Mark Roberts Traditional Painter Q&A
I asked Mark Roberts Traditional Painter, a few questions in order to provide some background to how he arrived at this point in his career.
What part of the UK do you cover for Traditional Painter?
N Cheshire, The Wirral, Merseyside & North Wales down to Newtown
At what age did you first wield a paint brush for money? And for how much?
I was age 16, it was a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) and pay was £25 per week, the year was 1983.
Can you briefly outline your formal training?
Initially 6 months YTS, then a full apprenticeship with Tipton & Griffiths, Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Who do you consider your “mentor” in your early years, and why? (Name names!)
As a large company it was mostly broken up into small groups, I spent most of my time under the wing of head foreman Dave Lewis, a proper firms man who treated everyone fairly and had the client on board from day one. He was great at man management.
What brand paint were you predominantly using on woodwork when you started out?
Permoglaze was the order of the day back then. I can remember the gaffer trying to bring in international gloss a few times but the men hated it with a passion.
And now, what would you use as your best shot on a front door?
Sikkens XD, lovely high shine finish!
What was the most unpleasant decorating job you ever did? (Don’t name names!)
A large well used commercial kitchen. Lots of scrubbing involved and got covered in grime! Plus the odd pub cellar back in the day. Some of these jobs were pretty soul destroying.
Tell us briefly about a job that you think encapsulates your craft skills?
I couldn’t put it down to one particular job, all I can say is once I am involved in a project it gets my full attention. I enjoy putting my 30+ years experience to good use, ensuring the work gets done to the highest possible standard.
Name one aspect of the decorating trade today that makes you cringe?
The handymen and amateurs who try to pass themselves off as bonafide painters & decorators. Just because you can swing a 2″ brush, it doesn’t make you a decorator!
Name one aspect of decorating that is infinitely better than when you first started out.
I’m loving the evolution of water based paints over the last few years. I have totally embraced it and think it adds to a much better all round working environment.
If a young person said they wanted to be a painter, what would your advice be?
Go for it! Get the proper training, be passionate about the trade, and in time you will eek out a good living for yourself with lots of job satisfaction.
What decorating trend do you hope never makes a comeback?
RIP artex! Plus the half and half wallpaper split with a border, popular in the 90’s, was never a good look!
Based on your experience, is there a “most popular colour” for hand-painted kitchen cabinets?
For small to medium kitchens the many variations of ‘Off White’ that F&B and Little Green have on offer tend to be the most popular and do look well! With large kitchens especially with an island I have used 2-3 colour combos with great success. It has the ability to emphasise focal points and throw back other features like wall cupboards.
Is your own home decorated to the nth degree, or is it a case of cobbler’s shoes?
Yes it is in good nick, I would find it odd to not practice what I preach.
Outside of work, what are you working on at the moment?
As a family we are big fans of rugby league. My son plays and we are avid supporters of our local club – North Wales Crusaders. In between that I like to get out on the mountain bike and head for the hills, luckily for me we have plenty of them around here!
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