Posts Tagged ‘floor’

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.

Crumbly / Unstable Wall Issues

June 2, 2021
Starting to strip wallpaper. You see the top, inked layer, the tan backing layer, and the white skim-floated wall beneath.
Wall surfaces delaminating at seams
Gardz, a penetrating sealer that binds surfaces together and dries hard.
My first idea was to just Gardz the lifted areas. The sealer is newly applied and still wet in this photo.
Gardz’ing the whole wall created a more stable surface. This doesn’t look much different from the photo above. But in actuality, the the Gardz has sealed and “locked down” the surface, as well as soaked into the material and sealed the inner layers as well.
Applying a skim-coat to even out the surface levels.
Once this skim-coat is dry, it will be sanded smooth.

The installer of the original paper did a good job of skim-floating the wall and creating a smooth surface. But he didn’t apply a sealer or primer. Thus, when I used water to strip off the old wallpaper, the moisture soaked into his skim-coat (drywall joint compound, a plaster-like substance, which we also refer to as “mud”). Some of the skim-coat came away from the wall,,, particularly in areas of stress, such as where the wallpaper seams had lain.

In fact, long (years) before I began stripping the wallpaper, many of the seams had started to pull away from the wall, taking inner layers of the wall along with them. This is because wallpaper shrinks as it dries, and that creates tension on the wall. If the wall surface is unstable, these layers can delaminate (come apart), and the result is an open seam with chunks of wall material stuck to it.

This can also happen over time, as temperature and humidity changes can cause the wallpaper and / or wall surface to absorb and then let go of moisture. All this puts stress on those wallpaper seams and on the layers inside the wall.

Besides these seam areas that let go, I had one wall where the entire surface came apart in a mottled effect.

Another factor is that the original skim-coat had been applied over a glossy paint. It’s hard for anything to stick to gloss. The guy probably should have rolled on a “bonding primer” before applying his skim-coat.

Of course, all that increases the time and materials needed, and ups the cost to the homeowner.

Gardz is a wonderful product that is designed to soak into surfaces and “bind them together.” It dries hard and is pretty water-resistant. It was originally intended to “lock down” torn drywall. But workmen quickly discovered that it would fix a whole lot of other surfaces – such as my delaminating skim-coated walls.

At first I thought I would just Gardz (we use it as a noun and as a verb!) the areas that were lifting. Once it dried, I intended to skim-float over these areas, sand smooth, and then prime the entire room with my usual wallpaper primer – Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

But I realized that, even after I wiped down the walls with a damp sponge, they were still covered with powder or grit. This was powder from the layer of skim-coat, as well as residue from wallpaper paste. Neither my primer not wallpaper will stick securely to powder.

So I decided to roll Gardz on to all the walls, ceiling to floor.

Fifth photo – I was really pleased with the way the Gardz soaked in and drew all those layers together. There was no more power on the surface, and the inner layers of the walls were all pulled together.

To even over these vacant areas, and to create a pristine new surface, I skim-floated over the entire wall surface – all walls, floor to ceiling. See last photo.

Once that is dry, tomorrow morning, I will sand everything smooth. Next I’ll apply my 977 primer.

Then walls will be stable, and the surface will be ready to take on the new wallpaper.

Paint Splatters on Floor

May 2, 2021

Whoops! Someone forgot to put down a dropcloth and got splatters from the paint roller all over the floor.

I see this a lot – but not usually this bad.

It just takes a second, folks, to put down protection for the floor and countertop.

In the second photo, you see my method. I cover the floors, but also tack strips of dropcloths along the top of the baseboards (and also vanity backsplashes).

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.

Red Is Right For This Room

January 15, 2021

Who wants to spend laundry day in a bland, boxy room? Here’s how some gutsy color will make wash day a whole lot more fun!

My favorite photo is the 2nd to last, where you see how the very small amounts of tan (instead of glaring white) in the pattern soften the look and coordinate with the off-white woodwork. And especially how the wallpaper plays off the new tiled floor!

Find this by Googling words like: York, Sure Strip, Ashford, toile, Mandarin, red, Chinoiserie

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.

Preventing Speckles on Floors and Counter Tops

December 13, 2020

One of my pet peeves is splatters from a paint roller, that land all over a homeowner’s floor or countertop. See top two photos.

