Here Is One Reason Why I Don’t Work on New Construction Jobs

Digital Image

Digital Image

People are usually eager to get their new home all finished, or the remodel job over with. I think their eagerness to get moved into their home sometimes leads to misjudging when the house is “ready for wallpaper.”

Folks, if you want your new wallpaper to be clean, and free of paint drips and not be dinged or torn, to not have paste smeared over the surface or grit trapped in the paste underneath, then the wallpaper should be the last thing that goes into the house. ALL of the other construction has to be finished, and the workmen off the premises. Seriously, do you want to spend $1000 on wallpaper (or more!), and half again that on labor, and have a painter come back and “touch up” the crown molding?? I can guarantee there is no way he can do that without getting some paint on the paper. No way.

Also, please don’t have the plumber working upstairs on the same day I’m working downstairs – we will inevitably be crossing one another’s paths. I’ve had plumbers cut off the water to the house, leaving me with no way to wash off paste residue. I’ve had electricians cut off the power, leaving me in the dark in a powder room with no windows. I’ve had people throw things down stairs and rip the paper I just put up. I’ve had handymen hang chandeliers over my work table, dropping Sheetrock crumbs onto the pasted wallpaper, and I’ve had guys “borrow” my ladder (without asking) with all my tools on top, and plop their heavy, dirty equipment on top of my delicate tools. I’ve had guys push their way into a room where I’m working and knock me off the ladder. I’ve had people set their greasy hamburgers, or bowls of dog food, on my pristine, clean work table where I am rolling out pricy wallpaper.

And vice versa … if a guy is doing a project in a home, he doesn’t want me there, competing for a parking space, walking through his work area, or stepping on his new tile floor so I can get to the room where the wallpaper is supposed to go.

See this painter working on the stairs? “The painters will be doing some touch-up – but they won’t be in your way.” Oh yeah?! I was to paper two rooms on the first floor, and one on the second floor. Just to get primer on the walls, I had to make about eight trips up and down the stairs, and that was a great inconvenience to the painter every time he had to stop and move his tools and climb down and let me pass. Eight times.

And see the dust he is making? There was a pile of dust at the foot of the stairs, and in the room where I was supposed to hang wallpaper. Yellow dust, from wood filler. Now, how can I keep paper clean, when the floor is covered with dust and the air is full of dust?

And air conditioning. Mold is bad for wallpaper. Humidity breeds mold. Humidity curls wallpaper. Humidity is the great enemy of wallpaper. Air conditioning (and heat, during the winter) remove humidity. Air conditioning and heating systems must be working, before I can put up wallpaper.

And don’t even get me started on the noise from power tools! Worse than leaf blowers! I simply cannot concentrate, let alone do math or work out geometry, with all that commotion going on!

It’s not that I’m a primadona. It’s that, to get your wallpaper to look its best, and to stay on the wall, there need to be certain things – like good light, running water, electricity, space for my ladder and room for my table, clean dry air, and relative peace and quiet with no distractions.

So I leave, and the homeowner (or the contractor) says, “Just come back in two weeks.” But that’s something that’s easy to say, but hard to do. I am usually booked solid with work, every single day, for several weeks, if not months. There is no open spot “in two weeks” on my work schedule. It becomes a huge juggling act, trying to accommodate jobs that get off-schedule and other clients who have been patiently waiting… a nightmare, it really is.

Much of this can easily be prevented by taking a realistic look at the construction time frame, and planning to have the wallpaper go up last. That’s the best way to ensure that your investment will be clean, stain-free, and undamaged.

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