Posts Tagged ‘floors’

Protecting Woodwork from Paint Splatters

August 25, 2022
I hate seeing little speckles of paint on people’s floors or moldings . This happens when tiny splatters of paint fly off the roller cover . Sometimes the operator is just moving too fast , but some paints are thinner and prone to splatter than others. You can Search here to find pictures of what I’m talking about.
To prevent my wallpaper primer from landing on the floor , baseboards , backsplash , or, as in this case, wainscoting , I first cover the floor or vanity with dropcloths . Next I use these strips of thin , flexible , plastic-backed paper dropcloth material to cover anything that the dropcloths can’t reach.
I use push-pins to hold them in place.
I cut these strips from larger dropcloths. 8″-9″ wide seems to be about right to protect most baseboard heights and other surfaces , such as this chair rail wainscoting in a Houston Heights dining room .
Once I’ve rolled primer on the wall above, I remove the protective strips and use an angled trim brush to cut in the primer along the top edge of the molding .
wallpaper installer

Don’t Assume the Width

June 30, 2022
Here’s a finished map / mural on an accent wall in a child’s room in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston.
It’s made by Rebel Walls ( rebelwalls.com ), one of my favorite mural companies, and was custom-sized to fit this wall.
The mural came in a set of nine panels. The instructions above explain how the mural should be hung.
Careful measurements are important, both before ordering (note: Always let the wallpaper installer calculate rollage and mural dimensions before your order ) and then before you start hanging the mural.
This one large roll was cut apart into nine panels. You see them rolled up at the top of the photo.
Each of those panels was 19.75″ wide. So based on that, you might start measuring and calculating and plotting where to position your panels on the wall.
STOP!
Just because the manufacturer’s stock comes 19.75″ wide doesn’t mean that the printed part of each panel fills that full width.
The mural was custom-sized to fit the wall, right? The width of the wall is not an exact multiple of 19.75″. That means that the printed portion of the last panel will be narrower than the others. As you can see in the last photo, that narrow portion turned out to be just 2.5″ wide.
So it’s important that you unroll every strip / panel and take careful measurements of both the wall and the wallpaper , before cutting anything and definitely before pasting anything to the wall.
One more thing, while we’re on the topic of murals. Please don’t order until the paperhanger has measured and figured . It’s very important that the mural NOT be printed to the exact dimensions of the wall. FOUR INCHES of ” bleed ” are necessary to be added to EACH DIMENSION (meaning, four inches added to both width and height ). This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling , and will accommodate walls / ceilings / floors that are not perfectly level or plumb.

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.

You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd …

February 2, 2022

And you can’t hang wallpaper when the house isn’t ready!

The poor homeowners of this completely renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights have had delays of up to nearly a year. Some COVID and supply-chain related. But lots more due to … well, due to tasks just not getting done. The mom pressed the contractor hard to be sure the space would be ready for wallpaper today. But as soon as I pulled up, I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.

No A/C and no heat = humidity = not good for wallpaper

Workmen in the area (my specs specify no one else on-site)

Workmen’s ladders blocking my access to rooms I am supposed to paper

Workmen’s power tools blasting noise = disrupts concentration

No running water in the house (I need to keep paper and woodwork clean)

Floors need to be sanded = dust getting onto the walls / wallpaper

High probability that someone will get handprints, paint, or other on the new paper

Yard is a mudpit = not good carrying my 50lb bucket of paste or 7′ long table back and forth

House not secure and likelihood of tools and equipment “walking off” esp. overnight

No one but me wearing a COVID-conscious mask

So, no wallpaper went up today. At first I thought I could at least get the primer up. But various factors made that not viable.

A day of work lost for me. For the rest of the week, I will have to try to find other clients who can be ready on 1-day’s notice. And reschedule these folks for later down the road.

This is a big disappointment for the homeowners, who are very much wanting the work to be finished and to move into their lovely new home.

Oh, and song lyrics compliments of Roger Miller, 1965.

Contractor ‘Preps For Wallpaper’ – NOT!

December 19, 2021
These bumps and dents and wrinkles WILL show through the new wallpaper. In addition, the patching compound is porous and not compatible with (won’t stick to) wallpaper primers.
Surface is not smooth, gaps and irregular areas around edges at baseboard, countertop, and window molding.
I had to fill in this gap, and stand there with a heat gun blowing on it for an hour, getting it to dry way into the depths of the gap.
Another picture of the gap. Besides that it’s not smooth and thus bumps will show under the wallpaper, this “small” gap is an issue. Wallpaper needs something to adhere to, and especially so in corners and edges. If the surface is not solid, there is nothing for the wallpaper to hold on to, and so you can end up with curled edges and wallpaper “flapping in the breeze.” (Don’t mind the wrinkly fingers – they’re very adroit and adept.)
They also got paint splatters / speckles all over the hardwood floors. C’mon, guys – just put down a dropcloth!

