Commercial Painters apply decorative and protective finishes. They prepare a variety of surfaces (wood, masonry, drywall, plaster, concrete, synthetics, stucco, and metal) prior to the application of materials such as paint, high performance coatings, waterproofing, fireproofing, varnish, shellac, wall coverings, and special decorative finishes. Commercial Painters are employed by construction companies, painting contractors, or building maintenance contractors. They work on projects such as building interiors, exteriors, residential high rises, and wall covering work. Some painters work for years on a single site; others may work for contractors that rarely work on the same site more than once.
Environmental concerns have encouraged a movement toward 100% solid materials (low or no VOCs). Commercial Painters may come in contact with hazardous materials such as isocyanates, free silica, lead, volatile organic compounds and at times, carcinogenic materials. They may work with some physical discomfort when preparing surfaces or applying coatings in awkward positions. Commercial Painters may work indoors and or outdoors. Commercial Painters need to be aware of the safety and environmental concerns. When working on tall buildings, painters erect scaffolding, including “swing stages”, scaffolds suspended by ropes, or cables attached to roof hooks. When painting steeples and other conical structures, they use a Bosun’s chair, a swing-like device.
Commercial Painters must stand for long periods, often working from scaffolding and ladders. Their jobs require a considerable amount of climbing and bending. These workers must have stamina, because much of the work is done with their arms raised over their heads. Painters often work outdoors, but seldom in wet, cold or inclement weather. Some painting jobs can leave a worker covered with paint.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are manual dexterity, excellent color and artistic aptitude. Good physical condition is important because the work often requires considerable standing, kneeling, and repetitive activities such as brushing and rolling. Commercial Painters must have an eye for detail, the ability to plan work and the knowledge of many types of finishes, their properties, and their applications. Painters must be able to calculate areas and relate such calculations to required materials. Good communications and customer service skills are required by Painters who often interact with home/business owners, contractors, interior designers and architects.
Basic computer skills are gradually becoming a necessary occupations skill for communications, research and design. Due to technological advances in the industry, ongoing training in new materials and their applications is critical.
Most painters learn through on the job learning and by working as an apprentice with an experience journey worker. This is accomplished through a combination of related instruction.