Posts Tagged ‘adhere’

Drywall Has Different Surfaces

February 7, 2023
Here I’m preparing to hang wallpaper on new drywall in a new addition to a 1930’s home in east Houston .
First I’ve used a damp sponge to remove all construction and sanding dust. Next I’m going to apply my primer.
It’s important to note that, even though this is wall is a new sheet of drywall, it’s not all the same surface.
We have mostly large expanses of drywall / greenrock (the type of drywall that’s used in wet areas ).
But at the joints , and covering where the screws and nails hold the drywall to the studs , we have joint compound . That’s the strips of white areas.
And next to the crown and door molding and the baseboards is overspray from the paint that was applied to the wood trim.
Here I’ve applied my light blue-tinted wallpaper primer over the top 1/3 of the wall.
It’s important to be sure that the primer you use is suited for use under wallpaper . But also that it will properly adhere to and seal all the surfaces on the wall .
My primer (below) will stick to just about anything. But this photo is interesting. Because my primer has been rolled on evenly across the wall , and cut in with a trim brush along the trim and corners . But you see that the primer is drying at different rates . On the right side of the photo, the primer is applied over the bare drywall, and it’s drying quickly. But toward the left, next to the door trim , the primer is drying more slowly. This is because there is paint overspray next to the door trim . The paint is semi-gloss enamel , and my wallpaper primer reacts with it differently from how it reacts to flat paint or drywall or other surfaces.
Not a big deal. Just be aware of the need for different dry times due to different surfaces the primer is applied to.
My preferred wallpaper primer is by Roman , called Pro 977 Ultra Prime. It’s not readily available, but you can find it on-line. All Sherwin-Williams stores can get it from the distribution center – but not all store managers know that, or are willing to do so. I get mine from Murphy Brothers Paint on Bissonnet near the Rice Village , who stocks it just for me.

Skim-Floating to Smooth a Textured Wall

January 25, 2023
Wallpaper is to go on the top 2/3 of the walls in this large dining room. But the walls are textured, and that texture will show through the new paper. Which looks pretty bad , IMO , especially since most the design is plain white background. So here I am applying a skim-coat by skim-coating / skim-floating the wall to smooth over the texture.
Close up. A lot of people use a wide broad knife or drywall taping tool . But I prefer the control I have using this trowel . There will be ridges and valleys and imperfections . But tomorrow, when the smoothing compound is dry , I will sand everything smooth . I have to say, I’m pretty darned good at smoothing walls . 🙂
I like to use the Plus 3 Joint Compound by the Sheetrock brand. It’s much easier to sand than the standard joint compound . Do NOT use the ” quick set ” version – coatings such as primer , paint , or wallpaper don’t like to adhere to this stuff . It’s made for small patches , not covering entire walls. BTW, for short, we simply call this ” mud .”
Once the walls have been sanded smooth , all the dust vacuumed up, and residual dust wiped off the walls with a damp sponge , then I will apply my favorite primer, Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime , made specifically for use under wallpaper .

More Peel & Stick Hate

January 17, 2023
so-called peel and stick wallpaper is not nearly what the vendors’ websites make it out to be. It is neither easy to install , nor easy to remove . Nor does it hold up very long. I won’t hang it, neither will most of my colleagues across the country. Even our British counterparts have asked us to not let it slip across the pond!
I won’t work with it, but one of the clients I visited yesterday did attempt to DIY try it on her own, with quite unsatisfactory results. She was kind enough to let me take photos .
Here you can easily see wrinkles next to the door molding .
gap at seam over door, warps along side door.
hard to see, but there are large wrinkles. Plus notice on the right, paper is not adhering to the wall.
seams shrink and gap.
P&S material is not even trying to adhere to the wall.

A lot of these failures are due to the homeowners’ lack of knowledge and experience with peel & stick , and with wallpaper in general. For instance, the textured walls should have been smoothed / skim-coated / skim-floated before applying the material . Wallpaper wants to adhere to a smooth surface – not to the “highs and lows” of a textured wall .
Next, most P&S instructions call for application on a semi-gloss paint , which needs to cure for 6-8 weeks.
Also, read the fine print, and you’ll learn that P&S is meant as a temporary wallpaper …. you can plan on it starting to fail in less than a year. That’s where you get the failure to stick to the wall , and shrinking at the seams . Of course, here you can see that that happened within a few weeks / days.
In this case, the material will be easily removable from the wall. But in most cases, if you’ve installed it on a smooth , primed wall, well, when stripped off, it will take the paint along with it. Leaving you with a nasty , pock-marked mess to have to repair. Click the link to my page on the right, about why to stay away from P&S.

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
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From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Shimmery Trees on Back of Bookshelves

December 8, 2022

Before – living room in Spring Branch ( Houston ). I’m in the process of priming the backs of these bookshelves , so the wallpaper will adhere to the semi-gloss enamel paint .
Done. Simple , subtle , but makes a statement .
The shelves will be replaced, and decorative items will be set on them.
Close-up . A light black background with beautiful glimmering gold trees and branches. The pattern is dispersed evenly across the paper, making for a homogeneous look.

Called Luminous Branches , this wallpaper is made by York . It’s a thin , flexible non-woven material . I hung it easily by pasting the wall , rather than by pasting the paper . When it’s time to redecorate , it will strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall surface . Nice stuff!

