Most of the industrial painting work done by Painters USA involves cleaning and prepping large surface areas and then painting them a single color, usually done with spraying equipment for maximum coverage in minimal time. It’s important facility maintenance work, and the outcome is always a structural and aesthetic improvement.
Yet we also do special painting requests from clients. This is the story of one of those projects:
- A large US flag and a smiley face with a safety message painted on an exterior, corrugated wall.
- The work was completed during a plant shutdown.
- The client is a vertically integrated, high-value steel manufacturing company in the Midwest and the largest producer in North America of a specialized steel product.
Preparation for painting on exterior wall
Proud to be in the USA
One of the client’s requests was to refresh a giant flag painted previously on their corrugated metal building. When the company CEO toured the facility, he liked the flag so much, he asked for another one.
Field Operations Supervisor Jose Lemus, team leader on the project, describes it this way:
“There was another US flag that was painted previously on the opposite side of the facility and management wanted us to use those same dimensions. We realized quickly that this was not going to work because the area where we had to fit the new flag was smaller and there was a building sign number that would be inside the flag.”
The crew had to resize the new flag so it would match dimensionally with the original one.
Weather and surface conditions
Other challenges the crew had to plan for were the weather and the corrugated surface of this exterior painting project, which needed both aesthetic appeal and durable performance.
Painting a corrugated surface
According to Jose,
“This was not a flat wall but corrugated wall paneling which made it challenging to get straight, sharp cut lines. We achieved this by making a 24” cutout of the stars, tracing them onto the wall, and then masking the stars along with the 13 stripes.”
Dealing with weather on exterior projects
Jose said that after doing the layout of the stars, it rained twice, washing off the chalk lines. In addition to the weather and uneven surface:
“The plant was in a shutdown so that meant there were different plant managers and contractors that would be watching us and that added to the pressure of making everything look perfect.”
Painters USA crews are always up to challenges, however, and this crew liked that it was something different than the ordinary projects they work on.
Special safety reminder for employees
About the smiley face, we could also call it a safety face, as the accompanying message is a reminder to have a safe day, because in industrial settings, a safe day is a good day. Jose explains,
“The corrugated surface made it difficult to get the smiley face to look straight. The eyes are oval-shaped, and it looked either longer on one side or too narrow or too wide, but we finally got the smile correct after a few tries.”
For Jose and the rest of the team, it was something they hadn’t done before. While at times it felt like they were not going to be able to meet the shutdown goals of the client, it also was very satisfying in the end when their efforts paid off and the deadline was met.
Scope of project
- Exterior preparation and painting of the American flag and a smiley face.
- Power washing to clean and prepare the exterior surface.
- Planning dimensions and layout of the flag and the smiley face.
- Priming the surface with epoxy mastic primer for durability.
- Taping flag lines and stenciling stars, then painting with two coats of industrial urethane. enamel in, of course, the appropriate shades of red, white, and blue.
- Painting a smiley face with two coats of industrial urethane enamel in, of course, the appropriate shade of bright yellow, which was a safety yellow.
- Stencil lettering of "Have a safe day."
- Cleaning up to return the area to service.
Sales Representative RIch Schutt says the client was very pleased with the results. He credits the talented crew for doing a fantastic job, and was happy to help his customer out.
Can we paint something special for your company?
Painters USA wouldn’t claim to be artistic mural painters, but we have done some creative work, usually with an underlying purpose in mind. A freshly painted wall in a commercial or industrial building creates a perfect canvas for adding a creative flourish, good for both fun and function.
If this project inspires you, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss or get an estimate for your idea!