Posts Tagged ‘ceiling’

Silvery Geometric Trellis on Living Room Wall

July 30, 2021
This wall was originally papered in a similar but more rigid pattern. Here the paper has been stripped and the walls primed.
Pattern is nicely centered. Hanging just this one wall took me about six hours. Note the unlevel floor line. Ditto the ceiling. This makes geometric patterns particularly challenging. You’ve just got to accept some imperfections.
In the Anna French line by Thibaut. Nice material.

The February 2021 freeze caused burst pipes, and that meant a whole lot of damage to this home in the Timbergrove (Heights) area of Houston. Once the contractor was done fixing the wall, I came in to replace the wallpaper.

This was a non-woven product. On a single accent wall, I will often paste the wall. But with all these turns, pasting the paper was a better option, because it renders the material more pliable, and also grabs the wall more quickly and tightly.

1″ X 5′ = 9 sq ft of Lost Paper

July 18, 2021

For all the prospective clients who think they can pull out their calculator and slide rule and then meticulously calculate that they can cover their walls with 186.7 sq ft of wallpaper – WRONG!

Here is a good example of waste, and why you can’t purchase wallpaper based on square feet alone.

Here we are working with a non-woven material that is packaged in 21″ wide x 33′ long.

In the photo, that narrow 1″ wide strip of wall on the left needs to be covered with wallpaper.

That’s 1″ wide x 5′ tall. That comes out to .41 square feet of wallpaper.

Sounds negligible, doesn’t it? But in real life, a whole lot more wallpaper will be called into play – and tossed into the trash – in order to cover this miniscule space.

Although I stockpile all scraps, there is nothing in my remnant pile that is long enough, nor the correct pattern match, to cover this space.

So I must cut a new length from a bolt of wallpaper.

The pattern has a 25″ repeat, so I had to cut off almost this much in order to come up with the correct pattern match. That’s 25″ long x 21″ wide … so already, we are nearly 4 square feet cut off and thrown onto the trash pile.

Now that I have the pattern matched correctly, I need 5 running feet of it to cover the length of wall in the photo. That’s 60″ long x the 21″ wide width of the wallpaper. That calculates to 8.75 square feet of paper.

Of those 8.75 square feet, remember that I need only a 1″ wide strip. As previously mentioned, that comes to .41 square feet.

So, 8.75 sq ft – .41 sq ft = 8.33 sq ft of paper that can’t be used anywhere else, and will be tossed onto the discard pile.

That’s 8.33 sq ft of waste. Considering that the average single roll of wallpaper contains 28 square feet (but in reality, only 22 square feet of useable paper), this leaves you with only 19.75 square feet of useable paper.

In double roll speak, this means a bolt with 56 square feet, which is better calculated at 44 useable square feet, after hanging this one puny 1″ wide strip, you are left with 47.7 sq ft of useable paper – nearly 10 sq ft lost for just one 1″ wide strip!

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even gotten into pattern repeats, trimming at ceiling and floor, going around windows, vaulted ceilings, stairs, multiple drops, expansion when wet with paste, and all sorts of other factors.

Bottom Line: We paperhangers know the ins and outs of this stuff.

And homeowners don’t. Nor do contractors, painters, handymen, nor even engineers. Most of all, NOT engineers. (I love ’em all,,,, but they tend to get bogged down in details, and overlook the grand scale.)

Bottom, Bottom Line: Let the paperhanger measure the space and calculate how much wallpaper to order.

Rectifying a Mistake

July 2, 2021
Whoops! This wallpaper strip ended up too short. I suspect I forgot to add the 3″ extra for trimming at ceiling and floor. Sure would like to avoid replacing this whole strip.
I could have spliced a piece in horizontally. But that would have left a (slightly) visible horizontal seam, as well as put stress on the wall if the razor blade scored the surface. So I opted to patch in a piece. To disguise the patch, I cut along the design, and discarded the bottom piece.
Then I used scrap paper and cut along the same part of the design, making sure to leave a thin part of the design that would be overlapped (don’t want any gaps showing).
This patch was placed under the piece on the wall, with the top piece overlapping from above (less noticeable when viewed from above … the direction of lighting also affects this). Once all pieces were smoothed into place, it’s intact and homogeneous, and, best of all – undetectable.

Old House = Shifting Walls / Uneven Spaces

June 7, 2021

This house has been around since 1939.

Think the walls, doors, ceiling, and floors have shifted around over time? YES!

At first, your eye is caught by the 1″ difference in height between the left and the right of the area over the door.

But look more closely and you will see that the vertical space to the right of the door is uneven, too.

On the left side of the door, where two walls meet in a corner to the left of the door,,, if you look closely enough and can visually keep the two walls separate, notice that the rear wall is wider at the top than at the bottom – just the opposite of the dimensions on the wall to the right of the door.

Other walls in this hallway looked like this, too.

