Painters, Construction and Maintenance
Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls, buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Painters typically do the following:
- Cover floors and furniture with drop-cloths and tarps to protect surfaces
- Remove fixtures such as pictures, door knobs, or electric switch covers
- Put up scaffolding and set up ladders
- Fill holes and cracks with caulk, putty, plaster, or other compounds
- Prepare surfaces by scraping, wire brushing, or sanding to a smooth finish
- Calculate the area to be painted and the amount of paint needed
- Apply primers or sealers so the paint will adhere
- Choose and mix paints and stains to reach desired color and appearance
- Apply paint or other finishes using hand brushes, rollers, or sprayers
Applying paint to interior walls makes surfaces attractive and vibrant. In addition, paints and other sealers protect exterior surfaces from erosion caused by exposure to the weather.
Because there are several ways to apply paint, workers must be able to choose the proper tool for each job, such as the correct roller, power sprayer, and the right size brush. Choosing the right tool typically depends on the surface to be covered and the characteristics of the finish.
A few painters—mainly industrial—must use special safety equipment. For example, painting in confined spaces such as the inside of a large storage tank, requires workers to wear self-contained suits to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. When painting bridges, tall buildings, or oil rigs, painters may work from scaffolding, bosun’s chairs, and harnesses to reach work areas.
The following are examples of types of painters:
Construction painters apply paints, stains, and coatings to interior and exterior walls, new buildings, and other structural surfaces.
Maintenance painters remove old finishes and apply paints, stains, and coatings later in a structure’s life. Some painters specialize in painting or coating industrial structures, such as bridges and oil rigs, to prevent corrosion.
Artisan painters specialize in creating distinct finishes by using one of many decorative techniques. One technique is adding glaze for added depth and texture. Other common techniques may include sponging, distressing, rag-rolling, color blocking, and faux finishes.
Painting and coating workers apply materials to manufactured products, such as furniture, toys and pottery, as well as transportation equipment including trucks, buses, boats, and airplanes. For more information about these painters, see the profile on painting and coating workers.