Posts Tagged ‘houston’

COVID Supply Chain and Wallpaper Hanging

January 18, 2022

This sign was posted on the door at eye level when I visited Sherwin-Williams today.

The COVID-induced shipping container jam-up, driver shortages, fires and freezes at chemical plants – all these contribute to the lack of supplies in stores.

Luckily for me, as a wallpaper installer, few of the items I use have been affected.

To be honest, I don’t mind paying a bit more for materials. I’m mostly concerned about being able to obtain what I need to get my clients’ paper up on their walls!

Mostly I use primer, paste, and smoothing compound, plus razor blades. Luckily, all of these remain available in my Houston area. Sherwin-Williams is doing a great job of keeping me supplied!

Just in case, though, I’ve got a (small) stockpile in my garage. Just enough to get through a month or so, if needed. I don’t want to hoard and prevent someone else from taking care of his own clients.

Wallpaper Coming Off – Delaminating Wall

January 14, 2022

An Unfortunate Situation

This Brooklyn Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper on an accent wall in a nursery went up beautifully. The contractor had added new Sheetrock to one wall, and painted the other, old/original wall. I skim-floated both walls and sanded smooth, primed, and hung the wallpaper. Perfect! (Search here to see my original post.) But within less than a month, the homeowner contacted me and said that the wallpaper was ” coming off the wall .” It was a 1920’s bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. And therein lies the brunt of the problem.
The wallpaper itself is not ” coming off the wall .” What’s happening is that the wall surface itself is coming apart – or, delaminating . This is because multiple layers of paint and other substances on the wall may not be compatible. A probably scenario: In 1920 oil-based paint was used. Later someone rolled on a coat of latex paint. Then the homeowners redecorated and used gloss paint. Then some ” flippers ” who had watched too much HGTV slapped on more paint without bothering to de-gloss or prime first. And somewhere in the mix you’ve got cheap paint and dust and other incompatible materials.
Over time, and especially when stress is put on the wall surface, such as when wet wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks, this stress can tug at the wall and actually pull these layers apart. There are other contributing factors, too, such as humidity, temperature, and location. I find it interesting that the worst parts of the affected seams were toward the top of the wall. This speaks of heat, humidity, and forced air (either hot or cold) coming out of the air vent just to the right of this wall. This photo is of the area over a door, very close to the air vent.
See how thick that is? It’s not just the wallpaper. There are several layers of wall coming apart. Some layers are clinging to the back of the wallpaper, and some are staying stuck to the wall.
Multiple layers, many years of coatings on this wall.
Easy to see the many layers. The paper itself, my blue primer, my layer of smoothing compound, paint, more paint coming off the wall. Then multiple layers of paint and texture still clinging to the wall. This shot is just below the ceiling.
Same thing happening at the baseboard at the floor.
Layers of paint separating from the wall in chunks. Some pulled off easily, and some I had to chop off with my 3″ putty knife.
Most of the paint and unstable surface material clung to the back of the wallpaper. This pile is just three strips – only half the wall. But it’s thick and stiff and heavy because of the paint stuck to the back of the wallpaper. There was so much and it was so heavy and bulky that I had to carry it out to my van in two trips. When I got home, it totally filled my trash bin.
Here’s the wall once all the other layers came off. Brushing my hand over it revealed a layer of dust. No wonder the paint and other coatings wouldn’t stick. Nothing sticks to dust. It’s like flouring a cake pan… The paint or wallpaper will kinda stick – but won’t really stick. Paint on top may be fine. But add a little stress from drying / shrinking wallpaper, and you may end up with layers that pull apart.
Wiping the walls with a damp sponge removed a lot more dust. But the wall still felt chalky. Whatever type of paint this was, it was not holding together.
I had to stabilize this chalky surface. Enter Gardz, a wonderful product – Gardz is a thin, penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and binds substances together. It dries hard and creates an intact surface. The darker area in the picture is where I’ve rolled on a test area. Gardz is thin like water, and it runs and drips and splatters. It’s imperative that you cover floors, countertops, and baseboards, and roll carefully, and roll upward rather than downward, to minimize runs and drips. A microfiber roller holds the liquid well, and reduces drips.
Gardz is made by Zinsser.
No photo of the finished wall, but I was very pleased with the stability of the surface. No more chalk or dust. Now, there still could be unstable or incompatible layers deeper inside the wall. (Latex paint over oil without proper prep.) But for now I feel pretty confident that this wall is solid and will hold up to the next process in preparation for getting the new wallpaper up.

