Clay Paste & Grasscloth – Uh-Oh!!

I did a repair job last weekend in a room that had been papered some years back in a white woven grasscloth. Althouth the left over paper in the box was white, all the paper on the walls was a yellowish tan.

When removing the piece I was replacing, I could see that the original installer had used clay-based paste. (Read my previous comments on clay paste in my posts under Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper.)

When hanging grasscloth, a product that stains very easily, it’s crucial that the workman uses a very clear paste, formulated specifically for grasscloth, linen, silk, and other such materials. In addition, extra care must be taken to be sure no paste gets onto the surface of the paper. Otherwise, staining is inevitable.

And EVERY installer knows – or SHOULD know, that clay paste stains just about EVERYthing, and should NEVER be used with grasscloth.

It’s my belief that the clay paste, which is grey/brown/red in color, actually seeped through the backing of the wallpaer, causing the color to transfer to the surface of the grasscloth. What is amazing is that the color was so uniform – no blotching or areas of higher color concentration.

It does happen that stains will work their way through a wallpaper. Ink, blood, rust, water stains, grease, etc., will often eventually come through the paper, if not sealed with a primer such as KILZ. Usually this takes a while.

(People sometimes ask why I don’t eat or drink while I’m working. It’s because I don’t want any chance that grease or sugar will get onto the surface of the wall or the wallpaper. Plus it’s distracting.)

What’s even more amazing in this case, the homeowner said that the discoloration showed up immediately. She said when thhe workmen were finished, she was so disappointed, becasuse she had bought this beautiful white grasscloth, but the finished room turned out to be yellow/tan.




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