Archive for September, 2012

A Paperhanger’s Favorite Kind of Toilet

September 30, 2012

The strip on the right is in place, and the strip on the left is in the process of being hung.

What I like about this toilet, what makes my heart all aflutter, is that I CAN GET MY HAND BEHIND IT!

That means I can properly butt the seam, smooth the paper into place, and be sure it will stay nice and tight against the wall.

This is rare, folks.  Most of the time, I’m wrestling some tool behind the toilet tank, trying to push the paper against the wall, or, in some cases, actually cutting the paper around a tank that is rammed up tightly against the wall.

A little space is sooo much better.

Make a note of that, all you plumbers out there!

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Mr. Contractor – You Know Better Than This!

September 28, 2012

This home is under construction, and the wall to be papered was not to be painted or textured. So the builder wrote “NO TEXTURE” across the wall, to remind the painters.

Only problem is HE USED INK! Bad, bad, BAD! Ink bleeds through wallpaper. Sometimes it does it quickly, sometimes it takes a few months. But rest assured, it WILL work its way through and expose its ugly head.

So, if any ink (or grease, or rust, or blood, smoke, or other substance likely to bleed through or stain) is on the wall, it has to be sealed. KILZ (oil based, only) is the best product for sealing stains. You can see on the right side of the photo that I have started to paint over the writing with the primer.

Baby Booties and Wallpaper – Protecting the Client’s Floor

September 27, 2012

I don’t always like to use a drop cloth under my ladder – they get tangly and twisty and can be dangerous.

Look at these cute baby socks, just the right size to fit the feet of my ladder. You can find them with non-skid strips on the bottom, too.

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Companion Papers

September 25, 2012

Companion papers are designed to compliment one another, and can be used in adjoining spaces, or even in the same room.  For instance, this homeowner put the solid (really a sort of faux finish) paper in her kitchen and breakfast room, and used the paper with the same background but with swirly figures on it in the powder room a few steps away.

Manufacturers display coordinating / companion papers next to one another in their selection books, to make it easy to see what patterns and colors will work well together.

The print is York #CG 5692

The solid is York #CG5726

They are both from the Georgetown Designs book, and are prepasted, easy to work with, perform well, inexpensive – and look great on the wall.

Banged Edges – Trimming Them Off to Make the Paper Useable

September 22, 2012

Designer Wallpaper AB 70702

Yes, once again, the warehouse failed to wrap and protect the ends of the rolls of wallpaper, UPS had fun tossing the package around, and the result was banged edges. Yes, these can show and look bad on the wall.

This pattern did have a match, meaning that the pattern on the left side of a strip continued onto the right side of the next strip. But with this mottley pattern, especially on short strips over the doors and soffets, a slight mis-match was not noticeable.

So what I did was to take my straight edge and a sharp razor and trim 1/4″ or so off the end of the strip, to get rid of the bashed areas. When this cut edge was placed against the next strip, the pattern matched pretty darned well.

I only trimmed off the right side of the paper. If I had trimmed off both the right and left sides of the strips, then more of the pattern would have been removed, and the mismatch would have been more noticeable.

The finished bathroom looked great!

Wallpaper Hanger Houston

Why I don’t Eat While I’m Working

September 22, 2012

Many people wonder – and worry – when they see that I don’t eat lunch or even a snack during the work day. Well, there are good reasons for that.

5. It’s distracting. When I’m “in my groove,” I like to keep focused on what I’m doing. Taking breaks and messing around with food breaks my concentration.

4. It takes too much time. Coming to a stopping point, cleaning up, driving somewhere, or even unpacking a paper sack lunch, eating, then resetting up my work area – sound like two hours lost out of the work day, if you ask me. I’d rather skip the meal and keep on working, to be sure I’m finished with the job on time.

