Archive for September, 2015

Why Is This Paint Peeling?

September 30, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


You are looking at the box where a phone line connects to the wall. I have unscrewed the plate so the wallpaper can go behind it. There was paint stuck to the plate, and when I pulled the plate away from the wall, some paint pulled away, too.

This shows poor bonding of the paint to the previous surface. You can tell that the yellow paint is latex, because it is stretchy and plastic-y. The green paint below that is probably latex, too. I don’t see a sheen on the green paint, but a gloss finish is one reason that a new layer of paint (or wallpaper) won’t stick. If the previous surface has a sheen, you must first de-gloss by chemical or by sanding (and then wipe off all dust), or use a primer specially formulated to stick to glossy surfaces, such as Zinsser 123.

There can be other reasons for paint not to bond well to the lower surface. Latex generally does not like to stick to old oil based paint. There could be crumbling or flaking, creating an unstable surface.

Either way, it’s important to get the subsurface stable and solid, so paint and wallpaper have something to grab on to, and to prevent peeling or crackling or flaking down the road.

Advertisements

Today’s Helper

September 29, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


This big guy was doing a good job of holding my drop cloths down.

Why Is This Paint Peeling?

September 27, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


Here you are looking at woodwork in a home that has been freshened, at least one time, with a new coat of paint.

But, as you can see, the new, top layer of paint is starting to flake and peel up. Why?

Paint that is used on woodwork is usually semi-gloss or even high-gloss. Glossy finishes have a slick surface. And just as nothing sticks to dust, nothing sticks to gloss.

What’s happening here is that the top layer of paint is peeling away from the bottom layer, because it has no texture, or other rough surface to “bite” into. Depending on how glossy the sub surface is (the original painted woodwork), the new paint may stay on the molding forever, or it may give way immediately, or it may peel up bit by bit, as you see here, as it becomes stressed or injured.

More Black Wallpaper – Powder Room / Geometric

September 25, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


It takes guts to go with black! This summer, I have hung black or near-black wallpaper in two dining rooms, a bedroom accent wall, and, today, in a powder room.

This young couple with two pre-school children wanted to move their new home in the Houston Heights away from Boring Builder’s White toward a warmer and more contemporary look. For the powder room, they chose this black-on-grey geometric in a small, tight pattern.

The room was lit well enough, but still it was very hard for me to see what I was doing, because the dark paper “ate” shadows, so I could not see depth, nor was it easy to see well enough to trim around intricate molding or the pedestal sink – Aaahhh – that pedestal sink!… It took more than an hour and a half, just to hang the two pieces on the wall behind the pedestal sink.

I used craft paint to cut in around the molding, to ensure a neat finish, and I used chalk pastels to color the edges of the paper, so the lighter colored backing would not show at the seams.

One photo shows a slight defect in the paper – some shards that are bi-products of trimming at the factory, instead of being swept away, were pushed back onto the surface of the wallpaper and got stuck there; I was able to scratch most of them off, but a few had to remain.

In more than one corner, I actually had to pull out my tiny travel flashlight (thank you, companies that hand out gimmee / freebies!) so I could see to match the pattern!

The finished room looked fantastic. The homeowners want to update the lighting and towel ring, etc. (I suggested shiny silver chrome), so soon the powder room will suit the lifestyle and taste of this young and go-go-go family.

This wallpaper is by EcoChic, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Living Room / Dining Room – Matching Papers

September 24, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Usually I cringe when homeowners buy their wallpaper before I’ve been able to measure the space. But, happily and atypically, this couple bought MORE than they anticipated they would need. This always makes me happy. 🙂

The living room accent wall and the dining room accent wall faced each other, with a large entry in between them. The homeowners wanted the same pattern on each wall, which helped draw the spaces together. In addition, the wallpaper was chosen first, and then the wall paint color was selected, to coordinate with the color of the paper. This was really smart, as it was a wonderful color combination.

In the first picture, “before,” the wall is being primed. The second picture shows the living room wall finished. Then “before” and “after” of the dining room. The close up of the pattern shows some blotchiness of color – as the paper dries, this will disappear. The paper gets wet first at the seams, and it also dries first at the seams, which is why there is a bit of a white line down the seam in the photo – this area is drier than the rest of the paper.

This product is by PaperPro, manufactured by Brewster, and is on a non-woven substrate. It is a pre-pasted product, which is fast and easy to hang, and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

Oval Geometric Strip in a Powder Room

September 23, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

This oval and knotted geometric design in indigo on white is clean and crisp, and it has both a modern and a nautical feel.

I hung this in a large powder room with 12′ high ceilings in a new home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston. Those 12′ high walls tended to get off-plumb / bowed in the center (where the sheets of drywall were joined), and, with a rigid, specific design like this, there were some real challenges in getting the pattern to match in the corners. Two of those corners took me a half an hour each – but I got ‘er done, and you can’t detect any pattern mis-match.

The wallpaper is printed on a non-woven substrate, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

This geometric stripe is by A Street Prints, by Brewster (the manufacturer), and was bought from Wallpapers to Go, which is now named Luxury Wall Décor, and is in Stafford, a southwestern suburb of Houston. http://www.brewsterwallcovering.com/2625-21835-indigo-geometric-stripe.aspx.

