sliding around rolling in it until her fur was covered, not to mention the state of the garage floor. We got home to find no longer a black lab but instead we found a white with shades of grey lab, and that wasn’t the worst part… It had dried quite fast in the breezy garage air. It took weeks for all the paint to come off her fur. We have all learnt our lesson and when Abby comes on to any job sites we make sure she isn’t left alone with any paint!
We were down to the last two litres of product completing structural steelworks when there was a layer (about an inch) of air between the paint and the piston pump. “What shall we do now?” asks the apprentice to the master. Master fills the bottom of the paint can with a handful of big clean stones causing the paint level to cover the pump and we finish the job with no dramas saving time and money. Simple yet clever!
Thanks to Paul Perez of Target Painters
I remember one day a few years ago we had a lovely elderly lady who frequently used to come into our ColorShop to buy bits and pieces. She must have been about eighty in the shade and was doing up an old family home room by room so that she could sell it and buy something smaller. Anyway, on this particular day she had come in to browse through the wallpaper library and a male staff member (let's call him Bob) was helping her with suggestions and ideas. "What's unusual about that?" I hear you ask. Well nothing really, but imagine my surprise as a manager the next day when I approached the lady to offer help (the original male staff member was away) and was told "Yes I was in yesterday and was talking to 'Bob'. I have got a big stud in my bedroom and he told me I should get a dildo." I tell you, that made my year!
Thanks to Steve of Resene
Check, check then paint
Andrew Seal of Seal Decorating reminds us why you should double check before you start painting…
Some years ago my partner and I arrived at our latest job – a large new house in a subdivision, one of many we had painted in the area. The door was open as arranged and over the next few days we ripped into it – undercoat all joinery, remove doors and hardware, mask up windows etc in preparation for spraying. We put a nice coat of Resene Broadwall throughout with a brand new 15 thou tip – perfection – then sanded this back and vacuumed etc. We were just priming up the Graco with the first topcoat of Decorator Ultra Low Sheen (’Pearl Lusta’ back then!) when the owner walked in and asked what we were doing there.
We had the wrong address, his painters were due shortly, and our job was next door!! Needless to say we were gutted, but went off next door to start all over again. The owner was very happy with the job and kindly reimbursed us for the paint – but not the labour!!!
A marked man
I was spraying some structural steel beams on a job in the CBD of Dunedin on a pleasant Friday afternoon. The product I was applying was Resene Armourcote 510, a two pot epoxy high build coating (putting it through a slow stroker airless unit).
I encountered a bit of a problem with the pump unit. A call to my supervisor and he organised our very helpful and knowledgeable Resene rep, Mark, to call in to see if he could help. After an inspection and power up we removed the pump unit and took it away for a clean up (no problems with that). By the time we got back to the job (an hour or so later), the Armourcote that was still loaded in the lines was near the end of its life. With the unit powered up all seemed ok until the unit was switched to recycle. The end result was a massive build up of pressure that eventually blew the tube to bits. This saw epoxy coating sprayed around a 4-5 metre radius of the spray unit.
I was very fortunate to be standing behind the unfortunate Resene rep so was not affected. For Mark, the walk back to his car covered in paint on a busy Friday afternoon in the heart of Dunedin was something he would not want to do again. He has reminded me many times of the strange looks from all the pedestrians on the long walk back to the car. We had unfortunately used up all my rags cleaning the unit up.
I would like to take this opportunity to humbly apologise to Mark for laughing at his predicament. It was very insensitive of me. I never thought to ask if his insurance covered all the clothing that was smothered in paint (I have an idea that the jacket/coat he was wearing was a favourite). The memory will stay with me forever…”
Thanks to Peter Crossan
I had clients that had great trouble with cluster flies landing on their roof at dusk. As the night came the flies would come into the ceiling cavity and come down through the downlights of the house. The problem had been going on since the house was built five years prior. They had a pest control firm spray different chemicals to try to stop the flies — without any success. Sitting down in front of their computer my clients found out that cluster flies liked the coolness of light coloured roofs.
We came in and sprayed two coats of Resene Hi-Glo house and roof paint in Resene High Tide and had immediate success. As soon as the roof was painted the darker colour the flies disappeared, so if you or your client has a problem with cluster flies, check the colour of your roof before spending time on pest control.
Thanks to Ian Anderson of Knox and Anderson Ltd
I was spray painting the Kahurangi Lighthouse in bad windy conditions and had so much alkyd paint over me that that when the Ministry of Works boss flew in to check on job he didn't know who I was!!! Considering I had painted Pilmar Point lighthouse twice prior to that for him I must have looked a sight for him not to recognise me.
