Like It or Lump It

Regarding a job I did last week, when I visited to give an estimate, the first time I saw the room, the bottom 1/3 of a young girl’s room, the first thing I noticed was a light texture from the painted wall showing from underneath the existing wallpaper. Whoever had hung the paper had not bothered to smooth out the wall.

I pointed this out to the homeowner, and explained that, in order to do the job right, I would have to do twice the normal amount of prep, meaning I would have to strip the existing layer of paper, and then skim float the wall with “mud” (joint compound), sand it, and then prime it, before the new paper could be installed. This would insure a smooth finish on the new paper.

She replied that when (Large Chain Wallpaper Retailer) sent a guy to install the paper, she told him she noticed the bumps under the paper. He told her that that was there because it was how her wall was.

Well, that’s true. The bumps DO show because the wall has bumps. The thing is, the installer is supposed to GET RID OF THE BUMPS before putting up the wallpaper. It’s more time, and perhaps more expense for the homeowner, but, gee, if you have the option of doing a mediocre job or on that you would be proud of, wouldn’t you take the extra steps to do the job right??

Homeowners don’t know about prep or what’s invovled in getting a good wallpaper job. That’s why it’s part of my job to educate them about what steps are necessary to get a good result. In this case, the woman definately DID want a smooth finish for her paper, but the installer made excuses and shrugged it off, so he could get out of the extra work.

When I did the job this past Friday, in removing the existing wallpaper, I found even more “no-nos” – The previous installer had removed the top vinyl layer of the existing paper, but had left the backing on the wall. Then, without bothering to even paint on a primer, he put the new paper right on top of the paper backing. This is bad, because the backing is pourous and can suck the paste right off the paper, and because it has seams, which show under the new paper. So, in addition to lumps from the texture, there were verticle seam lines showing, too.

Once I got all that off, smoothed the surface, and installed the new paper, the finished room looked great. It was a pink-on-white classic toile (Google it), and the furniture in the room was all white and pink – perfect for a little “girly girl.”

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