In My Experience: Training Painters on Applicators
22 August, 2022
I feel the best way of training people is to show them first and then let them do it. First off you want to start with training on prep, because what your finish is going to look like is all in your prep. If you do a bad prep job, you’re going to have a bad finish.
If someone hasn’t painted before, first I show them how to hold an applicator; then I show them how to apply to the wall. Just as with me when I got started, most everybody’s downfall is not putting enough paint on a brush. You don’t want to put too much paint on a brush, but you’ve got to have enough, so getting enough paint on a brush is the key thing in the brushing.
I start trainees on smaller walls before I put them on a bigger wall, just because you have to keep the paint wet and consistent throughout rolling a wall. When you do a bigger wall, you have to be a little faster at it and usually newer painters are slower. If it’s a tall wall, you’ll roll from the top to the bottom, but you’ll roll halfway down and dip your roller again to roll the bottom half. If you don’t feather it in, you’ll see a stopping point, and that’s where people get frustrated. So I figure that starting on smaller things is going to make somebody learn a lot faster and want to do the job correctly.
Currently, I have one apprentice who works for me. I started him right where I started years ago: first with prep, then on to a brush and roller. Prep is the foundation of a professional painting finish. Once I moved him over to applicators, I started him on small painting tasks, like spot-priming during the prep phase. Then, using a “stubby” or “shorty” trim brush, I got him painting trim, fascia boards, and door and window trims.
All my new painters start on exterior jobs first, then move to interior jobs. (It takes time to learn how to move on a jobsite and maintain cleanliness.) I also make sure to incorporate jobs that require back rolling while spraying. This is an excellent way to teach them what back rolling is and why it’s necessary, and also how to use a roller in an environment where there is more room for error. It also gives me the opportunity to work beside them and offer feedback.
The first technique I teach is how to use the roller, indicating the appropriate sizes for each area and the other tools that are part of painting with a roller.
I show them the different types of paints and their behavior with the rolling procedure, and the way recommended by my experience of how to obtain a better result painting with a roller.
After this, I show them how to use the brush for the different cuts. It is a little more complicated to get a perfect cut; most of us, when first learning, put a lot of pressure on the brush and this means that the lines do not remain correct. But I teach them to have confidence with any type of brush to achieve incredible results and correct that fault that we all have. An important thing to teach is that each brush is different and that they should not use only one for all jobs. Finally, when each job is finished, I teach them the importance of maintenance of the tools, because this gives us the security that the tools will last longer.