Posts Tagged ‘bubbling’

Low End Wallpaper – Not So Bad This Time

October 12, 2018


I’ve said it before – these budget-friendly, pre-pasted, manila paper-baked solid vinyl wallpaper products are generally not good quality, and the Norwall brand is about at the bottom of the list. In fact, I often will decline to hang it. Do a Search here on those terms, or click the Page to the right “Stay Away From … ” for more info.

However, this homeowner, a Meyerland neighborhood (Houston) victim of the Hurricane Harvey flooding, and a client for whom I had worked back in the ’90’s, really loved the pattern, as well as the price-point. And she wanted her entry to look as it had before the flood ravaged her home.

I was pleasantly surprised. The paper went up OK, and the seams looked fine. It’s possible that the company has improved its product. But it’s more likely that my new installation method helped.

Instead of following the manufacturer’s instructions to run the paper through a water tray, which makes the material too wet and promotes bubbling, and instead of pasting the back of the paper, which turns it into a gummy mess, I tried something new. I used a spray bottle to lightly spritz fresh water onto the back; this activated the paste, but was not so much water that it would cause bubbling or seam curling or over-expansion of the material. I booked the paper and put it in a black trash bag to sit a few minutes.

Next I rolled paste onto the wall. I started out using a very faint coat, but found that a tad more worked better. I used a brush to cut the paste into the edges and around the floor and ceiling.

When I took the very slightly dampened paper to the wall and smoothed it against the lightly pasted surface, it adhered very nicely. It was pretty easy to smooth into position, although there was some twisting of some strips, which could have been a problem in a room that required more strips next to one another.

Usually these inexpensive vinyl papers grow bubbles, because, as they dry, there is nowhere for the moisture to go (because it can’t pass through the vinyl surface), so blisters form. But today was very little bubbling.

Best of all, the seams looked good. I didn’t get any of the raised edges that are so unattractive, and that allow moisture / humidity to penetrate and cause the backing to swell and pull away from the wall.

I am not saying that I was happy with this paper. But it was a lot better than I expected. And I hope that it will continue to look good for years to come.

Advertisements

A Possible Good Quality Pre-Pasted, Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

March 8, 2018


In previous posts, including one day ago, I have railed against the lower-price-point, pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers. Do a Search here to find out why.

But today, at the end of a 9-day job in Bellaire, where each of the four bathrooms was using the same brand of wallpaper, this final pattern (in a powder room) actually went up beautifully.

The seams laid down nice and flat, there was no bubbling, no curling, no fighting with it. Even I could not find the seams!

I noticed three differences. First, the vinyl on the surface was smooth, instead of the lightly textured faux “satin” look on the other two patterns. Second, the paper backing seemed smoother, as contrasted to the somewhat gritty, porous paper backing on the other patterns. Third, the pre-paste applied by the manufacturer to the back of the paper was smoother and more gel-like, instead of the dry, globby, cantankerous paste on the other papers.

It’s too early to tell how this paper will hold up under humid conditions. But I have much more hope that it will not absorb humidity from the air, and will stay nice and flat to the wall.

The manufacturer is “Exclusive Wallcoverings” and is a British company. I’m not saying I love this paper, but it appears to be better than most of the pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl offerings out there.

Good-Bye ’70’s!

January 24, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image
This wallpaper (and the built-in whole house intercom) screams ’70’s. Actually, the wallpaper pattern is not that bad, and I, and the homeowner as well, kind of like it, and it’s such a novel theme that it doesn’t really look dated. Nonetheless, the homeowner has chosen a pretty blue-and-white pattern that will update this breakfast room in an early ’60’s home in South Houston.

The pastel floral wallpaper was hung over the original green-and-gold paper. I’m always amazed when I see how well the job held up over the years, because the installer did not seal the old paper, and that means it’s likely to absorb moisture from the paste on the new paper, and that leads to bubbling. However, his job looked great, no bubbles, and it has stuck to the wall for about 40 years.

Anyway, in the third photo, where I have removed one strip, you can see the original paper beneath. Some of it must have been loose, and the previous installer removed those areas and sanded them smooth. Neither these jagged areas nor the seams of the original paper showed under the pastel paper.

The pastel paper stripped off the wall quite easily. The green-and-gold wallpaper could not be persuaded to come off, though, so I floated over some of the thicker jagged areas, sanded, and then primed the walls with Gardz. Gardz is perfect for this situation, because it soaks in to porous surfaces such as the original un-coated wallpaper and the joint compound patches, bonds everything to the wall, and seals it so that wet paste from the new wallpaper will not cause bubbling. Gardz also makes it easier to remove the new wallpaper in the future, without damage to the walls.

Gardz dries clear. I would prefer it to be white, but pigment interferes with the soaking-in qualities of the product, so, if you really need a white primed wall, you can Gardz first, and then follow up with your choice of pigmented wallpaper (not paint) primer.