Posts Tagged ‘countertop’

Getting Smoothing Compound To Dry

June 13, 2019


The walls in this powder room were textured. (see top photo) To ensure that the new wallpaper looks good, and that it has a solid surface to cling to, the walls need to be smoothed. This is called floating, or skim coating, and I do a lot of it here in Houston. To do that, I trowel on a plaster-like substance, let it dry, then sand it, vacuum up the dust, wipe residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge, and then prime.

What takes the most time is waiting for the smoothing compound (drywall joint compound, which we also call “mud”) to dry. If the texture is heavy, often it has to dry overnight. The downside of this is that it adds an extra day of labor and expense. But when the texture is lighter, the drying can be speeded along.

In the second photo, you see some of the ways I get mud to dry more quickly. On the counter* you see two box fans, and on the floor is a much stronger fan. On the counter is also a space heater. Hot air in the room absorbs moisture, sucking it out of the wet smoothing compound. I let the room heat up, and then I have to open the door and let the moist air out – over and over again.

The yellow objet on the floor is a heat gun. A heat gun acts like a hair dryer on steroids, and can get small stubborn areas to dry pretty quickly.

A few other things help speed drying … Walls coated with flat paint will dry more quickly than with glossy paint. And having the air conditioning and / or heat cranking away will help, because, while regulating the temperature, these climate-control systems also pull humidity out of the air. I also like to turn the HVAC system’s fan from “Auto” to “On,” so that air is circulating continuously, which also pulls humidity out of the air and helps the walls to dry.

*I normally keep a dropcloth on the vanity counter. But the vibrating fans can cause the dropcloths to slip, and you don’t want anything crashing down on the homeowner’s countertop. I do have lengths of self-grip shelf liner that help keep the fans from moving around too much.

Advertisements

Diamonds Brighten a Bellaire Bathroom

May 11, 2019


Originally, this home in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston was rife with the “Tuscan” look, and this under-the-stairs powder room shows just that … The gold overlaid with a red glaze was a good look, but the new homeowners wanted a brighter, more modern look.

Just look at how the diamond pattern on a white background changed the room! The heavy darkness is gone, and the feeling is totally modern. The black and white scheme goes beautifully with the new black countertop and white sink.

One not-so-great thing is that somehow we got two different run numbers. Different run numbers were printed at different times, and can be slightly different in shade, so cannot be used on the same wall. Luckily, we had enough paper that I was able to plot out which bolts to use on which walls, and the room turned out looking great.

This paper is by A-Street Prints, which is made by Brewster, a good company. It is a non-woven product with a high fiberglass content that is designed to strip off the walls easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. The material is dimensionally-stable and will not shrink as it dries.

It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, but I preferred to paste the paper. In a bathroom with choppy areas, this ensures that paste will get to every surface, and it also makes the paper more pliable and malleable, which is essential in a room like this with crooked corners and a curved wall (not shown).

This wallpaper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Wallpaper In This 1/2″ Wide Space? – You BET I Can!

December 27, 2018


Well, somebody forgot to tell the contractor to push the vanity all the way against the wall … Resulting in this 1/2″ wide gap between the countertop and the wall.

With some careful folding, unbooking, and the use of a wooden yardstick to both pull the pasted paper away from the wall, and then smooth it against the wall as needed, I was able to get a contiguous strip of paper into this narrow space.

From Bold and Dashing to Soft and Pretty

October 2, 2018


The homeowner loved the “Longwood” pattern originally in her powder room (see a snippet of it in the second photo), but, after going through the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, she worried that putting the same paper in her renovated bathroom would remind her of the horrible storm. So she decided to tame things down a little, and went with this “Augustine” pattern by the same company.

She chose this muted colorway (it’s a tad brighter in person than in my photos) partly because the greens in the paper melded nicely with her marble countertop, and also because the blues looked great with her blue ceiling (which was chosen to go with the original Longwood design).

The contractors did a reasonably good job prepping the walls. However, they painted over the old wallpaper, which is not a good idea. They also didn’t bother to remove the mirror or light sconces when they applied their smoothing compound, and you can see remnants of white gunk under the oval where the mirror hung and by peeking behind the light fixture. These were small things, but it took me two hours to smooth over these areas, get to dry, sand, and then prime.

The new Augustine humming bird pattern is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a very old, historic design. I love the design, and the paper is wonderful to work with. It is pre-pasted, so goes up more quickly than papers that have to be pasted by hand. It is easy to manipulate around turns, it doesn’t tear easily, it is thin and hugs the wall tightly, it dries quickly, and it has a lovely “raised ink” texture.

This paper is by Thibaut, and was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

The home is in the Memorial-Dairy Ashford / Energy Corridor area of Houston.

Lazy Drywall Contractor

September 7, 2018


These powder room walls were textured in a heavy “Tuscan” finish. The homeowner asked her contractor to smooth the walls, so they would look good under the new wallpaper. The guys did a good job in most areas. But, as you see here, they fell short in others.

