Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind. Sleight Of Hand or Peace Of Mind?

My first full summer of running my painting company and things are going ok. I’m not sure if I want to continue growing my business and getting my name out there or do something else but the phone keeps ringing so I don’t have anytime to focus on anything else. 

For now its ‘keep calm and carry on’.

In the opinion of my old boss its ‘carry on my wayward son’. Lol, what I felt was confidence, he saw as arrogance. My ego was fine with me being my own boss. Regardless, we would both agree that Kansas wrote an all-time great.

Then shit hits the fan. My first project that goes sour – I’m helping out one of my best friends parents by painting their house. 

At first I’m thinking that I’m a problem solver. The top of their window trim was never painted. Not visible unless on a ladder so the previous painter didn’t even touch it. The wood is weathered grey, I sand it down to fresh wood fibers, prime it, caulk it, paint it. Boom, done.

Not a real problem. I know its exposed to the sun and the rain so I planned on doing that in the first place. However, the gap between the trim and the stucco wasn’t previously caulked. 

The result, water drained in along the window frame and flowed out the bottom. Not good, especially since the section below the window was plywood. Mostly rotten now. 

How I Dealt With The Problem and Provided Value

I’d already negotiated my price down to fit their budget so decided to fix it, and eat it. Good work and happy clients was my goal. Getting referrals instead of knocking on doors or paying for advertising was my strategy. 

Now that I’m a little more experienced in working with wood I know that it would have been cheaper and easier to replace the wood. However at the time I had no idea how to go about replicating the design they had. 

Car bondo was the solution at the time. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Fill, sand, prime, fill, sand, prime, fill, sand, prime. I don’t even recall how many layers I had to build up to make it work. 

What I do recall is being mad, at the previous painter. I didn’t even know who it was but I wanted to scream at them for being so neglectful with a lack of integrity in their work.

Painting indoors is mostly aesthetic, but outdoors its about protecting peoples largest asset, their house (most peoples). The sun and the rain can and will destroy those houses. 

Think of it this way (my clients do because I have this same conversation with the majority of them).

If your skin is cut and open for long periods of time, you will get an infection. An infection can harm the muscle fibers underneath if not addressed. If left to fester the muscle will need to be completely removed. Your skin and bones are like the framing and structural integrity of your house and the paint is the skin.

When the paint has cracked and peeled, water has access to the bare and exposed wood underneath. With enough sun and water exposure the wood will expand and retract causing further failure. If left wet long enough, wood rot will definitely set in. It can be covered but it will continue to spread. 

Proper prep work in my opinion is about never allowing water to enter the ‘skin’. Protect the clients asset, protect their house, give them piece of mind for their home. Or not, I’m not your boss.