Of course that wasn't the only time I ended up covered in paint. While
on an extension ladder with a pot hook (wire) I managed to hook the
paint pot handle right on top of the hook end. The first brushful saw
the pot of paint fall to the ground and the paint came straight back
up into my face. What a waste of good paint!
Thanks to Bob Wells Painting and Decorating of Timaru
Roller, yeah right
Just in case you aren’t into ‘new fangled’ technology, it might be worth reading this story sent in by Lea Insall of Lea Insall Painters in Invercargill – just goes to show everything has to start somewhere...
I have been in the painting decorating trade for 48 years as was my father for 60 years before me. While doing my apprenticeship a paint traveller arrived with a new way of putting paint on – a roller! As we always used brushes then this was a new invention which impressed us all. My father was not on the job that day and so when we were having tea that night I told him about this new paint roller. To which he replied “Don’t be so bloody silly how the hell could you roll paint on?’ His imagination could not cope with this until later he saw it.
And yet here we are half a century on and most painters couldn’t imagine tackling many paint jobs without their trusty roller!
Spray it don’t say it
When my husband and I embarked on a whole new career as house renovators, it was pointed out to me that despite what appeared to be a garage bursting with tools, there were a fair few extra tools we would have to buy in order to do the job properly. After having purchased what seemed like half a hardware shop, I put my foot down and pointed out that we were never going to make money from our new venture if we spent it all in advance on tools.
Over the ensuing weeks however it became obvious that there was one tool that my husband still hankered after above all else and that was a spray painting machine. The virtues of such a machine were frequently extolled: it would do a much more professional job, it would be much easier on his hardworking body, it would get the painting done so much faster that we would have more leisure time etc etc. For some time I got away with answering ‘hmmm’ to these observations but finally when it became clear that having a spray machine would make all the difference between a dismal work life of almost unbearably tedious toil and an exciting and fulfilling challenge, I relented and gave in.
My husband raced off to buy the machine and immediately try it out. Early results were not as promising as I had been led to believe and ‘professional finish’ isn’t exactly how I would describe the results before my eyes but he reassured me that it always took time to master a new machine.
He went off to consult the Friday Nighters, a group of tradesmen who meet in a local bar after work on Friday and discuss such fascinating topics as ‘epoxy resin’. Then after a few beers they apparently move on to more philosophical topics, such as fixing the world (presumably with good management rather than epoxy resin).
They were only too happy to give my husband advice on what he was doing wrong with the sprayer and everyone put in his two bob’s worth: he was standing too close to the wall, he was standing too far away, his paint was too thick, his paint was too thin, he was holding the spray wand the wrong way, etc. I was rather peeved that this last suggestion was given serious consideration as when I had helpfully suggested that maybe my husband was holding his mouth at the wrong angle I merely received a scathing look.
Back on the job, all the suggestions of the Friday Nighters were diligently tried out one by one to no avail. Finally my husband returned to the shop where he bought the machine, where the helpful salesman told him he needed a finer tip. Once back at the site I could tell there was success at last by the tuneful whistling emanating from the room he was working in. My husband was a happy man at last and now I only had to listen to constant enthusiastic raves about how the spray painting machine had changed his life.
After the inside of the house was impressively sprayed, it was time for the roof. I was to provide the audience while my husband demonstrated how, with the new extension wand, all the previous back breaking drudgery of painting a roof could be eliminated in minutes by the sprayer. After setting up the system he braced himself and sprayed.
Within two seconds he was covered head to foot in copious quantities of paint. Three towels later he announced somewhat unconvincingly “No problem, I just need to tighten the connection”. This was after he had inexplicably declined my helpful offer to pour a bucket of cold water over him to get the paint off. He braced himself for a second time. Did I imagine it or was he really holding his mouth at a different angle this time? Anyway, tightening up the connection had obviously done something because this time it only took one second for him to be covered from head to foot in paint. I won’t repeat the words that came out of his mouth; suffice it to say that I suddenly remembered I had an urgent job at the other end of the property that I had to attend to immediately.
Eventually he took the whole thing apart and found that there were two washers in the hand grip connection where there should only have been one. Having fixed this he got the roof painted though I can’t honestly say I heard much whistling. That evening after only an hour and a half in the shower he was amazingly back to his old self, extolling the virtues of spray painting machines.
