Posts Tagged ‘floor’

Adventurous, Fanciful Punch of Color and Theme

April 30, 2022
The homeowners are into comics and fantasy art. While I hung a calm crocodile hide textured wallpaper in the home office, the couple chose this wild and boldly hued zebra pattern for the adjoining bathroom.
I just love the way the bright orange pops out against the white vanity, countertop, toilet, floor, shower tile, and moldings.
This pattern is called Lost World and is by Clarke & Clarke . It’s a nice non-woven material, was easy to work with, and will hold up well, even under humid conditions if the shower in this bathroom is used.

Stuff Doesn’t Wanna Stick To Slick

March 23, 2022
Tomorrow this breakfast area wall will get wallpaper. Today is prep day.
The wall has a very heavy texture, plus some issues with previous patches in areas, probably due to drywall cracks. I need to skim-float over all this to smooth the surface.
In addition, the current paint is quite glossy – and this can present a problem for the smoothing compound to adhere to it properly.
So I want to prime over this gloss paint before I skim-coat the walls. The primer has to both stick to the gloss paint and provide a base that the smoothing compound will adhere to.
Another issue is that I won’t be using this every day, so keeping it shaken up and useable was a consideration. I looked high and low for an appropriate primer. Finally I snapped that the Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 that I use under my wallpaper jobs checks off all the boxes … It sticks to just about anything, and it dries nice and flat / matt so any topcoat (wallpaper or smoothing compound) can grab ahold and stick, I have it in my van all the time, and I use it frequently enough that it’s always mixed up and ready to use. To top it all off, it dries in less than an hour. Voilà!
This stuff can be tricky to find. Sherwin-Williams used to stock it for me, but became unreliable. Now Murphy Brothers on Bissonnet (Houston) gets it just for me.
Besides dropcloths on the floor, here I’ve tacked strips of thin paper dropcloth material along the wainscoting (I also do this along baseboards) to keep any drops or roller splatters from marring the homeowners’ floor and moldings.
Here it is applied. Since my goal is to cover and eliminate the glossy paint, and then provide a base for the smoothing compound, this coat doesn’t need to be opaque or cover the wall evenly.
Tomorrow we’ll see how the wallpaper turns out!
Fast-forward … I’ve floated the wall and sanded it smooth. Compare the smoothness to the “before” picture at the top.

Smoothing a Textured Wall, Continued

March 3, 2022
Continuing from yesterday’s post … The smoothing compound has dried and I’m ready to sand it smooth. This photo gives an idea of what needs to be sanded down. Some areas, such as around electrical outlets, are more irregular and have more raised areas to be sanded down.
Before I get to the sanding, a 3″ stiff putty knife comes in handy for scraping down high areas.
For decades, contractors wrapped sandpaper around a wooden block and used that to sand walls. Then, about 25 years ago, some genius invented these sanding sponges. They’re soft, flexible, easy-to-hold blocks covered with sanding fibers of various grits. They have angles that aid getting into various corners. I find that the edges can be a bit “pointy” and can gouge into the surface, so I often use a scissors to cut off the corners, as you see in all but the one on the far left.
Held against the actual wall.
Don’t forget a dust mask, to prevent inhaling the fine particles. And, yes, this is an N-95 … The same mask that protects us from ingesting the COVID 19 virus also protects the lungs of us home improvement contractors.
Manufacturers have done a good job of creating joint compound whose dust settles to the floor, rather than going air-borne and sifting all around the room. Still, it’s best to take measures to keep dust out of the rest of the home. Here I’ve hung a sheet of painter’s plastic across the wall, to contain sanding dust.
Once I’m done sanding, I’ll use my Shop Vac to clean up the mess, removing dust from both the floor and the walls.
It’s crucial that all dust be removed from the wall. If not, it’s like flouring a cake pan – the wallpaper (or paint) will kinda stick – but not really stick. Vacuuming the wall will not remove all dust. The only way to remove all residual dust is to wipe it off the wall with a damp sponge.
Look at how much dust has accumulated on the sponge after only a few swipes.
The sponge needs to be rinsed clean frequently. Once I’m done, I’ll dump this bucket of dusty water down the toilet (not the sink).
Swipes from the damp sponge will leave wet marks on the wall. These need to dry before moving to the priming step, so as not to trap moisture within the wall surface.
Here I’m rolling on my favorite wallpaper primer, Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime. I have my paint store guys add just a bit of blue tint, to help me see where I’ve rolled it on. The short angled brush is for cutting the paint in around corners and edges.
I’ve tacked strips of dropcloth along the top of the baseboards, to prevent splatters.
Finished wall, nice and smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.

