Posts Tagged ‘expand’

Activating Adhesive on Pre-Pasted Mural Wallpaper

March 20, 2022
Mural panels standing on edge are cut, sequenced, staged, and ready to be pasted.
The panel lying on the floor will be my last strip, and will need to be measured and trimmed narrower before it’s ready to be pasted or hung.
I use several different methods to paste pre-pasted wallpaper, and you can do a Search here to read more.
But for today, I’m using the tried-and-true historic method of running the strip quickly through a water tray .
At the top of the photo, several strips have already been submerged and pulled through the water, then folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side. This is called booking .
Booking allows the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper to absorb the water and become activated. And it allows the wallpaper substrate to absorb moisture, expand, and then contract a little.
This method can sometimes get the material a little too wet, which can lead to over-expansion and then bubbles on the wall. That’s why I’ve placed the booked strips at a slant and over the bucket – so excess water can drain off.
Usually I paste and book one strip and then paste and book the next strip. While I’m hanging one, the second one is booking and waiting its turn to be hung. But with this water tray method and certain brands of pre-pasted material, such as Anewall , York , or Sure Strip , the paper sometimes gets so wet that it needs more time to dry before attempting to hang. So I’m pasting more strips at a time, so they can be drying out a bit while I hang the first strips.
There’s a bit of a risk to this, which is the potential for the paper to over-expand as it sits wet waiting to be hung. Then once it’s on the wall and starts to dry, it can shrink. All wallpaper shrinks when it dries. But if it has expanded too much, then when it dries and shrinks, you can be left with small gaps at the seams. Again, gaps are common with all wallpapers (most all), but can be exaggerated when dealing with over-saturated pre-pasted material as it shrinks.
Back to the method … You see the water tray, filled 3/4 full with clean water. I’ve set it on towels, which are in turn set on top of a thick plastic clear shower curtain. And that’s on top of my usual dropcloths, which are absorbent on the top (blue) side and water-proof on the underside. All this keeps any splashed water from getting onto the clients’ floors.
I also sometimes set the water tray in a bathtub, with towels set over the edge of the tub and on the floor.

Fixing Drywall Damage From Where Vanity Was Removed

January 20, 2022
The powder room in this 1990’s home in the Houston Heights is being updated, and that means replacing the wall-to-wall vanity. Here the vanity has been ripped out. The areas where the backsplash was adhered to the wall have pulled the top surface of the drywall off. In addition, the plumber had to cut out a section of drywall in order to gain access to the pipes, so he can install the new faucet and handles. You can see the connections roughed in.
You can’t hang wallpaper over this mess. First of all, it way too uneven – all those bumps will show under the new wallpaper. And the outline of the ” trapdoor ” will leave a big square ridge under the paper. Thankfully, the plumber secured the panel with drywall screws – most plumbers just leave you with a chunk of drywall floating in space, or even just an empty hole.
Back to patching issues … in addition, the torn areas of drywall will absorb moisture from the wallpaper primer and / or paste and expand, creating bubbles that will show under the new paper.
I needed to fill in dips and gouges, even out high areas, and prevent bubbling drywall.
Gardz by Zinsser to the rescue! This is a penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and then dries hard, binding them together and creating a stable surface, as well as resisting moisture from water-based top coatings.
This picture doesn’t look much different, but here the torn drywall is a little darker, indicating that the Gardz has soaked in and dried. The surface is now ready for a skim-coat.
But first, the trap door needs to be addressed. I covered the cut areas with four strips of self-adhesive mesh drywall tape (no photo).
Then I went over everything (wall to wall) with joint compound (commonly referred to as mud ) (no photo).
Because of the thickness of the high and low areas, this had to be a thick coat of smoothing compound, and would take a long time to dry. So I went to the jobsite two days ahead of our install date, to do these initial repairs.
And – no – you can’t use quick set or hot mud or 5 or 20 minute mud to do these repairs. These products are intended for repairs of small areas. Top coatings like primers, paint, and wallpaper paste do not stick well to them. Don’t let a contractor sweet-talk you into letting him use any of these to smooth a large area of wall.
Here is the wall after my first, heavy, coat of smoothing compound. I use Sheetrock brand’s Plus 3.
The bubbles you see just left of center show that Gardz didn’t 100% do its job of sealing out moisture, as a little expansion and blistering has occurred. Not a biggie. These will disappear when the surface is sanded. There is usually not a problem with these re-appearing.
When I got to work two days later, the smoothing compound had dried. I sanded pretty smooth. Then vacuumed up the dust on the floor, and then used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This is important, because no coating will stick to dust.
The wall still wasn’t perfectly smooth, so I did another skim-coat. This was much thinner, so didn’t need a lot of time to dry. I used a fan and my heat gun to speed things along.
Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, vacuumed and then wiped off all dust. Then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime. I have the paint store (Murphy Brothers in central Houston) add a little blue tint, so I can see it when I apply it to the wall.
What a transformation! Now this wall is ready for wallpaper!

