Posts Tagged ‘hanging’

2017 WIA Wallpaperhanger’s Convention

September 12, 2017

I am just back from nearly a week at the 2017 Wallcovering Installers Association annual convention.

Such a wonderful learning experience!  We had back-to-back classes on wallpaper hanging technique, new materials, business, social media, estimating, and much more, plus walls and materials to practice what we’d learned.

Always fun to meet my colleagues from around the country, and some from Canada and Australia, too!  Close to a hundred of us, including several first-timers.

By the end of the week, we all feel like old friends.  Best of all is all the new information, and the networking communication, we come home with.

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Which Way Is Up?

December 28, 2016
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Here I am, laying two strips of wallpaper out side-by-side, to find the pattern match, and to see how the overall pattern plays out across the wall. I am also trying to determine which way is up!

The two strips in the first photo are going in opposite directions. Still, I could not tell which way was up. But once I got to examining the design closely (second photo), I discovered something I have never seen before – The leaf motifs are printed facing both up and down! There IS not “right side up.”

If you look closely at the second photo, notice the light blue leaf that is on the left, second from the top. Then look at the bottom, second light colored leaf from the right…. These two leaves are the same leaf, identical – but facing different directions.

This is really a cleverly plotted wallpaper design. And, best for me, there is no truly correct “right side up,” so I could stop fretting and stewing and get down to hanging!

This colorful and fun pattern is by Hygge & West, an on-line company.

Finally – A Toilet I Can Get My Hand Behind!

December 25, 2016

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Ideally, the homeowner would have a plumber remove the toilet before the wallpaper goes up. But removing and then replacing plumbing fixtures can be expensive, you have to coordinate the plumber with the paperhanger, and you have to live with a non-functioning toilet for a period of time. So most people just leave the toilet where it is.

Hanging wallpaper around toilets can be tough. Sometimes there’s barely enough room to slide the paper behind the tank, and then I’ll have to use a tool or yardstick to try to smooth the paper against the wall. And there are some toilets that are so close to the wall that it is impossible to get the paper behind, so it will have to be cut around and then tucked behind the tank.

Today I got lucky, because this toilet was far enough away from the wall that I could get my hand, arm, and smoothing brush behind the tank. That means that I can get the wallpaper stuck nice and tight to the wall behind.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Bungalow” and is by Thibaut Designs.

The Best Tool To Tackle Wrinkles

October 25, 2016
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When hanging wallpaper, you can end up with little wrinkles, for many reasons. Oftentimes, these will disappear as the paper dries. But there can be times when you want to be sure the wrinkles are gone before the paper gets a chance to dry.

Your first option for smoothing a paper against the wall is a smoothing brush, as shown in the first photo. I like a short-napped brush, although many installers use brushes with longer bristles. In this scenario, the bristles were too soft to remove the wrinkles from the wallpaper.

So I grabbed what I call a trapezoidial “squeegee” and used that to chase out those last little wrinkles. The squeegee worked fine for this purpose.

But you have to be careful, because it is not intended to smooth entire strips against a wall. If you try to use it for that, it can twist and stretch and distort the wallpaper, and you could end up with worse wrinkles and warps, and an edge that is off-plumb or even unstraight, so that the next strip will not butt up against it as it should.

This is a lively colorway of a popular pattern, called “Feathers,” by Serena & Lily, an on-line company. I hung it in a guest bedroom of an older bungalow in the Houston Heights.

Leave Your Shoes At The Door And You’re …. Half-Way Good

August 9, 2016

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Today I worked in an under-construction home, and, once the new floors are in, it’s pretty customary to have workmen remove their shoes. I liked that this contractor was considerate and removed his shoes before entering the house.

But, geeze, can’t you put them to the side and out of the way, so other people can get in and out the door? !

Just one of the small details that makes women better suited than men (in my opinion:) ), for tasks that involve care and attention to details and forethought and whole-picture thinking – like hanging wallpaper. 🙂

View of the Day – Working in the Country

March 16, 2016
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I’ve had a week-long job hanging wallpaper in Carmine (near Round Top and La Grange), Texas, about 90 miles northwest of Houston. It’s a new home on family farm land – and I’m getting to spend the night! 🙂

Below are more pics of the view, and of the job itself.

Stripping Wallpaper, Damaged Sheetrock

December 29, 2015
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These days, I am hanging wallpaper in lots of new homes, which have never had wallpaper before. So today, when I had to strip off existing paper before I could hang the new, it was like a step back in time. And, since the first installer had skipped an essential step, it was a long step!

The navy-blue-on-white savoy pattern (Photo 1) was a nice paper that had been hung, unfortunately, directly on new Sheetrock, without a wallcovering primer, nor even a coat of paint. In this setting, most wallpapers will bond with the drywall, and can be very difficult to get off. Going too fast, or trying to force the paper to succumb to you, can severely damage the walls. To avoid this, I do it in steps.

The first step is to wet all the wallpaper with a damp sponge. That seems to strengthen the top layer of paper. Second, I strip off the top, inked / colored layer of paper. This leaves the backing / substrate – which in my photos today is a white paper. This white backing layer must then be soaked with a wet sponge. Unlike the top, colored layer of paper, which has a thin vinyl coating, this white backing layer can be penetrated by water. Once the water soaks in, the paste beneath it is reactivated. And once enough time has gone by and that paste is wet enough, the wallpaper can be removed.

If you are lucky, it will peel away easily. More likely, you will have to use a stiff 3″ putty knife to carefully scrape every inch of wallpaper backing away from the wall.

