Discolored Patch

I wrote previously about a job where I replaced one short piece over a door, which had been damaged by a water leak. The original wallpaper was a white grasscloth, that had been discolored – either by time, exposure to light, paste, or other.

Either way, the left over paper in the box that I was to use to replace the damaged strip was white, while the paper on the rest of the walls was tan. I discussed the color difference with the homeowner, and explained that there would be a very noticeable difference in color between the new patch and the existing paper. She was eager to get damaged piece replaced, and felt it would look better than the water stained piece hanging away from the wall. So I did the repair.

I removed the stained piece of grasscloth, scraped out loose Sheetrock damaged by the water leak, refloated the wall, sanded, and primed.

Replacing one piece in the middle of a wall is tricky, but it’s trickier even still when it’s a thick product like grasscloth, and one that can’t be wet or touched like you would a normal paper.
I was very pleased that I was able to get the new patch to fit the space perfectly. The repair looked great.

Except for the very noticeable color difference. It showed up even more, with the fresh new strip on the wall instead of in the box.

The homeowner noticed it, too, but still felt it looked better than when the damaged water stained strip was in place.

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2 Responses to “Discolored Patch”

  1. Susan Carroll Says:

    HELP! I’ve had 9 pictures hanging on my grasscloth wall for 30 years. When I took them down to hang new pictures there is now a huge color variation. It’s initially a tan but behind the old pictures it a much darker shade of tan. Is there anything I can do to even the color?

    • thewallpaperlady Says:

      Hi Susan. Thanks for reading my blog.
      Well, me thinks it’s time for you to rewallpaper that room! 🙂 🙂
      Seriously, that’s going to be a tough one.
      Have you considered matting your artwork to make them larger?
      Or placing tall potted plants around your new pictures?
      I have colleagues in the Wallcovering Installers Association who said that they have successfully touched up similar areas by mixing dye or stain or paint with an appropriate solvent (best bet here is water-based), and then carefully brushing it on, feathering on the edges so it blends in to the dark area.
      That is going to be extremely difficult to do, especially since you’re talking about doing the whole wall, instead of a small area. To be honest, I questioned if they really got the pleasing results they claimed they did. Testing in an inconspicuous area and / or with scrap grasscloth is definitely called for.
      Another option would be to stain the entire wall, including over the dark squares. But, I do think that the dark squares would simply get darker, and still stand out against the main part of the wall.
      A paint would solve that, because it’s opaque and all one color. But painted grasscloth looks terrible, and it’s even worse to get off the wall when it’s time to redecorate.
      The paper you have left over will not have oxidized / changed color the same as the paper on the wall, so you can’t use that for spliced-in patches – and splices on grasscloth won’t look good, anyway, because you would see seams where the cuts were made, which would look just as bad as the artwork squares.
      Your best option is going to be to strip off that grasscloth and repaper just that one wall. Even if the new grasscloth is a slightly different color from the original, since it’s on a separate wall, it won’t be “too” noticeable.
      Let me know how it goes.

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