Posts Tagged ‘drips’

Wallpaper Coming Off – Delaminating Wall

January 14, 2022

An Unfortunate Situation

This Brooklyn Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper on an accent wall in a nursery went up beautifully. The contractor had added new Sheetrock to one wall, and painted the other, old/original wall. I skim-floated both walls and sanded smooth, primed, and hung the wallpaper. Perfect! (Search here to see my original post.) But within less than a month, the homeowner contacted me and said that the wallpaper was ” coming off the wall .” It was a 1920’s bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. And therein lies the brunt of the problem.
The wallpaper itself is not ” coming off the wall .” What’s happening is that the wall surface itself is coming apart – or, delaminating . This is because multiple layers of paint and other substances on the wall may not be compatible. A probably scenario: In 1920 oil-based paint was used. Later someone rolled on a coat of latex paint. Then the homeowners redecorated and used gloss paint. Then some ” flippers ” who had watched too much HGTV slapped on more paint without bothering to de-gloss or prime first. And somewhere in the mix you’ve got cheap paint and dust and other incompatible materials.
Over time, and especially when stress is put on the wall surface, such as when wet wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks, this stress can tug at the wall and actually pull these layers apart. There are other contributing factors, too, such as humidity, temperature, and location. I find it interesting that the worst parts of the affected seams were toward the top of the wall. This speaks of heat, humidity, and forced air (either hot or cold) coming out of the air vent just to the right of this wall. This photo is of the area over a door, very close to the air vent.
See how thick that is? It’s not just the wallpaper. There are several layers of wall coming apart. Some layers are clinging to the back of the wallpaper, and some are staying stuck to the wall.
Multiple layers, many years of coatings on this wall.
Easy to see the many layers. The paper itself, my blue primer, my layer of smoothing compound, paint, more paint coming off the wall. Then multiple layers of paint and texture still clinging to the wall. This shot is just below the ceiling.
Same thing happening at the baseboard at the floor.
Layers of paint separating from the wall in chunks. Some pulled off easily, and some I had to chop off with my 3″ putty knife.
Most of the paint and unstable surface material clung to the back of the wallpaper. This pile is just three strips – only half the wall. But it’s thick and stiff and heavy because of the paint stuck to the back of the wallpaper. There was so much and it was so heavy and bulky that I had to carry it out to my van in two trips. When I got home, it totally filled my trash bin.
Here’s the wall once all the other layers came off. Brushing my hand over it revealed a layer of dust. No wonder the paint and other coatings wouldn’t stick. Nothing sticks to dust. It’s like flouring a cake pan… The paint or wallpaper will kinda stick – but won’t really stick. Paint on top may be fine. But add a little stress from drying / shrinking wallpaper, and you may end up with layers that pull apart.
Wiping the walls with a damp sponge removed a lot more dust. But the wall still felt chalky. Whatever type of paint this was, it was not holding together.
I had to stabilize this chalky surface. Enter Gardz, a wonderful product – Gardz is a thin, penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and binds substances together. It dries hard and creates an intact surface. The darker area in the picture is where I’ve rolled on a test area. Gardz is thin like water, and it runs and drips and splatters. It’s imperative that you cover floors, countertops, and baseboards, and roll carefully, and roll upward rather than downward, to minimize runs and drips. A microfiber roller holds the liquid well, and reduces drips.
Gardz is made by Zinsser.
No photo of the finished wall, but I was very pleased with the stability of the surface. No more chalk or dust. Now, there still could be unstable or incompatible layers deeper inside the wall. (Latex paint over oil without proper prep.) But for now I feel pretty confident that this wall is solid and will hold up to the next process in preparation for getting the new wallpaper up.

Paint Drip Preventer

October 8, 2021

I love this Ultra Prime Pro 977 wallpaper primer by Roman. But a year or so ago, they changed manufacturers of their labels, and the new ones have a plasticized coating, which doesn’t absorb dripped paint, but allows it to run down the side of the can – and potentially onto my dropcloths or onto the homeowner’s floors or countertops. Can’t have that!

My solution is to wrap bands of cloth around the cans, that will collect and absorb any drips.

Head to the thrift store … for less than a dollar each, I’ve tried collars and sleeves from T-shirts. But what fits best and absorbs the most – shhhh! Don’t tell anyone … these are the waistbands from baby underpants!

Protecting Baseboards from Splatter

February 23, 2021

No matter how careful you are, splatters and drips from paint and primers are going to fall – and onto the baseboard and floor. I hate seeing little “speckles” all over homeowners’ floors, moldings, countertops, etc.

I’ve cut thin dropcloth into strips which I tack above the baseboard or vanity top, to catch splatters. The material is absorbent on the surface, and liquid-proof on the back. They are thin and pliable.

And – oh, yes – occasionally you need a damp terry-cloth rag to cover a doorknob or projecting faucet.

