Posts Tagged ‘corners’

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

Pulp Wallpapers – Difficult to Handle

January 30, 2022

I mentioned in my post of January 27, 2022 that this wallpaper is what we call a classic or traditional British pulp material. All wood pulp and a little ink. No synthetic fibers, no protective coating.

When dry, the stuff is quite stiff and brittle, and when wet it can turn to mush. It dries fast, so sometimes can ” freeze ” and stick together when you unbook it – which can actually tear the paper apart.

This makes it difficult to work with it when going around intricate moldings, or into corners, or any time you need to bend or unfold it.

It’s also tricky to cut. It dulls blades quickly. And even a brand new razor blade can get bogged down or snagged. This can easily tear the paper. Another thing that happens is that you get these little ” buggers ” where the top part of the paper trims off, but little bits of the substrate stay behind.

The photo above shows this happening at a trim cut along a baseboard. You have to gently pull the strip away from the wall, being careful not to crease it or tear it. Then use your scissors to snip off these little bits. It’s a real PITA.

Peel & Stick = Bad Stuff. Don’t Fall For It!

November 25, 2021
he lure of (false!) claims of easy to install and easy to remove led these homeowners to purchase peel & stick ” wallcovering ” and try to install it themselves. It did not go well. The wall was coated with a gloss paint, as per manufacturer’s instructions. Yet, here you can see that it is not even trying to adhere to the wall.
Many brands come in rectangles of a few square feet, rather than traditional strips that are long enough to reach floor to ceiling. These small rectangles are much harder to keep perfectly lined up, so you are very likely to end up with overlaps or gaps at the seams.
It’s not pliable or malleable, so won’t readily be eased into corners or turns. Here, note wrinkles and warps in the corner in the center of the photo, and at the ceiling line in the center top of the photo.

The wall was not smoothed before applying the paper, so you see unsightly texture. The roughness is also interfering with good adhesion, because the paper is only sticking to the tops of the bumps, instead to the entire surface.
So much for easily removeable. As you can see, trying to take this stuff down – it took the paint along with it.

Foliage Update for Guest Bedroom

November 10, 2021
This small floral print was fashionable when it went up, 30+ years ago. But now it’s dated, and also some stains and dirt are showing. Time for an update!
Old paper has been stripped off, the walls have been primed with my favorite Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime, and ready for wallpaper.
Done! An accent of grasscloth was used on one wall. I love the way the greens match, and everything coordinates with the paneling / wainscoting.
Usually I place the pattern so a prominent design motif sits at the ceiling line. But in a room with wainscoting or chair rail, that horizontal mid point in the wall is more visible. So I plotted to have the bottom of the dark green, most visible flower land just above the top of the chair rail. It looks like it’s growing from the wood! The pattern also just happened to land nicely at the ceiling line, with no major design elements getting cut in half.
The material has woven fabric look to it – but that’s just the printing. It’s actually a very flat paper. It was very thin, and reminded me of papers from decades ago. It hugs the wall very tightly. I liked it a lot.
Exclusive Wallcoverings
The grasscloth accent wall. All four strips were reverse-hung, and hung in the sequence they came off the bolt. Yet you see a color difference (called paneling or shading ) between some strips. This is quite typical of natural products like grasscloth and sisal.
Close up. Bad photo … the color is actually an attractive green. The material is more of a thin balsa wood about 1/2″ wide, rather than traditional grass or reeds. I feared it would be difficult to cut through, but it turned out to work very nicely. But it would not have been good in a room with corners or intricate details to trim around.

The home is in League City, a southern suburb of Houston.

Clever Over-the-Door Kill Point

October 2, 2021
When you hang wallpaper on all four walls of a room, you get to the point where your last strip meets up with the first strip you hung. We call that the kill point. That last strip gets split vertically in order to bridge the width of the distance to meet up with the first strip. The cut-off part gets thrown away. This virtually always results in a pattern mismatch in the corner where the first and last strips come together. So, when possible, you hide this mismatch in a corner behind a door, or somewhere else that is not noticeable. But in this powder room, ALL the corners were out in the open and very visible. But I think the corners look better when the pattern matches exactly, as shown in this photo.
But there is still going to be SOME point in the room where the last strip meets the first strip – and where the pattern will not match. I chose the least conspicuous place in this room – over the door. After all, not many people spend much time looking 10′ up over a door that’s behind them. Still, a pattern mismatch here would be very noticeable; maybe more broken up and obvious than in a corner. But I had a plan …
Moving from right to left, I plotted where my next strip would fall. The sequence of “high” and “low” maps at the ceiling line was in sync with the strips on either side. But I’m going to end up with a 5 1/2″ gap on the left side. Since the figures / maps were about 8″ wide, cutting one down to 5 1/2″ wide would distort it too much. So instead I decided to “grow” the white areas in between the map figures.
I could do this because there were “stripes” of white areas in between the maps that were uninterrupted from top to bottom; if there had been a motif that crossed horizontally, this would have been much more difficult. I took that strip of wallpaper slated for over the door and slit it vertically along the “empty” white area into three parts.
Then I took some scrap paper from the waste pile (always buy a little extra paper!) and used my straightedge to trim off slices that had no printing on them. Each of these ended up being only about 1″ wide. I was looking for about 6,” so I made six slices, plus one more for good measure. Because these slices were all white, and because the backing was also white, I put a pencil mark on the back side, so I could tell which side to put the paste on. Because the paper was thin and somewhat transparent, I had to remember to make my marks lighter than usual. Going back to the third photo, you will notice a tiny bit of ink on the far left edge of the piece mocked up above the door; I used my straightedge to trim off this 1/4″ wide area, too.
Here is how the all-white strips would be placed in between the printed sections. In actuality, each gap took two 1″ strips, not the single one shown in the photo.
Here is the first printed section going in next to the strip to its right. I couldn’t use a 1″ strip in between these two because there was a tad of pattern that had to be matched between the two strips, due to various logistics. But I could add two of the 1″ strips to the left of the new printed section, as shown here. Moving to the left, I did that two more times, with two more sections and two more sets of 1″ wide strips. At the last juncture, I did do a vertical overlap of the excess 1/2″ resulting from the gap of 5 1/2″ and the six 1″ wide fill-in strips. I could have done a double-cut (splice), but the strips were awfully narrow to work with, I wanted to avoid scoring damage to the wall, and the overlap would be obscured by the vertical elements in the pattern motifs. Plus, it was 10′ up, after all.
Here is the finished look. The seams will be less visible once the paper is dry. The three spaces between these three map motifs are 2″ wider than the spaces between the maps around the rest of the room. But the difference is virtually undetectable. And, like I said, who’s looking way up there, anyway? And … it’s a whole lot more attractive than the other option – of having a pattern mismatch running the entire 10′ height of a corner in the room.
The pattern is “City Maps” and is by Rifle Paper, which is made by York, one of my favorite brands.