Keeping Dust to a Minimum

February 5, 2022
Most homes in the Houston area have textured walls. These bumps are unsightly under wallpaper, and also interfere with consistent adhesion. So I like to skim-float the walls with drywall joint compound (I use the Plus 3 version) and then sand them smooth.
Sanding this stuff creates lightweight, powdery dust that sifts through the air and gets over everything. Homeowners tend to hate that. 🙂
So here I’ve created a ” tent ” out of painter’s plastic along the walls where I will be sanding. This creates a pretty darned effective barrier that prevents dust from getting into the rest of the room.
Here’s the dust created by smoothing just the top 5′ of wall area. And my ShopVac to clean it all up.
I find it easiest to let the dust fall onto the floor and even the carpet. It’s easy to vacuum dust up off these surfaces. Dropcloths and plastic tend to get sucked up into the vacuum hose, and the dust doesn’t come with it. I once tried protective self-adhesive plastic that’s made to cover carpet … but it was extremely difficult to unroll, plus, it was even more difficult to get back off the floor. I truly feared it would pull off the surface finish of the floor along with it.
The vacuum gets most of the dust. But there is still a fine, invisible layer left on surfaces. So you need to take a damp rag and wipe the floor.
I also vacuum the walls. After the visible dust is gone, it’s imperative that you take a damp sponge and wipe residual dust off the walls. You have to rinse the sponge frequently to get all the dust. If not, it’s like, as I like to say, it’s like flouring a cake pan – the wallpaper will kinda stick – but not really stick.
Once the walls are perfectly dust-free and dry, follow up with a wallpaper primer.
Then go and hang your wallpaper!

Yet More Paint Splatters Mar Client’s Home

December 17, 2021
A dropcloth on the floor, and covering the shoe mold and baseboards, would have prevented these splatters on the homeowner’s hardwood floor.
Much worse as a close-up. Such a shame.
They didn’t bother to remove light fixtures, towel bars, or even switch plate covers. Here you can see how paint got slopped onto the beautiful metal sconces.
Paint falls on door handles and towel bars, too.
While priming, I throw a damp washcloth over door handles and towel bars, to prevent speckles. I use other material to cover light fixtures.

Authentic 1920’s Wallpaper!

November 26, 2021

Across the street from where I was working today (in the Houston Heights), this 1925 home was being renovated. I walked myself over to drop off a business card.

I gasped when I saw some vintage wallpaper in a trash pile on the soon-to-be living room floor. I love these old papers, and have a growing collection.

The guys working inside were friendly, and were happy to let me take some scraps. This chunk is from the original kitchen (which, after the home is expanded, will become the living room). It’s probably the most cheerful and animated pattern in my collection.

Back in those days, a loosely-woven fabric (often mistakenly referred to as cheesecloth or muslin) was tacked to the ship-lap walls, and the wallpaper was pasted and hung on top of that. The seams were overlapped.

The ink colors hold up amazingly well over the years. But that cloth backing, and the wallpaper itself, don’t fare as well.

This kitchen wallpaper easily separated from the cloth backing, and the old paper was delicate and brittle. Even with attentive handling, my piece split in two just walking a few yards to my van.

I got it home in one piece (well, really in two pieces). I hope to find a was to affix this to a secure backing, so it can be preserved.

I’m afraid that it won’t hold up to the moisture and stress of pasting, even using with old-fashioned wheat paste. And that spray adhesives might not hold, or may stain the old paper fibers.

