The mark of any great refinisher is the condition in which they keep their tools and equipment. How well you care for the equipment of your trade is important both for yourself and your customers. Arguably one of your most important pieces of equipment as a refinisher is your spray gun. Taking just a few extra minutes at the end of each day to clean your spray gun will help keep it flowing evenly and also extend the overall life, meaning you get more out of your equipment investments.
And personal investment reasons are only one big part of why you want to keep tools like spray guns, exhaust system and breathing systems clean and properly maintained. Forgetting or neglecting to clean your guns and changing filters in your equipment can cost you a job or needing to buy new equipment earlier than you thought if you aren't careful. We know taking the time to clean your equipment isn't the most exciting part of your job and takes some time at the end of your busy day but taking this extra time will certainly pay off in the end.
So now that you get why it's important to always keep your equipment clean and well-maintained, let's take a look at three key ways of doing so:
Use a spray gun cleaner
A spray gun cleaner, like NAPCO's On The Spot Gun Cleaner, is ideal for keeping your spray gun clean and well maintained. We recommend using spray gun cleaner every time you finish using your spray gun on a kitchen or bath refinishing job. Start by emptying your gun of any excess material. Then, follow the instructions and pour the indicated amount of On The Spot Gun Cleaner into the spray gun's cup. Shake the gun well in order to properly distribute the cleaner and then spray the cleaner through the gun. You might need to do this several times in order to get it properly cleaned. Just remember that this $20 cleaner can significantly extend the life of your $320+ piece of equipment, and that means extra long-term savings for your business. The entire gallon should provide a month or two of cleaning solution depending on how frequently you clean, which is a small price to pay for that added insurance.
Conduct weekly inspections
Cleaning Like a professional is a great way to catch the grime, but it's important to go beyond just cleaning in terms of caring for your kitchen and bath refinishing equipment. We recommend taking an hour each week to inspect the valves, valve seals, air tubes, and cup gaskets of all of your spray guns. For your larger equipment, make sure to keep new filters on hand and change them regularly to keep them running smoothly and to prevent clogging or overheating. As with other items, timely repair of small issues can help prevent an expensive and often inopportune breakdown in the future.
Keep backups and spare parts on-hand
This final tip flows from the previous one but it bears highlighting. Make the small investments now in order to have backup parts on hand; backup parts like an extra needle set, check valves, needle packings, gaskets, and filters all of which can be ordered through NAPCOltd.com. By having these items on-hand, you can quickly switch out bad parts with good ones when necessary. Having these parts on-hand prevents a disruption from impacting your business like having to cancel a job because your gun isn't in good working order.
Utilize NAPCO for repairs
NAPCO customers have the option to either drop off or ship your spray guns directly to NAPCO for us to repair. We charge $15 an hour for equipment repairs (not including any parts needed for both cleaning and repairing at the customer’s request). Additionally, customers also have access to our live virtual tech support for troubleshooting over-the-phone if you just need to walkthrough the issue with a professional.
Are you ready to stock up on backup parts, filters and spray gun cleaner? Visit our store at NAPCO today to get started.
We believe in you, our customers! We want you to work with confidence, and always feel like NAPCO is by your side on every job now more than ever. For these reasons, we are thrilled to announce that NAPCO has launched a new service, Live Virtual Technical Support!
Sessions are now available to all NAPCO customers, for FREE! NAPCO is the first and only refinishing company in the United States to extend free virtual technical support to its refinishers. It is an exciting opportunity to work directly with our experts and solve problems on the job, no matter where you are.
As virtual meeting tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and FaceTime become increasingly popular, we realized how valuable this tool could be for refinishers on the job that need a second set of eyes or a bit of technical advice. Customers have always been able to call or email us with questions. Now we are taking it up a notch so we can be there with you on the job virtually!
Technical help from NAPCO is only a click away. All you need to do reach out to Steve Zamborsky, NAPCO’s Research and Development and Technical Manager via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 800-888-1081 and he will schedule a time to meet virtually to help you solve your problem or give you advice, tips, or tricks.
As leaders in the bathroom and kitchen refinishing industry, NAPCO is continually pursuing ways to make your experience with our products and services even better. NAPCO is rising to the occasion by reinventing technical help for our industry. If you are on the job and discover you need some advice on how to apply product, or run into an issue that just too difficult to explain over the phone, NAPCO can help. Our technical support is always available to our customers, allowing you to finish your job smoothly and on time.