It irks me no end when some contractor pockets the homeowner’s money and assures her that the walls are “ready for wallpaper.” The poor homeowner trusts her “guy” and doesn’t see the real mess. Or the steps and money needed to fix it.

This was a small area (6′ wide x 2′ high backsplash to a butler’s pantry), but it took more than two hours to smooth it and then get it primed.

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!

Old House = Shifting Walls / Uneven Spaces

June 7, 2021

This house has been around since 1939.

Think the walls, doors, ceiling, and floors have shifted around over time? YES!

At first, your eye is caught by the 1″ difference in height between the left and the right of the area over the door.

But look more closely and you will see that the vertical space to the right of the door is uneven, too.

On the left side of the door, where two walls meet in a corner to the left of the door,,, if you look closely enough and can visually keep the two walls separate, notice that the rear wall is wider at the top than at the bottom – just the opposite of the dimensions on the wall to the right of the door.

Other walls in this hallway looked like this, too.

This “Willow Boughs” by William Morris is a good choice for wallpaper in this room. The pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from minor imperfections. And bets are that your eye won’t notice if the ceiling line starts moving up or down

Farrow & Ball Lotus in River Oaks Master Bedroom

September 12, 2020


“Lotus” is a very old and very popular pattern by the British paint and wallpaper company Farrow & Ball.

It comes in several colors, but for all four walls in a large bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, the homeowner wisely chose this muted light tan-on-white.

It coordinates beautifully with the newly lightened and refinished floors, and the woodwork.

The material has an interesting gesso-like texture, which you can see in the last photo. It kind of makes the walls look like an artist’s painting.

Making a Geometric Wallpaper Pattern LOOK Straight in a Room with Crooked Walls

April 8, 2020

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Geometric wallpaper patterns are popular right now, but they are rigid and inflexible, and the eye sees any imperfection, so they are demanding to hang, especially in rooms where walls are not plumb and floors and ceilings are not level. This powder room in Fleetwood (far west Houston) really put me to the test.

Visually, it’s more important to keep the pattern intact, than to keep it running straight along the ceiling and floor lines. On the various walls and elevations in this room, I called a lot of tricks into play to keep the pattern looking straight – but here we’ll focus on this one corner.

In the top photo, the corner looks straight, but if you could see the full height of the wall, you would see that the wallpaper pattern moves to the left as it drops down the corner. I’m happy that all of the “lanterns” are intact. But as more strips are hung to the right of this corner, the lantern motif will start to travel up the wall and be cut off at the ceiling line.

To keep this from happening, I had to pull the pattern back into plumb. The second photo shows what the design should look like, and it’s my goal to keep the pattern intact, and all the lanterns looking like this.

In the third photo, I am hanging the first strip to the right of the corner. Because the corner is off-plumb, this strip of wallpaper would hang off-plumb, too. To keep that from happening, I hung the left side of the strip off-plumb, but then hung the right side of the strip plumb, lining it up against my laser level, a you see in the photo.

How did I do that? I took a sharp scissors, a good pair of close-up eyeglasses, a whole lot of patience, and even more time, and carefully cut around the left edge of the lantern motifs from floor to ceiling. You can pretty well see this loose edge in the third photo.

Then I pulled the right edge of the wallpaper to line up against the red line from my laser level, making it nice and plumb. This created an overlap of the left edge of the lantern motifs onto the right edge of left side of the wallpaper strip that had been cut in half. Got that? 🙂

This one corner took me about 45 minutes.

It was worth it. Once I smoothed the overlapped pieces into place, you really don’t notice that the lanterns are a little closer together at that one section than they should be. See third photo. This area is near the floor, across from the toilet, and not any place anyone is going to be studying the width of wallpaper motifs. 🙂 And it looks a whole lot better than chopped-off lanterns at the ceiling.

In this whole 10 single-roll powder room, I’d say that I spent a full two hours just on tweaking the pattern to keep it looking straight. That’s in addition to five hours regular labor to hang the paper. Plus the entire day before to prep the walls.

It was well worth it. The homeowners had originally tackled this wallpaper job themselves, but became overwhelmed. They had invested the better part of a year in getting the room into shape. In the end, the room looks great, it is MUCH brighter than when they started out (original paper was a dark teal faux finish), and it suits the wife’s love of all things geometric.

This wallpaper pattern is by Brewster, in their A-Street Prints line, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Dopey Place to Leave Shoes!

March 19, 2020


This week I’m working in a house in the Houston Heights that has been completely updated. The floors were just refinished and sealed, so workers are requested to not wear shoes in the home.

But don’t you think the workmen would set their shoes TO THE SIDE OF THE DOOR, instead of right where everyone needs to walk through?