Archive for September, 2021

Lots of Defects in Today’s Paper

September 24, 2021
There is a lot of “fuzzy stuff” along the edges of the seams.
But most concerning is that the seagulls do not match from one strip to the other.
This photo shows you why. Look at the gull next to my finger, and compare it with the gull by my pencil. The gull at the top of the roll is fatter – it has more white wing area. Obviously this run of wallpaper got trimmed “on the bias,” meaning that the rolls were not cut straight, but at a slight diagonal … sort of like a very long trapezoid. This results in the motifs being cut at an angle, with some wider than others. That means that the motifs are not going to match up perfectly at the seams.
In addition, one double roll bolt had abraded areas, as if something at the factory swept across the material and scraped off some of the ink. I cut off and discarded the worst of this. Luckily we had a little extra paper.
Anderson Prints

I’ve hung this paper before and not had these problems. I hope the issue is unique to this run, and subsequent runs will be back to being perfect.

I usually have the client order enough wallpaper that we can work around issues like this. Also, because of the layout of the room, and the fact that there is only one motif that has to be matched across a seam, and it’s relatively small, I’m going to be able to finish the room with it all looking O.K.

More of the Seagull Kitchen

September 24, 2021
The dark wallpaper really looks nice contrasted against the white cabinets, tile, and appliances.

Soaring Seagulls – Montrose “Burst Pipes” Home

September 23, 2021

I hung this same paper in this same kitchen not even a year ago. A few months later, the homeowners suffered “burst pipes” from the big freeze storm that hit Houston in February 2021. Consequently, their whole kitchen had to be torn out and replaced – drywall, flooring, cabinets, electrical, plumbing, and, yes – wallpaper.

They chose to go back with the exact same pattern they had used last year.

The manufacturer is Anderson Prints, it’s a traditional paste-the-paper product, and it was purchased from Stacey at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet.

More pictures tomorrow!

Plastic Tape Keeps Paste Off Ceiling and Cabinets

September 22, 2021

It’s a pain to wipe wallpaper paste off some surfaces. Plus, it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll get 100% of it. Here’s a trick to eliminate the whole issue.

A strip of thin, flexible plastic along the top of the strip of wallpaper will keep paste from transferring onto the wall surface.

Some folks cut strips from painters plastic – but I find that stuff too flimsy, plus it’s clear and difficult to see.

So lots of us use yellow “Caution” tape, or red “Danger” tape.

Place it at the top of the strip of wallpaper you are about to hang. Position your strip, and trim at the ceiling as usual.

Then remove your trimmed-off piece, and take the tape along with it. Be sure you get the piece below your cut, as well.

Smooth your strip of wallpaper back into place. No need to wipe paste off any surface, and no smears, either.

This trick can also be used at baseboards or other bottom surfaces, as well as in corners.

Strange Bubbles in Drying Wallpaper

September 21, 2021
Air bubbles appearing as this wallpaper dries.
Smoothing brush, and plastic smoother.

It’s not uncommon for vinyl wallcoverings to develop bubbles as the paste dries. This is called “off gassing” and it happens because the vinyl is impenetrable and there is nowhere for air to escape.

But these days, most paper products – such as this one – allow air to pass through, and dry nice and flat with no bubbles or blisters.

One thing to keep in mind is, virtually always, these bubbles will disappear as moisture evaporates and the the paper and paste dry and shrink taught. So the less fiddling you do with it, the better. (And exception would be large bubbles, which should be addressed.)

One way to treat bubbles is to chase them out toward a seam, using a tool such as the plastic smoother. You can also use a pin or razor blade to poke a tiny hole in the paper to let the air escape. It helps to do this in a part of the pattern, and not in an unprinted area, to disguise the hole.

I also like to understand why something like this happens. If you know what caused it, you have a chance of preventing it the next time.

