As you tackle your employee training and customer relations, it’s important to outline what you value to see the most success. We recently had a conversation with Nick Slavik, host of Ask-A-Painter Live, and he explained the five core values he uses in his company. These are the kind of values that are adaptable to any sort of business, especially a painting business.
Gain and Maintain Trust
In a business, you have to do certain things initially gain trust. Then, you must maintain without giving any sort of indication people cannot trust you. To keep track of this value, Nick asks his employees if their coworkers trust them and if they delivered what was promised to clients.
You need to constantly be improving, and Nick Slavik makes it his goal to make the improvement curve happen faster. He makes sure employees master their skills and get better every day. He asks if employees became a better painter and a better leader to promote this value.
Quality Always Wins
Maintaining the highest level of quality in your work is always the way to see the most success. Nick asks his employees if they’ve maintained the quality standard of company and if they’re doing work that could win a national award.
One of the most important parts of Nick’s business, this value comes directly from a navy seal, stating that the more disciplined you are, the more freedom you will create for yourself.
In the painting industry, you need to hustle and put in quality hard work. If you’re not producing something great in your extra time, you need to be smarter about what you’re doing.
You know we painted our front door a new color back when we painted our brick house white in October, and I even mentioned back in that post that I used a new-ish specialty paint that’s made for front doors. It’s called Grand Entrance by Benjamin Moore and the paint color is Tranquility also by Benjamin Moore, and it can either be made in a satin base or a super hyper glossy mirror finish base.
Based on all of those excited adjectives I used to describe the latter option, it should be of no surprise to you that I jumped at the chance to buy and try “high gloss” for the first time.
Photos don’t do it justice. I mean the picture above is nice, but you don’t get the shiny and luxe effect at all (which is especially awesome in contrast to the super matte paint that we used on our bricks).
This paint is so shiny, you can see your reflection in it. Basically Cardi B would scream MONEY if she saw it. It’s amazing and EVEN THE FED-EX GUY NOTICED AND SAID IT’S SUPER COOL AND RAN HIS HANDS ACROSS IT LIKE A DOOR PAINT AD! (Have I mentioned that I paid for this and it’s not sponsored or anything? I’m just really into this stuff).
In the picture below you can kind of see how glossy and mirror-like the finish is. See how my fingers are reflected in the paint? They would’t do that with semi gloss paint, which is what’s typically used for interior and exterior doors.
Not only did I take this paint for a test drive on both sides of our front door, I’ve slowly been working my way around the rest of the house, repainting all of the exterior doors. And after so much door painting (I’ve done four doors and counting in this same color with this same product) I have a bunch of tips & tricks to share, as well as a video of the process. Videos always seem to help me when I’m looking for a tutorial online – and best of all, it captures the shine on the door in a way that these photos don’t.
You can kind of see the light gleaming off the right side of the door panel above the handle in the photo above, but again, the glossiness is kinda lost in these pics, so make sure you watch the video. That’s where these doors really shine. Har har.
There’s actually a super premium brand of paint called Fine Paints of Europe that costs $110 to $150 FOR A QUART OF PAINT, which sounds insane (is it made of GOLD?! Will it FOLD YOUR LAUNDRY?!) but it does look amazing. Super shiny. I just wasn’t ready to make it rain that hard with my painting budget, so I thought I’d try Grand Entrance, which it’s basically Benjamin Moore’s take on that same look, and it runs $44 a quart.
That’s still a TON OF MONEY FOR A QUART, but I still have about 1/4 of the quart left and I’ve painted four doors (one on both sides, and the other three on one side since the other side of the door is staying white) so around $11 a door feels completely fine to me.
Ok, so that’s why I love it. Now let’s get into the HOW of applying it. I just need to stress something I have already said, but feel like I need to say again, with emphasis. It’s really great looking…. but you can mess it up, so you have to do it right. Or you’re not going to be shout-it-from-the-rooftops-happy with the results like I am right now. You might actually hate it and have to redo your door. So this is one of those prep-and-diligence-actually-matters projects!
To further explain what I’m getting at, let’s go back to that Fine Paints Of Europe brand for a second. My friend shelled out over $120 for a quart to paint her front door a glossy red color up in DC. And even hired a handyman to paint it for her so she’d get the best result… and it was bad. Like so bad he had to sand it off and repaint it with regular paint.
