Posts Tagged ‘bin’

Sweetening an All-White Bathroom / Treating Trials

July 2, 2019



This homeowner was just trying to update her hall bathroom. She chose a new countertop, new tile, and new wallpaper. Unfortunately, some of the workmen who showed up for the job were less than stellar. I won’t say anything about the tile guys or the painters, but in the top photo, you can see how the “I can hang wallpaper” guy prepped the wall… which he proclaimed as “wallpaper-ready.”

I took down the light fixture, removed the remaining old wallpaper, and skim-floated the surface. Because the ridges in the original guy’s float job were so thick, I went there a few days early to get an initial layer of smoothing compound spread on the wall, so it would have time to dry. Then when I came back, I skim-floated the entire room. Because this second coat was thinner, it dried in a few hours (with fans, a space heater (to pull humidity from the air), and the home’s A/C unit cranking dry air through the room.)

I sanded smooth, vacuumed and wiped off the dust, and applied a coat of Gardz, which is my preferred primer for newly smoothed walls.

Mysterious tan dots worked their way through the smoothing compound and the Gardz. I didn’t know what they came from (mold, oil, tobacco, soft drink or food the workers splashed on the walls?), but I knew they would eventually bleed through the new wallpaper. So I rolled on BIN, a shellac-based stain-blocker made by Rust Oleum, to seal the wall.

This effectively sealed the stain, and the wall was nice and white after that.

A week later, I came back to hang the wallpaper. First I applied a coat of Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime, a primer made specifically for wallpaper. For some reason, this product didn’t stick well to the BIN – which is surprising, because one reason I use this primer is because it sticks to anything, even glossy surfaces (the BIN was not particularly glossy). Look closely or enlarge the third photo, and you will see it sliding and dripping down the wall. Well, no fear. I brushed out the worst of the drips, and as the primer dried, it tightened up and clung flat and tight to the wall.

With the wall finally smooth and appropriately primed, I was ready to get that paper up on the wall. This was an old fashioned pulp paper, which the British companies were making before most of them switched to non-woven materials. I was looking forward to working with an authentic pulp paper, because it’s been a while since I’ve come across one.

But this one didn’t behave as most of them do… It was thicker and stiffer, which made trimming and intricate detail work difficult, and increased the potential for creasing (for instance, while fitting the paper into a corner at a ceiling line). And it sucked up paste and dried out way sooner than I could get a strip to the wall. So I ended up using a spray bottle to add extra moisture to the back of the paper while I was applying the paste. This did help a lot.

Some of the edges had been banged up during shipping, so some of the seams looked a little weathered. And the edges had not been cut perfectly straight at the factory, so we had a bit of what we call “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room looks great. With its sweet flowers and calming colors, the pattern reminds me of the Laura Ashley era. The blue really pops against the white woodwork and tile in the room, and the red roses are nothing short of romantic.

Such a happy turn-around, for a bathroom that started out full of trials and tribulations.

I’m not sure what the brand name is, but the label says “English Florals.” The homeowner found it on-line (free shipping!), and the cost was low – about $60 for a double roll bolt. The home is on the north side of Houston.

DON’T Write in INK On the Walls!

January 11, 2019


Today I was prepping a room in a home in Kingwood (far northeast Houston) that was damaged during the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Look at what some contractor did – he went and wrote on the wall in INK!

Most EVERY workman of any type knows that you NEVER write on walls with ink – nor crayon, Sharpie, lipstick, or other.

Reason being, that these substances will work their way through wallpaper (and paint, joint compound, and other substances, too). It may happen quickly, or it may take a few years, but these materials will show themselves eventually, as ghost-like stains on the wall.

Other things will cause staining, too, like blood, water, rust, oil, grease, food, wood sap (knot holes), and more.

Luckily, there are dependable stain blockers on the market that can be brushed on. I like oil-based KILZ Original, but shellac-based BIN is good, too. Water-based products don’t perform as well, no matter what the label or salesman says.

I like to be extra sure, so, when I can, as in this case, I will take a knife and cut around the stain, then dig into the drywall and remove the top layer, taking the ink with it. This way it is GONE, not just covered up.

Of course, the remaining exposed / torn drywall needs to be sealed, skimmed over, sanded smooth, and then prepped for paint or wallpaper.

But all that is worth it, when you can be assured that no stains will bleed through the finish coat.

Stains from Wood / Furniture Polish Bleed Through Wallpaper

November 24, 2018


Originally, the walls in this West U. living room were smooth and painted. I didn’t notice anything or any stains when I started priming the walls. But almost immediately after the wallpaper primer was applied, I saw some brown stains work their way through the primer. The wall paint must have sealed them adequately, or perhaps I just had not noticed them, but something about the wallpaper primer activated the stains and brought them to the surface.

A large, old (antique) piece of wooden furniture had sat against this wall, and probably leaned against it. I figure the stains are from either wood sap (yes, even after decades) or from oily furniture polish that came into contact with the wall.

Either way, these stains could work their way through the new wallpaper, just as they had worked their way through the primer. They needed to be sealed with a stain blocker.

Many people use a shellac-based stain blocker, like BIN by Zinsser. But I like KILZ Original, the oil-based version (not the newer water-borne).

Once I applied the KILZ to the stains, they did not reappear. Now I am good to go to get the paper up!

Ink Spots Bleed Through Wallpaper

July 8, 2018


Well, this has been a month of issues with stains on walls! I was smoothing these textured walls with joint compound, and noticed some red splotches on the paint. I studied them, but decided they were paint, which is stable and not a problem. But a little after I had skimmed over the spots, I looked again and noticed that the red color had bled through.

