Emulsions – Touching up

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In todays contractual world we find only too often that the decorating operation is carried out long before it should be. We all know that the finishing trades are having to work side by side because time schedules for completing contracts have been drastically reduced. Many site managers and their superiors think that when a coat of paint goes on they are nearing the end of the contract, but we all know how untrue this  is. This has resulted in the decorating trade being called in far too early. We know many share this view but cannot do anything but agree to the instructions by those who ultimately pay the bill. It is inevitable that when painters are working around other trades, damage to finished work will occur.
On many sites it seems to be the norm that if a door or any other fitting is damaged then the appropriate tradesman goes back and is paid for the additional costs incurred. When it comes to decorating, many expect the painters to go back to repair damaged work at their expense. This is unreasonable because it is generally poor site management and enforced working conditions that caused it in the first place.With regard to ‘touching up’ there are several aspects that should be considered. These are the specification, grade and type of emulsion, the method of application and finally the manner in which the ‘touching up’ is carried out.
Specifications, as we are only too aware, are always minimal and, depending on the grade and type of product being used, can consist of either one sealer and/or one finishing material. In the majority of cases it is reasonable to assume application is generally by roller.
However for large areas of work, application is often by spray, airless or HVLP units.
While either method of application produces a satisfactory finish, an initial problem can occur when ‘cutting in’ by brush around the ceiling line , light fixtures and wall perimeters. Normally a three or four inch brush is used and the material is applied in a band of two to five inches. This is often left to dry before the remaining areas are filled in.
As a result we have two different finishes on one surface. The area applied by brush can be slightly heavy due to the operator ‘laying on’ the material to obtain maximum obliteration, resulting in the finish being ropey with tramlines. The other areas will appear slightly mottled or textured depending on the method of application i.e. spray or roller.
Spray application generally produces an even finish and, depending on the type of material and skill of the operator, a satisfactory finish can be produced in a minimum number of coats. Roller application however can cause problems due to the different types of roller sleeves available. The finish produced can vary from a fine rippled effect to a heavy texture. The viscosity of the paint being used also has a direct bearing on the appearance of the finished film.
To try to limit the variations between the cutting in and the roller application it is much preferred that the two coats of paint are still wet thereby enabling a degree of blending to take place.
Damage to the finished paint surface is generally surface marking and for speed and economy the painter endeavours to cover in one coat, often applying too thick a film to achieve maximum coverage. Where damage to the surface necessitates making good with fine gypsum plaster these areas when ‘touched in’ are often visible because the texture and porosity are different to the adjacent surface. The light reflection off the different
surfaces instantly highlights the ‘touching up’. In addition to this, material from a different product batch is often used and because of a slight variance in batch to batch colour matching blending does not take place. It should be recognised that with colours supplied through a tinting system, variation can occur – some manufacturers do state that each tin tinted should be considered to be a different batch. In addition to these two aspects areas of ‘touching up’ can also appear sheary. Colour can also play a major part as to whether or not these repaired areas will be seen with white and very pastel tints being less noticeable than the medium to dark shades. These problems can occur even though material from the same batch has been used for ‘touching up’. The conclusion therefore is that no one should expect areas that have been damaged to be readily ‘touched up’ and if this operation is necessary then these areas should be re-coated using the same method as the original coats that were applied. At least there may be a better chance that these areas will be less noticeable.

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