Posts Tagged ‘flaws’

Geometric Pattern in a Powder Room – Flooded Home

May 20, 2018


This home in the Energy Corridor area of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August. A lower section of drywall had been cut out and replaced. The contractor’s wallpaper hanger put up this identical pattern. The homeowner wasn’t pleased with the job. To be honest, the installer did a pretty good job, in a room that was very difficult to hang. There were a few minor things that could have been done differently.

But what bothered the homeowner most was that the walls had not been smoothed properly before the paper went up. With that west-facing window blasting angled sunlight into the room, those irregular surface flaws were quite obvious. See the top two photos. (You may need to enlarge them.)

I stripped off the original paper and skim-floated the walls to make them as perfectly smooth as possible. I followed with a primer. (The previous installer had not primed the walls.) See third photo for walls that are ready to go.

This room was a major bugger bear to hang. For starters, there was a large metal mirror that protruded about 4″ from the wall, that could not be removed. This was directly over a pedestal sink. (The previous installer had the luxury of hanging the room before the sink was in place.) It’s hard to explain, but the logistics of winding wallpaper around these three-dimensional objects, preventing the paper from tearing, having the ridged and unforgiving pattern match on all planes, keeping the edges plumb, and keeping the edges straight so they would butt up with the next strip, all while fighting edges of the wallpaper that wanted to curl backwards, were extremely difficult.

In addition, the corners of the room were out of plumb, which pretty much guaranteed pattern mis-matches in all the corners. On a wild floral pattern, no one would notice. But with a geometric pattern like this trellis, the eye would catch even minor mis-matches.

Compounding all of that was the fact that nothing in the room was centered. The window was not in the center of the wall, nor was the toilet – and they were not aligned with each other, either. The sink was not centered on the mirror, the faucet was not in the center of the sink, and the spout was off-set from the handle. I finally decided to balance the trellis design on the mirror, and it did fall perfectly symmetrically on either side. The kicker is that the room is so narrow that you can’t stand back far enough to appreciate all my efforts. 😦

I probably spent 40 minutes plotting how to tackle the first wall, and then a full two hours hanging the first two strips (the ones around the mirror and sink) (sorry – the room was too small to get good pics). The longer I worked, the more appreciation I had for the previous installer and the job she had done.

In the end, the walls I had prepped were smooth, and there were no objectionable bumps or gouges showing under the paper. I pulled some tricks out of my hat and got the pattern to match in the corners pretty darned well.

That window with it’s danged strong light still was a foe, though. The wallpaper seams butted together just about perfectly. Yet because of the way the edges curled back when they got wet with paste, I fought to keep them down tight to the wall. Once dried, they were nice and flat. I was pretty content. But when the sun moved and light came through that window from a different angle – some of those seams looked positively horrid! The light was casting shadows and making it look like the seams were overlapped. Yet they were perfectly flat. The inclination is to go over and over the seams with various tools and try to “force” them to lie flatter – but this can burnish or otherwise damage the wallpaper or the underlying surface. The good news is that as the sun moved, and as the louvers on the shutters were adjusted, the shadows disappeared and the seams looked good.

Let’s hope that the homeowners see this room only in the most positive light. 🙂

This wallpaper is by York Wall, one of my favorite brands. Interestingly, the paper came with the correct label, but the instruction insert was for another line made by this same company. I’m glad that I was familiar with both products, and had the sense to disregard the info that was not relative.

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Nicely Packaged Wallpaper – For a Change

January 2, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


There can be all kinds of flaws and defects with wallpaper, but mostly I complain about banged up edges, which happen during shipping. Most manufacturers put ship their merchandise in cardboard boxes with no padding. Some even send it in paper envelopes, with no cushioning whatsoever.

Today, I arrived at the job site and saw this. Wow!

Maybe someone in the Powers That Be got the message ? … These four double roll bolts came packaged in a custom-sized box, with just enough room for bubble wrap on top, on bottom, and on either end. That bubble wrap effectively did the job to cushion the ends of the wallpaper from dings during shipping.

Way to go, Schumacher! 🙂

What Do Grasscloth and Dog Food Have in Common?

March 1, 2011

When they’re made in China, they can be of POOR QUALITY.

I’ve been doing a lot of grasscloth lately, and every now and then we run into problems, almost always with the very finely textured goods with very thin grass reeds.

The problem is that the dyes in the paper come off if they get the slightest bit of moisture on them. Well, in installing wallpaper, it’s vital to keep tools and hands clean, and that means rinsing rags and hands frequently. In addition, you have to remove paste from seams and woodwork, which means wiping with a damp cloth or sponge. In some cases, simply putting weight on the grasscloth once it’s pasted, for instance, to slide it around into position on the wall, can cause moisture to come through the stock and mar the surface.

Most grasscloth products do not have this problem. In fact, you can get them as wet as you want, they’ll look horrible, and when they dry, they look perfectly fine.

We’ve decided that the problem is due to a recent change in manufacturers of these papers. Recently, some companies bought and sold other companies, and in the process, manufacture of some goods moved from the U.S. to China.

Now, just like the dog food and glass bakeware, it’s believed that the problems are coming from poor quality in manufacturer.

A darned shame, because it’s so easy to make a quality product. What’s even more maddening is that I make a point of contacting the sales reps to let them know about these flaws, in hopes that the message will be relayed to the designer and the manufacturer. Unfortunately, it appears that the message hasn’t gotten through. Or that they simply don’t care.

The bottom line for my readers is, before choosing a grasscloth, please talk to me (or Dorota – see “Where to Buy Wallpaper in Houston” on the right of this page) to see which brands are good and which have been problematic.

Defects in Wallpaper!

June 17, 2010

I prepped a bathroom yesterday, and this morning got set up to install some beautiful chocolate brown paper with a mottled silver lattice-and-fleur-de-lis pattern.

While rolling it out on my table, I noticed a small-but-noticeable flaw. There a very slight abraision all along most of the left edge of most of the double rolls, leaving a white edge showing. This happens from time to time, and it’s not usually such a big deal. But on a dark paper like that rich brown, the exposed white on the left edge of each strip butted up against the dark brown on the right edge of the next strip would be very visible, in my opinion, catching your eye every 27″ (the width of the paper) down the entire length of each strip.

This is a high-end Thibaut paper, and generally a dependable brand of good quality. But
I have been encountering problems with this brand more and more recently, and that’s a shame. It stresses the client, delays the job, and messes up the installation schedule for other clients.

People pay a lot for the paper, and for labor, and they’re going to live with the finished room for many years, so they should have as perfect a job as possible. When I detect defects, I usually won’t put it up.

I recommended that the designer return the paper, and have Thibaut replace it with a different run. Workers at the company should HAND CHECK the new paper before sending it out. They should roll out several yards from several different rolls and butt them against each other, to be sure the new run is free of the same defect.