This “Willow Boughs” by William Morris is a good choice for wallpaper in this room. The pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from minor imperfections. And bets are that your eye won’t notice if the ceiling line starts moving up or down

Crumbly / Unstable Wall Issues

June 2, 2021
Starting to strip wallpaper. You see the top, inked layer, the tan backing layer, and the white skim-floated wall beneath.
Wall surfaces delaminating at seams
Gardz, a penetrating sealer that binds surfaces together and dries hard.
My first idea was to just Gardz the lifted areas. The sealer is newly applied and still wet in this photo.
Gardz’ing the whole wall created a more stable surface. This doesn’t look much different from the photo above. But in actuality, the the Gardz has sealed and “locked down” the surface, as well as soaked into the material and sealed the inner layers as well.
Applying a skim-coat to even out the surface levels.
Once this skim-coat is dry, it will be sanded smooth.

The installer of the original paper did a good job of skim-floating the wall and creating a smooth surface. But he didn’t apply a sealer or primer. Thus, when I used water to strip off the old wallpaper, the moisture soaked into his skim-coat (drywall joint compound, a plaster-like substance, which we also refer to as “mud”). Some of the skim-coat came away from the wall,,, particularly in areas of stress, such as where the wallpaper seams had lain.

In fact, long (years) before I began stripping the wallpaper, many of the seams had started to pull away from the wall, taking inner layers of the wall along with them. This is because wallpaper shrinks as it dries, and that creates tension on the wall. If the wall surface is unstable, these layers can delaminate (come apart), and the result is an open seam with chunks of wall material stuck to it.

This can also happen over time, as temperature and humidity changes can cause the wallpaper and / or wall surface to absorb and then let go of moisture. All this puts stress on those wallpaper seams and on the layers inside the wall.

Besides these seam areas that let go, I had one wall where the entire surface came apart in a mottled effect.

Another factor is that the original skim-coat had been applied over a glossy paint. It’s hard for anything to stick to gloss. The guy probably should have rolled on a “bonding primer” before applying his skim-coat.

Of course, all that increases the time and materials needed, and ups the cost to the homeowner.

Gardz is a wonderful product that is designed to soak into surfaces and “bind them together.” It dries hard and is pretty water-resistant. It was originally intended to “lock down” torn drywall. But workmen quickly discovered that it would fix a whole lot of other surfaces – such as my delaminating skim-coated walls.

At first I thought I would just Gardz (we use it as a noun and as a verb!) the areas that were lifting. Once it dried, I intended to skim-float over these areas, sand smooth, and then prime the entire room with my usual wallpaper primer – Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

But I realized that, even after I wiped down the walls with a damp sponge, they were still covered with powder or grit. This was powder from the layer of skim-coat, as well as residue from wallpaper paste. Neither my primer not wallpaper will stick securely to powder.

So I decided to roll Gardz on to all the walls, ceiling to floor.

Fifth photo – I was really pleased with the way the Gardz soaked in and drew all those layers together. There was no more power on the surface, and the inner layers of the walls were all pulled together.

To even over these vacant areas, and to create a pristine new surface, I skim-floated over the entire wall surface – all walls, floor to ceiling. See last photo.

Once that is dry, tomorrow morning, I will sand everything smooth. Next I’ll apply my 977 primer.

Then walls will be stable, and the surface will be ready to take on the new wallpaper.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry Quickly

May 5, 2021

In my previous post, the wall had the thick, knock-down texture that is typical in new tract homes in the Houston area. You can’t hang wallpaper on this texture, because it looks bad under the paper, and because it interferes with good adhesion.

The solution is to “skim-float” the walls with joint compound, a.k.a. “mud,” which is much like plaster. The mud needs time to dry. When the texture on the walls is super heavy, as in this home, I usually let the smoothing compound dry overnight. That does add an extra day – and an extra day’s cost – to the job.

To save these homeowners from paying for that extra day, we pulled out all the stops. In this photo, you see my two box fans and my heavy-duty black floor fan blasting away at the wall. In addition, we have the room’s ceiling fan. And, in the lower left corner, the homeowner added his yellow “squirrel cage” fan.

Once the wall got half-way dry, I used my heat gun – the yellow gizmo you see lying on the dropcloth, which I call “The Great Persuader” – to speed up the drying process in stubborn areas.

Still, it took a long time for the wall to completely dry. Next I had to sand the “mud” smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then apply a primer.

Start to finish, all that prep, plus hanging the paper – a whole 3.1 strips in 35 sq. ft. of space – took nearly eight hours.

Sophisticated “Bloom” Pattern for Newborn Baby Girl

May 4, 2021
Wall is primed and read to hang.
Baby’s finished wall!
Close-Up … Watercolor-y look and feel on “non-woven” substrate that mimics real gasscloth’s substrate.
Rolling panels out on the floor, to verify sequence and pattern placement before hanging.
Panels laid out in sequence. Panels rolled backward and secured with dollar store hair bands, to reduce “curl” and “memory”, and, most important – to prevent the surface of the paper from coming into contact with / being contaminated by the paste on the wall.
Hanging a small test strip, to see how material will perform. This was important, because both the specs printed on the label , as well as the insert instructions, AND on-line instructions, turned out to be incorrect. Testing helped me know which installation process to follow.
Manufacturer and pattern information.
Layout diagram showing pattern orientation. Note that this design can be hung with the “flowers” coming up from the floor (as the new mother requested here) or hanging down from the ceiling, as depicted on the mock-up they sent.

