Posts Tagged ‘door’

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here https://www.facebook.com/customwallpapertools or here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/?fbclid=IwAR2NFrG2gWSzNClNMB0gHDiQHbnkhyNhthaOFQaK8MCaU7rBYVQhYQkO0nc
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

More Peel & Stick Hate

January 17, 2023
so-called peel and stick wallpaper is not nearly what the vendors’ websites make it out to be. It is neither easy to install , nor easy to remove . Nor does it hold up very long. I won’t hang it, neither will most of my colleagues across the country. Even our British counterparts have asked us to not let it slip across the pond!
I won’t work with it, but one of the clients I visited yesterday did attempt to DIY try it on her own, with quite unsatisfactory results. She was kind enough to let me take photos .
Here you can easily see wrinkles next to the door molding .
gap at seam over door, warps along side door.
hard to see, but there are large wrinkles. Plus notice on the right, paper is not adhering to the wall.
seams shrink and gap.
P&S material is not even trying to adhere to the wall.

A lot of these failures are due to the homeowners’ lack of knowledge and experience with peel & stick , and with wallpaper in general. For instance, the textured walls should have been smoothed / skim-coated / skim-floated before applying the material . Wallpaper wants to adhere to a smooth surface – not to the “highs and lows” of a textured wall .
Next, most P&S instructions call for application on a semi-gloss paint , which needs to cure for 6-8 weeks.
Also, read the fine print, and you’ll learn that P&S is meant as a temporary wallpaper …. you can plan on it starting to fail in less than a year. That’s where you get the failure to stick to the wall , and shrinking at the seams . Of course, here you can see that that happened within a few weeks / days.
In this case, the material will be easily removable from the wall. But in most cases, if you’ve installed it on a smooth , primed wall, well, when stripped off, it will take the paint along with it. Leaving you with a nasty , pock-marked mess to have to repair. Click the link to my page on the right, about why to stay away from P&S.

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
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This House is NOT Ready for Wallpaper

December 20, 2022


Two weeks before a job is to start, I send my clients a “check list” so they know how to prepare for Install Day.  It includes things like check to be sure it’s the right wallpaper pattern, how I can get into the house if the homeowner is away, how much space I need for my set-up, etc.

It also says quite clearly that all construction work has to be completed, and there needs to be electricity, light, nearby running water, and no workmen coming in while I’m working, and no workmen coming in later who might mess up the paper.

This ensures that I will have optimum working conditions (I need lights so I can see what I’m doing. I need water so I can keep your paper clean.)  And you don’t want Bubba coming to hook up a light fixture and put his sweaty hands all over the new wallpaper in the process.  Or a painter coming to touch up, who decides to “protect” the new wallpaper by putting blue tape on it.  Of course, when he removes the tape, the surface ink or  the wallpaper itself will come along with it.

Yet you would not believe how many people – innocently or desperately – tell me they are “ready” when they really are not.  Here is an example of a house that is not ready for wallpaper.  It is very likely that the paper will be damaged by tradesmen who come to “finish up.”

Baseboard is not in place.  When positioning the baseboard, it’s likely the carpenter will bang into the wallpaper.  When painting, you can bet the painter will get paint onto the new wallpaper.  Or, as mentioned above, he will use tape that, when he goes to remove it, will pull the inked surface and / or the paper itself off the wall.

Door molding is not in place.  Same issues as above.

No electrical outlet in the room.  What if I need to use a fan or heat gun?  And wallpaper will sit tighter to the wall if I can put the plate cover in place immediately.

The electrician is not finished.  This switch sticking out of the wall is just plain dangerous.  In addition, when he time comes to finish whatever it is he’s working on, he will probably put his greasy hands on the wallpaper, or lean his scratchy tool belt against the paper.

My checklist says I need clean, running water in the immediate area.  It specifically says NOT a hose in the yard.  Yet look where I had to get my water.  (I was working on the THIRD floor.)  This house had no faucets, no drains, and not even a working toilet.

