COP: Window Sash Preparation Double-Hung With Divided Lites

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Craftsman Operating Procedures (COPs), developed by the PDCA Craftsmanship Forum, establish a benchmark for how painting is done at a craftsman level, so that individual painting companies can customize them for their own brand of craftsmanship. From job site setup to painting trim and cleanup and closeout, COPs constitute a ready-made tool to help you standardize craftsmanship practices within your painting company. The COPs also help to train employees in consistently delivering the quality that you promise your clients:

Each month APC will highlight a new COP. This month is Window Sash Preparation – Double-Hung with Divided Lites:

  • Use a very sharp blade to scrape paint, which increases appearance quality and production speed.
  • Shave paint ridges, existing drips, runs or sags down with a scraper. This will minimize the time needed for feather sanding and patching.
  • Whenever sanding near glass, great care should be taken to avoid scratching the glass. Use your fingers as a buffer between glass and any sanding products to prevent scratching glass. If you fold a sheet of sandpaper, always have the folded edge of sandpaper closest to the glass surface without touching it.
  • Rags or stir sticks may be wedged into open gaps between sashes and the head frame or sill to prevent dust or chips from getting inside the building.
  • A razor scraper may be used to remove wet paint or primer from glass as you are working. It may be easier to remove wet paint on the glass immediately than to risk damaging your finish or new glazing compound by removing hardened paint from glass at a later time.
  • To cut a line in paint, sealant or adhesive that is to be removed from glass, use the pick on a 5-in-1. Do not use a utility knife, because the sharp blade will easily cut into and damage the wood.
  • A high-quality ¼-inch chisel may be used to remove factory adhesives and sealants.
  • Remove factory adhesives/sealants when the window is not exposed to sunlight; this will make it much easier to remove the adhesive. When the adhesive is heated by the sun, it gets gummy and is much more difficult to remove.
  • Check all interior window surfaces for misapplied exterior paint (primer).
  • To slide a sash up or down, use a 5-in-1 to push on a wood surface that has a wet coating.
  • If an upper sash is painted shut, a bender pad may be used to paint the exterior meeting rail of the lower sash from the inside.
  • Be aware that damaged or nicked razor blades will scratch glass.
  • There are specialized tools with serrated edges designed to break the paint seal between the sash and the window frame.
  • Prime muntin bars before applying glazing compound so the moisture from the glazing compound does not migrate into the wood too quickly. This would cause the glazing compound to fail prematurely.
  • When moving the sashes, remember to return locks to the locked position so the meeting rails are not damaged when they pass each other.
  • After oil-based glazing has been applied, it can be smoothed out with a clean dust brush to help seal with glass and remove debris.
  • To remove glazing compound oil off of the glass, whiting powder may be rubbed on the glass in lieu of using razor blades. APC

A series of 20 Residential Interior COPs and a series of 25 Residential Exterior COPs can be purchased from PDCA’s online store. Visit for more information.

I talk to many painters who say they are always struggling to find work, but they refuse to put themselves out there and meet new people. These are the same people who tell me they don’t have much money to spend on marketing. Go figure.

Your goal as a business owner should be to get to a point where all your work comes from repeat and referral customers. It’s the best business in the business. How do you make that happen? It’s all about networking.

The best part about networking is it costs very little. Most of the cost is in the time you put into making connections. You might pay for a breakfast or lunch here and there, but hey, you have to eat anyway, right? Ultimately, you want to reach a point where the only money you spend on advertising is for community awareness.

Everyone needs painting work done. Or they know someone who does at some point. The more people you know, the more your business will grow. Whether you’re a startup or have been in business for years, choosing not to network makes you invisible in your community and around fellow small-business owners. Chances are you’re losing jobs to people who are meeting people and making contacts.

Networking is important because people buy from those they know, like and trust. Anyone who has heard me speak or read my articles knows how I feel about becoming the most likable and trustworthy choice. You can’t be successful without it.

Attend networking functions. These can include chamber of commerce mixers or BNI meetings. Go to to find out what kind of networking groups are available in your area, or get involved in a community service group you feel good about supporting such as Kiwanis, Lions or Jaycees.

One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and my business was joining Toastmasters International. Toastmasters is an organization designed to help attendees become better speakers and leaders. It is open to anyone who wants to join. Originally, I joined to become better at communicating with my customers. The first time I walked into a meeting, I was shocked to see two other painting contractors who were already members.

I have grown far better at articulating why we are the best choice to paint a prospect’s home. I’ve also picked up quite a few jobs from fellow Toastmaster members, as well as their friends and families.

Attending networking gatherings creates immediate visibility for you and your business. That’s vital to your success, especially in an overpopulated industry like painting. Put a face to your business by letting people get to know you in social situations, and give yourself a presence outside your normal circles. You get an opportunity to give people a chance to know who you are, so they are more likely to hire and refer business to you.

Here are five things you can do to ensure you get the most from networking events:

  • Be genuine and authentic. Networking conversations can go downhill quickly if other people can tell you are interested only in selling painting jobs. That’s not appropriate in networking. Take a genuine interest in people and be respectful. Remember, you can learn a great deal from each person you meet.
  • Arrive early. If you arrive before everyone else, you are assured the maximum opportunity to meet everyone.
  • Be welcoming. Don't be afraid to approach people you don't know. Make sure to shake hands and make eye contact with people when introduced, or when you introduce yourself. Don’t look away as if you are looking for someone more interesting to talk with for the first two or three minutes of your conversation. This is considered rude.
  • Bring plenty of business cards. One important element to networking is how people will contact you. If you collect a lot of cards, it can get confusing whom you talked with and what you talked about. Write something about your conversation on the back of each card and bring it up in your second conversation when you follow up.
  • Find common ground. It is a proven fact that people most enjoy the company of other people who are like-minded. Moreover, common interests are a surefire incentive to create interaction and make it easier for people to come together and connect.

Remember, take the initiative. Do not wait for people to come to you. Never feel inferior to others no matter where you are, even if they have more experience than you. They are still human and care about meeting, connecting and growing their business, like you.

So, be proud of your accomplishments. Realize you deserve to be in the networking mix. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a business. It takes time and a desire to succeed. The willingness to put yourself out there so people can get to know you better as a person and as a painter is vital to your success in 2012. APC

Terry Begue is the owner of Begue Painting Inc., and author of the popular e-book The Wealthy House Painter’s Guide to Having it All. He’s been a successful housepainter and enjoys helping others start their own successful painting businesses too. Discover more at


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