Extension Poles Drive Up the Profits

It is amazing to note how many contractors stand on staging in order to reach the ceiling with the spray gun. Yet, this is the most inefficient way of getting the job done. This point was recently driven home with a contractor who, on one hand, asked for a ProCoat trainer to work with him and his crew on one of his jobs, and at the same time, made it clear that he had been in the business over 35 years and there wasn’t much he hadn’t already learned. His goal was to become a “Certified Applicator of ProCoat” and the trainer’s recommendation was a necessary step in gaining that recognition.

Prior to the job, the trainer communicated with the contractor and within that dialogue provided a list of supplies, tools, and equipment that should be on the job site. These items were all considered necessary, if the ceiling was to be restored in the most cost-efficient and professional way. One of these was an extension pole for the sprayer.

The trainer arrived on the project site and immediately took stock of the project itself, which turned out to be a large fully merchandised supermarket. The ceiling in the sales area was in the 35 – 40,000 sq. ft. range. Each aisle had 6 foot high stocking units on each side of a six foot wide open floor space. The work was to be done after the store had been closed to customers for the night.

When the time came, to apply the coating to the ceiling, the same staging that had been used to hang plastic sheeting along the top of the walls, was wheeled into place for the spraying. The member of the crew designated to do the spraying climbed up, with the spray gun in hand, ready to go. The trainer asked whether they had brought an extension pole. He was told, “We don’t use them.”

The spraying commenced and was interrupted periodically so that the staging could be re-positioned. The trainer stood back and observed for a while and when he was ready to prove his point, he waited for the next interruption to move the staging. At that point he asked to make a couple suggestions.

First, he noted that at that point they had sprayed 750 – 800 square feet per hour, from the time they started to that point. He commended them on that amount of production, due to the fact that they had to reach out over the stocking units to coat the ceiling. After all, one’s arm is just so long. Next, he noted that when the staging needed to be re-positioned, it took four people to get it done as quickly as possible so that the sprayer could resume his work.

Next, he showed them that he had brought his own extension pole (this was not the first time that the contractor knew better) and asked if he could conduct a little experiment. While he installed the extension pole between the gun and the spray tip, he asked that the staging be moved out of the area. He then demonstrated a spray rate of over 1,200 square feet per hour.

Spraying from staging imposes limitations. The length of the spray pass is limited by the length of the sprayer’s arm. Spraying with a six (or more) foot pole increases the length of each pass dramatically and the rate at which the product is applied to the ceiling.

Spaying from staging leads to spraying over one’s head. It becomes difficult to see through the spray dust and that leads to (1) greater fatigue and (2) more missed spots. Spraying from the floor with the pole at a 45 degree from the vertical orientation, the sprayer is looking ahead at the product application, not directly overhead.

Climb anywhere (in this case on and off staging) enough times, and eventually one will slip and fall. Accidents will happen, but why invite it if it is not necessary. Safety should be considered a must.

It did not take many words after that demonstration to convince all present that spraying from the floor is more efficient, safer, and importantly, cost-effective. The first time the extensions are used, they pay for themselves and then some.

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