Cool Trick Going Around Door

December 18, 2022

I’ve finished putting short strips of wallpaper over this wide entry way . My next strip will be a 9.5′ piece going down the left side of the door molding .
The piece above the door ended 1/4″ from the left edge of the door molding. Normally, I would butt my next strip up against the existing piece. Then, as I move down the wall smoothing the paper into place against the wall, there will be a 1/4″ bit of it that laps over against the full length of the molding. I would need to use a straightedge and blade to trim this off. And then use my damp microfiber rag to wipe paste off the molding.
This non-woven wallpaper is thick and stiff , and hard to press tightly against the molding, so a bit tricky to get a sharp , tight trim cut . And also difficult to ensure that exactly 1/4″ is being trimmed off . So it’s easy for the paper to go off-kilter , and for the pattern to not line up perfectly against the molding . Not a big deal on a busy floral pattern , but with a rigid geometric, it might be noticeable .
So I decided to try this. I wanted to pre-trim the strip to take away that 1/4″ . This would save me from having to do any pressing or trimming. And also ensure that the pattern would fall perfectly straight against the doorway molding.
I measured down 16″ (the height of the ” header ” over the doorway , plus a couple of inches for trimming at ceiling and then at the top of the door molding ) .
Then I used my straightedge , razor blade , and fine ruler (from Texas Art Supply ) to measure over 1/4″ and trim it off .
Don’t think this is a simple task … It’s hard to measure exactly the width of the bit above the molding that should be trimmed off. 1/4″? 3/8″? 5/16″?
Also take into consideration that most wallpapers expand when they get wet with paste . So that 1/4″ I cut off could extend to 5/16″ or even more. That would mean a gap along the door molding.
Next, if the strip above the door is not perfectly plumb , or if the door molding below it is not perfectly straight and plumb , the wallpaper won’t butt up properly against it, and may start to show a gap or an overlap.
Sometimes you can manipulate the strip of wallpaper so that it does butt up against the door frame. But that can result in warps and wrinkles , or a pattern mis-match of the next piece . Also, like I said, this particular non-woven product is thick and stiff, and not happy about being asked to twist into another shape. Pasting the paper – instead of pasting the wall – does help to make it more pliable , so you have a better chance of manipulating the paper as you want.
Here is the strip going into place. So far, it’s butting up nicely against the molding. And no need to trim anything or wipe paste off the woodwork – except for that little bit at the top, which was my ” extra ” allowed for trimming .
FYI, that dark stripe you see along the woodwork is a shadow.
Here is the wallpaper as it falls along the side of the molding. The pattern is lining up nice and straight and precise .
To be honest, at the lower 1/3 of the wall, the paper did start to torque out of shape , and wanted to leave a gap at the molding, which was trying to grow from 1/16″ to maybe 1/4.” Not a lot – but it sure would look bad to have a 1/4″ gap between the wallpaper and the woodwork.
Trying to “mush” it to the right to butt up against the woodwork was causing warps and wrinkles .
I was a little surprised, but the paste had caused the stiff material to become softened and pliable – just enough that I was able to gently work out all those warps and wrinkles , so the wallpaper laid nice and flat against the wall. AND the left edge didn’t become distorted, but fell nice and straight enough that the next strip was easily able to butt up against it nice and tightly.
This trellis / Moroccan lantern / onion dome / geometric pattern is by Designer Wallpapers .

No Door on Powder Room Makes for Easier Install

December 14, 2022

Hanging wallpaper in small power rooms can be trying. They’re small (about the same width as the door, about 36″). You’ve got a sink and a toilet in there. You’ve stuffed a ladder in, too. You’re carrying tools and rolls of wallpaper in and out. And to top if off – in most homes, the door opens inward. (There are actually reasons for this – Google it.)
But that door pushing into an already over-crowded tiny room makes it even more difficult to get paper up on the wall. I need to go in and out of the room frequently. And it becomes a juggling act of squeezing my body around the door, repositioning the ladder, holding on to the paper and tools,,, yada. Over and over again all day long.
What’s great about this picture? The homeowner has had the door to her powder room removed!
Here’s another home where the door actually opens outward. Sure makes it easy for me to get my equipment in and out of the room! And less chance of damage to the wallpaper, too.

Door Opening OUTWARD Makes It Much Easier To Work In Small Powder Rooms

December 1, 2022
There are a lot of building mores about how to place a door on a powder room. From preventing accidental bump-into’s in the hallway, to odor control. (I’ll let you do your own sleuthing on that one!)
Bottom line – for many reasons, most of the time, doors are set to swing inwards, into the tiny room.
Remember, there will also be a ladder and an installer (me!) in that space, dodging past the inward-swinging door continually.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cussed these doors! On account of having to squeeze past one while carrying tools, or with a pasted strip of wallpaper – I’m ready to hang it … just need to figure out how to get past this door!