The paint itself wasn’t bad, but applying super high gloss paint is not for the faint of heart. It can magnify every last flaw on a door, so with improper prep, it can look battered and bruised and MUCH MORE dinged up than it did with regular old semi-gloss paint on it. You have to sand every last bump down before you paint, so that is lesson numero uno. Fill any crack. Sand any raised part. Scrub it down so it’s not covered with dirt or cobwebs. This paint shows no mercy if you skip that step.
After my friend had that experience, I got super wary of high gloss paint (literally every expert says it’s the hardest to use since it magnifies flaws) but something compelled me to give it a try when we painted the house white. I walked into the paint store and I just felt like I needed to try it because I knew it would look amazing next to the extra matte brick paint we chose. And I’m SO GLAD I went for it.
Here I am painting the kitchen door that leads out to the garage, which had been a lighter and more chalky blue, but with the foyer door repainted, I wanted the kitchen one to match and have that same high gloss texture (which also looks great next to the tumbled marble tile). P.S. I paint with my clothes inside out, hence the tags you see below.
As for WHAT to use to paint with this stuff, I used a brush on every single part of every single door that I painted. I know that sounds weird. You’ll be tempted to ask me if you should spray it or use a small foam roller for a better result. The answer is no, use a high quality 2″ angled brush (this is our favorite kind), which will leave some subtle brush strokes, which you can sort of see here…
… but you’re bound to end up with SOME sort of stippled texture from your roller or sprayer with high gloss paint that shows this much of everything, so the long smooth brush strokes are actually much more pleasing to the eye when it comes to a project like this. We love how ours turned out.
In fact, the pro painter who did our house’s brick exterior told me he only uses brushes for doors with high gloss paint. So there you go. Your girl $herdog & Lance The Pro Painter are Hashtag Team Brush for this project.
As for the process, when I’m painting any door with panels on it, I follow this order:
Paint the recessed areas first (in the direction of the arrows below)
Then I paint the raised panels (in the direction of the arrows below)
Then I tackle the large cross sections last (filling in the horizontal rails and vertical stiles in the direction of the arrows below)
If you want to see the process in action (and see the super shiny result much better than in a still photo), John shot a quick video of me putting the first coat of the very last door on my list:
NOTE: If you’re viewing this post in a reader, you may need to click through to see the video. You can also watch it here on YouTube.
Oh but one thing to note, if you’re using this on doors with glass windows, I’m a fan of the paint-on-the-window-and-razor-it-off-later method, but this paint dries as hard as a diamond. Like for real. It’s Housewives tagline would be: “Diamonds might be shiny and hard, and darling, so am I” (*spin to camera to reveal super glossy shine*). So my big tip is that scraping it after waiting too long is super difficult. It was dulling my new blades in about a minute. So if you get paint on the glass, don’t wait a week to scrape it off like I did – attack it within a day or two if you can.
You can see in the picture below that the door that leads to our garage used to be white when the house got painted. I’ll take a wider shot in the spring once the back yard doesn’t look all bleak and wintery, but it’s really nice to have a hit of shiny blue paint on that door, as well as on the french door that leads into the living room on the other side of the house.
Here’s that other back door up close, which is under our covered porch and leads to the living room.
So there ya go. I hope hearing about this paint is helpful, and the video demystifies how I tackle a project like this. Most of all, if you’re my friend or neighbor who is reading this, you are totally invited to come pet my front door like the Fed-Ex guy. It really is my happy place to sing this paint’s praises to anyone who will listen.
Can the colors, furnishings, and accessories that we choose for our home actually make us feel quantifiably happier? Today we dive into the science of joy and learn how some tried-and-true design tricks might actually be affecting our daily moods (and how to make tasks that we don’t love a little more enjoyable). We also pin down a few ways that we’ve unknowingly added joy to our house, and a few others that could still use some work. Plus, the lesson we learned from waiting too long to give up on a piece of furniture, and a big dollhouse fail.
That’s the Instagram photo above where many of you noticed that we had a new coffee table.