If you are lucky, it will come away with no damage to the Sheetrock. More typically, you will have some tears, and will have to do some repair work to the drywall.

The second photo is a wonderful shot of the various surfaces you might find when stripping old wallpaper. First is the layer with the pattern and color. When that has been removed, you see the white (or sometimes yellow) paper backing. Once that backing has been removed, you are left with other sub-surfaces. In the photo, the white is the areas that have been spread with “mud,” or joint compound, which is used over the tape that spans joints in the drywall. Another surface under the old wallpaper that is not shown in the photographs is paint, which you find where it has been oversprayed along the ceiling or next to where the woodwork was painted. The grey area is the top layer of the Sheetrock.

Wallpaper will stick to all these materials differently – It sticks to paint “kind of,” but can be removed with no damage to the walls; it sticks to joint compound not really well at all, but removes easily also with no damage to the walls, but leaving a thirsty porous surface beneath; and when it comes to raw drywall, wallpaper actually bonds to the surface, and can be a bugger bear to remove.

Usually, as in this case, pulling off the old wallpaper causes hairs on the unprimed drywall to pull up, so you end up with a gritty surface, which can leave bumps under the new wallpaper. Worse is when the top grey surface of the drywall de-laminates and pulls off, leaving the torn brown paper layer you see in the third photo. This is really bad, because, when hit with wet primer or wallpaper paste, this layer swells and likes to bubble up, leaving ugly bumps under the new wallpaper.

The cure for this torn Sheetrock is to seal it with Gardz or a similar penetrating sealer / primer. Then the area needs to be “skim floated” with joint compound (similar to plaster), sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, and sealed again.

All this takes a lot of time, eats up materials, makes a mess, and costs money.

As you can see, it would be much better if the builder and / or original wallpaper installer would prime the walls before hanging the paper. Or, at the very least, not ideal, but at least it would protect the walls, if they would slap on a quick coat of paint. And, when it’s time to redecorate, it would sure make removing the paper a whole lot easier.

Purple Peonies – Corners

November 6, 2015
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When you wallpaper a room and reach a corner, you cut each strip of paper vertically, and then wrap a teeny bit of the paper around each corner. The next strip is replumbed and then overlapped on top of that teeny wrapped sliver.

This helps accommodate uneven corners or walls, it keeps the paper from twisting out of plumb, and it prevents any gaps or wall from showing in the corners. But, because some of the design is covered up in the overlap, it also distorts the pattern. That’s just how it goes in wallpaper hanging, and sometimes you notice the mis-match, and sometimes you don’t.

However, I like corner pattern matches to be as near to perfect as they can be. It is possible to get the pattern to match much better – but it takes a little extra paper.

If there is enough paper, I will discard the cut strip that will overlap and cover up some of the pattern, and cut a fresh strip, matching the pattern as exactly as possible. As you see in the photos, the pattern matches perfectly in both the right and left corners. (Note that corners are not always plumb or square, so it’s not always possible to get an exactly perfect pattern match.)

Another reason why it’s always good to buy a little extra wallpaper.

Funny Handprints

April 10, 2015

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Where I was hanging wallpaper today, some workmen were installing two sliding barn-style doors. Yeah, just like you see on HGTV, or in magazines.

These fingerprints, up and down the edges of the door, just tickled my funny bone.

Don’t worry – the doors have not been painted yet. When they are, the fingerprints will be a matter of history,,,,and a funny, hidden secret of the house’s legacy.

Trends in Wallpaper – A School Project

October 23, 2012

I received an odd-and-somewhat-frustrating phone call today.  I answered the call, and a teenaged gal-sounding voice asked what sounded like, “Is this Joan?”  I said, “No, sorry, no Joan here.”  But I sensed that this was a call about wallpaper, rather than a wrong number, so I ventured, “Are you calling about wallpaper?”  She said yes, and then asked, “What are the three top best sellers you have?”

To which I repied, “Well, I’m an installer, not a seller, so….”  and before I could get out any more, or offer to help her, she said, “OK, then.  I’ll call Lowe’s.”  (It first had sounded like “Joan,” but she had said “Lowe’s.”)

Gee whiz!  I managed to stop her before she hung up.  I pretty well guessed what she was wanting to know, and why, but I thought she could have gone about it a little better.  Still, being so young, she just didn’t have a lot of experience in dealing with people, stores, projects, that sort of thing.  I guess I could have just hung up and gone about my day, but I wanted to help this gal.  So I asked, “Are you working on school project, or an art class, or something like that?”

She said yes, and then I finally began to draw a little more information out of her.   But first I couldn’t help but start off with a little lecture – a gentle lecture.  “You know, you would do better to start off by introducing yourself, and then explaining quickly what you are wanting to know and why.  I don’t sell wallpaper, but I can help you if you want to know about trends and styles.  And I can guarantee that if you call Lowe’s and simply ask, “What are your three top selling wallpapers?” that the operator won’t have a clue what you’re talking about, and even if you get to the wallpaper department, which also sells window blinds and floor tiles, it’s not likely that there would be anyone there who could answer such a question.   I wanted the young lady to know that an introduction and a brief explanation of her project would be a better way to get the information she seeks.

So I got her to talk about her project a little bit, some sort of art or design class (she’s interested in design types, not types of material used in constructing,  wallpaper), and then I was able to answer her question, and she hung up happy.

So, what ARE the top three types of wallpaper people want these days?  The first two were easy:

– Big Bold Graphics

– Grasscloth

For No. 3, I thought a little, then said       – Retro Patterns, such as the 1960’s & ’70’s.