I primed the wall with my usual primer, so I don’t think there would be issues with moisture being trapped between the primer and the wallpaper. But then again, you never know what is inside the wall – many walls have been painted multiple times, and some layers may not be compatible.

Another cause could be the plastic scraper. The bristled smoothing brush uses a more gentle action to push the paper into place. The scraper could actually overwork and stretch the paper. In fact, if you use the scraper to try to push bubbles out to a seam, you end up creating more bubbles.

I use the plastic smoother mostly for seams, and not so much for smoothing a full strip into place. But it’s possible that I used it more than usual this time, and stretched the paper, creating conditions for the bubbles to form. In fact, on one strip, I gently pulled the bottom portion away from the wall and then put it back in place, but making sure to use only the bristle brush. This did eliminate the bubbles.

But, again, if you just wait it out until the paper becomes thoroughly dry, nine times out of ten, all the bubbles will be gone by morning.

Trimming A Strip To Make Placement Easier

September 19, 2021
The width of the wall space to be covered with wallpaper is about 9″ wide. Yet the strip of wallpaper is 28″ wide. Maneuvering that wide strip of paper into this narrow space is going to be difficult, it’s going to get a lot of paste slobbered on the upper and lower cabinets, and is likely to put a lot of stress on the paper, and also create creases.
My solution was to cut the next strip of wallpaper in two, making the next strip (the left side of the split strip) just 10″ wide – enough to let just 1″ pass under and into the cabinet area.
Then I took the appropriate pattern match section from the right half of the split strip, and placed it under the cabinet. If you look closely, you can see the seam under the left edge of the cabinets.

This little trick made hanging this strip a whole lot easier, and it greatly reduced stress on the paper and the potential for creases or damage.

The red plastic tape is on the backside of the top of the wallpaper to keep paste off the cabinets.

Watercolor Flowers for Baby Girl’s Nursery Accent Wall

September 18, 2021
Textured wall has been smoothed and primed.
This wallpaper pattern goes beautifully with the yellow adjacent walls, and is a nice change from the pink chosen for many girls’ nurseries.
The pattern looks like an artist’s study.
I love the drips and runs – it looks like a real watercolor painting.
Wallquest is a good paper. Their EcoChic line is environmentally friendly.

The baby’s crib will be centered on this wall.

This home is in the Braes Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Katie Kime Après Ski Wallpaper in Laundry Room

September 17, 2021
West wall before.
West wall after.
North wall before
North wall after.
East wall before.
East wall after.
Over counter area.
Close up.

The homeowners in this Memorial / Dairy Ashford area of Houston live to ski! When they throw parties, they set the drinks up on the counter in their laundry room, and everyone congregates there.

So this “Après Ski” pattern by Katie Kime was the perfect wallpaper pattern.

The material is a smooth vinyl on a non-woven backing. It will be somewhat more resistant to splashes and stains than a cotton or wood pulp paper. The instructions said it has a non-woven substrate and could be hung by pasting the wall, but I got bubbles doing that, so I opted to paste the paper and book it for a few minutes, as with a traditional paper, which worked better.

Today’s Helper – Itsy Bitsy Spider …

September 16, 2021

Not the cute, furry pups, nor the inquisitive cats like some jobs. Today’s host was an itsy bitsy scurrying arachnid.

For some reason, it’s really common for me to encounter tiny spiders while I’m prepping walls. They’re almost always at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling, and almost always very, very small.

‘spiders eat bugs, so I see them as a good thing. So I try to shoo them away. But sometimes they insist on hanging around their territory – and then get stuck in the wallpaper primer.

Smoothing Walls – I Can’t See What I’m Doing!

September 15, 2021
To smooth textured walls so you won’t see bumps under the wallpaper, I use this trowel to spread on Sheetrock brand Plus 3 lightweight joint compound (a.k.a. “mud”). This is called “skim-coating” or “skim-floating.”
Problem is, the mud is the same color as the wall. I can hardly see what I am doing! Once it dries it will turn white. But until then, I’m fumbling along.