Shimmering Foliage in Heights Powder Room

January 13, 2022
Primed and ready for wallpaper.
Vanity wall done. I placed the trees so they would frame the mirror and light fixture evenly.
The slope is the underside of the stairs. At first the homeowners said not to paper this sloped area, as it is considered part of the ceiling.
After the first wall was papered, we decided that the slope would blend in better if it were covered with paper.
I’ve hung this Shimmering Foliage pattern before, but this is the first time in this gorgeous colorway. It really sets off the pretty moldings and white vanity in the room.
In this close up, you see the embossed (raised) texture in the vinyl surface. The gold is not metallic, but it sure shines!
Made by York, in the Candice Olson line. Just about everything she touches is glittery and elegant.
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung using the paste-the-wall method, although I pasted the paper instead, which makes it more pliable and also ensures that paste will get to all areas, including around intricate moldings and behind the toilet.
Non-woven papers will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
Houston wallpaper installer.

Colorful, Cheery Big Boy’s Room

January 9, 2022
Accent wall before. With a second baby on the way, this home office is morphing into a room for Big Brother.
Fun color and upward movement. The little guy will be able to live with this for many years, as it’s not strictly a nursery or baby pattern.
A thin, flexible non-woven paste-the-wall product by Exclusive Wallcoverings. I loved this wallpaper, and enjoyed working with it. I used the paste the wall installation method. It’s thin and hugs the wall tightly, and will be slightly more washable than traditional papers. In addition, it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
The townhome is in the Museum District area of central Houston.

From Bland White to Captivating Black & Gold Geometric

January 8, 2022
Vanity area before. Note the nice homeowner had the plumber remove the wall-mounted faucet and handle. This made the wallpaper installation so much easier – and eliminated a zillion relief cuts around these objects that might later give entry for splashed water to wick under and loosen the wallpaper.
Done. I centered the pattern on the wall so it hits both corners equally, and it falls perfectly around the faucet (no photo). The light fixture was hung a tad off-center.
Burnished gold accents of the light fixture, faucet (to be installed later), and toilet paper holder, as well as a gold-painted ceiling, compliment the gold lines in the pattern, and really pull this room together.
This non-woven paste-the-wall material is made by Trend, and is in the Jaclyn Smith collection. It has a slightly textured surface, and appears to be vinyl on the surface. This makes is more durable and stain-resistant than most paper wallpapers. It is thin and flexible, and I liked it a lot.
The home is a contemporary new-build in the Lindale Park neighborhood of central Houston.

Something’s Bugging Me …

January 7, 2022
Powder room before.
Powder room after the introduction of various bugs, insects, critters and creepy crawlers.
The homeowner loves bugs. She likes this view so much that she said she might not cover it with a mirror. Who needs a mirror in a powder room, anyway?
This powder room is under the stairs, hence the sloped ceiling. The wallpaper has the look of botanical identification prints, in a dreamy shade of blue.
Mind the Gap is the manufacturer, and the pattern is called Entomology. The material comes as a 3- roll / strip set. It’s a non-woven product, so you can hang it by pasting the wall. Although I usually choose to paste the paper. Interestingly, this paper was lot thinner and crisper than the black Aquafleur by the same brand I hung a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it was quite translucent. I had to not make pencil marks on the walls nor on the back of the paper, for fear they would show through the front.
This stuff is also very curly – meaning that it wants to stay tightly rolled up. Two days before the install, I asked the homeowner to roll the material backward and secure with an elastic hairband, to relax the curl. This worked wonderfully, and I had nice flat sheets to work with.
The pattern is essentially a mural, spread across three strips that connect to the next set of three strips. The pattern does not repeat. That means that it takes one full ” roll” for each strip. Since the rolls are 10′ long and the walls in this bathroom were less than 8′, there was more than 2′ of paper cut off and thrown away, for each of 15 strips around the room.
The two 8″ high strips over the door would also have each used up a full 10′ roll. But I did a little measuring and plotting and trimming and used scraps for this area. This also enabled me to put bugs that had not been seen on any of the other strips up over the door. Because this space was only 8″ high, I had to find insects that were small – didn’t want anyone to get his legs or antenna cut off! Sorry, I forgot to get a photo of that area.
This room had some tricky spaces. Besides the sloped ceiling, which presented challenges of its own too complicated to delve into here, the 2″ gap you see next to the vanity in the top photo … the wide strip on the wall with the hand towel ring, plus the 2″ wide strip between the vanity and that wall probably took me a full 40 minutes to get in place.
The townhome is in the Galleria / Highland Village neighborhood of Houston.

