Posts Tagged ‘backsplash’

Fixing Drywall Damage From Where Vanity Was Removed

January 20, 2022
The powder room in this 1990’s home in the Houston Heights is being updated, and that means replacing the wall-to-wall vanity. Here the vanity has been ripped out. The areas where the backsplash was adhered to the wall have pulled the top surface of the drywall off. In addition, the plumber had to cut out a section of drywall in order to gain access to the pipes, so he can install the new faucet and handles. You can see the connections roughed in.
You can’t hang wallpaper over this mess. First of all, it way too uneven – all those bumps will show under the new wallpaper. And the outline of the ” trapdoor ” will leave a big square ridge under the paper. Thankfully, the plumber secured the panel with drywall screws – most plumbers just leave you with a chunk of drywall floating in space, or even just an empty hole.
Back to patching issues … in addition, the torn areas of drywall will absorb moisture from the wallpaper primer and / or paste and expand, creating bubbles that will show under the new paper.
I needed to fill in dips and gouges, even out high areas, and prevent bubbling drywall.
Gardz by Zinsser to the rescue! This is a penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and then dries hard, binding them together and creating a stable surface, as well as resisting moisture from water-based top coatings.
This picture doesn’t look much different, but here the torn drywall is a little darker, indicating that the Gardz has soaked in and dried. The surface is now ready for a skim-coat.
But first, the trap door needs to be addressed. I covered the cut areas with four strips of self-adhesive mesh drywall tape (no photo).
Then I went over everything (wall to wall) with joint compound (commonly referred to as mud ) (no photo).
Because of the thickness of the high and low areas, this had to be a thick coat of smoothing compound, and would take a long time to dry. So I went to the jobsite two days ahead of our install date, to do these initial repairs.
And – no – you can’t use quick set or hot mud or 5 or 20 minute mud to do these repairs. These products are intended for repairs of small areas. Top coatings like primers, paint, and wallpaper paste do not stick well to them. Don’t let a contractor sweet-talk you into letting him use any of these to smooth a large area of wall.
Here is the wall after my first, heavy, coat of smoothing compound. I use Sheetrock brand’s Plus 3.
The bubbles you see just left of center show that Gardz didn’t 100% do its job of sealing out moisture, as a little expansion and blistering has occurred. Not a biggie. These will disappear when the surface is sanded. There is usually not a problem with these re-appearing.
When I got to work two days later, the smoothing compound had dried. I sanded pretty smooth. Then vacuumed up the dust on the floor, and then used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This is important, because no coating will stick to dust.
The wall still wasn’t perfectly smooth, so I did another skim-coat. This was much thinner, so didn’t need a lot of time to dry. I used a fan and my heat gun to speed things along.
Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, vacuumed and then wiped off all dust. Then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime. I have the paint store (Murphy Brothers in central Houston) add a little blue tint, so I can see it when I apply it to the wall.
What a transformation! Now this wall is ready for wallpaper!

Five Room Update – Kitchen Re-Do

November 18, 2021
Can you say ’80’s?! Dated and soiled, it really was time for this 30+ year old original paper to go.
Poor colors in this photo – the new paper is actually aqua and green a a bit of grey. One pattern was used for the walls, and another for the fir down / soffits.
A little better view of the true colors.
There is a pearlized or iridescent quality to this wallpaper.
Candice Olson’s line by York. Anything she touches, you can bet it will have a bit of shimmer and glimmer and glam.
Curlicues, caterpillars, or corn curls – this is a fun and active design, used just on the fir downs over the cabinets.
The Easy-Walls line in the Chesapeake collection by Brewster is a very nice pre-pasted paper, easy to install and easy to remove. It’s a very thin non-woven material, similar to another of my favorites, the Sure-Strip by York.
This shot, taken through the adjoining dining room, shows how beautifully the colors and patterns coordinate. Oh, and did I mention the beautiful new blue and green glass tile backsplash?!

The two-sister duo who selected patterns and colors for this League City (Houston) home did a superb job coordinating the two bedrooms, one bathroom, and the dining room and kitchen. The whole house has a very pulled together look, with a theme of gardens, light, fresh, and uplifting.

Rifle Paper “City Maps” – Fun Stuff

October 1, 2021
Wall smoothed and primed; ready for wallpaper. I used craft paint to color the putty-colored edge along the top of the backsplash.
Finished
Pattern centered nicely on the faucet and on the light fixture above (not shown).
The original heavy texture and lifeless khaki paint in this powder room. At the far top right, you see my smoothing compound over the door. Once this is spread over the entire wall surface, it will be allowed to dry, then sanded smooth, residual dust removed with a damp sponge, and a wallpaper-specific primer applied.
Done! So much brighter and more fun! Note the blue ceiling – a lovely touch!
View from outside the powder room.
Close up.
Rifle Paper is made by York, one of my favorite brands. Previously I’ve worked with their non-woven (synthetic fibers) wallpaper material, so I was surprised to see they also print on traditional stock like this one.