3. You’re never gonna catch me eating a greasy salty empty-calorie laden hamburger / fries / shake.

2. I eat a good breakfast and dinner, and honestly am not hungry during the day.

1. But the Number One reason I don’t eat during the day, and don’t even allow soft drinks near the work area, is because food can be dangerous to wallpaper. Fat is in everything…chips, burgers, chicken salad, cheese, nuts, candy. The tiniest bit of food that drops onto the paper, or if grease gets onto my hands and I touch the paper, this will leave a spot. Over time, and not even that much time, either… we’re talking minutes sometimes… that spot will bleed through to the surface of the paper, and it will grow larger and larger. See the photo at right. If I could have done this with a less mottled pattern, you could have seen how the grease marks come through and stain the front.

I once had a customer who was feeding his dogs while I was working. My table was set up right there, so he put the bowls of smelly canned dog food down on the first handy horizontal surface – my work table! I about freaked out, between being polite and telling the guy to get the ooey gooey greasy food off the table where I was trying to paste his (expensive) wallpaper.

Sugar is bad, too, as it can cause stains. So can food coloring, such as in M&M’s, smoothies, etc.

So you see, when I pass on lunch, it’s not that I’m trying to stay skinny. It’s because I’m working hard to keep your paper fresh and clean!

More Grasscloth on Bookshelves

September 21, 2012

Woo Hoo!  My latest grasscloth installation for Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs made the top line / second photo of her Pintrest KOL page:  http://pinterest.com/pamelahd/kol/

This was a beautiful copper / bronze / black grasscloth by Thibaut.

Cherry Entry

September 21, 2012

I like the way the colorful birds play against the muted branches, and all with a playful, stylized theme. Note how the unique lanturn (this homeowner is an antiques-hunter) replays the reds in the wallpaper.

This home was featured on the 2012 Garden Oaks Home tour.

Stay Away from Solid Vinyl in Humid Bathrooms

September 20, 2012

OK, this isn’t a blanket statement, but in general, I advise people to avoid “solid vinyl” wallcoverings, especially in rooms with a lot of humidity, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

The reason is that these papers have a porous backing that seems to absorb moisture from the air. When moisture is absorbed, the backing of the wallpaper expands, forcing the paper to curl away from the wall and toward the front, as you see in the photo.

This is not loose paper, and cannot be repasted or stuck back down. It is hard curled edges of paper that want to stay just where they are.

“Vinyl-coated” or “uncoated” papers are a better choice for humid areas.

Be aware that solid vinyls are fairly washable, while vinyl-coated and uncoated papers are not. Hopefully, you won’t have people putting their hands on your walls or squirting hair spray willy-nilly, so washability shouldn’t be a concern. However, having paper that stays stuck to your wall for years to come should be a concern.

So please steer away from solid vinyls, and go with other types of paper.

Shifting Foundation = Twisting Corners

September 19, 2012

Twice this week, I’ve looked at jobs that had issues with one of Houston’s primary banes of existance… shifting foundations!

When a house’s foundation shifts (generally due to lack of or excess of moisture in the soil underneath), the whole structure moves. When walls move independently of one another, they take the wallpaper with them. Meaning that one wall moves up and one wall moves down, and so does the wallpaper, resulting in twisting of the paper in the corner.

Sometimes, the drywall tape in the corner also shifts and twists, causing a thicker, deeper wrenching of materials.

Wallpaper strips are split, and then the first strip is wrapped around the corner just 1/8″ or less, and the second strip is lapped on top of that first one. (This is explained in more detail in another post.) Since the strips are adhered to one another by paste, they are fused, and so end up twisted and unsightly when the walls move.

Usually, both walls have to be repapered. In one of the homes I mentioned above, the plan is to leave the corners un wrapped. Meaning, instead of wrapping the paper that 1/8″ around the corner and then overlapping, we have agreed to just cut the paper at the corner. This means there will be a slight gap in the corner between the two walls. But the homeowner feels this will be preferable to haveing ugly twisty paper bulging from the corners.

I might try a trick – wrapping the paper around the corner that 1/8″, but not pasting the next strip where it overlaps the first one. That way, there will be paper under the corner, which will eliminate a gap, but the strips will not be adhered to one another, so, if the house moves again, hopefully the two walls will move independently of one another, and will not cause twisting or ugly blemishes in the corners.