June 19

Commercial Painting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Commercial Painting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Hire a Professional to Paint Your Commercial Property

If you own or manage a commercial property, you know how important it is to maintain it properly. The appearance of your business is often a customer’s first impression. If the interior or exterior walls and trim paint is peeling, fading or the color is outdated, visitors may think you don’t care enough to present a clean, modern front.

The solution to that, of course, is to get a fresh coat of paint! You may be considering doing the job yourself or hiring a friend or family member to save some money. Before deciding on that, you need to know the trade-offs of doing so versus hiring a professional. We’ve listed three main mistakes that can occur when you DON’T hire a professional for your commercial painting project.

1. Failing to Protect the Area

commercial painting mistakes

Painting involves more than buying a can of paint, a brush and roller. When you’re painting an office or store, you probably won’t close your business during the process. That means that the painting will be done in sections, or one room or area at a time.

You’ll need to minimize disruption to others during the painting process. Cordoning off the area will help control noise and fumes. You’ll need to move furnishings to a location outside the painting area, if possible. Items that cannot be moved, like heavy machinery or furniture, should be covered with tarps so that paint doesn’t get on them. Cover carpeting and floors with drop cloths. Plastic tarps should never be used on floors, since they can be slippery and cause accidents.

Remove electrical outlet and switch covers. If you’re painting the ceiling, you’ll need to protect any fans or lights. Remove ceiling fan blades and slide the cover plates down. If your ceiling has recessed lighting, remove the bulbs and release the outer trim. If the room is entirely lit by recessed lighting, you’ll need to set up temporary work lights.

Finally, tape off any trim, hardware or other items that will not be painted. Even the steadiest of hands can’t avoid slips. Don’t just use masking or duct tape; painter’s tape is more reliable. Make sure that you seal the tape tightly around baseboards and windows to prevent bleeding. Remove the tape before the paint dries completely. If you wait, the dried paint might peel off. Cover door knobs with plastic bags.

2. Ignoring Proper Prep

commercial painting mistakes

You can’t just slap paint on a wall that isn’t properly prepped if you want the results to look good and last long.

If there is wallpaper on the wall, it will need to be completely removed using the proper tools, and any paste or glue residue cleaned off.

Any flaking paint will need to be scraped off. If the facility was built before 1978, the paint may contain lead. There are kits available to test for this; if there is lead-based paint, you should take precautionary measures before disturbing the paint to avoid contamination and health issues. Better yet, hire a professional experienced in dealing with lead-based paint.

You’ll need to patch holes in the wall. Small holes, like those from nails, can be repaired by spackling them, then smoothing it with a putty knife and allowing to dry. Larger holes may need drywall repair.

If there are rough areas on the surface, you may need to sand it down. If the area is large, an industrial sander can expedite the process.

Once the wall surface is completely smooth, you then need to clean it. You’d be surprised how dust can negatively impact the finished product. Use a vacuum along baseboards and moldings. If your walls have grease or oil residue on them, wash them with TSP (trisodium phosphate) and rinse with warm water. If there is no oil or grease, simply wipe the walls down with a sponge and warm water. Allow the surface to dry completely

Finally, apply primer to the clean, dry surface. Some paints today are advertised as containing paint and primer in one. These may be fine for surfaces that have already been painted. However, if you’re painting brand new drywall or wood, primer will help the paint better adhere to the surface. It’s also important when painting over a darker color or there are stains on the wall that can’t be removed.

3. Using the Wrong Paint and Tools


When buying paint, don’t go for the cheap stuff. Your results will reflect it. You may need more paint to completely cover the surface, or you may have streaks or bleeding. Cheaper paint isn’t as durable, so it will chip or fade sooner than the premium paints.

Many amateurs don’t know one type of paint from another. If the surface was painted with an oil-based paint, trying to cover it with a latex paint will result in cracking and peeling. The oil-based surface will need complete sanding before applying the latex paint.

Make sure you read the label of the paint for proper usage. Some paints can be used for both interiors and exteriors, but some are specifically made for one or the other.

common commercial painting mistakes

Brushes and Rollers

There are times when it’s best to use a brush, and times when a roller works better. Painting with a roller is faster, but you can’t get close enough to corners and edges without using a brush. It’s important to use high quality brushes and rollers. Otherwise, brush bristles may fall out into the painted surface or the roller fails to spread paint evenly.

You also need to know which type of brush or roller to use for the type of paint. There are 2 types of brushes and rollers, synthetic and natural. Their composition and usage are:

  • Paint brushes
  • Synthetic brushes are made from nylon, polyester or a combination. If you’re using latex paint, always use synthetic brushes.
  • Natural bristles are made with animal hair. They work best with oil-based or alkyd paints
  • Rollers
  • Synthetic rollers are made of nylon, polyester or a combination. They are used for latex and water-based paints.
  • Natural roller materials are mohair or lambswool and work best with oil or alkyd paints.

Don’t Just Hire any Professional

When you decide to let the professionals handle your commercial paint project, you can avoid all these mistakes. But it’s important to hire the RIGHT professional. There are lots of painting companies available in the Silicon Valley area. How will you know if you are getting the best? Here are some suggestions on finding a reputable painting professional you can trust to deliver the best results:

  • Insured and bonded. Accidents happen. If the company isn’t insured, you will be liable for any injuries or damage.
  • Established business. Startup businesses may deserve a chance to prove themselves, but do you really want to take that risk? Choose a professional painting company who’s been in business for some time. Experience and knowledge is important.
  • Reviews. Check out the review sites to see what customers are saying about the company and their services. Sites like Angie's List, Google, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Yahoo are some sources. Check out their status on the Better Business Bureau site.
  • References. Ask the companies for a list of customers and their contact information. Then contact to ask about their satisfaction on the results. Ask questions related to communication, responsiveness, cleanliness, quality, etc.

The Painting Pros – for the Best Professional Commercial Paint Job

The Painting Pros has been in business for over 40 years, painting commercial properties in the Silicon Valley. We strive to give all our customers outstanding quality and customer service. We’re not satisfied until you say it’s right.

Cleve Dayton, founder and owner, is an established member of the community. He’s an active member of the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; he was President of the Silicon Valley PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) from 2016-2017 and has served on the Painting and Decorating Contractors of California Board of Directors.

You can look at our ratings and customer reviews on the various sites. We are an accredited BBB business with an A+ rating. We’ll gladly give you references of other commercial customers to contact.

We greatly value our customers and strive to continuously improve our service. We have earned the prestigious Diamond Certified Award. This achievement was the result of surveying a random sample of typically 400 past customers. We qualified for the award by receiving a score of 90% or above in quality and expertise.

The Painting Pros always employs safe and environmentally responsible practices and procedures. We were the first painting company in Silicon Valley to be “certified green” by Green America. We are recognized as a green business by both the Green Business Engagement National Network and the Santa Clara County Green Business Program.

Avoid the mistakes that amateurs make by hiring The Painting Pros, Inc. to paint your commercial property.


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