This powder room is in a newish home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Burnished Copper Colors in Home Bar Area

May 6, 2021

tThe homeowner loved the coppery-hued colors in this “Carousel Stripe” pattern by Cole & Son. The colors mesh beautifully with the wood tones, and also the brass faucet, in this home bar area.

What’s interesting is that I think the colors (especially the red) are more intense now, than in the samples she got from the vendor. In fact, one complaint of hers was that the vendor sent just one small snip of the paper, and didn’t show the full color spectrum of all 10 stripes that make up the pattern.

No matter. The finished effect really sets off the bar backsplash, and will be a fabulous backdrop once the bottles and glasses are back in place.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which is made of synthetic fibers rather than wood or cotton pulp. Instead of the paste-the-wall installation method, I chose to paste-the-paper. This made the material more flexible and manageable, which helped a lot, because when it was dry, it really wanted to crease and flake.

TFor instance, the racks sitting on the counter in the first photo could not be removed. Manipulating, fitting and trimming the wallpaper around the sharp bends and angles without marring the wallpaper was very difficult.

The non-woven, synthetic-origin material (think fiberglass) was also really hard to cut. Even with a brand-new razor blade, I had trouble getting perfect cuts around moldings, and also in a whole lot of other simpler areas.

These two rooms were hard enough, with minimal angles and corners and intricate moldings. If this had been a bathroom, or another room with a lot of turns and fancy cuts, it would have been really difficult to prevent creases and other damage to the wallpaper.

As it was, I spent about nine hours hanging these four single rolls of paper.

This is a wonderfully restored 1939 home in the Rice University area of central Houston.

Preventing Speckles on Floors and Counter Tops

December 13, 2020

One of my pet peeves is splatters from a paint roller, that land all over a homeowner’s floor or countertop. See top two photos.

There are ways to prevent this. First and foremost is to use a dropcloth. You’d be surprised at how many contractors don’t bother.

But protecting shoe molding and backsplashes and faucets takes a bit more. A lot of people use blue painter’s tape across the top of surfaces.

But I like my method, which you see in the third photo. It’s a strip of dropcloth that I have cut into 9″ wide strips. The material is absorbant paper on the top side, and water-proof plastic on the back.

I use push-pins to tack it above the baseboards and shoe molding, and backsplashes, etc.

It’s wide enough to protect any width of molding, and also faucets on a vanity’s sink. And it’s thin and flexible enough that it will contour around any wall configuration.

Having No Sink Saves Lots of Time

April 14, 2020



In the first photo, the homeowner was kind enough to have her contractor disconnect the sink and pull the vanity out of the room. This eliminated a cut edge of wallpaper along the top of the backsplash, so no worries about splashed water getting under the paper and causing it to curl up.

It also made my job a LOT easier and quicker.

By contrast, in the second photo, cutting around the pedestal sink – and with a delicate paper that crimped easily – took me about an hour and a half.

Bibliotheque – Install Details, Pt VI, Add An Incha Shelf

March 18, 2020


I positioned this pattern so that the shelves would align with the ceiling line. It’s the best look option for this powder room.

After that, as the pattern worked its way down the walls, it fell along the top of the vanity backsplash so that about 3/8″ of the tops of a row of books was sitting right along the top of the backsplash. This 3/8″ of chopped-off books was really bugging me.

So I took some wallpaper from the scrap pile (actually, this did use up a lot of wallpaper, not just scraps), found the corresponding pattern, and, after double-checking measurements and pattern placement, and then doing several dry runs, then, finally, I used my straightedge (for the bottom edge) and my free-handing razor blade (for the top edge), and made me some horizontal “shelf extensions.”

I appliqued these over the “book tips” sitting along the top of the backsplash. See last photo. Now the “shelf” is a little wider / thicker than in the original design. But that is a whole heck of a lot better than looking at those chopped off books!

Faces in Unexpected Places

January 26, 2020

How’s this for something no one else is gonna have?! The homeowner of this Galleria-area home in Houston is a big-personality gal, recently divorced, and she wants her new home to reflect who she is. Everything in the house that could have glitter, shimmer, mirror, or glitz does – including the dog bed and the kitchen backsplash.

This wallpaper in the adjoining powder room (with a huge crystal chandelier!) fits right in with that new life.

This is a sort of mural, composed of rectangular panels about 3′ wide x 2′ high. It was bought on-line, and came with no information or installation instructions.

It was a paper substrate, and was meant to be butted at the seams, as opposed to overlapped, as many mural panels are. After experimenting, I found that a powdered wheat or cellulose paste hydrated the paper best, and that a little of my traditional wallpaper paste added to the mix helped hold the paper tightly to the wall and minimize shrinkage as the panels dried.

