Posts Tagged ‘crackle’

Whoops! Someone Painted Over Old Wallpaper

April 21, 2021

Just looking at the walls, I had not noticed . But when I removed the light switch cover, it was clear that someone didn’t bother to remove the old wallpaper, and just painted over it.

Actually, they probably did do some prep, because you could not see seams under the paint. They must have taken steps to cover the seams.

And there was no flashing … difference in texture between paint over wallpaper, for instance, and paint over smoothing compound that was used to disguise those seams.

And there were no bubbles (caused by latex paint on top of wallpaper that absorbs moisture from the paint and swells) and only a few tiny loose areas.

Still, it would have been better if the previous guy had put some effort into removing the wallpaper, and then washing the paste off the wall and then sealing with a stain blocker, to prevent paste residue from causing the new paint to crackle and flake off the wall. Then the room would be adequately ready for paint.

Doing the Opposite Today – Removing Wallpaper

September 30, 2020


The large medallion on soft lavender on all walls of this large bedroom worked well for this gal for many years – but now that she’s an older teen, it was time for an update.

So instead of putting wallpaper up, today I took it down.

Most people think that stripping wallpaper is difficult. But if the walls were prepped properly, and if the paper was hung properly, and if the proper removal steps are followed, it should all go well, with minimal damage to the walls. See my link at right, on how to strip wallpaper.

The most important thing is to separate the top, inked layer of paper from the backing / substrate layer. I find that wetting this top layer with a sponge and plain water helps strengthen the fibers, so the top layer can be pulled off in larger strips.

In the second and third photos, you see how the purple layer has been stripped off, leaving the white backing attached to the wall. This top layer has to be removed, because it has an acrylic (or vinyl) coating, and will not allow water to pass through it.

The next step is to soak the backing with plain water and a sponge (see photo). No chemicals, no additives – just plain warm water. You will have to reapply water several times. The idea is to let water soak through this backing layer, to reactivate the paste underneath. Once that paste is good and wet, it should release from the wall. Sometimes you have to gently scrape the backing from the wall. But in my case today, once that paste was reactivated, the substrate layer came away from the wall in full, intact sheets. Easy peasy!

One photo shows my “dull” 3″ stiff putty knife. I call it “dull,” because it’s old and beaten up. But it’s really rather sharp. I use it to carefully get between the inked top layer of wallpaper and the bottom substrate layer. And then I use it to gently scrape wallpaper from the wall.

In my case today, the previous installer had done a superb job of hanging the wallpaper. He applied a primer before hanging the paper. That primer helped make this whole removal job go well, and it protected the walls from damage.

The family will need to apply a stain blocker to prevent any residual paste from causing the new paint from crackling or flaking off. Once that’s dry, the walls can be textured and / or painted. The room’s resident told me that she is planning to go all white.

This home is in the West University area of Houston.

Keeping Paste Off The Paint

March 10, 2020


My next strip of wallpaper will be placed to the right of the strip in the photo, and it will need to be trimmed horizontally along the rounded (bull-nosed) edge of the wall.

To keep paste from the wallpaper from getting onto the wall paint during trimming, I have placed special 2″ wide, thin blue plastic tape along the edge of the wall.

Once I have finished making my trim cuts, I will remove the blue tape. There will still be sufficient paste on the wallpaper to hold it to the curved edge.

No need to wipe anything, no paste on the paint, and no worries about paste causing the paint to crackle and flake off the wall down the road.

Crusty, Flaky Stuff on Woodwork

March 2, 2018


You’re looking at a section of crown molding. See that flakey stuff? That is the enamel paint on cracking and chipping off the woodwork. Why? When the original wallpaper was installed, some paste got on the crown molding. This is normal.

But in this case, the paperhanger didn’t wipe off all the residue (this can be hard to do, because it’s really hard to see). Over time, that paste residue ate into the paint and caused it to crackle and chip off the wood.

This can be avoided by making sure that all paste residue is completely wiped off any painted surfaces. I like to use a thin blue plastic tape on the top edge of wallpaper, which keeps paste from coming in contact with the crown molding or ceiling.

Crinkly Paint Caused by Paste Residue

July 12, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


Hard to discern, but the red / brown at the top of the photo is wallpaper, on the vertical side of a soffit around the top of a dining room. The greenish area is the bottom of the soffit.

The craggly looking stuff at the junction is crackling paint. Why is this paint getting crackly and crumbly?

Wallpaper paste will cause paint to crackle. The original installer must have left a teensy bit of adhesive on the wall (which is easy to do), and, over time, a reaction occurred, and a very small strip of paint began to crack and flake.

This was only about 2″ long, and 1/16″ wide, and 10′ up in the air, so, not anything anyone is really going to notice. And, over a decade and a half, nobody ever did. Only me, when it was time to strip off the old paper.

I do find these little things interesting, though, because they help me be aware of things that can happen, and help me to take measures to prevent them when I am installing a wallpaper job.