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A month in the life of kitchen painters

Listed under Blog Posted Aug 19 2020

August is historically a busy month for booking hand painted kitchens. Most people have time to sit back and plan home-based projects for the next few months leading up to Christmas. But what about this year, with 2020 Covid calling? What is the new normal looking like? Here is a small insight in a month in the life of kitchen painters at Traditional Painter.

Social distancing and keeping each other safe

Between us, we put together a Covid-19 working policy in June to ensure both our clients and our painters can be as safe as possible while kitchens are being painted. As we went through the potential issues, it did seem daunting at the beginning. It came down to adding in new steps to the routine, such as cleaning down surfaces every morning. And how to work it with bathroom facilities. And communicating without physical contact. But over time the potential obstacles have worked themselves out. A big thanks to the cooperation of our clients, leaving their kitchens clean and empty, respecting our space and settling up electronically.

This month is hot, too hot to paint

With temperatures in the mid 30’s, paint is likely to dry fast. Struggling home decorators have asked, how do you avoid brush marks, fatty edges and overlaps in the middle of door panels?

First advice is do not be tempted to over dilute your paint. This accelerates drying. There is a sweet spot, about 5% water in water based paints. And mix it thoroughly.

On the forum, Neil Callender, Traditional Painter for Wiltshire and Hants advised a DIY painter trying to use Farrow and Ball paint:

When using F&B in this heat you will need to do two things.
First thing, add some water to it, it needs thinning down, not a lot of water but enough to help it flow, a bit of trial and error to get it right.

Second thing to do is to get yourself a new lint free rag, wet it with cold water then wring out. Now with the damp ( not wet ) cloth, wipe over the surface you are going to paint then get the paint on, no hanging around!!

More summer painting tips

The key is not to hang around. Don’t dilly dally. Always paint the fiddly parts first. Eg tackle the mouldings or recessed edges on panelled doors before painting the wide open spaces. When the paint is on the surface, lay it off to the best of your ability with single light strokes. If you need help with an extra light touch, check out Royal and Langnickel brushes from a recent article. Definitely don’t stop midway through a panel to admire the finish. Keep going till you have reached a natural end. Mark Nash demonstrates painting perfectly in any temperature.

Erecta Rack

Years ago there was little in the way of racking and stacking for kitchen doors, unless you made your own. In clients’ homes, I used to get by, stacking doors like a domino/concertina. It was effective and took up little space, but nothing beats an Erecta rack. Many Traditional Painter members now have 2 or 3 of these each. This is one of Lee Simone’s erecta racks in action. He takes his rack with him painting kitchens all over Yorkshire.

Erecta rack Yorkshire
30 doors and drawers neatly stacked and drying, leaving your kitchen usable in the evenings.

Mark of Distinction

Traditional Painter Mark and Hayley Roberts paint kitchens the NW, from Chester through to the Wirral and from Wrexham across to Anglesey. They recently set out their stall for 2020 and beyond, launching “Mark of Distinction“. Building on a successful kitchen painting business launched in 2010, the order books are full and the work vehicle is as immaculate as ever. The mark of a truly conscientious craftsman is of course opening the back door of a van and seeing an immaculate interior too. Check.

Painting outsides in August

It is very unusual for Traditional Painter members to be found working outside. There aren’t too many open air kitchens in the UK. However one of Richard Willott’s specialities is restoring oak doors.

oak door restoration
Varnish stripper, sanding, care and attention required

East Anglian oak has never looked better.

oak door restoration
An entrance to be proud of.

Richard explains his work process here.

Christchurch kitchens

Mark Nash has probably painted more Hand Made Kitchens from Christchurch than anyone. He loves transforming the tulipwood and MDF doors and frames into a classic centrepiece of the home.

Mark Nash Christchurch kitchen

Mark and Sam Nash hand painted Christchurch Kitchens’ Esher showroom, all 85 doors of it. Since then, Mark has maintained their showroom. He worked out he has also since completed well over 100 of these kitchens for private clients.

Mark and other Traditional Painters around the country are seeing a rise in demand for Christchurch kitchens, slowly creeping North. Worth checking out the manufacturer, if your existing kitchen really is on its way out.

Very few real world kitchens come close to the scale of the showroom, however, regardless of size and location, our members guarantee a consistent “showroom quality / near spray quality painted finish” on a Christchurch kitchen.

What is next?

Whilst there has been a significant uptick for kitchen painting, from zero for months to I need my kitchen painting now… we aren’t taking anything for granted. The downside of sudden unleashed demand is that there can be a bottleneck where other trades are involved. Down the line every tiler, fitter and builder is trying to get back in their own swing too. Start dates therefore aren’t quite so easy to nail down. But once the kitchen painting is underway, rest assured with us, it is non-stop through to completion.

The shadow of future random lockdowns and quarantines is also real, and it is easy to say, Covid won’t happen to me, but who knows. Therefore, we anticipate a few months still of uncertainty, and we will keep communicating with our clients, with a plan B in case. Thanks for reading a month in the life of kitchen painters at Traditional Painter.

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