Posts Tagged ‘boggess’

Warping Wallpaper – Grasscloth

June 17, 2020

Well, this was a first for me. I can’t say that I remember having a grasscloth that stretched and warped out of shape this badly.

What’s odd is that, after I pasted and booked the wallpaper, it was perfectly lined up and flat. It was only after the paper had sat for the resting period, and then I unfolded it and took it to the wall, that it started warping out of shape.

My first strip laid against the wall nice and flat, but did not line up against my laser level’s red beam, moving to the left the farther down the wall the strip went. The subsequent strip to its right, naturally, would not butt up against the first strip. However, this second strip did line up against the laser plumb line, on both the right and left sides. So I left it on the wall.

But I had to tear off and discard that first strip.

I had problems with many of the strips. As you can see, there was major warping and wrinkling. I was unable to smooth out most of these warps.

Some of my colleagues have suggested that my trimmed edges were not straight. And I admit that I sense that my ($200!) straightedge is not true (perfectly straight). But a 1/8″ discrepancy over a 9′ drop should not result in wrinkles of this magnitude.

I think that the substrate that S&L is using is absorbing moisture from the paste unevenly, and thus creating the warps and twists.

The only way I could make this work was to do a double-cut (spliced seam). I smoothed the grasscloth onto the wall as best I could, even though both the right and left edges still presented wrinkles.

I carefully pulled away from the wall the left edge of the previous strip (having applied extra paste, to keep everything wet and “open”). Between that edge of the strip and the wall, I placed a “Boggess Strip,” (invented by a fellow WIA member) which is a thin strip of 2″ wide polyethelyne plastic, that will protect the wall from my razor blade.

Now hanging the next grasscloth strip, I then covered the underside of the right (wrinkled) edge with blue plastic tape (also invented by the same WIA genius member). This would keep paste off the surface of the strip I was overlapping it onto. Then I smoothed the paper onto the wall, allowing the right side of the strip to overlap on top of the previous strip, by 1.5″.

I worked out wrinkles as best as I could, but some insisted on remaining. I then took my EuniTool straightedge (invented by yet another WIA member), and used it as a guide, along with the red light line from my laser level, and a new, fresh razor blade, to cut a straight, plumb line between the edges of the two strips.

The grasscloth was thick, and I had to press really hard to cut through both layers. The Boggess strip prevented scoring into the wall. This is important, because an un-intact wall can delaminate under the stress of drying / shrinking wallpaper, and this can cause the seams to pop open.

Back to the double-cut. Once the cut was done, I removed the plastic Boggess strip from the wall, and the protective blue plastic tape from the edge of the grasscloth, as well as the two excess strips of paper that I had just cut off. (Do a Search here to see pics and read more about the double cut / splice process.)

I could then smooth the newly-cut edges of the two strips together.

All this takes a lot of time.

I still had more strips to hang – and each required the same procedure. You only have so much “open” time before a piece of wallpaper starts sticking to the wall and cannot be jacked around with anymore.

I had to jump to the left edge of the current strip I was working with, and add a Boggess strip behind it. And then I had to paste and book my next strip, and apply some blue tape to the area that would overlap the previous strip. Wait a few minutes for it to book and absorb the paste.

Then repeat the double cutting procedure used on the first strip.

All this caught me off guard, and it threw off my engineering of the wall and my planned width of the strips. It also took a lot more time … I spent 5 hours hanging just these 5 strips.

Bottom line – I got ‘er done … But I am definitely NOT going to recommend Serena & Lily grasscloth to future clients.

And I am VERY grateful to my WIA colleagues for inventing tools and gadgets that help with these tricky situations, which I’m glad I bought and had stashed in my van, and for sharing their knowledge and experiences so I knew what techniques I might try.

Badly Curling Edges on Quadrille’s “Sigourney” Wallpaper

July 18, 2018

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This “high end, designer wallpaper” by Quadrille (called Sigourney) has heavy inks that smell like moth balls. As is common with these papers, when wet with paste, the ink absorbs moisture and expands more than the paper backing, which is what causes the curing of the edges and the wrinkles (called “waffling”) which you see in the first photo.

Once the paper is on the wall, those edges can continue to curl backwards, resulting in gapped or open seams, or seams that are tight but just don’t look good. And the interior of the strip will continue to hold a few wrinkles and bubbles.

This paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand with a long straight edge and a razor blade, before the strips of paper could be pasted and hung on the wall. I found that my carefully hand-trimmed edges did not butt together nicely, nor did they adhere tightly to the wall, and they left little gaps and curled seams.

My solution was to overlap the subsequent strips of wallpaper and splice them together. This gives pretty much perfect seams.

However, it is time-intensive and somewhat complicated, involving many steps and some special equipment. No photos, but in a nutshell, you trim the selvedge edges of the wallpaper in a way that allows you to match the pattern on one side, and then leaves a little more than that on the opposite side. You first pad the wall under where one seam will go with a thin strip of heavy plastic that is 3″ wide (we WIA members call it a Boggess strip, after the WIA member who invented it), to protect the wall. Then you hang one strip, allowing one edge of it to land on top of that plastic strip.

The next strip is pasted and hung, positioned so that it overlaps the previous strip along the outer edge, while making sure that the pattern matches. Next you take a straightedge (I use a wonderful one (not pictured), invented and manufactured by another WIA member), and a sharp, new razor blade, and cut through the two layers of wallpaper, paying heed to press hard enough to cut through the two layers of paper, but not so hard as to damage the plastics strip, and definitely not hard enough to score the wall. A cut into the wall could result in delamination of the layers of the wall, and irreparable curling at the seams.