Soft Jungle Mural for New Baby’s Accent Wall

November 19, 2021
The first installer was inexperienced, and left gaps at the seams, wrinkles, creases, mis-matched pattern, and even tears. The homeowners had their painter strip off the wallpaper, patch the torn areas of the wall, prime, … and then they had to purchase a whole new mural. Oh, and next they called me! 🙂 The painter was unschooled on wallpaper, too, so he just grabbed something off the shelf at Sherwin-Williams that had “wallpaper” on the label, and rolled it on. That particular primer, Pro 935, is meant to be used in different sorts of situations, and was too glossy and too tacky. I covered it with my preferred Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman.
Putting latex / water based paint over torn drywall will often cause the moisture from the paint to soak into the drywall paper and cause it to expand, which creates bubbles. These look bad under the new wallpaper. Here I have cut around one such bubble and removed the top layer. I will skim-float over this area, let it dry, sand it smooth, and then prime over it.
A whole wall’s worth of mural fun rolled up into one cylinder. They provided powdered paste – which I did not use, mostly because these tend to be too wet and can lead to staining on these non-woven materials. I did, however, take the paste home with me, because every now and then you run into a delicate wallpaper that requires this stuff – which can be hard to source.
I started hanging in the middle of the wall. Mostly because whoever measured forgot to add FOUR INCHES to both the height and the width. Instead, the manufacturer added only one scant inch at each side. This didn’t give much play at all, to accommodate trimming at the ceiling and floor, and walls / ceiling that went off plumb / level. This means that if the ceiling wasn’t level, it could start sloping either up or down, and that means the mural would start getting either cut off, or some white space might show at the top. By starting in the middle, I could split the difference between any irregularities, and, hopefully, over the 12′ width of the wall, now divided into two 6′ sections, any off-level sloping would be minimal enough that it wouldn’t visually impact the top or bottom of the design. I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of you reading this, but I do have a number of paperhangers who follow my blog, and they do “get it” and hopefully will learn some new tricks.
monkey, giraffe, flamingo, cockatiel
Finished and ready for furniture – and a baby!
For this non-woven product, I used the recommended paste-the-wall installation method. I can see why the other guy had difficulty. This was a very thin, but stiff, material. I got wrinkles, too. It took some time and some finesse to urge them out of the paper. This is another reason why I started in the center of the wall. If wallpaper starts warping or wrinkling, it usually will cause the outer edge (the edge not butted up against the previous strip) to expand and twist. As each subsequent strip goes up, the twisting and distortion becomes magnified. You can’t butt a straight edge of a new strip up against a strip that is bowed out of shape on the wall. Thus, by starting in the middle, I can minimize the number of bowed edges. Instead of four, there will be only two. And the amount of distortion will be less per panel. I will note that this usually does not happen with non-woven materials.

A big chunk of mural was cut off by the door and lost to the trash pile. As the mural worked its way across the top of the door and down the right side, a different set of leaves, and a lot of blank area, was going to end up in that 6″ wide space between the door and the wall. I thought it would look cooler if the design of the foliage to the left of the door continued on to the right side of the door. So I saved the strip that got cut off by the door and then did some tweaking in various ways, and got that narrow strip placed to the right of the door. When you look at it, it appears that the leaves and fronds are passing from left to right uninterrupted through the doorway.

The home is in Bellaire, in Houston.

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

July 8, 2021
Chalk pastels for coloring the edges of the wallpaper. (Do NOT use oil pastels – they stain wallpaper.)
Craft paint from the hobby store used to stripe the wall where the wallpaper seams will fall. Note the red vertical line from my laser level, which serves as a guide. I use a small square of dampened sponge to wipe on the paint. Be sure to let it dry before hanging the paper.

Manufacturers have a bad habit of printing dark wallpapers on white substrates. Since wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then shrinks as it dries, you have the potential for the white edges of the paper showing at the seams. There is also the possibility that the white wall behind the paper will be exposed, too.

