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Erick T. Gatcomb


Overcoming Neglect and Poor Timing to Successfully Complete the Job

Some jobs are a challenge because of the nature of the work involved. Others are a challenge simply because poor timing makes it tough to put in the amount of effort required. This residential paint job in Seal Harbor, Maine, proved to be problematic for both of these reasons.

Wet weather and all-around bad timing threatened to derail this much-needed paint job.

The call came to put several much-needed coats of paint on this badly peeling home while the painting contractor already had a full schedule of jobs to complete. Squeezing a particularly challenging exterior job would have been easier if the overly wet Maine weather wasn’t determined to throw continual delays into the schedule.

Interior walls showing 50 years of nicotine and seriously dated paint demanded an update.

The new homeowners were in dire need of help. The previous owner was a three-pack-a-day smoker, so all interior walls and cabinets were covered in more than 50 years of nicotine. Having been neglected for several decades, the exterior paint was peeling off in sheets. Although the original 1960s Masonite siding—complete with metal corners—wasn’t in particularly bad shape structurally, there were several clapboards and pieces of fascia that were simply rotted beyond repair that demanded to be replaced.

Original paint was peeling in sheets from the 1960s Masonite siding, and several rotted clapboards and pieces of fascia had to be replaced to complete this job.

The full job included replacing clapboards and trim on the exterior, as well as several woodworking projects on the interior, including replacing trim, shaving window casings and removing some decorative wooden cabinetry and trim. The contractor performed a thorough cleaning of the interior to remove the five decades of nicotine, and then primed everything with Zinsser’s B-I-N.

Because this job arose during such a busy time for the company, company president Erick Gatcomb had only two guys on the job full-time, with two other employees helping part-time. At first, Gatcomb spent much of his time working on this challenging project, when not bidding jobs or doing paperwork. Unexpectedly, however, Gatcomb was faced with a family emergency; he found himself spending more time beside his father’s deathbed than on the job.

Gatcomb turned to Dwight, his project manager, to take charge of the job. This change of command only proved the value of having a trusted second in command. “I knew he would ensure everything went fluidly,” Gatcomb says of his project manager. “And he didn’t let me down.”



Winner Date: Apr 26, 2017