Pretreatment Really is Important

Question: After reading N.F.’s question/commentary in your December 2002 issue, I had to add my two cents.


After reading N.F.’s question/commentary in your December 2002 issue, I had to add my two cents. I, too, have been a fan of your column for many years. When Products Finishing comes in the mail, Painting Clinic is the first thing I turn to. Your insightful advice, humor and patience have been helpful and entertaining. Thank you for so many years of service. However, I would not be as harsh on the people who write to you as was N.F. If the same people wrote again with the same questions, then I would question if they really “get it.” But I don’t think your repetition of your quote, “The greatest single cause of paint failure is poor surface treatment” has been disproportionate to its relevance.

The majority of people responsible for painting processes at their companies assumed that job without prior training. Either it came with the next promotion, or it is what they had to do to get the job done. Having someone like you to turn to for answers—even when it is the same answer that someone else needed last month—is not a bad thing.

The fact that you get your readers to take a serious look at the fundamentals of what they are doing has made them, and myself, produce better quality work at a greater efficiency. And that is not a bad thing to have accomplished. Thanks for all your effort and patience with your readers who used to be ignorant but now are wiser—even if you have to convince us one at a time. J.S.


Thank you for your comments, J.S. You are right about painters. In many cases, they were hired as sweepers and then promoted to painters. After which, the boss just told them to put down their brooms and pick up their spray guns. This is not an indictment of the painters. Instead, their management is guilty of not providing proper training. This is not fair to the painters, the stockholders and the customers. Poor pretreatment and painting procedures result in rejects, which raises production costs. Paint failures result in customer dissatisfaction and lost sales. Even one hour of instruction in Pretreatment and Painting 101 would be helpful.