Archive for November, 2017

One More Reason to NOT Let Your Handyman (or Contractor) Prep the Walls

November 6, 2017

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Can you see the vertical line dead-center in this photo? That is the ridge in a swipe of wall-smoothing compound that is showing under the wallpaper.

For various reasons, the homeowners elected to have their contractor’s guys smooth the textured walls of this powder room. They didn’t do a bad job. But, well, I would have done better.

The crew did a good enough job smoothing the center areas of the walls. But when it came to corners and edges, and especially around the ceiling light fixture, they left a lot of rough areas. Rough areas mean that the wallpaper won’t have a sound, solid surface to adhere to. And they mean that these rough, irregular spots will show under the wallpaper.

In the case of what you see in the photo above, they must have forgotten to sand the smoothing compound, because the ridge between swipes of their trowel is still there. Depending on how the light hits it, it is not – or is – visible.

Nicely Disguised Kill Point

November 4, 2017

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A kill point is the last corner in a room, and it almost always results in a mis-matched pattern.

Today, if I had followed tradition and cut my final strip in a straight vertical line at the last corner, it would have resulted in a visible line of cut-off palm fronds.

So what I did instead was to use a scissors and razor blade to cut around the green leaves on both the left-hand (original) strip and the right-hand (last) strip.

Because fronds were not cut off abruptly, they melded into one another, nicely obscuring the junction of old and new.

This wallpaper is by Serena & Lily, and is called “Palm.”

Flaw of the Day – Wrinkles

November 3, 2017

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Wrinkles like this popped up in three separate places in a bolt of wallpaper I worked with today, rendering most of the bolt unusable.

Luckily, I was able to cut around the defects and still get a full strip out of the bolt. And I usually have people order a little extra, so we did have enough paper to finish the room.

The manufacturer is Serena & Lily.

Killing Mildew

November 2, 2017

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Yeowee … this wall has a lot of issues with torn Sheetrock (the dark brown areas), but more important – the black stuff that you see in the top photo is mildew.  Not good.  Mildew is a living organism, and it can grow and grow.  It’s powdery, and so as it spreads across the wall, it can separate from the wall (delaminate), which means that the wallpaper is at risk of falling off the wall.  Mildew can also travel right through wallpaper, creating a ghost-like shadow of dark – or sometime pink – discoloration.

Mildew is usually caused by moisture.  It’s not clear what caused the problem in this powder room in a 1957 home in the Tanglewood area of Houston.  It could be a leak in the wall (pipe, window, roof, lawn sprinkler outside hitting the wall).  Or it could be that the solid vinyl surface of the previous wallpaper prevented air from getting to the backing, and so that it could not dry out, and then it held dampness against the wall – which created the perfect breeding ground for mildew.

Getting rid of mildew requires a few steps.  First, it must be wiped and scrubbed with chlorine bleach, then rinsed clean.  Once the wall is dry, a coat of a quality stain-blocker is applied.  I like oil-based KILZ Original, but other options include Zinsser’s B-I-N stain blocker.

Once the stain blocker is dry, the wall can be coated in a wallpaper primer.