New Label Material Allows Drips

December 26, 2020

Here is my favorite wallpaper primer – Ultra Prime Pro 977 by Romans.

It appears the composition of their paper label has changed. Previously, the label was absorbent, so any drips that formed would soak into the paper.

But now, even though the label looks the same, it’s made of a new material that allows drips to run all the way down the side of the can. Even if I wipe them away, they reform and continue to slide down the can.

This means there is great potential for these drips to reach my dropcloths (see photo). The dropcloths will protect the floor, no problem. But once they get a certain amount of drips and splotches, even though they may still be serviceable, they don’t look good in a client’s home, so have to be discarded.

Besides ruining the dropcloths, there is also the chance that an errant drip of primer might find its way to the homeowner’s floor, carpet, countertop, or furniture.

I have written to the Romans company, and I hope they listen to my feedback and go back to their former type of label on their cans.

UPDATE: I chatted with the company rep today, and she confirms that they have, indeed, changed to a new manufacturer, and that company does use a plasticized coating on the label. That explains why the primer slides rather than soaks in.

Keeping Splatters Off The Baseboards

February 20, 2019


In the photo, look above and to the left (10 o’clock) of the electrical outlet. You will see splatters of paint from when the walls were painted, and the workers didn’t bother to cover the baseboards – in this $$$ new home in the Greenwillow / Willow Meadows neighborhood of Houston.

There are a lot more speckles that don’t show up in this photo.

I can’t stand these little splatters,,, and they are easy enough to prevent. So before I roll primer onto a wall, I pin protective strips of dropcloth material along the tops of the baseboards, to catch any splatters or drips.

It takes more time, but it protects the homeowner’s baseboards, shoe mold, and floors from speckles and tiny splatters.

Cure Time – Paint Woodwork LONG BEFORE the Paper Goes Up

May 17, 2018


Why am I posting a picture of a can of trim paint? Because I found this in the room where I am to hang wallpaper today, along with a portable cup of wet paint and some brushes. This tells me that the homeowners were in the room last night, frantically painting all the woodwork in a large room with lots of framed openings and two walls of windows – LOTS of trim to paint.

Folks, this is not good. Woodwork should be painted carefully and slowly. First, the existing paint needs to be sanded or deglossed, and then wiped clean. I like to apply a coat of primer. Then the new paint can go up – but it should be brushed on carefully, paying attention to the direction of brush strokes and eliminating runs and drips.

But most important is that the paint needs time to dry. Not just to dry, but to cure. This can take several days.

This is important, because when I come along and put up the wallpaper, paste will get onto the woodwork. This is normal. No biggie. You just wiped it off with a damp rag.

But if the woodwork was not prepped properly, or if the paint has not had a chance to cure, it’s possible – probable – that the paint is not sticking tightly to the surface, and that wiping the paste off the woodwork will also take some of the paint along with it.

Best to plan ahead, read up on proper prep and materials, allow enough time to apply the paint properly, and then allow adequate dry / cure time.

Here is How I Protect Woodwork While I am Priming

June 14, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


I do a lot of skim-floating to smooth textured walls, so the wallpaper will be bump-free and have a smooth surface to adhere to. The penetrating sealing primer I like for this is Gardz, because it soaks in, dries hard, and binds the surface together. The downside is, it’s thin like water, and splashes and runs like crazy. There are tricks, like using a micro fiber roller, rolling in an upward direction, using light pressure on the roller, and paying attention to what you’re doing.

Still, splatters and drips will happen. And they can happen with other primers, too, as well as with paint or any other product you are rolling or brushing on a wall.

Most painters use a dropcloth to cover the floor. But I can’t stand the tiny “speckles” that fly off a roller and land on the shoe mold, baseboard, chair rail, or backsplash. Many people wouldn’t even notice them, but I do, and I think the homeowner deserves better.

So I protect the homeowner’s floors and countertops as you see in the 2nd photo. I put dropcloths down on the floor or counter. Then I cover the baseboards or chair rail or backsplash with an additional dropcloth, this time a thin flexible plastic-backed paper material. I use push-pins to hold it tightly against the wall, to catch any and all splatters and drips.

It takes more time and it increases my material costs, but it sure is a better way to treat the client’s home.

Keeping Splatters Off Baseboards

December 6, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image

While I am priming the walls, a dropcloth (blue) protects the floors from splatters or drips. But I like to make sure that no drips or speckles get onto the baseboards, either. So I use use push pins to tack paper dropcloths (white) along the top of the baseboards to catch any splatters that might fall.

Hmmm… Think It’s Time for a New Roller Cover?

November 29, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


The old one is on the right, and I hadn’t realized how worn it was, until I held it up next to a new one. These are micro-fiber roller covers, and work really well with the primer called Gardz, which is very watery and drippy. When I used the new roller today, I was amazed at how nicely it worked, and how little splatter or drips there were, compared to the old, worn-out roller cover.