The paper curled badly when it was wet with the paste (see third photo), which made it difficult to paste it, book it, and then get it to the wall.

It also expanded a lot when it got wet – almost an inch in each direction. Uneven expansion meant that it developed large wrinkles and warps that were difficult to remove.

In addition, the walls were bowed and uneven in the corners, the walls were not plumb, the ceiling was not level, the crown molding was at different heights on different walls, and we didn’t have a lot of paper to play with.

It took a lot of work to keep the pattern matched as well as possible in the corners, to keep the pattern running at the right point below the crown molding, to eliminate the aforementioned wrinkles, to butt the panels, to minimize white showing at the seams due to the panels drying and shrinking, the paper getting saturated and tearing or dragging when I tried to trim it, and lots more challenges.

All this could have been easier if the manufacturer had chosen a better substrate to print on. But – well, hey, we’ve got a digital printer, so let’s just dig up some paper stock, print cool designs on it, and market it as wallpaper.

Actually, this material worked out pretty well in this small powder room. But I would not want to paper a large, wide wall with it.

Most companies who make murals like this, on this type of thin paper substrate, allow for the edges to be overlapped about 3/8″ at each seam. This allows the installer to make adjustments for wonky walls and ceilings, and it eliminates the gapping at seams as paper dries and shrinks. It does, however, leave a ridge along each seam where the edges are overlapped.

Overall, though, I was not unhappy with this product in this room. And working out all the challenges was mighty fun. I was glad to have a nice, quiet, empty house to do all this in. All in all, this medium-sized powder room that I had prepped the weekend before, took me nine hours to hang.

Paint Speckles on Homeowner’s Countertop – I Hate Sloppy Work!

July 26, 2019


Look closely, and you’ll see scazillions of miniscule splatters of paint on the granite vanity top, backsplash, and even on the faucet and handles. Obviously, whoever worked in this room previously did not bother to cover the area with a dropcloth.

Such a shame. A few dollars’ worth of materials, and a little bit of time would have protected the homeowner’s fixtures.

Wallpaper and YouTube Don’t Mix

December 31, 2017


This West University mother of young children went to YouTube for some primers on how to hang wallpaper, and then, along with hubby, spent a 3-day weekend tackling the powder room redo project. They didn’t do a horrible job (first three photos), but there were some things that must not have been covered on YouTube.

First, and probably most important, the walls should have been primed with a product designed for wallpaper.

Second, seams should be butted, not overlapped.

Third, wallpaper should not be wrapped around the door moldings, but trimmed at the base.

Fourth, I’m not sure what’s going on with the cuts at the baseboard. I think the room had seen a number of redecorating efforts, and that the baseboards took a bit of a beating in the process, leaving a surface that wasn’t smooth and wasn’t willing to hold on to wallpaper.

I stripped off their wallpaper, patched bad spots, sanded the walls, then primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealing primer that bonds together porous surfaces and that is also a good base to hold wallpaper.

The rest of the photos are of the room after I hung the new paper.

This product is a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl material. It happens to be one of my least favorite kinds of wallpaper. The homeowner chose it because she has young children and the vinyl is reputed to be more water-resistant and durable than other types of wallpaper. If she had consulted with me before she bought her paper, I would have steered her in another direction.

It’s true that the vinyl surface is resistant to water, and it’s more resistant to stains than a paper-wallpaper. But that doesn’t make the product wonderful.

The main problem is the paper backing. This stuff is not horrible, but it does have a reputation for curling a tad at the seams (do a search on my blog for previous posts). Humidity (such as in a bathroom with showering) can cause increased curling at the seams. Any water that falls on a cut edge of the paper (along backsplashes, seams under hand towels, etc.) can wick into the paper backing and cause it to expand, which will cause the seams to curl.

To reduce the potential for seam curling, I used a special pasting process (rather than following the manufacturer’s instructions). And I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the backsplash (see 4th photo – the caulk will be clear when it’s dry) to prevent splashed water from wicking up under the wallpaper.

My trim cuts along the baseboard looked better than the homeowners’, but I still felt the baseboard was compromised somehow and that wallpaper did not have a good surface to grip ahold of. So I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the baseboards, too.

This wallpaper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British manufacturer. It is a faux grasscloth, and, unlike true grasscloths, it is pretty water- and stain-resistant, and it has a pattern that can be matched. In fact, the close-up photo above shows a seam – and I’ll bet that you can’t find it! The pattern number is FD44143

Next time around, when a mom has concerns about her kids touching or splashing the wallpaper, I would suggest she consider one of the newish non-woven products. Or, better yet, a scrim-backed (woven fabric-backed) solid vinyl product, such as something from the Thibaut brand Texture Resource line, particularly Volume 4. Everything in that book is beautifully textured and realistic, and virtually indestructible. Do a search here to see my previous posts.