Posts Tagged ‘gaps’

Paint Stripes to Prevent White Wall Peeking Out

January 8, 2022
Sometimes (usually) wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste and then shrinks just a tad when it dries. This can result in hair-breadth gaps at the seams. Usually not a big deal. But when the paper is dark and the sub-surface is light, you can end up with white wall visible at the seams.
So sometimes I’ll paint a stripe of matching color behind where the seams will lie. Measure to plot where the seam will fall, then use a level and pencil, or a laser level, to indicate where, and then run a stripe of paint along that line. Make the stripe wide enough to accommodate slight variations in measurements and wallpaper expansion.
I use craft paint from the hobby store or Texas Art Supply. The photo shows an outdoor paint – not the best option, but it’s what I had in the truck. 🙂 I use a small rectangle of sponge dipped in water and then in the paint.
For extra assurance, on thick papers, dark surface printed on a white backing, you can also use artist’s chalk pastels (chalk only and NOT oil pastels) to color the edges of the seams. Do a Search here (upper right corner) to find previous posts about that.

Kitchen With Burst Pipe Water Damage Fixed and Finished

December 24, 2021
This kitchen in the Spring area of north Houston suffered severe water damage from burst pipes during the hard freeze in February 2021. Nearly a year later, they are almost finished with repairs, including new drywall on bottom of walls, new cabinets, new plumbing, cabinets, electrical, and more. Here you see the contractor’s repair work on top of some of the original wallpaper, which dates to the early 1980’s! It was a good brand, and the installer did a great job. For various reasons, I opted to leave this wallpaper in place, and so skimmed over uneven areas and then primed on top of it with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.
The homeowner’s new choice is very similar to the previous paper, but with a more springy feel and a lot of upward movement. The area below the chair rail will receive another coat of paint to better define the correct yellow color. Or, the homeowner may switch to a green pulled from the leaves in the pattern.
This wall with the fir-down / soffit was a real bugger, for various reasons, and took me about four hours.
Looks so sharp against the white paint and tile!
The wallpaper was printed on a white substrate, so I ran black chalk along the edges of each strip, to try to prevent white from showing at the seams. Still, some of the strips shrank just a half a tad, and that did allow some white to show. This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which has a high polyester content, and is not supposed to stretch or shrink, so this is disappointing. Pasting the wall and dry-hanging the material would have probably helped. But the material was extremely thick and stiff, and plus the room had way too many turns and bends and angles, so pasting the paper made the most sense. These gaps are very minor, and only visible when viewed from straight on; from an angle you can’t even see them. On some papers, I can pull some tricks out of my bag and camouflage them. But with this non-woven material, don’t even try anything with paint, marker, chalk or anything else – it will surely stain the material.
The walls are smooth. The slight texture you see is the non-woven material. When an edge is torn, you can actually see the polyester fibers – a lot like fiberglass. This material is very strong, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
Manufacturer is Mind The Gap out of Transylvania (!), and the design is called Aquafleur, in the Anthracite color. The material comes as a 3-panel set, which they call one “roll.” The overall width of the A, B, and C panels side-by-side is about 5′, and the height is just under 10′. The height of the wall was less than 5,’ and the strips were nearly 10′ long, so at least 5′ was lost of each strip. Because the pattern was a mural type, rather than a typical repeating wallpaper design, even more paper was lost in working around the configurations of the room – for instance, a full 10′ strip would be needed to paper just one 9″ high strip above the door. So there was an incredible amount of waste – and this is a higher-priced boutique brand. But the lady of the house really loves it, and so she went with her heart.

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.

Three More Walls of the Schumacher Versailles

December 3, 2021
Master bedroom before. White. Boring.
After. Warm, classic, and a touch of French. Much better suited to this 1920 home in the Houston Heights.
Headboard wall.
The pattern fits perfectly in the header space over the doors. The dark area in the upper corner will lighten as the wallpaper dries.
Close-up.
I was very pleased with the seams on this product. They went together nicely, with no gaps or overlaps. And I was doubly happy that the paper did not shrink much as it dried, so no white wall peeping out from gaping seams.
I love the slight texture of this raised ink surface print wallpaper.
I’m not usually a fan of the Schumacher brand, but this product’s install went very well.

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.

Coloring Edges of Wallpaper to Prevent White Backing from Showing

July 22, 2021

When hanging a dark wallpaper, sometimes the white edges of the substrate will show at the seams. Other times, the paper may shrink a tad when the paste dries, and teeny gaps may appear, again, showing white at the seams.

So I will often run a stick of chalk along the edges of the strip of wallpaper – applying from the back, to avoid getting color onto the surface.

It’s important that you use chalk, and never oil pastels. Oil products may bleed into the wallpaper, and cause visible staining on the surface.

Overlapping At The Seams

June 30, 2021

Re my previous post … the strips on this 6-panel mural are intended to be overlapped, by about a full inch.

There are advantages to this. Since wallpaper shrinks as it dries, it an result in gaps at the seams. Overlapping the seams prevents that.

Wallpaper that is drying and shrinking is also tugging at the wall behind it, which puts stress on the surface. If that surface is unstable, this tension could cause the layers inside the wall to give way and pull apart, resulting in open seams and a delaminated sub-surface. Overlapping the paper redistributes and minimizes the tension, and it also eliminates an open area where the two sides of the seam could pull away from the wall.

A disadvantage of the overlap method is that you can see the cut edge of the paper (see photo), and you also end up with a 1″ wide ridge running under the paper the full length of each seam. In this case, with such a busy pattern, you are not going to see that ridge.

