Archive for March, 2021

Damage From The Freeze – Repair Requests Starting To Come In.

March 31, 2021

The record-setting freeze that hit Texas in mid-February 2021 caused a lot of damage over multiple fronts.

In homes, a lot of this was due to water pipes that froze and burst, flooding floors or raining water down from walls and ceilings.

For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been getting calls for repairs to wallpaper.

Some homes “just” have water stains. But many homes have had to have drywall cut out, flooring pulled up, studs and outer wall brick exposed. Today I looked at a home where the entire first floor had been affected – all the kitchen cabinets, appliances, and backsplashes had been yanked out and trashed, all flooring gone, drywall cut out up to 18″ – nothing but studs and a raw concrete floor.

Even though the damage was on the lower 1/3 – 2/3 of the walls, to make the room look right, ALL the wallpaper has to be stripped off and replaced.

The kicker is, I had just hung their wallpaper back in October.

Repairs are hard to do, and hard to make look “as good as new.”

Even harder is that insurance companies always have a vastly different idea of what it costs for materials and labor, compared to actual real life prices, to get these people’s homes back to being livable again.

From Textured to Smooth Wall Surface

March 30, 2021

Many homes in Houston have textured walls. In new homes in the suburbs, the texture is often really heavy – the so-called “Tuscan” look.

The texture will look bad under the new paper, plus it interferes with good adhesion. So it needs to be smoothed out before the paper can go up.

I use the process called “skim-floating” or adding a “skim-coat.” You can Search here (upper right corner) to find posts explaining this process.

And don’t pay your painter or handyman to do it – they don’t understand what’s needed for wallpaper. I’m many times better! đŸ™‚

Here are before and after pics of a powder room I smoothed and prepped in the Bellaire neighborhood.

That second photo is enlarged many times – the wall is actually much smoother than the picture makes it look.

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpapers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can go up on the wall.

Hmmm … they charge you more because it’s a “designer brand.” But they give you less, because it takes a lot of time, precision, and razor blades to trim this off, when the company could have simply done it at their factory.

O.K., moving past that … To trim off the selvedge, I used my 6′ brass-bound straight edge and lots of new, sharp, single-edge razor blades. The “Trim” mark guides printed on the material by the manufacturer were pretty much on-target.

Thus the pattern on the trimmed strips matched up very nicely once pasted and hung on the wall.

Minor Bubbles, Waffling, Quilting on Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpaper manufacturers use heavy inks (a.k.a. stinky ink). When wet paste is rolled on to the back of the wallpaper, these inks commonly compete with the substrate for moisture. The substrate absorbs more moisture and more quickly than the inked areas.

The result is wrinkles, blisters, bubbles, warps, quilting, waffling – whatever you want to name it, you’ve got a bumpy surface that doesn’t want to lie flat on the wall.

One way to tame this beast is to LIGHTLY sponge water onto the surface of the paper, before pasting. This allows the front to absorb moisture at the same time that the backing is soaking up moisture from the paste. The result is a more even “quilting” of the material.

Another thing to keep in mind is that small blisters like seen in the photo will usually flatten out and disappear as the wallpaper paste dries. A good wallpaper-specific primer underneath is a big help.

Also, a liner paper is often a good choice. The liner is a special, unprinted paper that goes under the decorative wallpaper. The liner absorbs moisture quickly and helps “lock down” bubbles and seams.

A liner also ups the installation price. Because you have to add the cost of the material, plus the labor of at least an additional day to hang the liner, and then let it dry at overnight or longer.

Warmth With An Ethnic Feel For Heights Hallway

March 26, 2021
Boring
Warm and engaging, without overpowering
“Appleton” by Sister Parish

One doesn’t spend much time in this tiny hallway separating the living / dining rooms from the family room / kitchen. But the homeowner – an interior designer – felt the small space merited more attention.

This medium-scale, tight, two-color design called “Appleton” by Sister Parish fills and warms the space nicely, without overwhelming.

Further, it’s a wonderful backdrop to two hand-carved sculptures that will hang on the wall – both are sort of figureheads (like on the front of a pirate ship). They exhibit both a feminine and Asian look.

The wallpaper sets these works of art off way better than the previous plain painted wall.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Divine Savages – Wild Animals!

March 25, 2021
Finished shot of yesterday’s install
Close up

Here are some finished shots of the downstairs bathroom I started yesterday.

The brand is Divine Savages, and the pattern is Safari Soiré.

It’s a non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-paper method.

Starting Today – More Tomorrow

March 24, 2021

2-3 hours spent covering surfaces and baseboards, and then priming the walls in this large downstairs bathroom in a newish home in the Houston Heights. The primer is my favorite Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977, lightly tinted blue to make it easier to see where I have applied it.

I always think it’s cool to see the pattern as it goes up against the previously-bare walls.

More photos tomorrow!

The wallpaper is by Divine Savages.

Trading in a Slew of Stubbies

March 23, 2021

No wonder I can’t fit a screwdriver into my toolbox – these too-small-to-hold-on-to nubs and stubs are taking up all the space. No more!

A trip to the dollar store yielded me these two long-lived and easy-to-hold #2 pencils – plus 10 more for back-up.

Note: We contractors always write on the wall and on our materials with pencil or chalk. Ink, marker, grease pencil, or other such materials will bleed through and stain wallpaper and paint and most other substances.

Addendum: Old habits are hard to break … I might hold on to the two on the right.

Better Homes & Gardens Features Wallpaper

March 22, 2021

The newest issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine features a home that is not afraid to use color and pattern!

Laundry room, dining room, entry, and living room all have been cloaked in the warmth and personality of wallpaper.

My favorite is the green paisley. It looks very turn-of-the-last-century Art Nouveau to me.

How about you?

Free-Form Rainbow for Baby Due Soon

March 21, 2021
“Before” wall, smoothed and primed.
Measurements done, strip placement plotted, material rolled backward and ready to hang.
Start in the center, to ensure the rainbow lands behind the crib. This is the first three strips.
Although the paper is smooth, the printing method makes it look lightly textured.

Momma chose this soft, water color-y rainbow mural by Anewall for her baby girl’s nursery.

The wall had to be carefully measured, and specific dimensions sent to the manufacturer, to ensure that the custom-printed mural would fit the wall and also have sufficient “bleed” (extra 2″ around EACH side), to allow for trimming and for unlevel and unplumb ceiling and walls.

Don’t let “custom printed” scare you. Modern digital printing makes this easy and affordable.

Just be sure that the paperhanger measures (not Handy Hubby) BEFORE you order.

This was printed on a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

The manufacturer is Anewall. I like the products from this company.

They offer several substrate options. I guess I like the non-woven (paste-the-wall) version best. Second to that is the pre-pasted. Not so fond of their vinyl offering, and definitely wouldn’t work with a peel & stick.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.