REALLY Cheerful, Colorful Powder Room

November 3, 2022
Powder room before. Note the blue ceiling . I applied a white pigmented wallpaper primer ( Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime ) to the walls .
Done! So cheery and fun and lively!
These flowers just make you smile when you walk in here!
Toilet corner before.
I’m grateful to the husband for removing the toilet tank, as well as the sink / vanity. This sure saved me a lot of time and squeezing into tight spots.
The red square in the back is wall area that was blocked by the toilet tank, so previous painters were not able to reach that area. It had a heavy sand texture on it, which I took a little extra time to skim-float and then sand smooth. Nobody’s going to see it, but it will help the wallpaper adhere better .
Toilet corner after. The corner you’re looking at was off-plumb by about 1/2″ from top to bottom, so there is a bit of a pattern mis-match as you get closer to the floor. Not a biggie with this wild pattern, plus it’s mostly hidden behind the toilet.
Hard to see, but the focus of the photo is an angled wall under the stairs .
The blue ceiling coordinates perfectly with the colors in the wallpaper .
This is by Rifle Paper , and is called Garden Party .
Every Rifle Paper I’ve hung previously has been on a non-woven substrate , and could be installed by the paste-the-wall method. The label said this was a PTW (see diagram of brush putting paste on the wall) … but it surprised me, because it was NOT! It was on a regular paper stock, and I’m betting it’s the same material that York prints its SureStrip line as well as the Spoonflower brand.
I assumed the directions and diagram were correct, so first I pasted the paper and then took it immediately to the wall, with no booking time. Lo and behold, I got bubbles on the wall.
This happens because the paper is absorbing moisture from the paste and expanding. With no way to escape being trapped between the paper and the wall, the moisture ” off gas es” and pushes away from the wall ,,, resulting in those bubbles.
My solution was to treat the material as a traditional pasted wallpaper. So I pasted the back, folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side (called booking ), and then placed it into a black plastic trash bag for a few minutes. This allows the paper to absorb moisture from the paste, expand, and relax , all before it goes onto the wall.
This is a pretty sure way to prevent the appearance of bubbles or blisters or wrinkles.
The townhome is in the Highland Village / Galleria area of Houston .

Smoothing Over Holes and Bumps

October 8, 2022
The artwork and hanger have been removed, but this wall anchor remains in the drywall . It will leave a bump under the new wallpaper . I removed it from the wall. That left a hole that will leave an indention under the new paper .
Here I’ve collected a bit of joint compound (we call it mud ), a plaster -like substance that’s used for installing drywall , as well as for patching holes and smoothing textured walls (called skim-floating or skim-coating )
Here it is applied over the hole.
To speed the drying process, I use my heat gun .
Using a sanding sponge to smooth it.
Wiping dust off with a damp sponge . Important, because neither primer nor wallpaper paste will adhere to dust .
After this dried , I primed over this area and the whole wall with wallpaper primer . I like Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
Now the wall is ready for wallpaper, with no worries that bumps or dips will show through .

Woeful Walls

October 6, 2022
The walls in this powder room have a sort of sad and even hopeless feel about them.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why.
The bottom edge where the wall meets the baseboard looks uneven and unstable, with and odd lip running along the top of the baseboard.
And a lot of it has to do with the dull color, and the thick layer of gummy latex paint. The gloss finish adds to the tacky look.
It also doesn’t help that there is a lot of lint and other stuff stuck in the paint, creating a gritty and uneven wall surface.
Oh, and the texture that was rolled on is irregular and icky.
There was a lot of globby stuff – caulk and some loose edges – along the edge of this vanity. I took a razor and putty knife and dug out what I could.
And note the ridge along the top of the baseboard. Can’t expect wallpaper to grab ahold and adhere to that.
Likewise there was a lot of caulk along the top of the vanity backsplash. I dug out what I could of that, too.
And finally I figured out what was causing a large part of the problem … The room had been wallpapered previously. So when it was decided to paint the room, instead of stripping off the paper as they should have, they just painted over it. To me, it looks like there are several layers of thick latex paint on top of the wallpaper.
Yep. Sure enough! Along the electrical outlet you can clearly see the old wallpaper under all this mess.
As you can see, the latex paint is not adhering tightly to the old wallpaper. The wallpaper looks like it could be vinyl … and not much sticks well to vinyl. Think Colorforms.
Stripping off all this paint and the wallpaper under it would make a HUGE mess. So, short of re-drywalling the whole room (and the rest of the house, which has the same treatment), there’s not much that can be done to ensure that the layers inside this wall are stable.
I dug out caulk and pulled off any loose areas. Then I skim-floated the whole room to create a new, smooth layer on top. I’ll post more when that process is finished and the new wallpaper is up.

Using Heat To Bend Vinyl

September 3, 2022
I will be wrapping a stiff , thick , embossed textured vinyl wallpaper around the inside of this window return . This 90* angle is called an outside corner . This is tricky enough.
But the real feat will be wrapping the material around that bend , and getting it to adhere to that little lip on the bottom next to the wainscoting – which is only about 1/4″ deep . That doesn’t give much for the paper to grab hold of, especially since it is stiff and will want to retain it’s flat position .
Heat gun to the rescue! Heat will cause the vinyl to soften and allow it to bend . This is my test piece. I’m experimenting with how much heat is needed and the delicate balance between bending and melting or burning .
Also how much time is required for the vinyl to cool and how well it will retain its new shape , and how firmly it will adhere to that little narrow 1/4″ lip .
Because I can’t safely put my hands in front of the heat gun, and my plastic smoother tool would not hold up, I use this ” Euni Plate ” of stainless steel , which was invented and manufactured and sold by a colleague of mine in the Wallcovering Installers Association WIA .
Here’s another view. The plate has angles and rolled edges for various uses. The damp cloth is to quickly cool the vinyl, in hopes to keep it in the bent shape .
Another trick is to use a straightedge and razor blade to gently and lightly score the vinyl along the outside of the corner fold , to break the surface a little and allow it to bend . You’ve got to be careful, because cut too deeply and you’ll end up with a sliced edge that’s unattractive and also may delaminate ( come apart ).
Finished – with nice tightly wrapped edges that are staying in place .
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