Katie Kime – Tough Install Today

July 21, 2021
The Great Persuader

The previous wallpapers I’ve hung by Katie Kime have been on a non-woven substrate, a dependable synthetic material that has many positives going for it – light weight, breathable, stain-resistant, strips off the wall easily when redecorating, doesn’t expand when wet with paste so you can paste the wall as an alternative to pasting the paper, doesn’t expand so you can hang pasted strips immediately (no booking time), and your measurements will be accurate.

So I was surprised today by the weight of this material. And I could tell immediately that it was not their usual non-woven material.

Through a 20-minute Chat with their Customer Service (which is excellent, by the way), they told me that, due to the construction supply shortages related to the COVID pandemic, they are currently unable to get their usual materials, os have temporarily switched to a vinyl.

The backing looks like non-woven to me, but their instructions say to paste the paper and then book for 10 minutes, like a traditional paper. I suspect these instructions are outdated, but I followed them anyway.

This stuff was very thick and stiff … like working with a sheet of plastic. It was hard to press tightly into corners and to get tight cuts at ceiling and floor. I had to push really hard with a brand new blade to even slice through it.

I even had to use the heat gun to “melt” the material a bit so it would fit into and around inside and outside corners. This stuff would be the dickens to hang in a room with intricate cuts and turns.

Nice Trim Solution for Bull-Nosed Corners

July 7, 2021
To the left is the wall to be papered. The white area to the right is the rounded edge of the wall corner. The brown strip is the wood trim.
The white on the left is the rounded corner of the wall. The wood trim makes a nice, straight edge against which to trim the wallpaper. It also eliminates the possibility of the paper curling away from the rounded edge.

These bull-nosed or rounded corners have been popular in new homes for more than 10 years now. They may look trendy, but they are the dickens to trim wallpaper along.

You can’t see where you’re trying to trim, it’s hard to trim straight, some thick or stiff papers don’t want to adhere to rounded edges, a textured wall can’t be smoothed exactly to where the trimming will take place – just for starters.

Today’s client had a good idea; to have a strip of wooden trim added along both the sides and the top of this door opening. It made my day much easier, and it ensures a neat trim line and removes worries of the paper pulling loose.

I’m going to keep the photo, in hopes of encouraging other homeowners to try this.

Rounded / Bull-Nosed Edge Windows – Hate ‘Em!

April 27, 2021

I’ll be glad when these rounded outside corners go out of style. Getting wallpaper around them is an art – and a juggling match of wits.

They are especially difficult on exposed arches. (Do a Search here to read my experiences.)

But they are also especially trying on un-trimmed windows, as you see here.

Too complicated to get into all the intricate details of the whys and the hows.

But just let me say that each of those rounded window returns took me at least an hour.

And the room has eight of them.

Wallpaper on Bull-Nosed Window Arch

February 24, 2021

The bull-nosed edges / rounded corners that have been popular for the last 10 years or more are a snafu for wallpaper. But when you add an arch, it gets much more complicated.

Wallpaper won’t wrap around and then under these arched areas smoothly and seamlessly, because you need to make relief cuts, or cut notches. Then you end up with V-shaped gaps.

There are several approaches to dealing with these. There are issues like ridges caused by overlaps. Paper not wanting to grasp onto and hold tight to a curved edge. irregularities in the curve.

I’ve been impressed with what many of my colleagues have done. But, as for me, well, I’ll be happy when these awkward and impossible rounded edges and curved arches go the way of the dinosaur.

For this particular room, I was lucky because the pattern was wild and non-specific enough that I could get creative.

I wrapped and then trimmed the paper to about 3/4″ around and under the rounded edge.

I could have cut a long skinny piece to fit the underside of the arched area. But that would have resulted in a pattern mis-match where the skinny strip met up with the rolled edge.

I opted for a variation on this theme, and used the branches and tree limbs in the pattern to my advantage.

So I cut a long skinny strip (actually, a number of shorter strips that I would meld into one long strip). But I plotted my cuts so the edge of the strip would run along a tree branch in the design. I had to choose specific branches that didn’t have birds sitting on them, because I didn’t want to chop any birds in half. Leaves, yes. Birds, no. 🙂

The branches also had to have at least 5″ of “open” space next to them, to fill the area between the rounded edge and the window glass without cutting off any birds or important design motifs.

The next photos will show you what I did. I had to do some tweaking. In the end, the finished arch looks pretty darned natural.

Crazy Corners & Angles

February 9, 2021

No wonder it took me two days to hang this powder room!