I Almost Screwed Up Yesterday

I was hanging a photo mural by Photo Walls, a Swedish company.  It was a glossy surfaced photo printed on a “non-woven backing,” which is somewhat thicker and spongier than most murals.  We’re seeing more and more of these non-wovens, due, IMO, to manufacturers trying to go “green.”

The instructions called for a “low moisture” or “20% solids” paste….meaning, clay-based paste.  Clay is a paste I don’t like, but it does have its uses.  So on the way to work, I stopped at Sherwin-Williams and picked up a bucket of paste ($50 for something I will probably never use again), and then hit Home Depot for primer and other supplies.

While I was skim floating the textured wall to smooth it, I was mentally going through what other steps I would have to install this mural.  My mind went to priming.  Then it hit me – I can’t use my old standby primer with this installation – clay paste won’t stick to my oil based primer!  It will delaminate and simply fall right off the wall.

Aren’t I the one who blogged about it for a week when I ran into just this situation, back last November?  Good thing I remembered this before I started the hang.

While the mud was drying, I ran off to find a Sherwin-Williams in the neighborhood.  Their store brand wallpaper primer ($35 – I hope readers are getting a feel for the investment that a workman has in each job…and we ain’t even mentioning gas, advertising, tools, etc.) was water-based, and just what the paste manufacturer suggested.  It was very similar to something I used to buy occasionally from Wallpapers to Go.  It went on smoothly, no odor, no drips, and  dried quickly.

When it came time to hang, the primer worked great with the mural’s stock, allowing me to slide the panels around as needed, and holding the paper tight.  I did have a slight issue with lifting (the primer pulling away from the wall when I needed to repostion a sheet of paper), but it was one small area and didn’t cause any problems.

The finished job was super, and the clients loved it.

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