Here’s a better shot from the other side of the room, where you can see the X-base a little better (with those nice little nooks on each end to slide two white poufs from upstairs).
And here’s a closer photo where you can also see that the finish isn’t totally perfect, but it’s functioning just fine for our family (much better than our ottoman in those final days). And we’ll share all the details if we tile the top or refinish it in some other way.
I tried to dig up some photos of its deterioration (and the “dandruff” it left all over the house) but we apparently avoided capturing it – or at least vacuumed it up before taking photos. But here’s a random iPhone shot we took last year where you can kind of see the bare spots forming along the top where the faux leather had started to peel. And those white dots on the floor are all ottoman confetti.
Sherry also mentioned that headboard in our guest room, which is actually the BACK of a wicker headboard that we got on craigslist. Here’s a shot of it below, and you can read more about it in our second book, Lovable Livable Home 😉
Here’s a photo of the Sweet Shop in progress, and the dozens and dozens of little pieces we were tasked with turning into some semblance of a dollhouse-sized candy store. (Note the paper fan blades in the foreground that were meant to become a ceiling fan. Spoiler – that did not happen).
Like I said in the episode, I think Sherry did it a great job getting something together just in time for Christmas, and our daughter LOVES IT. As Sherry pointed out, it doesn’t look much like the picture on the box, though.
And here are the salt lamp nightlights that Sherry turns on every single day to add some glow around the house (we have three in the kitchen and one in each bedroom upstairs).
You can see Sherry’s big gleaming “brasshopper” (brass grasshopper figurine) in the photo below (and you can kinda see the little one that lives on our mantel at home in the second photo of this post).
Below is the Paymaster painting we bought from listener Vita who painted it while listening. And check out all of the round objects in our office too!
Sherry did a little hunting for some other unexpected or whimsical things that might make you smile: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13
And lastly, a big thank you to Annie Selke for sponsoring this episode. Their big Presidents’ Day sale kicks off this week on Thursday (Feb 14th, aka Valentine’s Day) and you can get 20% off basically the whole site! Check it out at annieselke.com/YHL.
The duplex kitchens are looking more and more like real kitchens, and they took an especially big leap forward this past weekend after we got all of the cabinet hardware installed. But drilling holes into new cabinets can be scary and there’s not a whole lot of room for error or do-overs. So unless you’re a fan of buying a whole new door or drawer front, it’s important that you get everything centered and level on the first try. No pressure, right?
Thankfully, after installing three kitchens-worth of pulls and knobs in the last year and a half, we’ve perfected our system. So here’s how you can keep things straight, centered, consistent throughout the entire kitchen, and bring down the fear-factor when drilling into your brand new (or freshly refinished/repainted) cabinets.
We even included a short video that’ll take you through each step (and show you a sneak peek at the wood kitchen side of the duplex), so let’s get started.
Installation Tools & Supplies
Here are the tools and supplies you’ll want to have on hand to help your installation go smoothly:
We made a start-to-finish video while installing one set of drawers so you can see the process in real time. We’ve also shown each step in photos below if you’d prefer to see the steps that way, but the video will give you a really complete view of what’s involved (and show you a sneak peek of the wood kitchen side of the duplex). Plus you can play Where’s Waldo and try to spot Sherry’s slippers somewhere in this video.
NOTE: If you’re viewing this in a feed reader you may need to click through to the original blog post see the video. You can also watch it here on YouTube.
Step 1: Mark Your Hardware Templates
The hardware templates are the real heroes of this project, so if you’re hesitating to spend the $10 on them – THEY ARE COMPLETELY WORTH IT. They’ll save you so much time and stress. They have holes for all of the standard handle spreads (ours were 4″) and lots of options for how far down from the cabinet top you may want them placed (we did a 2″ drop). If you’re doing knobs, you’ll just use the holes down the center at whatever drop you choose, which is also nice and handy to keep things consistent.
Once we’ve determined which holes will give us our desired handle placement, we use tape and a pen to mark them right on the template with a circle and a big arrow. There are a lot of holes in close proximity on these templates, and you don’t want to accidentally drill through the wrong one at any point, so whatever you have to do to idiot-proof the process is worth the few seconds it takes. This is what ours looks like after we’ve marked our chosen holes at the right spread (again, your pulls determine this – ours were 4″ pulls) and drop (remember we chose a 2″ drop for all of ours throughout the kitchen).