There are ways to prevent this. First and foremost is to use a dropcloth. You’d be surprised at how many contractors don’t bother.

But protecting shoe molding and backsplashes and faucets takes a bit more. A lot of people use blue painter’s tape across the top of surfaces.

But I like my method, which you see in the third photo. It’s a strip of dropcloth that I have cut into 9″ wide strips. The material is absorbant paper on the top side, and water-proof plastic on the back.

I use push-pins to tack it above the baseboards and shoe molding, and backsplashes, etc.

It’s wide enough to protect any width of molding, and also faucets on a vanity’s sink. And it’s thin and flexible enough that it will contour around any wall configuration.

Finding the Center of the Pattern

March 12, 2020


This wallpaper pattern by Thibaut has a viny hourglass stripe design. These sorts of designs look best when centered over a focal point in the room. The problem becomes – WHERE is the center of the design?

In the photo, I have laid out two rolls of paper on the floor so I can see the full pattern repeat, both vertical and horizontal.

I’ve placed 3′ long yardsticks along the outer edges of the design, which are long enough to span a full pattern repeat.

With these in place, I can use a shorter ruler to find the mid-point between them. This will tell me where the center is (at the tip of my pencil), in between the two colored vines on the paper.

However, these vines are not printed in the center of the strip of wallpaper.

So, after finding the midpoint between the two vines, I have to calculate where it sits relative to the edge of the wallpaper.

Keep in mind that this point will land a different distance from the left edge of the wallpaper than it does from the right edge.

Next, I need to find the center of the focal point on the wall. And then determine where the right or left edge of the wallpaper strip should be placed, so that the center of the paper falls at the center of the wall.

You have just read the condensed version.

The full version also includes things like:

`width of strip and how it will land on the wall relative to where seams will fall

`expansion of paper and movement of pattern after wet paste hits the paper

`if the pattern is actually symmetrical as it is placed on the strip.

`if the pattern is not symmetrical (which this example is not – meaning that the vertical lines are not mirror images of each other), where is the best place to find a midpoint, so it will appear symmetrical when placed on the wall

`if elements on the wall are symmetrical. In this case, the light fixture was placed off-center on the mirror. So – do you center the wallpaper design on the light fixture (a dominant element) or on the mirror (a more significant element in relation to the wall).

`lots more

I invested an hour and a half finding the center point of the pattern at its narrow point, the center of the pattern at its widest point, the median of these two mid-points, the distance the median fell from either edge of the wallpaper, then the center point of the mirror, of the light fixture, factoring in 1/2″ expected expansion, and which was more dominant – the light fixture or the mirror.

In the end, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror. This meant that as the pattern fell vertically down either side of the mirror, it was fairly uniformly placed.

This was good.

But what I didn’t like is that this meant the vines over the top of the light fixture didn’t straddle it exactly perfectly. They landed in the center of the mirror, but not in the center of the light fixture.

I shouldn’t have stressed over any of this, though. Because, despite all my rolling out and careful measuring and plotting, it turns out that the viney pattern is neither symmetrical nor mirror-image.

So, no matter how I placed it on the wall, it was never going to straddle a center-placed plumb line evenly.

That’s not to say that my hour and a half plotting time was wasted.

The design still looks a lot better as I placed it – relatively centered on the mirror and light fixture, as compared to if it had just been thrown up without regard to either.

Bottom line – the homeowners don’t notice little nuances of a swoopy vine off-center by 3/4″ of an inch or so… at least not on a wild swirly pattern like this.

They’re looking at huge flowers, comic birds, bold color, and wild, daring designs.

When all is said and done, the bathroom looks fabulous.

The Atomic Age Comes to a Small Master Bathroom

December 24, 2019


This small master bath in a newly-renovated 1935 home across from Rice University (Houston) has a black & white checkered floor and a shiny black tiled shower (no pic). The homeowner wanted to move up a couple of decades in decorating theme, and so chose this fun space-age pattern. Now the room is ready for the George Jetson family to move right in! (All the Baby Boomers know whom I’m talking about.)

The wallpaper is by Spoonflower, comes pre-pasted (water-activated), and was pretty easy to work with. The hard part was keeping all those horizontal dashes lined up, in a house with mega wonky walls due to foundation issues and to just plain old Father Time.