Posts Tagged ‘a/c’

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd …

February 2, 2022

And you can’t hang wallpaper when the house isn’t ready!

The poor homeowners of this completely renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights have had delays of up to nearly a year. Some COVID and supply-chain related. But lots more due to … well, due to tasks just not getting done. The mom pressed the contractor hard to be sure the space would be ready for wallpaper today. But as soon as I pulled up, I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.

No A/C and no heat = humidity = not good for wallpaper

Workmen in the area (my specs specify no one else on-site)

Workmen’s ladders blocking my access to rooms I am supposed to paper

Workmen’s power tools blasting noise = disrupts concentration

No running water in the house (I need to keep paper and woodwork clean)

Floors need to be sanded = dust getting onto the walls / wallpaper

High probability that someone will get handprints, paint, or other on the new paper

Yard is a mudpit = not good carrying my 50lb bucket of paste or 7′ long table back and forth

House not secure and likelihood of tools and equipment “walking off” esp. overnight

No one but me wearing a COVID-conscious mask

So, no wallpaper went up today. At first I thought I could at least get the primer up. But various factors made that not viable.

A day of work lost for me. For the rest of the week, I will have to try to find other clients who can be ready on 1-day’s notice. And reschedule these folks for later down the road.

This is a big disappointment for the homeowners, who are very much wanting the work to be finished and to move into their lovely new home.

Oh, and song lyrics compliments of Roger Miller, 1965.

Humidity Damage to Vinyl Wallpaper

June 15, 2021

As I like to say, Humidity Is The Great Enemy Of Wallpaper.

This small bathroom with no A/C vent has more problems with moisture than most, as evidenced by the stains and flaking paint on the ceiling.

But let’s focus on the wallpaper. Back some decades, just about all you could find were these pre-pasted paper-backed solid vinyl papers. I have never been fond of them. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/stay-away-from-pre-pasted-paper-backed-solid-vinyl-wallpapers/

the paper backing seems to absorb humidity through the seams. As it sucks up moisture, the paper expands, and that causes the paper to push away from the wall, creating the curled seams you see in the photo. It advances past that, to where the paper backing actually delaminates from the vinyl coating and from the wall. The surfaces come apart, and cannot be “glued down.”

A small part of this problem could have to do with improper surface prep, such as a good wallpaper-specific primer. But the brunt of the issue lies with too much humidity. An air duct in the room would help bring in fresh, dry, air-conditioned or heated air. And keeping the door open would have given humidity a way to exit.

But best of all would have been to avoid this low-end plastic / paper combination wall covering in the first place. A paper wallpaper, or one of the newer non-woven (synthetic fiber) materials would resist humidity much better.

Dark & Mysterious Witch & Watchman Wallpaper

January 29, 2021

This small powder room in the Rice University neighborhood of Houston was buried under at least four layers of old wallpaper. The homeowners intended to DIY new wallpaper. In the top photo, they have partially removed some of the layers. But not too far into the project they realized that the prep required was over their heads. Enter the Wallpaper Lady. 🙂

I won’t go into all the details of getting these walls into shape. But I will say that it took a day and a half, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the end result. But sometimes you can’t surmount what was done over prior decades. I brought the wall to a good state for hanging the new paper.

And what a perfect choice they made! The original wallpaper was a beige faux-finish sort of design that was popular in the ’90’s. The couple wasn’t sure what they wanted, but, on our initial consultation, I showed them a sample of this that I had hung previously https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/birds-on-black-wallpaper-by-witch-and-watchman/ , and they were instantly mesmerized. On the company’s website, they zeroed in on a slightly different pattern with equal drama.

The wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method. In bathrooms, with sinks and toilets and windows and other things to cut around, I find it better to paste the paper. It went up nicely, and should perform well for years, even being more resistant to splashes and stains than many papers. The non-woven substrate should resist curling at the seams caused by humidity – important, since this 100 year old home has no A/C vent in the powder room.

Hidden Trap Doors Covered With Wallpaper

December 2, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


The top photo shows where a cut-out was made in the wall, to allow the plumbers to have access to the bathtub pipes inside the wall. The chunk of drywall they cut out has been replaced, and you can see around that the original wallpaper, which is a green grasscloth. Around that, the grasscloth has been painted tan.

The second photo shows another wall with a hinged door that allows access to some attic space behind. Let’s hope that whatever electrician or A/C guy who needs to crawl through there will be thin and trim!

The homeowners had to live with this access door in the middle of their new baby’s nursery wall. The wall was to be wallpapered, and they wanted the door to disappear as much as possible. When I got there, there was about a quarter-inch gap all around the trap door. Instead of trimming the wallpaper to the wall and to the door, which would have left a dark 1/4″ gap showing all around, I trimmed close to the trap door, and left just that little 1/4″ bit of wallpaper “flapping loose.”

You can still see the door, but it’s fairly well camouflaged, and looks much better than before.