Posts Tagged ‘curling seams’

Did I Mention that I DON’T LIKE Solid Vinyl Papers?!

November 17, 2014

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Solid vinyl adhered to a somewhat gritty manila-type paper backing, usually pre-pasted and at the lower end of the price scale, is one of my LEAST favorite types of paper. The photo at top shows you exactly why.

Under humid conditions, or, as in this case, where the original installer failed to use a primer under the wallpaper, it’s common for the seams to curl just a little. It’s not a loose seam that can be pasted back, but rather the material curling back on itself, and it’s virtually impossible to fix.

My theory is that the porous manila paper backing tends to absorb moisture / humidity, and when it does, because it is paper, it swells. But the vinyl surface does not expand and is forced to curl back on itself as the backing gets larger.

There is one redeeming quality about this paper, though. Well, two, actually … The first being that these papers are usually fairly washable, and also resistant to some surface stains. Just don’t brush your cleaning sponge crossways across the seam.

The best thing about them, though, is that they usually come off the wall fairly easily. They are called “peelable” papers, and here is the process:

In the second photo, on the left, you see the dark wallpaper still adhered to the wall. To the right, on the lower half of the photo, I have peeled the vinyl surface away from the wall, which usually comes off in pretty big pieces.

The paper backing is still clinging to the wall. No problem. All it takes is a sponge and a little warm water in a bucket. If you’re lucky, as I was today, the paper will peel right off the wall in large strips. At worst, you will have to gently scrape it off with a putty knife.

On the right half of the photo, you can see where I have wet the paper backing, and the water has darkened it. The paste has been reactivated, and the paper is coming away from the wall easily. At the top of the photo, the paper has already been removed completely from the wall, leaving a nice, clean, smooth surface.

Ready for a PRIMER – which the builder’s installer guy should have done in the first place.

NOTE: I am talking about solid vinyl papers with a paper backing, most of which are pre-pasted, and many of which are sold at a low price-point. The newer vinyls on a non-woven backing behave differently, and will probably hold up much better on your wall, without curling seams.

Please AVOID Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallcoverings!

August 2, 2014

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Digital ImageThis curling at the seams, which is not repasteable or repairable (at least not if you want it to look right) is not uncommon when economically-priced paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper has been used, particularly in humid rooms like bathrooms.

My theory is that the science is that moisture from humid air (teenagers taking 45-minute steamy showers!),works its way into the seams of the wallpaper, and is absorbed by the porous, gritty paper backing typically used on these types of wallpapers. The paper expands, and that causes the material to curl at the seams. These “curls” are usually hard and stiff, and really don’t respond to attempts to get them to reattach to the wall.

A liner under the wallcovering would probably benefit, because liners help to absorb moisture, while they also “lock down” the seams. However, liners add additional cost for merchandise and labor, and add at least a day to the job.

Much better, in my opinion, to steer away from “solid vinyl” materials, and buy “paper” or “vinyl-coated” or even the new “non-woven” wallcoverings.

My wallpaper seller gal can help guide you (see link at right, “Where to Buy Wallpaper in Houston.”

Another Reason Why You DON’T Hang Wallpaper Over Wallpaper

July 14, 2013

Digital ImageThere are many factors playing into why this seam is failing. For one thing, it’s in a small, hot, humid bathroom with no air conditioning or heating vents.

But equally important is that it was hung right over the original wallpaper, without a primer.

Wallpapers usually have a vinyl or acrylic coating, which is somewhat slick, and won’t provide a good surface for another layer of wallpaper to get a grip on.

When the new paper dries, it pulls tight and puts stress on the edges, and that can mean curling seams as you see here.

A primer would have helped. But better would have been to remove the old wallpaper.

Before I hung the new wallpaper, I removed the green leaf paper, then the navy blue wallpaper below it. The old paper came off cleanly, right down to the bare drywall. It really wasn’t that hard, nor did it take much time. Shame on the previous guy who didn’t bother to invest a few hours to strip the old paper.

I let the walls dry, primed them, then hung the new paper – AND instructed the homeowners to keep the door open from now on, to expose it to a dry, air conditioned environment.

Curling Seams on an Imperial Paper

April 8, 2013

photo (18)I hung this paper yesterday.  See my post below.

The beautiful finished wall is deceiving – this paper was a bugger bear to work with. It was a pre-pasted wallpaper, meaning it has paste already on the back and is meant to be run through a water tray, booked, and then hung on the wall. However, when I followed the manufacturer’s instructions, there was intense curling at the seams.

Seams curl because the paper backing absorbs water and expands, while the inked surface cannot expand as much, so the paper curls back on itself. This paper had metallic ink, too (the flower stems), and that, along with the white ink, both curled more than the aqua background color. Meaning that there were parts of each seam that butted perfectly, and parts that curled away from the wall. No matter how much extra paste I added, or how tacky it got, the paper continued to curl.

My experience is that these papers usually get nice and flat when they dry, and look just fine. But the curling was so extreme in this case, and I didn’t want to hang around for three hours after I finished to check on the seams, so I decided to take another tac.

Since excessive moisture seemed to be the cause of the curling, I decided to paste the paper as if it were an unpasted variety. This is somewhat difficult, because the paste is thick (I didn’t want to thin it by adding water, which could encourage curling), and the paste activates the paste already on the back of the paper, so it makes something of a dryish, gummy mess, and it’s something of a wrestling match to get it to the wall and smooth out all the bubbles.

But the seams did stick down quite nicely. The paper had lots of ridges and bubbles from the paste , but those should disappear when the paper dries completely.

Pattern # JW 105765 by Imperial