Posts Tagged ‘hang’

Faux Agate Kill Point Over Door

December 1, 2019

When you hang wallpaper around a room, the last corner virtually always ends up in a pattern mis-match, because the last strip will be split vertically to fit gap between it and the first strip that was hung. The pattern on it won’t line up with the pattern on the first strip that it is butting up against. Difficult to explain.

Anyway, as you see in the first photo, if I had let this be the last corner (the kill point), the horizontal lines would not line up as they do in the photo, and there would have been an 8′ high, eye-jarring mis-match of lines.

So I chose to put the kill point over the door, an area that is only 7″ high, and that not too many people look up at.

The pattern came together over the door pretty nicely, but the design on the left piece was a bit higher than the design elements on the piece on the right, so there is a bit of a mis-match.

If I could bring the design on the left down a little, it would match up much more nicely with that on the right.

To do that, I took a straight edge and a razor blade and trimmed off a wedge-shaped sliver of paper from the left edge. The wedge was wider at the bottom than at the top. This created a gap at the bottom of the strip. When the strip was positioned to where it butted up against the previous strip, closing that gap forced the upper portion of the strip to lean downward, which brought the horizontal lines on the left strip down to where they met up nicely with the horizontal lines on the right strip.

At this point, the left strip is overlapped on top of the strip on the right. The thickness of the under-lying strip shows as a ridge under the upper layer of paper. I would have been OK with this, because the strip is over the door where no one is going to be looking.

But I thought I could make it look better.

So I did double cut. A double cut is a paperhanger’s term for a splice. Before cutting through the two strips of overlapped paper, it’s important to protect the wall, because if the wall gets scored into, when the wallpaper dries and pulls taught, the layers of paint and drywall and etc. inside the wall may give way (delaminate), and leave irreparable curls at the seams.

In this case, I used a few layers of scrap wallpaper placed behind where I would make my splice. So when I cut through the two left and right pieces of wallpaper, my razor blade did not go all the way down to the wall surface.

Once the cut was made, I removed the cut-off remnants on either side of the cut, and smoothed the remaining paper into place. As you can see, the pattern now lines up pretty darned well.

There were still a few lines that didn’t match up, so I took my trusty No. 2 pencil and drew a few “enhancements.” Voilà!

Please Don’t Tell Me You’re Ready If You’re NOT

September 27, 2019


This young family in the Rice University neighborhood of Houston has been undergoing a weeks-long remodel of the master bed and bathroom suite in their 1939 home. They’re eager to get moved back in. I was scheduled for three days to smooth walls and hang paper.

I’d been told by both the homeowner and the contractor that the room is ready for wallpaper. So I showed up for work today to discover that it is not.

First photo – The painters are working in adjacent rooms and need to pass through my work area frequently. You can see piles of their equipment in my space. This is very disruptive to the thought process needed to hang wallpaper.

Second photo – There is no running water. I had to run down to the family’s kitchen to fill a gallon bucket so I could rinse tools and rags – which is not the same as keeping things squeaky clean with fresh, running water. And since there is no toilet, there is nowhere to dump the dirty water.

On the left, you notice an extension cord. Which leads to the third photo – there is no electricity. No lights. So I had to connect two extension cords and hang one measly 100 watt bulb from the ceiling fan, in hopes of having enough light to work.

The fourth photo shows where I am trying to spread smoothing compound onto the wall. The compound and the wall are virtually the same color, and, in the dim light, it’s next to impossible to see what I’m doing.

The contractor dug out a heavy-duty extension cord and borrowed the painter’s work light, which helped a bit. But later the painter (who was working in a room with no windows) came and took his light back.

There is also skimpy air conditioning in this room. It’s not about the temperature, folks – it’s about humidity. You need the A/C cranking to pull humidity out of the air. I won’t hang wallpaper when the HVAC systems are not running, because the resulting humidity is detrimental to wallpaper – adhesion, shrinking, yada. And smoothing compound won’t dry, primers won’t dry …

Fifth photo – the carpet has been ripped up, leaving nail strips along the walls, and leaving exposed nails here and there all over the floor.

I did what little prep I could and then left. I am not coming back tomorrow.

Unfortunately, because of mis/discommunication, this family’s wallpaper will have to wait until I have a client whom I can switch install dates with.

Also, due to this, I lost at least one day of work (self-employed people don’t get “vacation pay” 😦 ), and other clients of mine whom I could have helped that day didn’t get their paper up, either.

Stay Away From Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl Wallpapers

February 21, 2018

Wallpaper - Curlinig Seam, Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl, Mylar
Paper-backed solid vinyl papers are about my least favorite of all papers. The main reason is that they tend to curl at the seams, especially when there is humidity present.

The issue is that, IMO, the gritty manila-type paper backing is porous, and so it will pull moisture and humidity out of the air when the room is under humid conditions (teenagers taking long hot showers). Once this happens, humidity / moisture can enter the seam and soak into the paper backing, the vinyl surface can delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing, causing the surface to curl away from the substrate / backing. This is what you see in the photo.

Because the two layers of the wallpaper have actually come apart, it is also very difficult to paste back against the wall. It would be far better to remove all the wallpaper, properly prep the surface (smooth, primer), and then hang the new wallpaper.

Prepping Heavily Textured Walls for Wallpaper

February 15, 2017
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Wow. Some DIY remodeler / house flipper loved this textured wall finish, and sprayed it on EVERY WALL AND CEILING in this otherwise-beautifully-updated home near Gessner & Kempwood. The young couple who bought the home want wallpaper in their two daughters’ rooms and in a front room study, plus they want chalkboard paint on one wall in the kitchen.

Wallpaper looks best and sticks best to smooth walls, and the chalkboard wall needs to be perfectly smooth, so I am spending two days smoothing these surfaces. The wallpaper will go up later.

Today I skim-floated the walls with joint compound. (It’s kind of like plaster, and is applied with a trowel.) I went through nearly FIVE boxes of the stuff (see photo). Each box is 44 lbs. Need I say that my arms and shoulders are tired and sore? 🙂

Applying it thickly enough to cover the 1/4″ – 1/2″ bumps means that it will take a looong time to dry, so I have turned on the heat in the house (to help draw moisture out of the smoothing compound) as well as the house fan (to circulate air), set several fans up blowing against the walls, and left it to dry overnight. Tomorrow, I will sand the walls.

Because the skim coat was so thick, even when it is sanded, the surface will not be perfectly smooth, and will also have many holes caused by air bubbles. So I will trowel on a second, much lighter coat, to cover these irregularities. With the heat cranking, and the fans blowing, this second skim coat should dry fairly quickly.

Then I will sand one final time, vacuum up the dust, wipe the walls free of dust with a damp sponge, and finally roll on a sealing primer called Gardz.

The painters can then apply the chalkboard paint to the kitchen wall. And when I come back to hang wallpaper in a month or so, the messy part of the job will be over and done with, so no more dust or mess or smells in the clients’ home – just new, pretty wallpaper for the little girls’s rooms and for Mom’s study.