Posts Tagged ‘ceiling’

Keep Paste Off Adjoining Wall

January 31, 2023
Here I’m moving right to left, fixin’ to have my last strip of wallpaper meet up with the first strip I hung (which you see on the left). Because the corners are never perfectly straight, and because wallpaper can stretch when it gets wet with paste , and for other reasons, it’s not possible to pre-trim the width of this last strip, because it won’t be the exact perfect width.
So you cut this strip 1/2″-1″ wider than the gap. That means that it’s going to wrap 1/2″ or so around that corner. So you’ll have to trim off the excess. In this way, you’ll be able to get a custom fit into that corner.
But, you’ll also get paste slopped onto that strip on the left. Some papers you can wipe the paste off easily. But others are more delicate and can be damaged or stained . Why take a chance?
Here is the strip that’s going to fill that gap. I’ve paste it . Next I’ve run a strip of thin blue plastic tape along the edge that will be overlapped onto the existing wallpaper in the corner. This will keep paste from coming in contact with the wall on the left. I also like to place this tape on the top of the strip, to protect the ceiling. Especially important when there is not crown molding and the paste will be bopping into the flat paint on the ceiling (difficult to wipe off).
You can do a Search here to see other posts where I have photos of the trimming taking place, and then removing the excess paper and the blue tape. Here you see the finished corner .
This blue tape is pretty useful. It’s also helpful when double-cutting ( splicing ). Another great feature of this blue tape is that it snaps apart quite easily, so you don’t need a scissors or blade to cut your pieces. It’s imported from Japan. (Those guys have a lot of cool wallpaper tools.)
It can be purchased here
Some people use waxed paper cut into strips, or yellow caution tape, or painter’s plastic cut into strips. But nothing parallels the usefulness and quality of this blue cut tape .

Plumbing Up Coming Out Of A Corner DRAFT

January 29, 2023
Here I’m hanging wallpaper, moving from right to left, preparing to turn this corner . You don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner (see previous post for more information). So I’ve cut a new strip, trimmed off excess on the right so the pattern on the new strip matches that on the existing strip, and am getting ready to proceed to the left.
But corners are never straight or plumb , and chair rail and ceilings are never perfectly level . So if I butt the new strip right up into the corner, if that corner is off-plumb , it will cause the new strip, and all subsequent strips, to be off-plumb. And that means that the design motifs will start tracking up or down hill as we move across the wall.
You want all the motifs to be at the same height along the ceiling and chair rail – within reason, of course, because if those features are not level, the motifs can’t help but move up or down.
Anyway, the best you can do is to hang your new strip perfectly plumb . So here you see I’ve shot my laser level at the wall at the far edge of the new strip. I’m butting my new strip up to that red line. I’m also using my 2′ bubble level as an extra guide.
Note that sometimes this means the new strip will not butt up perfectly in the corner, because it may tilt a bit to the left or right. When that happens, you just trim off the slight overlap. This means you may end up with a slight pattern mis-match in the corner. Usually not too noticeable.

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here or here
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Un-Plumb, Un-Level

January 24, 2023
Shot of the finished breakfast room , for pattern reference.
Close-up view. The vertical lines are not wrinkles , but shadows cast by the macrame light fixture in this breakfast room .
The problem is, when walls aren’t plumb , and ceiling and floor and chair rail are not level , the pattern motifs won’t march across the wall at the same height on every strip . I’ve learned that, in most cases, it’s more important to match the pattern in the corner , and then allow the pattern to go off-track at ceiling or floor if necessary.
In this photo, note that the humming bird is sitting completely above the chair rail.
Here he’s dropped down to where his tail is swallowed up by the chair rail .
By the time we get to the left corner , half of the bird has dropped down and disappeared .
Here’s another bird motif doing the same disappearing act .
Feet and belly gone.
This house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston is nearly 85 years, so you can expect some settling and shifting on its foundation . But even brand new homes can have walls that are out of whack .
This beautiful pattern is by Cole & Son and is called Hummingbirds – it’s very popular and has been around more than 100 years … that’s older than the house!

Mum Flowers in Heights Entry

January 14, 2023
Painted walls in this new-build in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have been primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
Just the area above the wainscoting / chair rail was papered .
Obstacles to trim around included six doors – with a total of TWELVE corners of decorative molding to trim around. In addition, there were EIGHT terminations of wood ceiling beams , also with uneven edges , to trim around.
Absolutely NO information came with the wallpaper . No run number , no installation instructions , no nuttin’. Confoundingly, the company’s website was malfunctioning, and pop-ups prevented me from getting information , or even from seeing what the pattern looked like on a large wall .
So here I am rolling the paper out on the floor , to get a scope of the pattern and layout .
Note the unprinted selvedge edge , which I’ll have to trim off using a straightedge and a razor blade. See previous posts (do a Search) to learn more about this.
The pattern is called Kanoko and the manufacturer is Relativity Textiles . This material was VERY difficult to work with. More about that in a future post.

