Archive for October, 2021

Using Laser Level to Position First Wallpaper Strip

October 24, 2021
Here I’ve measured the wall and the wallpaper, and the design, and plotted where I want my first strip to hang – in this case, with a vertical line of the wallpaper smack in the center of the wall. The black object you see in the foreground is my laser level, and it’s shooting a vertical red line onto the wall, right where I want my first strip to land.
Here I’ve positioned my first strip along that vertical laser line. This ensures that my strip is perfectly plumb.

Soft Geometric Accent Wall in Mother In Law’s Suite

October 22, 2021
Headboard accent wall before. Textured wall was skim-floated and sanded smooth, then primed. Now it’s ready for wallpaper.
Finished.
Closer look.
Detail. The seams were invisible. The lines on this paper are raised a bit, so there is a 3-D effect.
I hung this non-woven wallpaper by the paste-the-wall method. Here I have rolled the strips backward, to prevent the decorative surface from hitting the paste on the wall. When I’m at the top of my ladder, I will take off the elastic hairband and let the paper unfurl down to the floor. It’s rolled so the top of the strip comes off first.
I have measured the wall and noted where the center point is, then determined where I want my first strip to fall. The black box in the foreground is my laser level, and you can see the vertical red line it’s shooting at the wall, which is where I am going to line up my first strip.
Positioning the wallpaper strip along the vertical laser line.
This muted geometric pattern is in the Jaclyn Smith Home line by the Trend division of Fabricut. It was mighty nice to work with, and will hold up for years until the family is ready for a change of decor. Then, the polyester-content non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece.

The home is in the Memorial Villages neighborhood of Houston.

Handsome Tailored Men’s Wear Powder Room

October 21, 2021
Vanity area before.
Vanity area after.
Vanity from the front. Note the stripes perfectly centered / balanced on the wall, both above and below the sink. The wall-mounted faucet and handles, along with the stuck-to-the-wall mirror made this wall challenging. In fact, this one wall took me two and a half hours.
Stripes on the toilet alcove are also nicely balanced.
Looking up past the linen cabinet.
Close up. The wallpaper looks textured, but it’s just fooling your eye. It has the look of fabric.

This is a semi-contemporary new home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The manufacturer is Wallquest, one of my preferred brands, and the pattern # is MS91603.

‘Iconic’ Woods Pattern by Cole & Son on Heights Entryway Accent Wall

October 20, 2021
Before. Getting ready to prime. Note that I have protected both the floor and the baseboards with dropcloths.
Done! Dramatic!
Detail.
This bolt had been damaged in shipping, and the right edge had dings / dents. With this thick, puffy non-woven material, these could show at the seams when butted against the next strip. So I plotted the placement of my strips so this one would be on the far right end. That last strip was not the full width wide, so 8″ of the right side got cut off where it met the adjoining wall. That eliminated the worry of those dented edges showing.
I used the paste-the-wall method to hang this non-woven wallpaper. With the wall wet with paste, it would be easy to get paste all over the wallpaper if you used the traditional installation booking technique. So I’ve learned to roll the material up with the print side in, and then secure with a hairband (from the dollar store). Then you can easily carry the rolled-up strip up your ladder, remove the elastic tie, and then let the paper fall into place. Only the back side comes into contact with the paste on the wall. Once you get good at this technique, you will never have to wipe paste off a seam, nor off the woodwork or adjoining walls.
Cole & Son says that this “Woods” pattern has roots dating back to 1959. I guess that makes it truly iconic. I can say that it is quite popular – I’ve hung it a bunch of times.

Danger Tape Brings Safety

October 19, 2021
Read below for info.
After pasting the wallpaper, I apply the plastic strip to the pasted side of the top, then book the paper, making sure to not let the tape contact any of the wet pasted areas.

The red stripe you see is plastic “Danger” tape from the home improvement store. You can also use yellow “Caution” tape. Some installers use painter’s plastic cut into strips … although I find it too flimsy. I put this on the back / pasted side of my wallpaper strips to keep paste off the ceiling, woodwork, etc. And, as you see to the left of the top photo, when you bring a strip of wallpaper up against another strip, such as in your final corner, the plastic tape will prevent paste from transferring onto or staining the other strip of wallpaper.

After I make my trim cuts, I remove the excess wallpaper and the plastic tape – making sure to get the parts on both sides of my cut.

Now the paste can reach the wall surface, and adhere the wallpaper securely, with no paste residue left on the ceiling, molding, or wallpaper.

“Reveal,” “Shadow Line,” “Floating Wall” in Contemporary Construction

October 17, 2021

I’m not sure exactly what this effect is called, but I see it now and then in modern styled homes. It’s a 3/8″ or so gap between the baseboard and the drywall up above. The idea is to make the wall look like it’s floating.