Cactus Patch Powder Room

January 5, 2022
I didn’t get a picture of the original dull, putty-brown paint, which did nothing for this space. Here is the room primed with my favorite Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime, formulated specifically for use under wallpaper.
Sink / vanity area before.
Wow! This billowy cactus pattern makes a statement!
Tall! The ceilings in this home are over 10′ high. This very fluid, vertical design makes them seem even higher! Your eye just swoops up toward the ceiling! This back wall is what you see when you first enter the room, so I centered the cactus pattern on this wall.

I was also able to center the pattern on this sink / vanity wall. It will look nicely balanced when the mirror goes up. A new light fixture is coming, and will be installed where you see the round hole / electrical box in the wall.
Close up.
Milton & King is the manufacturer, and San Pedro is the pattern name. M&K makes nice wallpaper, and I enjoyed working with this. It’s a non-woven substrate, so you can paste the wall if you like – but I usually prefer to paste the paper. The surface felt like a thin, flexible vinyl – durable and fairly resistant to splashes in a bathroom. Their patterns often come as a 2-roll set, with an ” A ” roll and a ” B ” roll. It can be a little tricky to measure for these until you get accustomed to how they work. Further complicating the issue is that this design has a 51″ pattern repeat. In a nutshell, this means that, in order to match the pattern from strip to strip, you may have to cut off and throw away as much as 50″ (more than 4′ ! ). Thus, with these high ceilings and the long pattern repeat, instead of getting three strips from each 33′ long roll, I got only two. So a lot of paper went into the trash pile. It’s important to be cognizant of that and include the waste factor when calculating how much paper to purchase. Better yet – have the paperhanger figure it up for you!
These homeowners had already ordered their paper before I arrived for the initial consultation. After measuring and calculating, I told them to purchase one more 2-roll set.
Another odd thing is that at the end of the day, we ended up with two full unopened “B” rolls plus one full-length “B” strip,,,, that’s a total of five full-length strips. But we had only one 10′ strip left of the “A” rolls. This points out that, depending on the layout of the room, you can use more “B’s” than “A’s” or vice versa. I’m sure glad I made them buy that additional 2-roll set!
This new townhouse in the Heights neighborhood of Houston is home to a young couple. They will be married in a month or two. I had originally set their install date for a week or so before the wedding. I got a last-minute schedule change, they were able to get the room ready for me on short notice, and so I got their wallpaper up today,,, and they can spend the next months focusing on their upcoming special day!

Best Wallpaper Shopping at Rice Village Sherwin-Williams!

January 4, 2022

My favorite resource for finding your dream wallpaper is Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams store on University Blvd (contact info below). I stopped in to the store today to check out their huge selection. This is by far my favorite place to shop in Houston!

More than a hundred books, and a large table to spread them out on.
York One of my favorite brands! Lots of lines and options.
Thibaut Another of my all-time favorites. Just about everything they sell gets my stamp of approval!
A Street Prints Wonderful quality non-woven material, lots of fun patterns.
Brewster A great, dependable company that makes many lines under many names. Buy with confidence!
Seabrook has long roots in the U.S. Very good brand.
Rifle Paper A wonderful new line made by York, gaining popularity swiftly due to cute and innovative designs. Check out their Peacock.

