Archive for January, 2010

Oddly Sized Rolls

January 27, 2010

Grasscloth has been mighty popular in the last few years.  This trend appears to be strengthening, as I’ve had quite a few calls with people wanting to install grasscloth in recent months – three in just one week!

One thing to keep in mind is that grasscloth is quite wide, usually three feet.  And the double rolls usually contain a bit more square footage than regular wallpaper.  But, because it’s so wide, each double roll is not as long as standard rolls.

On the job I did last week, that raised a problem.  The walls were just a little over 8′ high.  The grasscloth double roll was 24′ long.  That means I could not get three full-length strips out of each double roll, as I normally can.  So, each double roll gave me only two strips long enough to reach from ceiling to flor, plus a strip of paper left over that was long, but not long enough to do anything with.

This ultimately meant there were not enough full-length strips to do the room.  I was able to finish three walls, but we had to order one more double roll in order to get those last two full length strips to finish the fourth wall.

Moral:  When measuring a room for grasscloth, don’t go just by the square footage on each roll.  You must also walk around th eroom with a 3′ yardstick and determine how many lengths of goods you will need, and then figure how many strips you will get out of each double roll (will vary depending on the height of the wall) , and order accordingly.

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Hidden Error – Big Problem

January 5, 2010

A recent job held a horrible surprise for the homeowner.  Although it appeared the existing wallpaper had come loose from the wall, the problem was way more serious than that.

Wallpaper doesn’t ordinarily “come loose” or let go of a wall.  There  has to be some reason for this to happen.  In this case, there was mildew – black, powdery, icky mildew – growing on the Sheetrock behind the wallpaper.  Because mildew is chaulky, it does not provide a solid surface for the paper to adhere to; hence the paper was coming off the wall practically in full sheets.

Mildew grows when it has sufficient moisture.  What provided the right environment for this to happen?  The wall where the mildew started its growth was the same wall inside which ran the plumbing for the shower.                

Turns out that, when the shower was installed, a tiny – and I mean TINY – leak was not detected.  This leak was shut up inside the wall, allowing moisture to seep into the Sheetrock, and then wick its way, literally, up the wall and out to the sides, through the wall, and even around corners.  Where the moisture went, mildew grew, destroying not just the wallpaper, but the Sheetrock  itself.  This damage crept around to all four walls of the potty room in the master bathroom, and probably to other walls, too.

Entire walls had to be gutted, down to the studs, and the whole room rebuilt.

A thorough going-over by the building inspector at the time of construction would most likely have prevented this very expensive and distruptive situation.