Wasting a Lot to Get a Little. A Lesson in Pattern Repeat. AKA: Don’t Order Wallpaper Based on Square Feet DRAFT

November 27, 2022
This is the tail end of a roll, and is too short to use on a full-height wall . So I save these pieces for use over doors , under windows , etc. (I never throw scraps away until the job is finished.)
This piece is about 3′ long . I need a piece 8″ high to go over a door . In order to get the right pattern match , I have to cut my 8″ piece from about the center of this 3′ long scrap . As you can see, that leaves us with more than 2′ of length of wallpaper that cannot be used . It’s too short to fit most spaces , plus the pattern repeat is not in the right position.
Let’s see … roughly 2.5′ of length multiplied by the width of the paper (27″ but we’ll call it 2′ for ease of mathematics ) comes out to 5 square feet of wallpaper . That cannot be used anywhere. It just goes on the scrap pile.
This is another example of why you can’t order wallpaper based on square footage . Wallpaper isn’t like paint – you can’t use every square inch. You have to plan for the waste factor . And the waste factor changes, based on the length of pattern repeat juxtaposed against your wall’s height .Most websites that sell wallpaper mention the square footage of a roll / bolt . But they fail to give adequate information on how to factor in for accommodating that waste . Some say to add 1% or even 10%, but that’s not adequate . What to do? Contact the wallpaper hanger / installer before you order your paper!
This cheery pattern is by Rifle Paper , made by York . Rifle is very popular right now. And now wonder – those flowers and visual movement are mighty attractive !

Artsy Display for Old “Junk”

November 16, 2022
My clients live in a 1930’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. They’ve done an exceptionally nice renovation / restoration of the home , taking care to retain much of the old-style character, along with many of the original features.
Instead of chucking vintage door and window hardware into the trash, they’ve placed these hinges and latches – even old nails – into attractive glass apothecary and mason jars.
Now these old-house treasures have become works of art!

Stabilizing Section Over Door

November 8, 2022
I wanted to position this pattern so that the stripe ran right up along the right side of the door frame. That would be more visually pleasing than having half-sections of those angular motifs.
The stripe did run along the outer edge of the wallpaper strip, so I could have easily butted the edge along the door molding.
But that would have put a vertical seam running right up over the corner of the door. My experience has shown that this area gets a lot of stress, especially in the case of shifting foundations and walls. So I really avoid letting a seam fall there.
My solution was to take a strip and move the seam over – easy to do with this striped pattern.
We had very little paper for this job, so before cutting anything I made sure that reducing the width of this strip by one section of diagonal motifs would still allow me to reach the corner on the far right (not shown).
So I measured down a little more than the height of wall above the the door and kept that intact and full-width. The rest of the length of that strip I cut along the strip in the design, all the way down to the floor.
Here that strip is in place. Leaving the top portion a little long ensured that I had enough to cover this area, and then all I did was trim off the extra 1″ or so, just as you normally would trim around a door frame.
The best part is that we now have the paper reaching across that “danger zone” above the top right corner of the door, with no seam to split open or gap should the wall shift.
Here’s a close-up of the irregular strip as it falls alongside the door molding.
Here’s the left corner of that door. I did some tricks to get that strip straight along the edge of the door frame, too. No pics, but, in a nutshell, I cut vertically along the lines in the design over the door, to cut the sections apart. Then I overlapped the sections about 1/4″, with the vertical stripe disguising the overlap. This made each section of diagonal motifs narrower. Once I had narrowed the whole area by removing about an inch, I had pulled the full-height strip on the left over to the right far enough that the tan line lined up along the door frame, and above the door it butted up with the left edge of the last section of diagonal motifs.
Note that this is a very easy pattern to play tricks with, because, although there is a pattern match, it really doesn’t matter much if you ignore it. Also, the lines are not perfectly straight, but a bit squiggly, and that makes it much more forgiving.
In fact, because we were really short on paper, the only way to get the room done was to mis-match the design in most places. The homeowner was OK with that. In fact, she (and he) were delighted with how the room turned out.
This very popular pattern is called Feather and is by Serena & Lily . Just about everything they make, I love hanging. (not so fond of their non-woven / paste-the-wall option) This comes in many colors, and you can purchase directly from them on-line.
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