Soft and Serene Entry in Oak Forest

September 21, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Here is an entry in a typical ’60’s – ’70’s ranch style home in a tidy neighborhood to the west of Oak Forest, in Houston. Originally, the top 2/3 of the walls was papered in a flocked (three-dimensional velvet-like) stripe in black and gold. When the previous homeowners hung new wallpaper, they skim-floated over the flocked paper (because it can be the Devil to get off), and then coated it with a clear sealer. Which is fine, and pretty much what I would have done, except that the joint compound (smoothing material) shrinks, and so it’s best to do two coats. Since they did only one coat, some of the ridges between the stripes remained, and these showed under the new wallpaper they put up.

The current homeowners stripped off that top layer of wallpaper, and intended to hang their new pattern, but realized it was beyond them, so they called me. Wise decision!

In the first photo, you see the wall as it looked once they stripped off the top layer of wallpaper. In the second photo, I have skim-floated and sanded the wall so it is smooth, and then applied a coat of sealer (I used Gardz, by Zinsser, a penetrating primer which is exceptional on porous surfaces like this) mixed with a little 1-2-3, also by Zinsser, to add some white pigment.)

In the third and fourth photos, you see the new paper. This pattern is a medium scale damask with a little “raised ink” texture, in white on pale gold. The lady of the house has an extremely good eye for decorating, and her style is pretty much pale neutrals and sparse, clean settings. This entry, which is open to the living room and dining room, enhances that look.

This wallpaper pattern is by WallQuest, in their EcoChic line, is made of a thin non-woven material with raised ink. It was very nice to work with, and it is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. It was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

$1 Garage Sale Score!

September 20, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


It’s an electronic distance measuring device.
Complete with battery and instructions.
So far, it appears to be accurate, but I will get a chance to test it out tomorrow (Sunday), which is my day to consult with clients about jobs.

“Fortress” Pattern by Thibaut

September 19, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Lots of homeowners choose stylish textures or geometric patterns, which are very hot right now. Not these homeowners. These ladies wanted something more traditional, that would coordinate with the bathroom’s floor and shower tile, as well as compliment the colors in the adjoining master bedroom, and still be a timeless pattern that would look good for years to come.

They chose this “Fortress” design by Thibaut. The room had previously been painted a butter yellow. Pretty and bright, but nothing special. Once the wallpaper started going up, it was clear that it was a stellar option.

The traditional pattern won’t go out of style. In fact, I believe this to be a hundreds-years old design, partly because, instead of the standard 20 1/2″ width, is 18 1/8″ wide. I am told that these narrower widths are because the papers are printed on the actual, authentic printing presses that were used in the ‘1800’s.

Anyway, back to the pattern choice … besides the timeless quality of the design, the rust and burnished gold and forest green colors meshed perfectly with the bathroom’s floor tile, shower and tub tile, and vanity, plus with the colors in the adjoining master bedroom. The paper is good quality, and shouldn’t peel or curl or stain.

All around, a perfect choice!

Note the photo where you see small, rhythmic gashes cut into the wallpaper. These defects ran down either side, and sometimes diagonally, of two double roll bolts of wallpaper. These cuts were not obvious from the front, though, so I was able to go ahead and hang these strips with no one knowing the secret. 🙂

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Another Faux Bead Board Paintable Wallpaper

September 18, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

I love this Thibaut hummingbird pattern so much, it hurt to strip it off. But the home owner wanted something more subdued for this powder room in a townhome in the West University / Medical Center area of Houston. The beaded board pattern she chose is made of expanded vinyl and is intended to be painted (although it’s OK to leave it as-is, too). It is on a non-woven backing, and is supposed to strip off the wall later easily and cleanly and in one piece.

It is by Allen & Roth, made by Graham & Brown, who manufacturers a lot of these puffy papers.

Speaking of puffy papers – the surface is very delicate, and can be damaged by even a fingernail. In the last photo, you see horizontal lines in the material. I never creased the paper, yet these lines developed during “booking” (folding the paper pasted-side-to-pasted-side and letting it rest before hanging).

I threw one full-length strip away due to lines like this, but these two strips would be behind the mirror, and we had a limited amount of paper, so I let them stay on the wall. Subsequent strips were booked, but folded only once, to minimize the chance of these creases developing, and then handled very carefully during installation. Still, the homeowner will have to be careful over the life of the paper, to not press any hard objects against the walls, as this could create impressions that will last forever. I hope that painting the paper will increase its durability.

The paper has a vinyl surface, which does not “breathe,” and will take a while to dry completely. Because of this moisture, it’s important to have a good primer underneath, to prevent damage from moisture getting to the Sheetrock. I suggested waiting a week before painting, to be sure it’s good and dry.

The homeowner mentioned painting the walls a sage green. This will be pretty, and will coordinate with other rooms in the house. This type of textured wallpaper also looks good with a glaze coat of a different color, to add shading. Then again, the room looks so darned good with the white wallpaper, it’s possible she may leave it as it is!