Posts Tagged ‘gap’

“Reveal,” “Shadow Line,” “Floating Wall” in Contemporary Construction

October 17, 2021

I’m not sure exactly what this effect is called, but I see it now and then in modern styled homes. It’s a 3/8″ or so gap between the baseboard and the drywall up above. The idea is to make the wall look like it’s floating.

When I hung wallpaper in this bathroom, instead of trimming the excess at the bottom against the baseboard, I wielded a single-edge razor blade (near the bottom left in the photo) and trimmed it at the bottom of the “floating” drywall, leaving a tiny gap, which creates a sort of shadow line when viewed from above.

What’s Going On With The Pattern Match?!

July 25, 2021

Turning this corner and moving from right to left, the pattern matched perfectly at the top of the wall (not shown). But as we get to the lower foot and a half, the pattern match goes askew. Wassup?

What’s up is a combination of un-plumb walls and bowed walls. All of the corners in this powder room were off-plumb by at least 1/2″ falling from ceiling to floor.

First, know that you don’t wrap a full sheet of wallpaper around a corner. You wrap about 1/8″ around the corner, and then use a separate strip to start as you move out of the corner; in this case, moving right to left.

If corners are simply off-plumb, I can usually make the pattern match near-perfectly … although that will cause the pattern to track up or down along the ceiling line. It’s a trade-off, depending on which is more visually important; ceiling or corners / horizontals or verticals.

But in this case, the walls were not only off-plumb, but bowed as well. You can’t hang a straight strip of wallpaper against a bowed wall …. Something’s gonna either gap or overlap. Some patterns will let me futz around and pull some tricks, but this one was not forgiving.

My only option was to let a little bit of the pattern repeat itself at the bottom of this corner.

Luckily this is between the toilet and the wall, and not very noticeable. The busy pattern further disguises the minor mis-match.

Revisiting A Mural I Hung Six Years Ago

July 16, 2021

Accent wall in home office in a newish home in Garden Oaks, Houston.

I hung this about six years ago, and was back to measure another room … which will be equally colorful and unique!

The mural was not quite wide enough to fit the wall, hence the slight gap at the left and right edges. Hint: Always consult with the paperhanger before ordering any material.

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.

Dad-Blast! Tiny 1/4″ Wide Strip

April 27, 2021

Hard to see in the photo, but there is a tiny, 1/4″ wide gap between the edge of the wallpaper and the window frame. It tapers down to about 1/8″ toward the bottom.

Little things like this eat up a lot of time. I could cut, paste, and hang a whole full-length strip of wallpaper in the time it took me to fill in this teeny narrow area.

And they eat up a lot of paper. Ideally, I would have something on my scrap pile that would work here. But most likely, I would need to use a whole new 8′ strip of paper, to get the 1/4″ wide piece needed.

Blue Stars for Big Boy’s Room

August 12, 2020



A new sister is coming, potty training is in progress, and so it’s time for this toddler to move out of the nursery and into his “big boy’s room.”

Pictured is an accent wall, against which the bed headboard will go.

Because the wallpaper is dark and the primer on the wall is white, it’s possible that seams may not grab tightly, and white gaps may appear along the seams.

To counter that, I’ve run a vertical stripe of dark paint under where the seams will fall. The paper is a non-woven material, which has a high fiberglass content and will not expand when wet with paste, nor shrink when it dries. Yet it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra assurance that white won’t peek out at the seams.

I also used a bit of artist’s chalk (not oil or ink!) to color the white edges of the wallpaper. More insurance.

This wallpaper is by York

Transitioning to a Big Boy’s Room

July 10, 2020


The little boy who uses this room is 2 1/2, but you’d think he was 5. He’s energetic, articulate, inquisitive, polite, outgoing – and ready to move from the nursery into his “big boy’s room.”

The room was originally all white, but the parents knew an accent wall in this “Pick Up Sticks” pattern in white on navy would add warmth and character. In addition, this is a pattern that will grow with the boy, from his tot years to his teens.

When you look at the close-up, I like the way the white lines look like they were drawn by hand, instead of being perfectly straight and regimented.

The wallpaper is by Magnolia Home (Joanna Gaines, of HGTV fame), which is made by York. It is in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorite brands. It’s a thin, flexible non-woven material, designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

SureStrip comes pre-pasted, so all you need to do to activate the paste is to add water. I do brush and roll a little augmentive paste onto the wall before hanging the paper.

Since papers like this are known to shrink as they dry, and because the factory often fails to trim the edges absolutely straight, I striped some dark paint on the wall where the seams would fall, so in case of gapping, you wouldn’t see jarring white lines.

The material does bubble a bit as it dries (releases moisture). You have to be patient, because bubbles will eventually disappear, and waiting is better than overworking the paper. But in this case, I got some rather large bubbles, so I did spend some time after the install going over the walls and chasing out the largest of them. By the next day, everything was nice and flat.

This wallpaper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

Jungle Paneled Installation, Italian Product, for a Nursery

June 22, 2019


The top photo shows a sample panel of the wallpaper taped to the wall of the nursery. You can see the sharply sloping ceiling line to the right.

The mother-to-be fell in love with the jungle theme and the colors of this paper. She bought it on-line from an Italian company. Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls, this product came in sets of panels, each of which was 27″ wide x 39″ long. In the second photo, you see the first three tiered along the left, and the next two strips positioned to the right. Other panels will be filled in above and below, and to the right.

Precious little information was available on how to install this product … and what there was came in Italienglish, which was little help. There was a brief on-line video, plus you could read the experiences of previous DIY clients in the customer reviews section. In such cases, you have to use the scant available information, along with your own experience, to decern an install method.