Eighteen months later, my husband has become an expert spray painter. I know this because I have been called on to admire 47 of his spray painting achievements. Also he has reached the point where he can go several consecutive hours without mentioning spray painting machines. This is definite progress!
Actually I count myself lucky. My friend’s ex-partner was a painter who bought himself a huge (and hugely expensive) spray painting unit which he insisted on parking in their bedroom every night so no one would steal it. It was also suspected that he just wanted it to be the first thing he admired when he woke up every morning. It’s not up to me to speculate why the relationship didn’t work out but if there are any guys reading this to whom ‘romance’ is a foreign concept, let me give you a bit of advice from a woman…
First, unbelievable though it may seem, there are not that many women who find spray painting machines an enthralling topic of conversation. Secondly, your chances of finding a woman who thinks a spray painting unit is an essential fashion accessory for the bedroom are virtually zero. Forget it guys!
Let’s face it, what woman wouldn’t feel humiliated at having to compete with a spray painting machine, curvaceous though some of them are?!!. I know it is a revolutionary idea but how about considering keeping spray painting where it belongs… at work!
Thanks to the long suffering wife of a spray painting enthusiast who shall rename nameless!
Watch where you are going!
In the days when I was still an apprentice, we started working for a new building company. Our first job was priming new window frames. My boss was a person of ‘quick this and quick that’.
Early in the morning my boss, two other mates and I were driving around and looking for the building company as we hadn’t been there before. One of my mates said, “I think it’s over there”, pointing to the other side of the road.
The boss, who was concentrating on his driving, without thinking then jerked the steering wheel; we did an instant u-turn, hitting the curb, over the grass verge, over the footpath, back on the road again in the other direction.
At that time there was a man walking on the footpath watching us with open mouth. My mate, who always was the funny one, made some wrist movements and pointed to the driver. The man probably thought the boss had been drinking as he was shaking his head. After all, it was only just after seven in the morning!
Thanks to Arie Preesman
One occasion I called to say I would be starting their job tomorrow. A beautiful young lady answered the door (no telephones in those days) - I said will you tell your Mam to STRIP - I'll be here at 8am. The smile I received is still with me all these years later.
Thanks to Bernard Reid of Mt Maunganui
If using acrylic paint, drips, minor spills and blemishes can be cleaned off other surfaces using meths instead of water when still fresh.
Thanks to Norm Vince of Hastings
Seven years of renovating had nearly come to an end. Just the finishing touches were needed like painting doorways, skirting boards etc. The decision had been made to sell our home in Melbourne as we had decided to move back home to good old Wellington to be with family. We had decided to sell at auction which meant open homes every Saturday and Sunday for a month leading up to the auction.
The first open home was being held on a Saturday afternoon at 1pm and I only had the laundry door to paint. At 12.35 the last lick of paint was applied to the door and we were ready for the open home.
As I lifted the tin of near white paint from the jet black slate floor the edge of the lid caught the handle and the tin flipped. The remaining half litre of paint then proceeded to flow evenly down the slate hallway, filling up all the rows of grout along the way!!
Grabbing about 10 towels, 3 newspapers and 2 daughters, we started the clean up. One large plastic bag was needed to hold the towels and paper and the 2 daughters were on bended knees with boiling hot water and sponges trying to mop up.
At 12.58 when the last drop of paint was removed one very paint covered
mother and two daughters vacated the premises for the open home with
the prospective buyers having no idea of what had just taken place.
Thanks to Jackie Marriott of Lower Hutt
Add a cap of Umber, Sienna and Ochre tinters (MPS stainers) to 4L polyurethane when varnishing Rimu - it brings back the colour and brightens up the wood.
Thanks to Russell Williams of Dunedin
Whilst working back home (UK), the gaffer took on an apprentice. After about a month of doing nothing but sanding for the lads, the apprentice asks the gaffer if he can progress in his apprenticeship and learn to paint. The timber back home is full of knots, and so has to be ‘Knotted’, prior to being primed using ‘Knotting’ (which is a shellac based sealer) in order to prevent weeping of the sap from the knots.
So the gaffer points out a pile of architraves on the floor (about 50 x3 metre lengths) and says to the ‘lad’, “ok son see all that timber, prime that lot and Knot the knots”. After doing his rounds the gaffer is about to leave and on the way out reminds the lad, “Don’t forget knot the knots when you prime.