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I feel very lucky to have this!

Peel & Stick = Bad Stuff. Don’t Fall For It!

November 25, 2021
he lure of (false!) claims of easy to install and easy to remove led these homeowners to purchase peel & stick ” wallcovering ” and try to install it themselves. It did not go well. The wall was coated with a gloss paint, as per manufacturer’s instructions. Yet, here you can see that it is not even trying to adhere to the wall.
Many brands come in rectangles of a few square feet, rather than traditional strips that are long enough to reach floor to ceiling. These small rectangles are much harder to keep perfectly lined up, so you are very likely to end up with overlaps or gaps at the seams.
It’s not pliable or malleable, so won’t readily be eased into corners or turns. Here, note wrinkles and warps in the corner in the center of the photo, and at the ceiling line in the center top of the photo.

The wall was not smoothed before applying the paper, so you see unsightly texture. The roughness is also interfering with good adhesion, because the paper is only sticking to the tops of the bumps, instead to the entire surface.
So much for easily removeable. As you can see, trying to take this stuff down – it took the paint along with it.

‘Iconic’ Woods Pattern by Cole & Son on Heights Entryway Accent Wall

October 20, 2021
Before. Getting ready to prime. Note that I have protected both the floor and the baseboards with dropcloths.
Done! Dramatic!
Detail.
This bolt had been damaged in shipping, and the right edge had dings / dents. With this thick, puffy non-woven material, these could show at the seams when butted against the next strip. So I plotted the placement of my strips so this one would be on the far right end. That last strip was not the full width wide, so 8″ of the right side got cut off where it met the adjoining wall. That eliminated the worry of those dented edges showing.
I used the paste-the-wall method to hang this non-woven wallpaper. With the wall wet with paste, it would be easy to get paste all over the wallpaper if you used the traditional installation booking technique. So I’ve learned to roll the material up with the print side in, and then secure with a hairband (from the dollar store). Then you can easily carry the rolled-up strip up your ladder, remove the elastic tie, and then let the paper fall into place. Only the back side comes into contact with the paste on the wall. Once you get good at this technique, you will never have to wipe paste off a seam, nor off the woodwork or adjoining walls.
Cole & Son says that this “Woods” pattern has roots dating back to 1959. I guess that makes it truly iconic. I can say that it is quite popular – I’ve hung it a bunch of times.

Silvery Geometric Trellis on Living Room Wall

July 30, 2021
This wall was originally papered in a similar but more rigid pattern. Here the paper has been stripped and the walls primed.
Pattern is nicely centered. Hanging just this one wall took me about six hours. Note the unlevel floor line. Ditto the ceiling. This makes geometric patterns particularly challenging. You’ve just got to accept some imperfections.
In the Anna French line by Thibaut. Nice material.

The February 2021 freeze caused burst pipes, and that meant a whole lot of damage to this home in the Timbergrove (Heights) area of Houston. Once the contractor was done fixing the wall, I came in to replace the wallpaper.

This was a non-woven product. On a single accent wall, I will often paste the wall. But with all these turns, pasting the paper was a better option, because it renders the material more pliable, and also grabs the wall more quickly and tightly.

Rectifying a Mistake

July 2, 2021
Whoops! This wallpaper strip ended up too short. I suspect I forgot to add the 3″ extra for trimming at ceiling and floor. Sure would like to avoid replacing this whole strip.
I could have spliced a piece in horizontally. But that would have left a (slightly) visible horizontal seam, as well as put stress on the wall if the razor blade scored the surface. So I opted to patch in a piece. To disguise the patch, I cut along the design, and discarded the bottom piece.
Then I used scrap paper and cut along the same part of the design, making sure to leave a thin part of the design that would be overlapped (don’t want any gaps showing).
This patch was placed under the piece on the wall, with the top piece overlapping from above (less noticeable when viewed from above … the direction of lighting also affects this). Once all pieces were smoothed into place, it’s intact and homogeneous, and, best of all – undetectable.