Posts Tagged ‘crack’

Please Don’t Patch On Top Of Old Wallpaper!

July 9, 2020

There was a floor-to-ceiling crack in the drywall. I instructed the painter to strip off the wallpaper around where he was going to repair the wall, and to NOT put patching compound on the paper.

He said that he did strip off the paper. Then why, oh why, did he go and extend his patch on top of the wallpaper he did not strip off??!

In the second photo, you see where I cut around his patch, and then stripped the old green paper off the rest of the wall.

Not shown is where I skim-floated over his patch, to cover the ridge from his patched area and the little bit of paper left on the wall.

Sanded smooth and sealed with Gardz, the wall was then ready for the new wallpaper.

David Hicks’s “Hexagon” in a Master Bathroom – Note the Freestanding Bathtub

March 15, 2019

David Hicks’s “Hexagon” pattern by Cole & Son is a well-loved design. I’ve hung it a number of times. Here it is in a large master bathroom in a very Mid-Century Modern home in the Piney Point (Villages) neighborhood of Houston.

Just this bathtub alcove, along with two small mirror walls over the his-and-hers vanities, received wallpaper.

Just the tub alcove by itself took me over six hours to hang (six single rolls). The complicating issues were unplumb walls, unlevel ceiling and soffit, a geometric pattern that the eye wants to see marching evenly across the walls, thick stiff paper that is hard to manipulate, ink that wants to crack and flake off the paper, complicated room lay-out, and … squeezing behind that tub to put wallpaper on the walls around it!

There are some spots where the pattern match is off a bit, and some areas where the crookedness of the walls is very evident (meaning that the pattern goes off-kilter). But overall, the room turned out great.

The design is called “Hexagon,” and is by David Hicks, designer for Cole & Son, a British company who has been manufacturing wallpaper for way more than a hundred years.

It’s a non-woven material that can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, but I chose to paste the paper, which made it more pliable, and which made it easier to get paste where it needed to be when going around the window areas and behind the tub.

Wallpaper Too Old & Brittle to Work With

February 28, 2017
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This kitchen wallpaper was stained by a water leak. There was enough left over paper to replace the damaged section. BUT – the paper had been stored in a hot Houston attic since the ’70’s – that’s 35 years! It was far too brittle and fragile to work with.

I found that lightly wetting the back with a damp sponge allowed it to relax enough that I could unroll it. I tried my usual wallpaper paste, but once the sample piece dried, there were stains caused by the paste. See third photo.

Then I tried powdered wheat paste, which is for more delicate materials. This did not stain the paper, but it did cause it to become too wet, crack, split, tear, and created crevices where staining would be likely to occur. See last photo.

I am glad I tested methods and products before I ripped off the old wallpaper. We ended up leaving the old paper on the wall, and I used craft paint to cover the worst of the stains. See previous post. This turned out to be the best solution.

Bad Crack in Sheetrock

December 23, 2015

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This 1963 ranch-style home in Meyerland (Houston), has seen a lot of structural damage due to the foundation shifting. Part of that is the “gumbo” soil we have here in Houston, and part is due to the major flooding that has plagued this neighborhood for decades.

Cracks in the drywall are a common result of this shifting. This crack is wider than most, and it’s pretty long, too. The surfaces surrounding these cracks are level, which is good, but it’s unusual, because often the surfaces pull apart in two directions, leaving both a gap and uneven surfaces.

Wallpaper will cover the gap, but bumps and ridges might show under the paper. Also, if the foundation continues to shift (which, in Houston, is pretty expected), the wallpaper can tear and gap, too. So it’s a good idea to bridge the gap first, with something that can withstand shifting, or that will continue to bridge the gap and allow the wallpaper to “float” over it without tearing.

The common repair for this is drywall tape and joint compound. But this process takes a long time to dry, and it leaves a noticeable bump on the wall, from the layers of tape and compound.

So today I tried something different. I took paper drywall tape and soaked it in Gardz, a watery, penetrating surface sealer, and used the tape to cover the gap in the Sheetrock. It spanned the gap nicely, stuck tight, it dried nice and flat, with no bubbling, and was very thin.

Because it was so thin, I only needed a light skim float coat of joint compound, to smooth away ridges that might show under the new wallpaper. Once that was dry, I sanded, and then applied another coat of Gardz.

I was very pleased with how this turned out, and will keep it in my stash of tricks, in case another need arises.

Devious Crack From Out of Nowhere

May 13, 2015
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A young couple in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has spent a lot of money and an inordinate amount of time on a meticulous rehab of an older bungalow. It’s one of the nicest remodel jobs I’ve seen. They are not completely done, but are ready for wallpaper in the dining room, which is what I set out to be doing today and tomorrow.

The homeowners moved furniture away from the walls; walls were perfect and everything was fine. I primed the walls; walls were perfect and everything was fine.

But next, as I went around the room plotting the pattern layout and strip placement, I noticed this 5′ long horizontal crack in the Sheetrock. It had appeared out of nowhere in the last hour! I have never seen anything like this!

Now, I could have gone ahead and hung the wallpaper. On this wall, there will be a wide cabinet that hide all but 2″ of the crack. Or, I could have scraped the area until it was flat, then hung the paper, collected my check, and not worried about how it would look in a week, when the wall shifted and the crack opened up again, causing a ridge under the thin British wallpaper or even tearing the wallpaper. Or, I could have taped-and-floated the crack, and gambled that if the wall shifted later that the tape would prevent the crack from showing.

BUT – I wanted this couple to have a better and more secure job than that.

I know that things like this don’t happen out of the blue, and that there is a reason for the crack to have shown up. It could be moisture from my water-based wallpaper primer (pretty unlikely), a bad tape-and-float job (also pretty unlikely), or, movement within the wall (very likely). This movement could be an indicator of a more serious foundation / stability issue due to the “gumbo” soil we have here in Houston, the heavy recent rains (it was raining today), or something else.

The fact that it popped up within one hour is very perplexing. It remains to be determined, and they have a drywall guy coming tomorrow to investigate. Worst case scenario – he will have to cut into the wall and replace Sheetrock, and possibly even framing studs.

All this is very inconvenient and expensive for the homeowners and for me. Their long-anticipated finished dining room will not be realized this week, repairs could be interruptive and take a long time, and I’ll have to fiddle with my booked-into-August work schedule to see when I can come back and finish their room.

Yes, I could have just put the paper up, and in most likelihood, no one would have spotted the small horizontal ridge in the wallpaper behind the china cabinet. But this couple is so sweet, and their house is so perfectly done, and they are so eager to finally have the renovation finished, plus the very real possibility of some structural problem with the home, that I couldn’t consider hanging their wallpaper on a less-than-stable surface.

I’ll keep you posted, on what the builder’s workman has to say.