The following day the gaffer shows up and sees all the timber nicely laid out on the floor all
primed with exception to all the knots in the wood. Off goes the gaffer at the lad, “what the $%@# is that?” To which the lad says, “you said don’t forget when I prime not the knots.” Ten o’clock break was always a riot after that day.
Thanks to Pete Turner
Working on a local farm painting the house, garage and farm sheds in the middle of a hot summer allows you to appreciate wide open spaces. After enjoying cooked lunches followed by puddings I was asked if I could squeeze the shearing shed roof in, which I obliged.
The first day allowed the roof to be waterblasted and primed. The second day caused concern. Farmer Brown had killed some sheep that night, drums of offal and waste smell created a sickening effect. Continuing with the job the smell seemed to linger around all day. I got brassed off with Farmer Brown being so inconsiderate and decided he'd be getting an earful. Sure enough the sound of his ATV motorbike coming down the hill and down the lane readied me for his blast.
Farmer Brown: Hi Painter, how's it going?
Painter thinks: He'll wear my temper soon.
Painter says: Good, see ya had a kill eh?
Farmer Brown: Yeah, thought you'd also like one for your freezer.
Painter: Thanks very much, nice day isn't it?
Thanks to Maurice Mills Decorating of Invercargill
One day I was on a job with a couple of colleagues and one of them walked up a ladder with an airless spray gun in his hand. As he stepped onto the plank at the top he accidentally squeezed the trigger and he sprayed himself straight in the face. Luckily for him, and hilarious for us he had his sunglasses on. You can just picture what he looked like when he took his glasses off after completely covering his face in white paint, I still laugh just thinking about it.
Thanks to Jeff Cox, Builder/Painter
Don’t work with children or animals…
20 years ago I happened to work on a two storeyed home in Remuera. The lady had two less than well behaved kids who drove me insane. They would want to roll the walls and paint the window frames etc, which they would do behind my back. I told the lady of the house if she didn’t stop the kids being a nuisance, I was gone. It didn’t last long for when I was working upstairs they would fire acorns into the bedrooms from down below and give me grief. Thank goodness I thought to myself, I was nearly finished up top. Until I found that the doors I had painted had been damaged by their long haired red retriever who had walked from room to room wagging his tail leaving his hairs in my fresh paintwork. What a household and experience that was!
Thanks to Peter of PJ Painters
It was the last day of the year and we were just finishing up on a new home. Everybody was keen to get home early and we just had the finishing touches to do, sweeping the floor before the new owners moved in. One guy sweeping decided to practice his golf swing with the broom; full back swing great tee shot, head comes off the broom straight through the lounge wall. Needless to say we didn't get away early that day...
A work partner had been complaining about his sore knee for weeks – you know, I can’t go high, I can’t go low and so on, however would not go for treatment. After struggling on for weeks with no improvement finally he went off to physio. Two weeks later and 10 trips, no better. Off we went sore knee and all to paper a large new house. All going well until bang crash!! Said person had missed the bottom step of his small ladder. Ahh! My knee, my knee. Rushing to pick him up, oh the pain, oh the pain. Sitting down and having a cup of tea with him he then pronounced - “it’s gone, the pain, it’s gone, it’s fixed”). I can now only imagine what might have been if only he landed on his head - anything is possible!
Thanks to Dennis Singer
A well known full time fisherman, part-time painter in Invercargill had pumped himself up to be one of the best level 5 finishers in the country but when trying to sand his stopping in a bedroom had come to a wall that had a window that covers 90% of the wall... without thinking he swung his dustless sander onto the wall which also had the client's curtains still fixed to the tracks. To his amazement the dustless sander didn't sand well over the curtains and got all tangled up in his sanding head. You can just imagine the look on his face as the curtain and sander went head to head - one foot on the ground and one foot on the wall trying to prize free what he thought could have been a blue fin marlin...
Once I was painting a reasonably high ceiling with an extension pole. The client was having trouble with his fireplace so was bent down looking at it. He was wearing a dark blue jersey and I was using cream paint. My habit at times is to let the roller come down quick and 'catch' it before it hits the floor. But this time it hit something before it reached the floor. Hmm? I looked up and to my dismay the roller was sitting fair and square on the back of the client! After refusing my offer of washing it off, he proceeded to walk around the house for the next couple of days with a big cream patch of paint on his dark blue jersey!
Thanks to Jason Ward of Christchurch
If you have a funny story or a handy tip we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny decorating story or submit your handy decorating tip.
Homeowners also have mishaps. Read a selection of their stories.
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