To minimize these chances, I use chalk pastels to color the edges of the wallpaper, and diluted craft paint to stripe under where the seams will fall.

Manipulating Kill Point to Prevent Pattern Mis-Match in Corner

May 16, 2021
“Almost” perfect kill point – but there’s a 1 1/4″ gap. Plus difference in height of gold lines.
Removed section, cutting along the design
Stripes cut from remnants will be used to fill the gap
You have to look hard to notice that one stripe is a tad wider than the others

When hanging wallpaper around a room, when your final strip meets up with your first strip, you will invariably end up with a pattern mis-match. That’s why you place this “kill point” in an inconspicuous place, as here, where it will be mostly hidden behind the door.

In the top photo, though, the pattern matches perfectly in the corner. I didn’t want this couple to have a ceiling-to-floor mis-matched corner, so I matched the pattern there.

This still left me with an unmatched kill point to deal with. So I pulled some tricks out of my hat to disguise it.

I moved it from the corner to over the door.

In the top photo, you see that this room almost did end in a perfect kill point, because the short piece over the door almost meets perfectly with the strip on the right. But there is a 1 1/4″ gap, plus the pattern has crept a tad up and down the wall, so the gold lines on the left are a little higher than the gold lines lines on the right.

It looks simple, but the solution is actually pretty complicated, and it took me about 45 minutes to figure out, engineer, practice, and then execute. Complicated to explain here, but the basics are:

I took remnant paper and cut some extra “stripes” that I could use to “expand” the width of the stripes on the wall. This looks like a simple fix. But those extra stripes are all slightly different dimensions and angles, and don’t simply fit in next the the stripe on the wall.

In addition, if I had just fit in an extra stripe, it would have resulted in one gold line being way closer to the next, and the eye would have objected to that “double vision.”

My goal was to “widen” one stripe, which would be less noticeable to the eye than a double stripe.

Second photo – I cut along the design, leaving the gold line in place.

I retained the piece I removed from the right side, because I needed that to butt up against the strip on the wall to the right. This kept the pattern intact, and it also corrected the issue of the difference in height.

I chose remnant stripes that fit the best and added them next to both the left strip and the right strip, overlapping the excess. This left me with two gold stripes that were too close to each other (not shown).

I did some splicing (what we call a “double cut”) to cut out one of the superfluous gold lines. (Note that it’s crucial that you pad the wall under your double cut to prevent scoring into the wall – if the wall is cut and un-intact, the surface can come apart later (“delaminate”) and result in a “popped” seam.) I removed excess paper above and under the splice, wiped off residual paste, and smoothed everything into place.

There is one short area where I had to cut a 1″ piece of gold stripe and paste it on top to disguise a narrow gap.

The result is a white stripe that is a tad wider than its neighbors, but barely noticeable from down on the floor. And way less noticeable than an 8′ long mis-matched corner.

Run Numbers – Re Previous Post

May 15, 2021
Run numbers are important!

Re my previous post, before I visited, the homeowner had purchased 8 rolls (4 double roll bolts) of paper. This was just exactly enough (12 strips) for the headboard wall, but I told him to order 16 more to do the rest of the room. The new paper came in a different run. So we had Run 16 for the headboard accent wall, and Run 17 for the other walls.

(You can’t mix runs on the same wall, because different runs, printed at different times with different batches of ink, will be slightly different shades. This very slight color difference will show up on the wall as a striped or “paneled” effect.)

The wallpaper is by York. It is a non-woven material, comprised of synthetic fibers rather than wood and cotton. The synthetic material does not expand when wet with paste, which means the wallpaper can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, with no “booking” or “soaking” wait time needed.

Interestingly enough, Run 16 behaved differently from Run 17. I hung the accent wall with Run 16 quite successfully using the paste-the-wall method.

But when I started the next wall using Run 17, bubbles and wrinkles developed. The paper was absorbing moisture from the paste and expanding on the wall, creating the small bubbles. Quite unexpected with a non-woven material.

The solution was to paste the back of the wallpaper, rather than the wall. This allows the material to absorb moisture and expand a tad before you get it to the wall, so it will behave itself once it is on that wall.

Unlike a traditional paper, this non-woven material did not need a lot of time to absorb moisture, but could be pasted and hung immediately. This greatly speeds up the installation process.

Pasting the paper has an additional advantage in that it renders the material more supple and pliable, which makes it much easier to work around corners or manipulate into position in tricky areas.