Step 2: Tape Off Your Cabinet Fronts
Before drilling, place painter’s tape roughly where you’re going to hang your hardware. This not only gives you a surface you can mark up without actually marking on your cabinets, it will also help prevent your cabinet finish from cracking or splitting as your drill into it. For efficiency, we like to tape off all of the drawers in one cabinet at the same time and work our way around the kitchen that way – just taking it one area at a time.
Step 3: Mark A Center Line On Each Front
This step is important, especially on stacks of drawers like this because you’ll really notice if one handle is even slightly off-center or not level with the others. So we like to take our time and really triple check ourselves.
First, measure the full width of your door. Even though ours is a 24″ base cabinet, the drawer fronts themselves are slightly smaller (23 7/8″).
Then do whatever math you need to do to figure out half of your drawer front measurement (ours is 11 15/16″ – or just one tiny tick mark inside the 12″ line). Once you’re certain of your center measurement, mark it on your blue tape – then double-check yourself by measuring again from the OTHER side of the drawer to make sure it’s the same on both sides.
I know that last step may seem like overkill, but we caught our own mistakes a couple of times during this installation (once you’re on your 20th drawer, 12 15/16″ starts to look a lot like 11 15/16″). So double-checking from the other side saved us more than once from some badly placed holes.
Once you’ve marked the center on each drawer (you may even want to do a quick visual confirmation that they seem to line up with one another) draw your marks a little bigger so they’ll be easier to see in the next step, and step back to make sure they all look lined up.
Step 4: Line Up Your Hardware Template
On your first drawer, rest the hardware template’s lip on the top of your drawer and then center it over the lines you just marked. This was a little easier with our old template (which was clear) but with enough squinting through those center holes on the template, we could see our premarked line on the blue tape behind it.
Once you’re sure you’ve got the template centered on your marked line AND evenly resting on the top of the drawer, we like to clamp ours in place so it doesn’t move during the next step.
Step 5: Drill Pilot Holes Through Your Hardware Template
Some people prefer to just mark their handle holes through their template with a pen (remember these are the holes in the template that you taped off with the arrow pointing at them), but we find that we’re able to get a much more precise hole if we drill directly through the hole in the template. You’ll need a pretty small drill bit to do this (ours was 5/64″) but you’d want to drill a small pilot hole to start each hole anyway (before moving onto the larger bit) so it’s nice to just do it through the template.
Assuming your cabinet hardware is like ours that screws on through the back of the drawer, you’ll want to make sure your pilot hole goes all the way through the drawer and pokes out the back. I show in the video how we tend to drill slowly as we go through the back to minimize any potential cracking on the backside of the drawer. You can also put more painter’s tape on the back of the drawer where your drill bit will poke through if you’re especially concerned about splintering on the back, but in most cases it will be covered by the screw head anyway.
Once the first drawer is done, we like to repeat Steps 4 and 5 (center your template, drill pilot holes) on the rest of the drawers in whatever cabinet we’re working on so that we don’t have to switch our our drill bit back and forth for each drawer. Bulking stuff this way makes you faster and gets you into a nice rhythm.
Step 6: Drill Your Final Holes
Once you’ve made all of your pilot holes, remove your hardware template (but not your tape!) and switch out your drill bit for a 3/16″ bit. The hardware template actually comes with one because it’s the standard size for most hardware screws. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure it creates a large enough hole for your screws. Then, carefully drill through your pilot holes with the larger bit – again being sure to go through the back of the door, but without too much force.
Once all of the larger holes are drilled, you can finally remove your tape.
Step 7: Attach Your Cabinet Hardware
Now you can screw your hardware onto each door or drawer front. Your screws will go through from the inside of the drawer, and I like to connect both ends before tightening each screw with my hands first.
Once all of my pulls are loosely attached, I go back with a regular screwdriver and tighten everything so it’s held firmly to the door. I suggest NOT using your power drill here because screwing too tightly could cause damage to the door or drawer.
Step 8: Clean Up & You’re Done!
