CBR Products Factory Prefinishing Press Release

When should you use factory pre-finishing?

By Bill Willis
Vancouver, September 10, 2010 - When calculating the costs of a project, it’s not always easy to know which jobs you should have done on site and which you should contract out.
Factory pre-finishing, or pre-staining is one such service. For a fee, you can send your wood to a finisher, have it painted or stained and delivered to the jobsite for installation. But is it cheaper to have your crew do the painting or staining on site? Here are a few factors to consider.
Can you paint or stain the wood after installation?
Build first, paint later – some jobs work fine this way. But if you are installing in an area or during a construction phase where overspray or dripping will be a problem, pre-finishing can save you a lot of prep, masking and cleanup time later. Exposure to the elements is also a consideration. When we do our factory pre-finishing at CBR Products, we coat the entire piece of wood (usually one coat on the back, two or more on the exposed side) This means not only better protection for the wood, but more even drying and less warping.
Do you have room and the right finishing facilities on your job site?
You will have to stack the lumber to be coated, have adequate room for the coating job itself, then also leave enough space for stacking and drying. With siding, fencing or decking, this can add up to thousands of pieces of wood. Your finishing and drying areas should be free of airborne dust and dirt, and if you are spraying, you’ll have to protect the rest of your site from that as well. Your crew will need the right gear, including respirators if you are using toxic solvent-based products. And if the weather is not perfect, you’ll have to rig up shelter for the whole operation.
How much and what kind of wood needs to be finished?
If you have a limited number of large pieces to coat, it may be relatively straightforward to do it on site. But if you have several thousand square feet of small, finicky board & batten siding to deal with, it can actually be cheaper to have it factory pre-finished. 
Are there any special application considerations for the coating products or finish quality?
These days, there are a lot of coating choices out there, and their performance depends on proper application. For instance, our BRODA® PRO-TEK-TOR is a water-borne oil-based finish which we frequently mix to exacting architects specifications for precise colour on a specific species of wood. With factory pre-finishing at CBR, we can ensure consistent application and the full protection our oil-based coating offers. When considering indoor decorator applications such as flooring, this can become even more important. If your client is very particular about colour, transparency and finish, ask your pre-finishing service for colour tests on the exact wood you are using. Get these pre-approved by your customer, and everyone will be happier.
How important is on-site efficiency?
Ask anyone who has worked with pre-finished material, and they’ll tell you, it makes life a whole lot easier. At CBR, we wrap all shipments for protection from the weather, so it’s delivered ready to go. Your crew can cut, install and complete the job fast, and it looks great right away.
As all builders know, choosing the cheap route up front does not always save you money in the long run. Think ahead about factory pre-finishing, and you’ll look better for it.
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Bill Willis is President of CBR Products, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of low-VOC coatings who also offers factory pre-finishing for the building industry. (www.cbrproducts.com) He was also a loghome builder in Whistler for many years, and offers his practical expertise to solve coating issues on many major projects in the Pacific Northwest. You can reach Bill by phone at 1-888-311-5339, or by email: bill@cbrproducts.com