Van Gogh Collection on Living Room Accent / Feature Wall

March 4, 2021

Man, the homeowner nailed it when she chose this Van Gogh-inspired trees-and-blossoms pattern in bold tones for a super-long accent wall in their nicely updated older home in the Eastwood subdivision of Houston.

There is a slight raised texture, so it looks like a real oil painting!

I love the way it works with the sliding barn door.

This wallpaper is super nice to work with, as it is soft and bendable, and it clings nice and flat to the wall. The seams are virtually invisible. (I did use chalk to color the edges of the paper, to prevent the white substrate from peeping out between the seams. In addition, there is a slight raised texture, so it looks like a real oil painting!

On a non-woven backing, the paper could be hung via the paste-the-wall method. This material will not expand, so there is no booking or waiting period before hanging.

In addition, non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

Textured Faux Crocodile in Montrose Powder Room

October 1, 2020


From flat and white to textured and black, this powder room took a trip to the wild and exotic. The embossed vinyl wallpaper mimics the look of crocodile hide.

I centered the design on the sink wall, so the pattern would frame the mirror evenly. Then, since the toilet wall is the first thing you see when you enter the room, I thought it would look nice to have the pattern centered on that wall, too. Usually, you can only balance the pattern on one wall, and after that, the design has to fall sequentially as it works its way around the room. But I did some engineering, and figured a way to place the pattern in the center of the toilet wall, too.

The material is an unusually thin and flexible embossed vinyl on a thin non-woven substrate. It’s my second time in this year to hang this, and I like it a lot – much better than most non-wovens, which can be thick and stiff and can bruise easily.

Non-wovens have some fiberglass in their content and do not expand when they are wet with paste, nor do they shrink as they dry. They can be hung immediately after pasting – or you can use the paste-the-wall method. Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This is in the SuperFresco line by Graham & Brown, one of my preferred manufacturers. You don’t need a retailer, because this can be bought directly from the G&B website.

The home is new build, contemporary in style, in the Montrose area of central Houston.

Warps and Wrinkles in a Non-Woven Material

August 25, 2020


Re yesterday’s install / post, one of the benefits of the newish non-woven wallpaper material is that it is dimensioally-stable, meaning that it will not expand when it gets wet with paste, and will not shrink or gap at the seams when it dries. So there is no need to paste the material, fold and book it, and wait several minutes before hanging. This characteristic allows you the option of hanging it by the paste-the-wall method.

This material by Wallmur, though, DID expand, as you can see by the wrinkles and bubbles in the photo. I was able to get the top area into place with a bit of wrangling. But the bottom half had more time to get wet with paste, and so swelled up more. Some of the wrinkles I could not get out.

My solution for that was to slice the paper vertically, along a flower stem and other vertical elements in the design. Then I smoothed out the wrinkles and overlapped the excess paper. In the finished photo, the area is to the left of the white daisy in the lower center of the mural. It is not noticeable. BUT … had this happened in the upper sky area, the slit and overlap might have been visible.

Most non-wovens contain a high fiberglass content. But I think this manufacturer used a lot of paper in his mix, which absorbed moisture and caused the material to swell.

If I had known this ahead of time, I could have done few things to mitigate the expansion. For one the paper could have been pasted on the back, instead of pasting the wall. Or, the back could have been very lightly dampened with a sponge or spray mister, and then allowed to sit for a few minutes. This moisture would have allowed the material to expand before the paper got to the wet paste on the wall.

Van Gogh Takes Sleepy to Vibrant

August 15, 2020


When the homeowner remodeled this mid 1950’s home in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston, she thought she wanted a serene “spa-like” look. She soon realized that “bland beige” didn’t suite her “live wire / life of the party” personality.

As this Van Gogh-inspired wallpaper pattern in a brilliant aqua hue from the Van Gogh Museum Collection started covering up those boring walls, she was literally jumping with delight!

The design is the ideal scale for this master bathroom. The colors in the tree branches match perfectly with the floor tiles and countertop. The wallpaper even has a textured surface that mimics the brushstrokes of an actual oil painting. (see close up photo)

This wallpaper was a joy to hang. It is a very thin embossed (textured) vinyl on a thin non-woven backing. It is way more flexible and malleable than most non-wovens, so I could manipulate as needed. Like most N-Ws, it is dimentionally-stable, meaning that it does not expand or shrink. It requires no booking time, so you can paste and then hang it immediately. It is also designed to strip off the wall easily and cleanly and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.