Painting the School Gymnasium and Maintenance

The School Gymnasium needs maintenance and painting. It’s predictable, year after year. School is out for the summer and regular and maintenance is on the agenda for the summer. When the school is closed, one of the biggest tasks commercial painters face, is painting as much as possible with September just around the corner. Schools are usually crowded spaces of “active” learning. As a result surfaces take a beating daily from “enthusiastic” students. Especially school hallways, washrooms and of course the gymnasium.

Transforming the Gymnasium at Toronto’s Montcrest School

In 2010 Montcrest School hired Ecopainting to paint their Gymnasium. Montcrest is a school in the Riverdale area of Toronto. The existing paint on the cement block walls was the basic oil based semi-gloss. It lasted for a few years and it served it’s purpose. This is after all a gym. A few balls have bounced on the walls in the last few years. Considering all the wear and tear, the walls were not in that terrible condition. True to our environmental mandate, we decided to convert the enamel to a waterbourne. First we used a bonding primer to help ensure the adhesion of the paint.

Waterbourne Alkyd? We decided to use two coats of a new at the time waterbourne alkyd enamel. We heard good reviews about the Benjamin Moore Advance. We were confident that it would perform as well as any traditional alkyd paint.
Advance has all the advantages of the traditional oil paints, but without the smell and the difficult clean up. It is also an acceptable green alternative. Most alkyd paints had a VOC count of about 350-450 or more per littre. Advance had a VOC content of less than 50 grams per littre. That is low and it stays low in any colour with the new Benjamin Moore colourant system. Clean up of the paint is easier with water and soap and without solvents.
The Results of the paint job were very satisfactory. The painters gave the paint a great passing grade, as it was easy to work with. It also looked amazing in the Pearl Enamel finish we decided to use. When we paint the school gymnasium next time, the same paint will be easy to use over itself. This is great for the school community and of course for the environment.
Update. Since then we have been back to Montcrest with additional facility painting services. In 2014 we were back painting in Montcrest. We took the opportunity to visit the gymnasium and inspect the paint job. The paint is still in good condition and will not likely need a repaint for a few more years. 

Painters at Montcrest Gymnasium

A Major Facelift at St. Clement’s East Gymnasium

We were contracted this summer (2015) to paint the Gymnasium at St. Clement’s School.
Our initial communication with Ken, the Facility Manager, was to paint two colours. One colour for the ceiling and walls and the other for the doors and frames.
We were then informed that their in house Designer had something entirely different in mind. There would be three colours used, with an additional creative twist.
The lower sections of the walls, to the top of the doors, including the doors, were to be painted in Old Navy 2063-10. The section above, to a specific height, in Cotton Balls 2145-70, above that, including a section of the ceiling, in Red 2000-10. The rest of the ceiling in the Cotton Balls.
This palette, especially for the red on the ceiling, was quite the task. Mainly because the formed concrete ceiling contained no straight lines to work with. Every section had in and out grooves to the next section.
In and out and around, in and out and around, 99 feet across!
We had to create a masking line from one end to the other. Needless to say a lot of hours were involved in what seemed like the never ending ceiling.
All finish paints were Benjamin Moore’s Ultraspec. Eggshell finish was used on the ceiling and walls, semi-gloss on the doors and frames.
There was a significant amount of paint peeling of the brick walls, mostly because of efflorescence. We applied a coat of XIM’s Peel Bond Primer to these areas. This acts a membrane coating beneath the finish coat of paint and also reduces the appearance of these kinds of cracks.
This was a very challenging project and the look of the end result was loved by everyone involved.
Update 2019: in 2017 Benjamin Moore introduced Ultra Spec SCUFF-X and we had some good results using it. The main characteristic of this new product is good scuff resistance with easy washing. Read the SCUFF-X review based on our experience. This will now be the product of choice for educational institutions and their gymnasiums.

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