Tools For Double-Cutting / Splicing

December 24, 2022
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that double-cutting was needed for that vinyl mural installation. This type of trimming is often used in commercial vinyl jobs (hotels, hospitals). Above are some tools that help make it go more smoothly.
~The clear plastic tape on the right is made of polystyrene plastic. It’s flexible, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade. It’s used to ” pad ” the wall under where your cut will be, so it goes from ceiling to floor. It’s wide enough that you can straddle where your seam will be, and have 2″ or so in which to make your cut. This stuff is really important, because you never want to score into the wall surface, nor even into the primer . If the wall surface becomes un-intact , then when the wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks a bit, it puts stress on the seams. If the wall is not intact under those seams, the wall surface may give way and you end up with a ” popped ” seam. It’s not the paper coming loose – it’s the wall itself coming apart, and is difficult to repair.
~The roll of thin blue tape is used to keep paste off the wallpaper. You put it on the under side / pasted side of your second strip where it’s going to overlap onto the strip that is already on the wall , which is the area where your splice cut will be made. This blue tape can be used for other purposes, too, when you want to keep paste off the ceiling , for instance, or your last corner where the last strip meets up with the first strip.
~That metal tool is a 20″ long trim guide. It has a non-slip strip under the left edge, and a point at the top to get right up against the ceiling. The handle makes is super easy to hold and manipulate . This comes in both shorter and longer lengths.
~All of the above were invented and are sold by members of the Wallcovering Installers Association . Contact me if you are interested in purchasing.
~And, of course – razor blades. When I D/C, I usually hold a single edge blade in my fingers. But some installers use a snap-off blade in a holder. Whatever works best for you!
~Once your trim cut is made, of course, you need to remove the two tapes, the cut-off strips, and then smooth the two pieces back into place.
~For more information and photos on how this whole process works, click and read here

Wallpaper Inks Easily Marred

December 21, 2022

The rich colors and clay coating give this wallpaper a truly luscious , velvety look. But they’re also fragile and can be damaged easily . Here you see damage caused at the factory simply by folding back the last 2″ or so of paper, before rolling it up. The company does provide and extra foot or two to accommodate this.
You have to be extremely careful handling this stuff. Even a fingernail or your wallpaper tools can cause scratches or marring . Per the manufacturer’s suggestion, I covered my smoothing brush and plastic smoother with microfiber towels , to minimize chances of scratching the paper .
In fact, the manufacturer suggested that, during installation , that you wipe the entire surface uniformly with a damp microfiber rag , to even out any imperfections that might have resulted .
Now, just between you and me – if you know you have a product that’s likely to end up with blemished areas, why not just switch to a better , tried-and-true ink ? SMH Luckily project this is a border that will be butted up under the ceiling , so no one’s going to zero in on a few shiny areas in the matt ink. But , think of all the homes that will have this same material as a wall paper , that will be viewed close-up .
Not all colorways from Bradbury do this. I’ve hung plenty of it and not had a problem with most. In fact, the “fishnet” area you see at the bottom of this picture is not delicate at all. It’s the very matt finish green and brown colors in the center of the border that are so delicate .
The inks and clay coating the manufacturer uses on this particular colorway are very fragile and mar easily , so I’ve used ankle socks to cover the edges of my straightedge, and also a weight I’m using to prevent the paper from rolling around on my table. And that scissors is just there as demonstration for the photo … you can bet that tool was not touching the surface of the border at any other time.
This material has a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge and razor blade . Normally I set my straightedge on top of the wallpaper , because it’s easier to see where I need to make my cut , and also because the weight of the straightedge helps hold the wallpaper down.
But even with cushioning socks on either edge of the 6′ long tool , and with padding on the underside, I was afraid that it might harm the inks .
So I placed it on the outside edge of the wallpaper. This left very little for the tool to grab on to, so I made sure to press it tightly against my work table , so the wallpaper strip wouldn’t slip around while I was trimming .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in historic and period-correct patterns from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Ceiling is NOwhere NEAR Level

November 29, 2022
We wallpaper hangers / installers like to have a nice straight ceiling line . Meaning, that the same pattern motif will show up at the same height on the wall on every strip . For instance, the top of the sailboat will touch the bottom of the crown molding all the way around the room.
But in old houses, poorly-built houses, or just plain old wonky houses (which are most homes in Houston! ), you can’t count on ceilings and floors being level , nor on walls being perfectly plumb .
When I used my level to check the ceiling in this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood , I admit – I laughed out loud!
When a surface is level, the air bubble will be in the middle of the two black lines . It’s common for the bubble to be a little “off.” But this one isn’t even trying to be in the middle. Meaning – the ceiling is nowhere near level. The ceiling line is moving up and / or down as it moves across the room. The discrepancy can be as much as an inch or even more from one end of the room to the other.
Meaning, there is no way that that sailboat is going to be just below the ceiling on every strip.
Luckily, this particular wallpaper pattern was such that you aren’t going to notice much.
The other thing is, most people who live in older homes, or homes with shifting foundations , or even new homes , understand that walls and floors rearrange themselves over time . So they’re understanding if sailboats drift down the ceiling line , or if patterns don’t match absolutely perfectly in the corners.