Shifting Foundation = Twisting Corners

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.

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