Posts Tagged ‘curling at the seams’

Dark & Mysterious Witch & Watchman Wallpaper

January 29, 2021

This small powder room in the Rice University neighborhood of Houston was buried under at least four layers of old wallpaper. The homeowners intended to DIY new wallpaper. In the top photo, they have partially removed some of the layers. But not too far into the project they realized that the prep required was over their heads. Enter the Wallpaper Lady. 🙂

I won’t go into all the details of getting these walls into shape. But I will say that it took a day and a half, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the end result. But sometimes you can’t surmount what was done over prior decades. I brought the wall to a good state for hanging the new paper.

And what a perfect choice they made! The original wallpaper was a beige faux-finish sort of design that was popular in the ’90’s. The couple wasn’t sure what they wanted, but, on our initial consultation, I showed them a sample of this that I had hung previously https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/birds-on-black-wallpaper-by-witch-and-watchman/ , and they were instantly mesmerized. On the company’s website, they zeroed in on a slightly different pattern with equal drama.

The wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method. In bathrooms, with sinks and toilets and windows and other things to cut around, I find it better to paste the paper. It went up nicely, and should perform well for years, even being more resistant to splashes and stains than many papers. The non-woven substrate should resist curling at the seams caused by humidity – important, since this 100 year old home has no A/C vent in the powder room.

Don’t Use Vinyl In Rooms That Have Drippy Water Or High Humidity

November 9, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


I am getting ready to strip off this paper, which I hung more than a decade ago. (I also hung the previous paper, about 20 years ago, so this will be my third time to paper this powder room!)

The first photo is a seam that happened to fall just where the hand towel hung. Over the years, as people reached for the towel, water dripped from their hand and onto the wallpaper, and then was wicked into the seam. The paper backing would become wet, and swell. Over time, the top vinyl layer delaminated from the paper backing, curling backwards.

The same thing has happened in the two other photos, which show the baseboard around the sink, where, presumably, water also got dripped onto. (This is a home with active children.)

The other walls that were away from the wet areas were perfectly intact, from crown molding to baseboard.

The moral is, solid vinyl wallpaper with a paper backing is not a good choice in areas that will be exposed to water or humidity. Manufacturers try to market vinyl as “bathroom” wallpaper, because it is more washable than paper wallpapers, and because water will roll off its surface. But water will also get sucked into the seams, and cause the delaminating and curling that you see here.

Not surprisingly, these paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers tend to be at the lower end of the price range.

Much better choices are wallpaper made with a paper surface, or a vinyl-coated surface on a paper backing, or even the newer non-woven materials, especially the thinner ones.

Note that solid vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing is a whole ‘nother animal, and will hold up quite nicely in a splash-prone area.

In all cases, I like to run a bead of clear caulk around the top of the sink, to prevent splashed water from being wicked up under the wallpaper.

Vinyl Papers and Bubbling

June 25, 2014

Digital ImageIf you look closely to the left of the mirror, you can see little air bubbles under the wallpaper. This is called “off-gassing” – I just call it “burps.” 🙂

This happens mostly with pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl wallpapers, and is a result of the wet backing trying to dry, but the moisture being trapped between the wall and the vinyl. Usually, small bubbles like those in the photo disappear as the paper dries.

But sometimes, like with this paper, very large, even fist-sized air pockets will develop. So I always go back over the room a few times, chasing these bubbles out with my smoothing brush or squeegee.

I usually recommend against these paper-backed solid-vinyl papers, and this is one reason why. Another reason is that, in humid rooms such as bathrooms, the backing tends to absorb moisture, which leads to curling at the seams, something that cannot be reglued or repaired.