Header image for Masters of Disaster article
Originally published in PPC Magazine.

When your customer’s home or business is damaged by fire, smoke, water or storms, you need to help them get back to normal – as quickly as possible. Experienced contractors share how they cope with disaster.

Conquering chaos

“Whenever a disaster from water, fire or other peril strikes, all the owner sees is uncertainty and chaos. We provide to them a vision of recovery,” says Donald Nigro, President of DANE Contractors and Restorz,a restoration strategist group that has served as a disaster recovery specialist in Northeast Ohio since 1990. In one recent job, the company developed a strategy to get a 23,000 square foot City of Bay Village service garage up and running just seven months after a devastating fire and explosion.

“The challenges were many, diverse and needed to be handled with a sense of strategy and planning,” Nigro says. In managing the $2 million restoration project, they used conventional advanced structural restoration methods along with high-performance coatings and specialized services like cryogenics and infrared thermo graphics.

“We have unique application challenges in the restoration industry, and efficiency and effectiveness is critical,” he adds. “In our business model to provide a guaranteed healthy and safe environment, rebuilt with full structural integrity and free of odor and contaminants, it is essential that we partner with a knowledgeable supplier in developing the best solutions.”

That is why DANE has utilized Sherwin-Williams as its coatings supplier for over 23 years. “Sherwin-Williams is an important part of our resource support team,” Nigro says. “They provide in-depth technical support to assist in solving any application and resource challenge. If we are combining dry ice blasting and coatings application to an occupied commercial environment where time is of the essence, I rely on my coatings partner to provide the very best in materials to assure a timely restoration process.”

Tackling a ‘1000-Year Flood’

Another example of the challenges painting contractors face after a disaster came after the May 2010 floods in Tennessee – described by the Army Corps of Engineers as a “1000-year flood.” In all there was more than $2.3 billion in property damage, and the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center was one of the hardest hit properties. A month after the waters receded, Gaylord Entertainment unveiled an ambitious $225 million restoration plan for the nearly 3,000-room hotel, the largest in the U.S. outside of Las Vegas.

For Nashville-based Bradley Coatings, Inc., this would be one of their toughest jobs. The water rose as high as 15 feet up the walls in some areas, and much of the lower level had to be gutted. Substrates in areas ranging from lobbies and atriums to restaurants, exhibit halls and employee areas had to be replaced and repainted. BCI crews of 20 to 25 painters were on the job seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, for a period of three months. In all, more than 1,800 gallons of paint were applied in a very short time frame to get the resort ready for the reopening.

Handling a ‘fast and furious’ timetable

“The biggest challenge was scheduling,” says Dustin Whitney, the Sherwin-Williams sales representative who worked with BCI on the project. “They started work as soon as the building dried out from flooding. Everything was fast and furious as they had to juggle multiple areas at one time to meet the re-opening deadline.” According to Stan Williams, BCI spent 17,533 hours from administration to painters in the field to bring the project in on time in the allotted three-month window.

Color matching was also a challenge. “We created a color file for them back in the 1970s, but many of those colors are now obsolete,” Whitney says. “In some cases, we went onsite to cut out pieces of drywall and match them at the store.” More than 90 colors had to be coordinated.

Specifying the right products

Gaylord Entertainment is known for using the highest quality materials in all its properties, and specified Cashmere Interior Latex Paint for an ultra-smooth look on the walls and trim. Low Lustre finish was used on walls, and Medium Lustre was sprayed on trim over a lacquer undercoat.

“If you look closely at the trim, it looks like an oil-based enamel,” Stan says. “Cashmere is amazing. Our crews very much enjoyed using this product. It gave us great touch-up and its ability to dry quickly allowed us to recoat quicker.”

Along with all the Cashmere, BCI used more than 300 gallons of ConFlex XL High Build Coating, an elastomeric waterproofing paint, on exterior brick. They also provided a faux finish for one of the rebuilt restaurants, and used more than 200 gallons of ProMar 200 Wall Primer. This massive fast-track job gave them the opportunity to play an essential role in the rebirth of one of the city’s landmarks.

Brad Williams says the project’s success was a result of painters, general contractor, building owner and coatings supplier working together like “a well-oiled machine.”

“We feel that Sherwin-Williams is the best paint supplier in the market,” adds brother Stan. “We do a lot of very fast-track projects, and we need a responsive paint partner that can get material delivered to the jobsite promptly. No matter what type of job we’re bidding, we have confidence in Sherwin-Williams to get us the right product for the job.”