Bowed Wall – Corner Not Straight

March 10, 2021

We’re looking at a corner where two walls meet, over the vanity in a powder room.

Top photo – bottom of the picture … See how the wall bows away from my yardstick? And in the second photo, you can see gaps between the wall and my yardstick.

The walls are not just out of plumb – they are bowed.

The strip of wallpaper that I am about to hang will go on the wall to the right. This strip gets wrapped a tiny 1/16″ around the corner.

The next strip will go on the wall on the left. This strip will overlap that tiny 1/16″ wrapped area. This results in a tiny 1/16″ pattern mis-match in the corner.

I have a few tricks to minimize this pattern mis-match in corners.

BUT … if the wall is bowed or is not straight, as in the photos above, not all of my tricks will work, and it’s going to be impossible to get the pattern to match 100% perfectly from ceiling to floor.

Usually, no one notices this kind of minute detail but me. But still, it’s always good to have realistic expectations, and plan to accept a few pattern mis-matches around the room.

Helping To Hide Seams

January 23, 2021

Like most wallpapers, this Sure Strip by York can be expected to expand a bit when it becomes wet with the paste. Once it’s on the wall, it will dry and give up moisture – and that results in a tad of shrinkage. That usually means you might see just a teeny bit of a gap at the seams.

Not usually a big deal. But when you have a dark or bold color such as this on a light background and also printed on a white backing, if the paper shrinks and gaps, you can end up with a hairline’s breadth of the underlying wall surface and / or of the white wallpaper substrate showing through.

Layman’s terms: You might have a slight white line showing at the seams.

To help ward this off, I did two things. One was that I used red chalk to lightly color the edges of the wallpaper. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, but you can Search here to see previous jobs where I employed that method.

The other thing was to stripe red paint under where the seams would fall.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Because wallpaper will stretch when it gets wet with paste, making it difficult to guestimate exactly where the seam will fall, and thus where to run your red stripe.

Once you plot that out, you need a level to guide you by creating a plumb line at the appropriate point. And then mix your paint with water and use a brush or small sponge to run along that plumb line, straddling it widely enough to catch the seam wherever the gap might end up actually falling.

Also, the red paint needs to be good and dry before you put wallpaper on top of it. So this means you run the red stripe down the wall, and then get fans or a heat gun, or employ some other method to get the paint to dry quickly.

Oh, and … wallpaper works best when it’s hung on a wallpaper primer. Primers specific to wallpaper are designed to resist the tension created when wet wallpaper dries and shrinks a tad, putting stress on the seam area.

By running paint on the wall along the seam line, now you’ve covered up the wallpaper primer. There is no way to know if that perfectly pigmented craft store paint will hold up over the long run and keep the wallpaper seams tight to the wall.

That’s one reason I used a fairly light mix of the paint. A full-strength concentration of red paint might not allow the wallpaper paste to grip onto it. And definitely do not use a glossy paint. Nothing sticks to gloss.

As you can guess, this process adds a significant amount of time to your install. But it’s worth it, because, in the red room I hung pictured in previous posts, the seams were virtually invisible. I know that if I had not colored the edges of the paper as well as the wall, white would have shown just a teensy bit at the seams.

The 2-Hour Wall

January 9, 2021

Re my previous post, the wall in the photo above took me a full TWO HOURS to get three strips of wallpaper onto.

Part was access – narrow space, difficult to maneuver the ladder, squeezing around the toilet, wall height a little taller than I could reach comfortably,,, for starters.

But the main issue was wrapping wallpaper around this jutting wall with its two outside corners.

You’re not supposed to wrap wallpaper around outside corners, especially with a double corner as pictured here. The reason being that framing, drywall, corner beads, and all sorts of other construction components are never perfectly straight or plumb or level. Thus, attempting to wrap wallpaper around them will usually result in various things – the paper going off-plumb, the paper warping or developing wrinkles, the far edge of the paper twisting and not being straight so the next strip cannot butt against it without gaps and overlaps, stretching the paper to force it to cooperate, which will result in it shrinking when it dries and exposing gaps – among other unfortunate situations.

I did run into some of that in the instance pictured above. This new (and expensive) home had walls that were more “off” than most, with one corner being off by a full 3/4″ over a drop of only 9′. On this particular wall, the paper developed a pretty sizeable wrinkle toward the bottom 1/3 of the wall. I had to find a way to relieve wrinkle by eliminating the excess paper, while still keeping the left edge of the strip intact and straight, so the subsequent strip could butt up against it.

My solution was to cut through the paper vertically along the right edge (along the edge of the wall’s outside corner), about 1/4″ in from the edge, and from the floor to about 3′ up. Then I pulled the strip away from the wall, which enabled me to work out the wrinkle, making sure to maintain the straight edge along the right.

I smoothed the strip back against the wall, again, easing out the wrinkle. The excess from the wrinkle moved to the right, and left a bit of wallpaper hanging over the corner to the right. I used a straightedge and very sharp razor blade to cut off this sliver of excess.

This method did mean that there was a bit of an overlap, and thus a bump / ridge, along the right edge. I was worried that this would show, especially with the somewhat shiny paper, as well as light shining unforgivingly from the fixture to the left (not pictured). But once it was all done, the small overlap was barely noticeable. And definitely better than a large wrinkle.

Because I was able to keep the left edge of the strip straight, the next strip butted against it very nicely, with no gaps or overlaps.

I will mention that it also did help that this particular paper was a bit more flexible and fluid than many non-woven materials. Also, because I pasted the paper instead of the wall, the paper had a chance to relax and become malleable. The primer I used gave it a solid surface to cling to, so there was no shrinking or gapping as it dried.

These three strips on this one wall took me two full hours.