Archive for July, 2021

Preventing a Stain from Bleeding Through

July 31, 2021

See that oval ring on the paint? That’s from someone lying on the bed and letting his head rest against the wall. Don’t know whether he used hair tonic or not, but even a clean head of hair will contain oils, and those oils will wick into the paint and cause a stain.

The bad thing about this and wallpaper is that certain substances will bleed through wallpaper, staining the surface. Oil and grease are sure contenders.

To prevent this bleed-through, I painted over the stained area with a stain blocker. My favorite is KILZ Original Oil Based. It stinks to high Heaven and breathing too much will make you high, but it is outstanding at sealing all sorts of nasty substances.

Wallpaper paste will not stick to this, so, once it’s dry, roll your usual wallpaper primer over it.

Silvery Geometric Trellis on Living Room Wall

July 30, 2021
This wall was originally papered in a similar but more rigid pattern. Here the paper has been stripped and the walls primed.
Pattern is nicely centered. Hanging just this one wall took me about six hours. Note the unlevel floor line. Ditto the ceiling. This makes geometric patterns particularly challenging. You’ve just got to accept some imperfections.
In the Anna French line by Thibaut. Nice material.

The February 2021 freeze caused burst pipes, and that meant a whole lot of damage to this home in the Timbergrove (Heights) area of Houston. Once the contractor was done fixing the wall, I came in to replace the wallpaper.

This was a non-woven product. On a single accent wall, I will often paste the wall. But with all these turns, pasting the paper was a better option, because it renders the material more pliable, and also grabs the wall more quickly and tightly.

Grasscloth on Bookshelf Backs – Railroaded

July 29, 2021
Before, with my primer in four cubbies, two more to go, and my fan set up to get it to dry faster.
Finished.
“Railroading” means the paper was run horizontally, instead of vertically. With grasscloth, this means the reeds ran up and down, instead of sideways. This technique eliminated seams (run the usual way would have given us a seam smack down the center of the shelf area – a decorating no-no).
I was able to slide the edges of the paper under the back side of the wooden shelves. No trimming needed. And no gaps showing between the wall and the shelves.
For this stiff grasscloth material, instead of my softer, natural-bristle smoothing brush (right), I chose a stiffer, plastic-bristled brush.
Showing the texture and natural material of the grasscloth. And how the dye stained my fingers!
Manufacturer is York, a very good company.

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Bright Pink Girl Cave

July 28, 2021
Before
Done
Complicated by rounded edges, plus contrary qualities of the wallpaper, it took me four hours to get paper around these windows.
“Feather Palm” is the pattern name
Manufacturer is Milton & King

When the kids grow up and move out, Mom moves in! This is to be her “girl-cave” or sanctuary. The wallpaper went on just two walls of the room.

She will add pops of pink and other strong colors around the room, to make the look cohesive.

This is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall product. But, for the area around the windows, wrapping around those bull-nosed edges, I found it better to paste the paper. For the rest of the room, I used the paste-the-wall method.

The contemporary style home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Out Smarting a Tough Corner

July 27, 2021

In the top photo, I am hanging a new strip of wallpaper, moving from right to left, about to turn around that outside corner and move on to the left.

The strip of wallpaper is going to land about 3/8″ from that corner. This is not good, particularly with this specific paper. That 3/8″ does not provide enough surface for the wallpaper to grab ahold of, to be stable as the strip continues around the corner. You are also likely to get wrinkles as the paper wraps around onto the new wall.

It would be much better to have a wider strip of paper turning the corner on that first wall. I figured out a way to do that, while still matching the pattern perfectly in the corner to the right.

Because the pattern repeats itself once horizontally on the strip, this means there are two of the “circle” motifs, and I can use either one for my new strip. (I know, kinda hard to explain.) I chose to use the option that involved slicing the strip in half vertically, which left me with a narrower strip that fell far away from that corner to the left (and closer to the inside corner to the right). In the second photo, the location of this seam is marked by the blue tape.

