PREPARING FOR PAINTERS' WORK The above rules are only the most important. They have been obtained as the result of ex perience of practical men from all parts of the country, and represent, as near as may be, the equivalent cost as compared with a plain surface of the same kind of work.
For white lead, under average conditions of surface, the area in square feet divided by 18 will give, approximately, the number of pounds of white lead in oil that will be needed to do a good three-coat job of painting. The area in square feet divided by 200 will give, approxi mately, the number of gallons of white lead paint that will be required to do the work, two coats. There would be very little difference in the num ber of gallons of any good mixed paint that would be needed.
In figuring on plans the painter not only needs to look over the specifications for his own work, but he must also examine carefully the specifications for other mechanics, since often there are items called for which do not appear on the plans, but which require painting or hard wood finishing. Sometimes the mantels are fur nished by the owner ready finished from the factory, while at other times the painter must finish them. It is well to read carefully the specifications for the plasterer, the plumber, and the steam-fitter. Among other things that the painter should carefully consider are the kinds of wood for interior finish; the kinds of wood for the floors, and whether they are to be finished; whether the cellar woodwork is to be finished by the painter, or whether he has whitewashing to include in his estimate. Who is to finish the radiators? Is the kitchen sink to be bronzed with aluminum; and the same of the outside of the sink? What walls, if any, are to be calci mined or frescoed? Are there wood or plaster cornices to be finished? Look out for wain scots, kitchen dressers, pantry fittings, seats, or other wood fittings requiring finishing.
Estimate Systematically. It is very easy to overlook something, and the only safe way to avoid it is to go about the matter systematically, taking room by room. A book should be ruled for estimating so as to show the superficial measurements, the number of square feet, and the allowances or corrections, so that the last column shows the equivalent number of square feet of plain surface. The different kinds of
wood and the different classes of workmanship should of course be kept entirely separate, in order to avoid confusion.
The most important thing for the contractor to do is to keep a record of the cost of every job, and to keep in tabulated form an exact state ment of the number of hours work and the amount of materials required. Wherever pos sible, it is well to keep records of the cost of painting doors, baseboards, etc., for future ref erence, in such a form that the average cost of painting these various items can be readily ascertained. These are things that every con tractor must find out for himself, because the methods of handling work in different localities are different, and each man must fix his own prices.
Economy in Paint Purchasing. The painter will always find that the best materials are the most economical in the end. Take, for example, white lead, which seems to be recognized as a standard of comparison. The numerous indi vidual factories have within recent years been to a great extent consolidated into larger cor porations, and there are comparatively few firms now engaged in the manufacture of this material. For this reason there is comparatively little com petition, and prices are fairly well maintained. For this reason a painter should always view with suspicion any salesman who offers to sell him "pure white lead" at any figure less than the established rate for the quantity and size packages that lie desires to purchase. It is prac tically certain that some make-weight or ex tender will be present in excess of the amount that would be needed to give the stated reduc tion in the pound price. Whatever may be the effect on the durability of the paint caused by these so-called inert pigments or other materials that arc used to produce the cheaper grades of white paint, it is certain that they lack both spreading and covering capacity, so that even though the buyer may save a cent a pound or even more on the purchase price, this saving will be neutralized by the added cost of the additional quantity of material needed to cover the surface and the extra labor in spreading. And after all, does the saving amount to anything'? Two hun dred pounds of lead will coat a large house, and at one cent a pound the saving on the house will be but two dollars, whereas it may readily cost an extra day's labor in spreading, and possibly may mean that the work will eventually give dis satisfaction to the owner and cause the loss of a customer.