Evidently it was ink, or lipstick, or child’s crayon, or some other such substance. Along with rust, blood, water, oil, mold and mildew, and a few others, these materials will bleed through paint and wallpaper. It might not happen right away, but eventually you will notice stains on the paper.

These stains can be sealed with a stain-blocker. I like oil-based KILZ Original, but the shellac-based BIN primer is good, too. Water-borne sealers may be environmentally-friendly, but I don’t trust them to work as well.

But in this case, I preferred to just get rid of the questionable areas. I took a knife and dug out the part of the wall that had the red spots. Those are the chips I am holding in my hand. Then I skim-floated over the area to smooth it, and proceeded with my wall prep and wallpaper installation.

No more red spots showed their faces. ūüôā

Repairing Water Stains from Flooding During Hurricane Harvey

May 2, 2018


This home in Bellaire (Houston) received damage from flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Water stains appeared on a small area of the wallpaper just above the baseboard in this powder room. Luckily, the homeowners had saved the paper left over from the original install, so I had material to use for the repair.

Certain substances, like grease, blood, smoke, rust, ink, tobacco, and water stains will bleed through wallpaper (and also paint and other materials, too). To prevent this, the discolorations must be treated with a stain-blocking sealer. Many of these are shellac-based, such as BIN, made by Zinsser, but there are others. I prefer oil-based KILZ Original (2nd photo).

I could have just cut some wallpaper and slapped it on top of the stain. But I wanted to be sure these flood survivors wouldn’t have to look at water stains again. So I used KILZ to cover the stains (3rd photo).

The next week, I came back to do the patch. Using my self-healing craft cutting mat with angles and measurements to trim on, along with a straightedge and razor blade, I cut appliqués to paste on top of the stained paper.

It wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because the wallpaper had to be hand-trimmed (use a razor blade to trim off the unprinted selvedge edge). And pasting the paper causes it to absorb moisture and expand, which can throw off the pattern match. So I was dealing with factors relative to what the other guy did and the products he used, compared to my own techniques and products / paste.

It took two tries, but with careful trimming and a little touch-up paint, the job turned out great (last photo).

I also used paint to cover some stains at the top of the baseboard, and also re-pasted some loose areas in other parts of the room (no picture).

Don’t Mark The Walls With Ink

November 22, 2017

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The two holes in the wall are from picture hooks. See the little “X” under the holes? That’s from whoever was hanging the hooks. He was measuring and marking the wall, so he would know where to hammer in the nails for the hooks.

The only problem is that he used a ball point ink pen to make his marks. Ink is bad because, diminutive as this “X” is, it will bleed through wallpaper. It will bleed through paint and other materials, too.

Other substances that can bleed through wallpaper include water stains, oil, grease, wax (crayon), tar / tobacco, blood, rust, and more.

There are special stain-blocking sealers that can be used to cover these types of marks. KILZ Original is one that I like, and BIN is another.

Since this was tiny, and since I was skim-floating the wall to smooth it anyway, I just used a putty knife to dig the mark out of the wall. Gone! That way I don’t have to worry if a stain blocker will do its job sufficiently. Then I skimmed over the gouge with joint compound to smooth the surface.

Killing Mildew

November 2, 2017

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Digital Image

Yeowee … this wall has a lot of issues with torn Sheetrock (the dark brown areas), but more important – the black stuff that you see in the top photo is mildew.¬† Not good.¬† Mildew¬†is a living organism, and it¬†can grow and grow.¬† It’s powdery, and so as it spreads across the wall, it can separate from the wall (delaminate), which means that the wallpaper is at risk of falling off the wall.¬† Mildew can also travel right through wallpaper, creating a ghost-like shadow of dark – or sometime pink – discoloration.

Mildew is usually caused by moisture.¬† It’s not clear what caused the problem in this powder room in a 1957 home in the Tanglewood area of Houston.¬† It could be a leak in the wall (pipe, window, roof,¬†lawn sprinkler outside hitting the wall).¬† Or it could be that the solid vinyl surface of the previous wallpaper prevented air from getting to the backing, and so that it could not dry out, and then it held¬†dampness¬†against the wall – which created the perfect breeding ground for mildew.

Getting rid of mildew requires a few steps.¬† First, it must be wiped and scrubbed with chlorine bleach, then rinsed clean.¬† Once the wall is dry, a coat of a quality stain-blocker is applied.¬† I like oil-based KILZ Original, but other options include¬†Zinsser’s B-I-N stain blocker.

Once the stain blocker is dry, the wall can be coated in a wallpaper primer.

I’m Scared Of This Blue Dot

June 8, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


I am going to hang grasscloth in this large master bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston. To smooth the textured walls, I skim-floated the walls with “mud” (joint compound). As I was sanding the compound smooth, I discovered this small blue spot. It might be ink. Or maybe some cleaning solution, or a cosmetic or perfume, or some other agent. SOMEthing was on the wall before I applied the smoothing compound, and bled through.

Whatever it is, it worked its way through the smoothing compound and up onto the wall surface. If a substance works its way through the wall surfaces, you can be sure that it will also work its way through the new wallpaper.

To prevent this, there are a couple of options. One is to cover the area with a stain-blocking sealer. I love oil-based KILZ Original. Another product is BIN by Zinsser, or 123 also by Zinsser.

But in this case, since it is just a tiny dot, I decided to use a Stanley knife to dig out the stain. Gone. Done. No worries about anything bleeding through the wallpaper.

If the new wallpaper had a smooth surface, I would patch over the hole and sand the area smooth, and spot-prime. But since the new wallpaper is a rough-textured grasscloth, this 1/4″ dent in the wall will not be noticeable, so I’m going to leave it as it is. Tomorrow, before hanging paper, I will double check to be sure no additional blue stain has worked its way out from hiding.