First of all, it’s simple to remove a toilet paper holder. Why try to work around it, and get smoothing compound slopped all over it?

In the middle picture, this is a shot of the vanity backsplash. The smoothing compound falls short of the stone countertop. Since the wallpaper will end here, it needs a solid surface to grip ahold of. This gap between the smoothing compound and the stone will allow the wallpaper to gape open and curl away from the wall.

The third photo just shows careless work. Not horrible, but they could have done better.

In all these areas, and others, I was able to do touch ups, so when the wallpaper goes up tomorrow it will have a smooth, intact surface to adhere to.

The sad part is, the homeowner paid the contractors to do this work, but now is paying me to finish the job.

Messy Countertops Make Wallpaper Installation Difficult

December 3, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


A week before I start a job, I send the homeowners information about the installation process and what things I will be needing. One thing I ask is that they clear toiletries, jewelry, paperwork, etc., out of the work area. Well, here are a few households that didn’t get the message. 😦

All this mess is hard for me to work around. And since I often need to sand, even if I cover these items with plastic, they are likely to get a little dusty. And they’ll need to be protected from splatters from the wallpaper primer.

Sometimes I’ll move things out of the way, and then you never know where they will end up – under the vanity, on the bedroom floor, on the dining room table, in the bathtub – anywhere I can find a surface to set them on. That gets them out of my way and keeps them clean, but it puts the homeowners on a search mission later, and they’ll have to try to put everything back the way they had it in the beginning.

Best for the homeowner to take these things out of the room herself, and stash them where she can find them when the wallpaper job is finished.

Time for the Bubbles to Blow Away

August 18, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The existing wallpaper’s sphere pattern was easy to live with, and it went very nicely with the ’80’s era terrazzo floors. But the lady of the house was ready for an update.

The new grey quartz countertop started it off, and it goes very nicely with the terrazzo. Next, this wallpaper pattern pulled everything together … It combines the greys and tans of the countertop and floor, and adds some jolts of strong brown, and then just enough bright magenta to keep everything fun.

The foliage-inspired pattern has swingy movement and a youthful feel. The scale is perfect for this large, open master bathroom, in a home in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houston.

Fireworks or Dandelion Heads ??

August 17, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


No matter if you see fireworks or flowers, this light colored pattern full of bursts of movement really transformed this powder room. Originally, the room was papered a dark brick red color. It was so dark that I could not even get a photo, plus the paper had no pattern, so you have to wonder why they didn’t paint instead.

The homeowner searched hard to find a wallpaper that would coordinate with both her new grey granite countertop and the existing Saltillo tile floor, while brightening up a room that had been cave-like for decades.

I would say that she was successful, because this paper fills the bill in every way.

This home is in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper is by York, in their Candice Olson line. The label said it was unpasted, but it turned out to be pre-pasted. I pasted the paper anyway, and was very happy with the quality of the paper, and how nice it was to work with, and how tight the seams were, as well as the overall finished job.

Here is How I Protect Woodwork While I am Priming

June 14, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


I do a lot of skim-floating to smooth textured walls, so the wallpaper will be bump-free and have a smooth surface to adhere to. The penetrating sealing primer I like for this is Gardz, because it soaks in, dries hard, and binds the surface together. The downside is, it’s thin like water, and splashes and runs like crazy. There are tricks, like using a micro fiber roller, rolling in an upward direction, using light pressure on the roller, and paying attention to what you’re doing.

Still, splatters and drips will happen. And they can happen with other primers, too, as well as with paint or any other product you are rolling or brushing on a wall.

Most painters use a dropcloth to cover the floor. But I can’t stand the tiny “speckles” that fly off a roller and land on the shoe mold, baseboard, chair rail, or backsplash. Many people wouldn’t even notice them, but I do, and I think the homeowner deserves better.

So I protect the homeowner’s floors and countertops as you see in the 2nd photo. I put dropcloths down on the floor or counter. Then I cover the baseboards or chair rail or backsplash with an additional dropcloth, this time a thin flexible plastic-backed paper material. I use push-pins to hold it tightly against the wall, to catch any and all splatters and drips.

It takes more time and it increases my material costs, but it sure is a better way to treat the client’s home.

Swirly, Golden Floral in a Farm House Powder Room

March 13, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The homeowner’s selection was spot-on when she chose this soft floral pattern with an upward movement. The color perfectly coordinates with the tile and countertop in the powder room, as well as with the paint colors in the adjoining entry hall and bedroom.

The wallpaper was carefully chosen, not just because of the color, but because this powder room-with-a-shower serves both the elderly father whose bedroom is next door, as well as guests, so the design couldn’t be too girly or frilly, while tying in with the country feel of this new home on the family farm.

This wallpaper was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.