The last thing you’ll want to do is break out your vacuum hose to suck up all of the drill shavings in the drawers, cabinets, and on the floor. But other than that, you’re all done. Well, or you move on and repeat these steps for the rest of your cabinets.
And I should note that the process works pretty much the same if you’re installing knobs or pulls on a door like the cabinet fronts under the sink. You just use the OTHER template included in the set. It’s designed to rest along the corner of your cabinet door like the one you see below:
So I hope that helps take some of the fear and guesswork out of installing your own cabinet hardware. We’ll never not wince a little when making holes in cabinet doors, but following these steps helped us knock out both duplex kitchens in less than two hours – without a single crooked or off-center handle!
And for everyone who wants to see the entire kitchen and hear a bunch of tips for installing Ikea cabinets, stay tuned for a post coming up where we talk more about the process as a whole. Since we’ve gotten lots of practice installing Ikea kitchens, we have some tricks we wanna pass along. In the meantime, here’s a previous post on installing Ikea cabinets that will give you some info.
Want more kitchen how-tos? Check out these posts below:
How do you decide how and when to give pay raises? We recently had a discussion with Jason Paris of Paris Painting who has found success promoting employees based on their problem-solving skills. He’s been able to create an efficient process, communicate how it works and regulate it objectively. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with Jason:
Being less ingrained in the norm of business allows for the ideation of new processes.
Pay raises should be focused on how you work together.
Start with standardized positions, but branch off when you get to mid-tier management.
Your crew must be willing to help your business succeed to make this system work.
Make sure your crew knows about the paths to success and how to progress in different areas.
If you want to elevate your employees, treat your company as a partnership with them.
On Feb. 7, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation (IMAGINE Act) to encourage investing in new techniques and materials, including paints and coatings, that would help to extend the life of critical public works that draw increasingly poor ratings for condition and performance. Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tina Smith (D-MN) have joined as cosponsors of the bill.
Companion legislation is expected to be introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.
ACA believes that by protecting the surfaces to which they are applied, paints and coatings will be a significant contributor to any effort to improve U.S. infrastructure. Many of the nation’s roads, rails and bridges are falling into disrepair, while important aspects of the aviation system are outdated and in need of expansion or renovation, and the waterway system is hampered by aging locks and decades-old infrastructure.
The IMAGINE Act would encourage the development of materials such as high-performance asphalt mixtures and concrete formulations, geo-synthetic materials, advanced alloys and metals, reinforced polymer composites, aggregate materials and advanced polymers.
The Senate bill, S. 403, would promote the use of advanced infrastructure materials, as outlined here.
Creation of an Interagency Innovative Materials Task Force
A Task Force would be created to assess existing standards and test methods for the use of innovative materials in infrastructure, identify key barriers in the standards area that inhibit broader market adoption, and develop new methods and protocols, as necessary, to better evaluate innovative materials. The Task Force would be chaired by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and bring together the Federal Highway Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other relevant agencies organizations.
The bill authorizes $8 million for the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to collaborate with relevant State and Tribal agencies and other stakeholders to research and develop innovative materials, prioritizing work targeting large span bridges, highway reconstruction and rehabilitation, rural roads, and coastal resiliency.
Innovative Bridge Program
The bill authorizes $65 million for the FHWA (FY 2020 to 2024) for a new grant program available for the design and installation of innovative materials in bridge projects. Special consideration would be given for “at-risk” coastal bridge projects, projects in rural areas prone to inland flooding, and bridge retrofits. Domestic sourcing and nontraditional production techniques would also be given preference.
Water Infrastructure Innovation Program
In addition, the bill authorizes $65 million for EPA (FY 2020 to 2024) for a new grant program available for the use of innovative materials in the design and installation of wastewater transport and treatment systems and drinking water treatment and distribution systems in small to medium-sized communities. Special consideration would be given to areas prone to saltwater intrusion or flooding.
Innovative Materials Hub
The Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with leaders of other agencies, would designate through a competitive selection process the development of innovative material hubs located throughout the United States to further drive research and development of different innovative materials for use in infrastructure projects.
This last provision was inspired by the success of communities of materials manufacturers that have leveraged their innovations and expertise to grow their industry.