No picture – Sherwin-Williams’s Easy Walls line is very good … It’s pre-pasted and a thin non-woven; easily hung and easily removed. I suspect it’s made by York, in their SureStrip line.

Essentials A compilation of other brands, most of which are good quality. A few “duds,” so consult with me or Dorota before buying. Overall, this line is the best of the lower-priced options.

Moving on to not-so-good (IMO)

Norwall Budget-priced, but long considered one of my least favored brands. Recently, though, I think they’ve improved their product. Plus, I think I have discovered a way to “tame the beast.” Still, better to avoid pre-pasted solid-vinyl products – see my page to the right.
Basix Pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid-vinyl – my least preferred of all the wallpapers out there. Cheap, yes. But … ya get what ya pay for. Please click and read my page to the right.
Mostly lower-end, pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl materials … best to stick to brands at the top of the page.

NOTE: Avoid any and all peel & stick papers, including the S-W Easy Change line. Click and read my page to the right.

Where to Buy Wallpaper in Houston:

BEST OPTION FOR ASSISTANCE IN WALLPAPER SELECTION:  Dorota Hartwig is my No. 1 go-to for personal help finding your perfect paper.  At the Sherwin-Williams at 2525 University.  With 20+ years selling wallpaper, she knows what’s in all the books and can quickly help you narrow down the search.  Most major brands are available, with those wonderful S-W prices!  There are four parking spots in front of the store, but better is the free 2-hour parking on the shopping center roof across the street.  Her hours right now are Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – best to be there before 1:00 p.m.   – but that can change, so call first.  (713) 529-6515

In addition to the above in-store books, if you find something on-line, she may be able to get it for you. Here are some sure-bets:

Thibaut: Anna French; York: (Candice Olson, Ronald Redding, Stacy Garcia, Aviva Stanoff, Florence Broadhurst, Antonina Vella) Brewster (including Scandinavian Designs, Komar murals, Eijffinger, Warner, Crown and others); Wallquest, Seabrook, Astek, Galerie.

No reason to search anywhere else! Plus, as I mentioned, she knows what’s in ALL the books, so can track down exactly what you’re looking for, saving you time and hassle.

Affordable Version of Trendy Wallpaper Pattern

January 2, 2022
Accent wall in this guest bathroom in the Houston Heights has been smoothed and primed, and is ready for wallpaper.
Schumacher makes a popular version of this design called Queen of Spain. Rebecca Atwood makes something very similar named Dashes. Both of those are expensive brands, and the papers require hand-trimming, as well as other special installation techniques. The Queen comes in an unwieldly 54″ width.
This option by A Street Prints , though, is very similar but much lower in price. I prefer this pattern, too, because it’s not as ” stripy ” as the other brands. The name is Rune Charcoal Brushstrokes.
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method.

As I like to say – for every high-end company making a cool pattern that is costly and also difficult to install, there is someone else making a knock-off that is more affordable and of better quality.

GP & J Baker Peony & Blossom in West Houston Powder Room

December 29, 2021
I prepped this powder room in the Energy Corridor area of Houston a couple of months ago, but couldn’t hang the wallpaper due to discovering printing defects. Printing defects are pretty common with that brand – Schumacher . So the homeowner ordered a different pattern from a different manufacturer.
So I was dismayed today when the very first foot I rolled off the bolt of the new paper showed a very noticeable printing flaw. Luckily, this was just in this one spot, and was easily sliced off and discarded.
I centered the pattern so it will look nicely balanced flanking the mirror once it is rehung over the sink.
This pattern is obviously a knock-off of the famous ” Bird & Thistle ” pattern by Brunschwig and Fils, a French company. But the B&F is very expensive, and also delicate and also somewhat difficult to hang. Do a Search (upper right) to see other times I’ve hung it. I like this version much better, because it’s on a sturdy and dependable non-woven substrate. And much less expensive. Also, the design is on a smaller scale, which is much better suited to this powder room. The B&F would work best in a large dining room, for instance.
The material has a pearlized, metallic look. It was pretty delicate, and would crease if you barely looked at it. I used a lot of tricks to prevent this creasing, and was really pleased with how the room turned out.