Once the cutting has been done, the excess layers of wallpaper need to be pealed away, then the Boggess strip removed, and then the two sides of the wallpaper strips should be eased together and smoothed down tight, with the edges of the strips wiped clean of any residual paste.

Next, the rest of the strip of wallpaper should brushed into place on the wall. This Quadrille paper may look wrinkled and waffled on the wall, but any little wrinkles or bubbles that may remain on the wall will dry and flatten out in very little time – just a few hours.

The whole plot, cut, trim, paste, book, position, place Boggess strip, trim paper at crown molding, trim at chair rail, trim at overlapped seam, smooth seam shut, wipe seam clean of paste residue, scenario resulted in very nice seams, but took a whole lot of time and materials and focus. I probably spent 40 minutes on installation alone (not including measuring or trimming) for EACH strip. And there were many strips around the room.

The family was out of town, and I’m glad – because I was working on their dining room until about 1:30 a.m. in the morning!

While this wallpaper’s challenges could be met, and the finished room looked fantastic, I would much prefer to hang a good quality mid-price-range wallpaper, with seams trimmed at the factory, and made with regular ink printed on traditional stock, that performs nicely and with minimal time spent.

Obtuse Angle Inside Corner

April 22, 2016
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Wallpapering around corners, either inside or outside, can be tricky. But when you toss into the mix a corner that is not the typical 90* angle, it gets a lot more tenuous.

On an inside corner (see photo), you don’t want to wrap the paper around the corner, because corners and framing and Sheetrock and contractors are never 100% plumb or accurate, and thus your strip of wallpaper will come out of the corner off-plumb or wrinkled or otherwise unmanageable, plus you can end up with sections that cling tightly to the corner, and others that pull free, leaving a bubble under the paper in the joint area.

To prevent this, you wrap a teeny bit of the paper around the corner, cut a new trip, and then overlap that new strip into the corner, plumb it up, and then work your way out from there. That looks good in 90* inside corners.

But with obtuse angled corners like this one (Photo #1 (smoothed wall with clear Gardz primer applied), the paper may lie flat and tight to the wall, but that cut and overlapped strip will be fairly visible. Other things can be done to get rid of the overlap by eliminating the need to cut the strip, and to minimize any wrinkling at the outer edges.

To encourage adhesion in the corner, I “Velcro’ed” the area by applying a thin layer of paste, and then letting it dry to a barely tacky, but potent, state.

The material is a scrim (woven fabric) backed, textured solid vinyl wallcovering. It is thick, and only a little bit pliable. Here in picture #2, I worked the paper into the corner, and used my Euni Tool (metal plate) and other tools to really push it hard into the corner. A heat gun softens the plastic just enough to help it remember where the wall is.

Even though the vinyl is clinging tightly to the corner, coming out of the corner and moving to the right, you cannot be sure that the right edge of the strip of wallpaper will be hanging either straight or plumb. So it’s risky to try to butt a new strip of wallpaper to this edge.

A good alternative is to make a double-cut, which is a paperhanger’s term for a splice. That is, you overlap the papers and cut through both layers, so you can splice them together.

This pattern was the perfect candidate, because there was no pattern to keep aligned and matched up. So the design was not a concern… but logistics and surface stability were.

Using a razor blade to slice through two layers of textured vinyl wallpaper takes a lot of pressure, and that can put deep cuts into the wall below. When the wallpaper paste dries, or even just with time and humidity and temperature fluctuations, the paper can shrink, and that puts torque (tension) on the wall, which can cause an unstable surface to pull away from whatever is beneath it. Bottom line, you could end up with wallpaper seams that come open, and pull paint or Sheetrock off, too.

So how do you double cut (splice) two strips of wallpaper to get a perfect seam, without damaging the wall underneath? The answer is to pad / protect the wall. Many people use scrap vinyl wallcovering. But I have some better stuff – Boggess strips. Named after a wallpaperhanging colleague of mine who invented them. You protect the surface of the wallpaper from paste with plastic tape or waxed paper, and then place these clear plastic strips under where you want to make a double cut. Your blade will slice through the two layers of wallpaper, but will not get through the Boggess strip. VoilĂ ! Paper cut and spliced, and the wall in still intact.

Protecting the Wall While Double Cutting – What Is This Funny Plastic Strip?

January 13, 2015

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We call this strip of clear polycarbonate plastic a “Boggess strip,” after the last name of the guy (a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association, as am I ) who invented it. It is flexible and somewhat hard, and we use it to cut on, to protect the surface underneath.

Before I got a basswood board table, which you can directly on, I would put one of these strips on my table to protect it from cuts from the razor blade when hand-trimming wallpaper. But mostly we use the Boggess strips when cutting on the wall (double cutting – a type of splice). When cutting through two layers of paper, it’s tricky to know how much pressure to use, to get through both sheets of paper, but not score the wall. It’s really important to not cut into the wall, because, as wallpaper dries, it shrinks a little, and that shrinkage will put tension on the wall, and that tension can cause the surface of the wall to pull away, causing gaping seams, or even curling edges.

Putting one of the plastic strips underneath the seam before cutting will prevent that.

It’s a bit of a juggling act, all these layers of plastic and paper, and you have to move quickly before one strip or the other starts to dry, and then you’ve got to clean the paste off the plastic strip before you use it again.

It’s an invaluable invention, and I’m glad I have a roll of it in my toolbox.