Going above and beyond for our customers is something we strive to do regularly at NAPCO. We want refinishers to have the benefit of expert advice at their fingertips. Offering this service for free to our customers is one more way of making sure you are successful in your refinishing business. You can do this, and we can do this together.
NAPCO recently unveiled a YouTube playlist with tech support videos. The professional videos show how to correctly perform many basic refinishing tasks and processes.
The videos are unique to the industry because they are professionally produced and informative and easy to follow. Titles currently on the YouTube channel are How to Install a Shower Inlay and the Basics of using Flint Stone; a topcoat that gives the look of granite at a fraction of the cost. Other videos in the pipeline include Spraying Basics, How to Maintain Your Spray Gun and The Importance of Breathing Systems. More videos will be added throughout the year.
You can view the playlist here.
A recent press release about this can be seen here.
NAPCO’s Mike Ripp has over 30 years of experience in tub refinishing, making him a leading authority in the industry. In addition to providing refinishing training courses as Director of Training and Tech Support at NAPCO, Mike is an exceptional mentor in teaching tradesmen how to build their business.
“Mike, I’m seeing the coating starting to split and separate on the bottoms of a lot of bathtubs. Do you know why this is happening?”
If we go back and review every step that covers prep and product mixing, we can often learn a lot about where coating problems occur. In many tubs that run into problems, I find the issue revolves around how thick the coating is being applied to the tub.
If you apply coating on too thick on the bottom, usually what’s going to happen is that the air will start to dry the coating at the top. This causes the thicker coating to skim over before the solvent can escape.
As the solvent is trapped, what results is a reaction where the coating will fail due to improper curing – which explains the splitting and separating at the bottom.
At first, looks can be deceiving on this. The coating can appear perfectly fine. In fact, a refinisher who recently approached me with a problem tub was very confident that there was just no way his spray tech could have applied an extra heavy coating.
Maybe so, but had he actually gone out to the job and watched how the spray tech applied the coating? No. So I encouraged the refinisher to go back out on the job and watch the tech closer in action.
Guess what? As it turned out, the tech decided that more coating was better and consequently, he applied a whole lot of wet coating to the bottom of the tub – far too much.
So if you have a spray tech, make sure you take a good, long look at how they apply coating on the bottom of a tub the next time you’re on a job with them to avoid any bad habits from developing that might cost you in terms of time, money and reputation.
Make sure you’re in the camp of refinishers who get the job done right the first time. With superior products and expertise, NAPCO has you covered. If you have any questions about NAPCO products, our training programs or the refinishing business, call us toll free at 1-800-888-1081.
You’re busy. You have another tub to get done today and you’re running late. What do you do? Maybe skip a safety measure or two to save a few minutes? Think again.
Recently in San Diego, a refinisher wasn’t using a fume exhaust system and caused an explosion, rocking an apartment building. The explosion and fire were caused by buildup of vapors ignited by the refinisher’s electrical equipment. The 2-alarm file resulted in $300,000 in damages and displaced 20 – 25 residents of the apartment building. The refinisher went to the hospital with burns on his arms. A police officer was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation. A resident of the building also went to the hospital complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath. A total of 60 firefighters were sent to fight the fire.
What caused this? Either the refinisher didn’t know about the potential dangers or he decided not to take appropriate precautions. It is very important to learn about, and follow, all safety rules surrounding refinishing. Let’s review some basics.
Many of the chemicals involved in the refinishing business are flammable, even explosive. Sparks, pilot lights, cigarettes, even heat guns must be kept away from fumes. How do you do that? With a fume exhauster, properly placed outside of the room in which you are spraying. The motor on most exhausters is not explosion proof. That means placing it in a room full of solvent gas may cause a fire or explosion. It must be placed in another room.
I’ve had at least two experienced refinishers relay scary stories about fires. They were properly using a fume exhauster but introduced a heat source before the exhauster had enough time to clear the room of fumes. In both cases, the tub had just been wiped down with a hot solvent. One refinisher used a heat gun, the other an electric sander. In both cases…boom! A mini-explosion ensued. One actually cracked the bathroom window. Both refinishers suffered minor burns to their face and were very lucky they weren’t more seriously hurt.
The lesson is: always follow proper safety measures. All precautions are printed on the labels. I know it’s a lot to read, but it is worth it to make sure you are safe.
Purchase a Blowhard Complete Fume Exhauster from NAPCO here.
More information about the fire in San Diego can be found here.