When I hung wallpaper in this bathroom, instead of trimming the excess at the bottom against the baseboard, I wielded a single-edge razor blade (near the bottom left in the photo) and trimmed it at the bottom of the “floating” drywall, leaving a tiny gap, which creates a sort of shadow line when viewed from above.

Fun Neutral-Toned Broken Lines Pattern in Pool Bathroom

October 16, 2021
Pool bathroom before.
Done!
Close-up. The paper has a light texture, which emphasizes the scratchy print of the design. It almost looks like someone dyed strips of tissue paper and laid them abstractly on canvas.
A Street Prints makes nice wallpaper, and this one was a joy to work with. It is a non-woven material. It can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, but I prefer to paste the paper.

This very contemporary new home is in the Hilshire Village neighborhood of the Spring Branch area of Houston.

Re Yesterday’s Post – Tricks to Stave off Wall Delamination

October 14, 2021
One way to (hopefully) prevent an unstable wall from delaminating to to hang a liner paper. A liner is a special paper that goes on first, and your finish paper goes on top. Usually, liners are hung horizontally rather than vertically. The idea is that the seams of the two papers will not line up, so that eliminates the worry of stress from drying and shrinking wallpaper tugging at the wall surface below. But liners add more materials cost, and also labor cost to hang it, plus time, because it has to dry overnight. This homeowner had already shelled out a lot of money for this Schumacher (high end brand) “Acanthus” pattern. So I devised a method to do a “mini-liner” effect. I took liner paper and cut 2″ strips, and applied them to the wall under where the seams would fall.
Here I am using my laser level to mark where the next seam would fall. Next I rolled paste on the wall, and then I applied the strip of liner paper. The liner will straddle the area where the seam lands, and thus disperse the tension on the wall across its width. Any stress put on the unstable wall will be covered by the liner strip and by the wallpaper, hopefully preventing any chance of delamination (the wall coming apart).
I like the product I used today because it’s “non-woven” material, which has a high polyester content and shouldn’t shrink or tear. But it’s not as thin as I thought … I had hoped the thin strips would be undetectable under the textured grasscloth. But I was disappointed that, in certain lighting, the vertical ridges from this very thin material do show a tiny bit. I was unable to go back and open the seam and remove the strips, because – you guessed it – the surfaces of the wall began to come apart. Tomorrow I will try a different material.
The next day I tried a trick recommended by colleagues on my paperhanger’s Facebook page – to use cash register receipt print-out tape, available at office supply stores. This material is a lot thinner – but it is also not nearly as strong. I hope it holds up to the tension placed on the seams by the wallpaper. It is thin, and much less noticeable under the textured grasscloth … although I did see one area where the vertical ridge was just just barely detectable under the paper.

This is a grasscloth pattern called ” Acanthus ” by Schumacher.

Danger Signs of an Unstable Wall Surface

October 13, 2021
These nails were holding picture hooks to the wall. The hooks had an adhesive backing. When they were removed from the wall, chunks of latex paint stuck to them and pulled away from the wall, revealing a crumbly sub-surface. This is bad news for wallpaper that might be hung on top of this.
Other spots. What happens is, this is a 90 year old house. Over the years, many coats of paint and other surface treatments have been applied to the walls of this dining room. These coatings are not necessarily compatible with each other. Plus they may have been applied without the proper surface preparation. Oil based paint, then latex, then someone rolls on a gloss paint, the next guy follows with latex but neglects to de-gloss the previous layer so the new layer doesn’t really stick well.
Somewhere along the line, something got chalky. Here you see I have wiped crumbly chalky substance from inside the wall. This is why the latex paint is not adhering well and pulled away so easily. Nothing sticks to dust or grit or chalk.
Gardz is cool stuff. It’s a penetrating sealer that soaks in and actually binds crumbly materials together, drying into a hard, solid mass. The problem here is, it won’t penetrate the paint that is on top of the unstable layer, so we’re still dealing with a wall that has potential to come apart (delaminate).
Gardz applied. You can see how it has soaked into the porous areas, but is sitting on top of the latex paint.

The problem with an unstable wall and wallpaper, is that, as wallpaper sits on a wall and the paste dries, the paper shrinks just a tad, and this shrinking puts tension / torque on the wall beneath it. Sometimes this is actually powerful enough to pull the layers inside the wall apart, resulting in seams that split open.

These are not “loose seams,” but the paper actually taking layers of paint and dust along with it. Really can’t be repaired.

So best to find a way to prevent it from happening in the first place. More on that later.

Surprise Helper – Just In Time For Halloween

October 12, 2021

It’s pretty common for me to run into spiders in rooms where I’m hanging wallpaper. But they’re usually very small. Today’s guest was pretty darned large!

I carefully removed him and transplanted him outdoors.