Because that strip was narrow, the next strip was wider – wide enough to cover the remaining part of the first wall to the left and then wrap around the outside corner, and then into the inside corner on the far left.

I will also note that this vinyl material was very thick and stiff and uncooperative. It helped a lot to use the heat gun to soften the vinyl so it would wrap more easily around the corner and hug it tightly.

This wallpaper is made by Katie Kime.

For the record, their Customer Service told me that, due to material shortages due to the pandemic, they can’t get their usual very nice non-woven substrate, so are temporarily printing on this heavy vinyl material.

What’s Going On With The Pattern Match?!

July 25, 2021

Turning this corner and moving from right to left, the pattern matched perfectly at the top of the wall (not shown). But as we get to the lower foot and a half, the pattern match goes askew. Wassup?

What’s up is a combination of un-plumb walls and bowed walls. All of the corners in this powder room were off-plumb by at least 1/2″ falling from ceiling to floor.

First, know that you don’t wrap a full sheet of wallpaper around a corner. You wrap about 1/8″ around the corner, and then use a separate strip to start as you move out of the corner; in this case, moving right to left.

If corners are simply off-plumb, I can usually make the pattern match near-perfectly … although that will cause the pattern to track up or down along the ceiling line. It’s a trade-off, depending on which is more visually important; ceiling or corners / horizontals or verticals.

But in this case, the walls were not only off-plumb, but bowed as well. You can’t hang a straight strip of wallpaper against a bowed wall …. Something’s gonna either gap or overlap. Some patterns will let me futz around and pull some tricks, but this one was not forgiving.

My only option was to let a little bit of the pattern repeat itself at the bottom of this corner.

Luckily this is between the toilet and the wall, and not very noticeable. The busy pattern further disguises the minor mis-match.

The Pandemic, Wild Patterns, and Zoom

July 25, 2021

The owners love the large home office in their new house, and it’s been a real boon while they are working from home during the COVID pandemic.

But they learned real quickly that wild wallpaper in the background doesn’t make for a professional meeting experience on Zoom!

So I stripped the paper off, and they will paint instead. This was a non-woven material, and stripped off the wall fairly easily by simply pulling – carefully. That’s exactly what non-wovens were designed to do.

Rather than try to strip the whole panel off the wall, which does put quite a bit of stress on the wall surface below, another option is to separate the top, inked layer from the backing, as you see in the second photo. The white is the backing left on the wall. This is pretty easy to do, in most cases.

Then all you need to do is to use a sponge and bucket of water to soak that backing until the paste becomes soft and reactivated. Then it’s easy to peel the backing away from the wall. This puts virtually no stress on the wall and usually leaves you with a perfectly intact surface underneath.

There are more detailed instructions on my “How to Strip Wallpaper” page link to the right.

Serena & Lily “Palm” in Pasadena Powder Room

July 24, 2021
Beautiful with the burnished brass faucet and light fixture.
If you could run your hand over this, you’d feel the slight “raised ink” texture. Not that you should go around touching your wallpaper! But it does add a very subtle dimension and warmth.
Serena & Lily – one of my favorite brands.

The homeowners have done some nice updates to their 20-something suburban Houston home. This palm leaf pattern in their powder room was one of the final touches.

I had a schedule change and was able to get their wallpaper up more than a month ahead of their scheduled date.

Serena & Lily makes really nice paper, so today was a pleasant install.

Looks Like Real Tile

July 23, 2021

This cool look was created by another installer years ago in the home where I worked today. It’s wallpaper, but it sure looks like tile!

Coloring Edges of Wallpaper to Prevent White Backing from Showing

July 22, 2021

When hanging a dark wallpaper, sometimes the white edges of the substrate will show at the seams. Other times, the paper may shrink a tad when the paste dries, and teeny gaps may appear, again, showing white at the seams.

So I will often run a stick of chalk along the edges of the strip of wallpaper – applying from the back, to avoid getting color onto the surface.

It’s important that you use chalk, and never oil pastels. Oil products may bleed into the wallpaper, and cause visible staining on the surface.