Please read captions under the photos above, for synopsis information.

zUsed to brighten and personalize the accent wall behind a crib for a new baby girl (the new parents are waiting on a name!) this design by Emma Hayes is entitled Bloom.

Contrary to the information on the manufacturer’s website, the product label, and the instruction insert, this product did not need expensive materials or physical gymnastics to get onto the wall. It ended up being quite nice to work with.

I was made of a non-woven material, which is all synthetic, which means it is dimentionaly-stable and won’t shrink when it dries (or put undue tension on your walls).

another good thing about this paper is that it can be custom-sized to fit any wall. Here, it is important to have the paperhanger measure first and determine how many bolts to buy before you order. It’s not about total square feet. It’s more about how many strips are required to cover your wall.

And it’s imperative that you add 2″ to EACH dimension (top, bottom, and either side), to allow for matching the pattern, wonky walls, un-level ceiling, etc. The extra 1%-2% that some companies add simply is not enough. No matter what the guy on the website’s “Help” line says – they simply do not understand wallpaper, nor do they really know how much you need to buy.

This design is sort of a knock-off of other, more expensive designer brand names – but at a lower price-point, as well as printed on an install-friendly substrate (as opposed to brands that like to “waffle” and “quilt” and curl at the seams and other mis-behaving stuff …

Free-Form Rainbow for Baby Due Soon

March 21, 2021
“Before” wall, smoothed and primed.
Measurements done, strip placement plotted, material rolled backward and ready to hang.
Start in the center, to ensure the rainbow lands behind the crib. This is the first three strips.
Although the paper is smooth, the printing method makes it look lightly textured.

Momma chose this soft, water color-y rainbow mural by Anewall for her baby girl’s nursery.

The wall had to be carefully measured, and specific dimensions sent to the manufacturer, to ensure that the custom-printed mural would fit the wall and also have sufficient “bleed” (extra 2″ around EACH side), to allow for trimming and for unlevel and unplumb ceiling and walls.

Don’t let “custom printed” scare you. Modern digital printing makes this easy and affordable.

Just be sure that the paperhanger measures (not Handy Hubby) BEFORE you order.

This was printed on a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

The manufacturer is Anewall. I like the products from this company.

They offer several substrate options. I guess I like the non-woven (paste-the-wall) version best. Second to that is the pre-pasted. Not so fond of their vinyl offering, and definitely wouldn’t work with a peel & stick.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

Crazy Unlevel Ceiling Line

January 14, 2021

OK, folks – you can’t keep the wallpaper looking straight as it runs along under the ceiling (meaning, keep the same motif at exactly the same distance from the ceiling), if the ceiling itself isn’t level or even straight.

When a surface is level, and you place a level against it, the bubble will be smack in the middle of the window. As you can see, in today’s room, the bubble wasn’t even trying to be in the center of the window.

Even crazier, these two photos were taken on the same wall, and just a foot apart.

That means that the ceiling line was more like a roller coaster than a nice, flat, level platform. Understandable in a 1935 house built on ever-shifting Houston “gumbo” soil.

How this applies to wallpaper is that, if you are trying to position a particular motif – let’s say it’s a sailboat – just under the ceiling, as subsequent strips of paper get hung, that sailboat motif is going to move up and down under the ceiling line. Sometimes that even means that the top part of the sailboat may get chopped off as the ceiling line moves downward.

Cute As Can Be Pineapples In Clear Lake Powder Room

August 21, 2020


Originally, this powder room in a brand new home in the Clear Lake area south of Houston was painted a taupe-y grey, and the walls were heavily textured. This bright and crisp Pineapple pattern in navy on white really opened up and brightened the room, and made it fitting for a family with two toddlers.

It took a day and a half to smooth the textured walls, and a full day to hang the paper. The extremely un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and floor and sink, and other features were all obstacles. The homeowner and I decided that it would be better to have the pattern match in the corners, and then let it run crooked along the ceiling and floor lines. Too complicated to get into here. But in the end, the finished room looks great!

I usually love Serena & Lily papers, but this time I encountered several printing defects. There was a slight pattern mis-match at the seams. There was a faint smudge on one motif at the point of every pattern repeat. And one bolt had a line of dark blue ink along the right edge that ran for several feet. AND … this bolt came with no label. I assumed it was a return, and was of a different run, and thus was unusable in this powder room Luckily, I usually have the homeowners order enough paper to accommodate issues like this.

Coincidentally enough, my Wallcovering Installers Association colleagues on our private Facebook page had just been discussing Serena & Lily papers, and a rash of printing defects and other issues that many installers had been experiencing lately.

Other than the printing defects and wonky walls, the paper went up nicely.

Serena & Lily papers (and other home good merchandise) can be bought on-line, or through their paper catalog – which they just mailed out recently.