Turns out, this is similar to the old-school paper murals that come in panels and call for powdered paste. Except this company did not include paste (as most do), nor were the panels meant to be overlapped.

Luckily, I have sources for wheat, cellulose, potato starch, and other powdered wallpaper adhesives. These are mixed up on-site, are less aggressive as far as stickiness goes, and are more wet than the pre-mixed pastes used for most installations today.

More wetness, along with the particular type of paper these murals are printed on, means that the paper will absorb more moisture and can expand substantially. This is why most of these types of murals are designed to be overlapped at the seams. The seams of this product, however, were meant to be butted … which means that when that paper dries, it could shrink, and that could result in gaps at the seams.

Because the mural came in panels instead of continuous strips, the edges of the strips could not be lined up exactly perfectly, neither vertically nor horizontally. And this was exacerbated because each panel absorbed paste and expanded differently from the others, so there could be a difference in width or height between panels of as much as 1/8″.

This meant that there were some pattern mis-matches between strips. It also resulted in some seams overlapping. I left before the paper was completely dry, but I imagine there are areas where the some seams gap, too.

But I tend to overthink things, and fret about minute details that most people never see. The bottom line is, the accent wall looks fantastic, and will set a theme for the new baby’s room.

Note that this paper gets really wet when it’s pasted, and so you see a bit of blotchiness in the photos. This will disappear and the paper will be much lighter and brighter when it’s all good and dry.

The product is also not really technically a “mural.” But it comes in panels like many murals do, so I’m using that term for simplicity’s sake.

Besides the special paste, because this product was printed on a rather flimsy paper, I used a softer brush to apply the paste (as opposed to a roller), and I used a soft, long-bristled smoothing brush.
The video showed the guy using his hands to attempt to smooth the paper into place. If you looked closely, his finished wall had a lot of bubbles and wrinkles. My long soft smoothing brush was much more appropriate.

Wallpaper In This 1/2″ Wide Space? – You BET I Can!

December 27, 2018


Well, somebody forgot to tell the contractor to push the vanity all the way against the wall … Resulting in this 1/2″ wide gap between the countertop and the wall.

With some careful folding, unbooking, and the use of a wooden yardstick to both pull the pasted paper away from the wall, and then smooth it against the wall as needed, I was able to get a contiguous strip of paper into this narrow space.

World Map – A Lesson in Measuring

August 6, 2018


Regarding the previous post about the world map … with murals, it’s always important to measure carefully before ordering. Some maps are custom made to fit your specific wall, and some come in a set size. In both cases, it’s best to have the paperhanger measure the space and tell you what to order.

When the mural is custom-sized to fit your wall, it’s imperative to add an extra 2″ to EACH SIDE of the map. This means that you will have an extra 4″ of both width and height. This will allow for trimming at the ceiling and floor and opposite ends, as well as accommodate crooked walls and unlevel floors and ceiliings.

In the case of this world map, the product came in one set size. Turns out the mural was half a foot or so taller than the wall. Good. That allows a little extra for trimming at the ceiling and floor.

But the width came out to be exactly the same as the width of the wall. Sounds perfect, huh? NOT! Because when I butted the mural up against the door frame on the right, that gave a nice, tight fit – but since that frame was not perfectly plumb, by the time the 12′ of mural reached the opposite wall, it had gone cattywhompus, and that resulted in a crooked gap at the left side. See first photo.

In addition, the ceiling was way off level. That meant that ceiling line sloped downwards and “ate up” some of the print at the top of the mural.

If I had had that extra 2″ of “bleed” area all around each side, I could have hung the map a bit off-plumb, so that the print would have lined up with the un-level ceiling. And I would have had enough to meet both the right side of the wall and the left side.

But none of that happened, so here’s what I did. I butted the mural up against the door frame on the right side of the wall. That left a gap when I got to the left side of the wall. See first photo. So I took some of the paper that was trimmed off at the floor, found some blue water that was the same color as the part of the map on the left side, and fit it in to that narrow 1/2″ gap. The pattern doesn’t match perfectly – but you don’t notice it. And it is the part of the wall that will be behind the door.

In the photos you can see that there is part of the map that extends over the tops of the doors on either side (only the right hand side and door are shown). This area extends further into the wall than the door frame molding that the mural was butted up against. This left another gap, this time about 1″ wide, over each door.

Again, I was able to take some scraps that had been trimmed off and find a piece with color and design that “kind of” blended in, and I patched those in in the 1″ gap over the doors. Again, the pattern doesn’t match perfectly, but the color and the themes do, and over the doors, no one is going to notice.

One final trick … Remember I said that the ceiling was not level, and so it was chopping off some elements at the top of the wall? Those were letters that spelled “ARTIC OCEAN.” As the mural moved across the room, and as the ceiling moved along with it, we had three-quarters of an “A” on the left, and only an eighth of an “N” on the right. (Note: If I had had enough extra height, I could have pulled the entire mural up high enough that all those letters would have been cut off. Another reason to consult the installer before ordering a mural. 🙂 )

Anyway, the eye wants to see uniformity, not letters getting smaller as you move across the room. So what I did was, I decided that those words really weren’t important at the top of the wall – especially because the corresponding letters spelling “SOUTHERN OCEAN” had been cut off at the bottom of the wall, and also because the letters were so thin and unimportant that no one was going to see them way at the top of the wall, anyway.

But if someone did look up there, he wouldn’t want to see the name of the ocean getting progressively smaller. So I took some scrap paper that matched in color, and cut small patches, and then glued these over the letters “A,” “R,” “T,” “I,”… and so on, to cover them up. I used a special adhesive that would stick to the glossy map surface.

Once they were gone from view, and the gap at the left edge filled in, no one will be able to see anything crooked on this world map!

Bottom line: Have the paperhanger measure BEFORE you order the mural.