Posts Tagged ‘humid’

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Shimmery Trees

October 20, 2022
Before … Heavy stipple / sand texture on drab sage green semi-gloss paint.
I skim-floated the walls , sanded smooth , primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer and …
Here’s the finished sink area of this hall bathroom .
Before shot of tub and window wall .
So much brighter and livelier!
Close up . It’s hard to see from these photos, but the colors are pewter, silver, and metallic silver.
The paper also has a lightly textured surface .
The pattern is called Hedgerow and the brand name is Super Fresco.
Every other SF I’ve hung has been on a non-woven / paste-the-wall substrate , so I was surprised to discover that this one was a paste-the-paper material , and that the backing is a paper / pulp material , with textured vinyl laminated to the surface.
My issue with this is that, historically, these paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers don’t hold up well in humid areas , such as bathrooms.
Humidity in the air can actually be wicked up through the seams and then settle on the paper backing , which is absorbent and thirsty. Once that paper absorbs moisture, it’s going to expand . Since there is nowhere for it to go, it will push back against the wall , and that can cause the seam to curl up and pull away from the wall.
Oftentimes, the paper backing actually delaminates (comes apart) from the vinyl surface. This is not a “loose seam” and cannot be repaired.
You pretty much have to replace the whole strip. Or, more likely, to replace the entire wall, from one corner to the next.
Proper wall prep , including a primer made for use under wallpaper , goes a long way toward avoiding these sorts of occurrences.
installer houston memorial area

Powder Blue and Mint Small Print in West U Bungalow Bathroom

July 21, 2022
Before, primed and ready for wallpaper.
For various reasons, removing these mounting brackets for the light sconces would have created more problems than it solved, so I left them in place and worked carefully around them. The difficulty is that the sconces are exactly the same size as the mounting plates, so it’s difficult to trim around these plates that jut out from the wall and still get the paper close enough that no gaps show around the base of the light fixtures. When possible, it’s much easier to remove them and put the paper behind them.
I chose to center the design on my first strip in between those two sconces, rather than on the faucet. Good thing this is a small and busy pattern, because neither the mirror nor the sink faucet were centered between the sconces. But no one’s gonna notice.
If you look in the middle of the photo, you’ll see the vertical red line of my laser level. I’m using this as a guide to place the motifs down the center of the space.
Here’s a shot of my laser level. Less than $100 at Lowe’s maybe eight years ago.
Finished sink wall. The hooks are for the large, white framed mirror.
Window corner next to the toilet. The mint green paint on the woodwork next to the light blue wallpaper print ties this room in beautifully with the other rooms on the first floor of this house. The colors also coordinate beautifully with some artwork in the dining room just steps away.
The pattern is called Aboreta and is by Thibaut , one of my favorite brands. It’s a traditional paste-the-paper material , and was nice to work with. Thin and breathable and should hold up nicely in a humid bathroom.
This was purchased from my favorite source for wallpaper and for help in finding what you’re looking for – Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Her hours vary, so call before you head over.

Galleria / Tanglewood Hall Bathroom Updated and Brightened

July 15, 2022
What a beautiful, fresh, floaty view as you come up the stairs of this townhome.
Here’s what was there before. Early ’90’s , solid vinyl that was both outdated and beginning to succumb to humidity ( curl at the seams ).
The previous installers (most likely a DIY homeowner couple) had hung the vinyl over existing wallpaper. I stripped off the vinyl, but, for various reasons, I was unable to remove the bottom, original wallpaper. Here is the room after I patched areas, skim-floated over seams, and primed with 123 by Zinsser.
Same view, cloaked in beautiful shimmery , pearlized floral wallpaper .
Over the shower view.
The homeowner was worried about using a modern wallpaper with her ’70’s tile . Replacing the tile was out of the budget . But the interior designer assured her that since the paper had a bit of yellow in it, that it would work nicely with the tile. Boy, was he right! The colors go together perfectly.
Toilet alcove view. The whole re-do was started by a water leak that caused the plumbers to cut a hole in the wall to the right of the toilet.
I don’t usually recommend covering switchplates and outlet covers , because they get soiled quickly. But the homeowner really liked the look of them covered, and she lives alone so promised to keep fingers off the plates . 🙂
This wallpaper is in the Canidice Olson line by York , one of my favorite companies, and was a delight to work with. It is thin and breathable, and will hold up much better in a humid bathroom than the previous vinyl option.
The paper was purchased from Calico on West Alabama in central Houston .
The client was assisted by Ron Dillon , who is an interior designer as well as has sold wallpaper for more than 20 years. He was an immense help to my client, who was dealing with many stressors and uncertainties during this bathroom re-do.

Adventurous, Fanciful Punch of Color and Theme

April 30, 2022
The homeowners are into comics and fantasy art. While I hung a calm crocodile hide textured wallpaper in the home office, the couple chose this wild and boldly hued zebra pattern for the adjoining bathroom.
I just love the way the bright orange pops out against the white vanity, countertop, toilet, floor, shower tile, and moldings.
This pattern is called Lost World and is by Clarke & Clarke . It’s a nice non-woven material, was easy to work with, and will hold up well, even under humid conditions if the shower in this bathroom is used.

Updating a 1996 Kids ‘ Bathroom

February 1, 2022
I hung this cute wallpaper pattern back in 1996. It was perfect for a young family.
Well, the kids are grown and out of the house, and Mom wanted a more mature update for what will become the guest bathroom.
Companion patterns used in the sink room and tub room.
Much more sophisticated, yet airy and fun. The cabinets were painted dark blue to coordinate and accentuate the wallpaper.
The paper has a very slight raised texture.
Hmm. Somehow the Scott brothers got upside down. You will recognize them from HGTV.
The paper is by A Street Prints, and is a thin vinyl on a non-woven backing. It was a dream to work with. It will hold up well in even a humid room, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

Brightened Bathroom

November 12, 2021
Original vinyl wallpaper in this bathroom was peeling badly, due to humidity and poor ventilation. The design was dated, too. And, gee – borders are pretty much a thing of the past. Time for an update.
Old paper has been stripped off, wall has been primed. Ready for the new stuff!
What a pretty and cheery pattern! The window looks out to a lush and green backyard, and this foliage-themed wallpaper helps pull the feeling inside.
I was losing natural daylight, so the pretty blue and lime tones are not showing up well.
The colors are a little more true here. This almost looks like a water color painting!
A Street Prints is the manufacturer. This is non-woven material, also called paste-the-wall. It went up very nicely. And, because there is no vinyl and because the substrate has a higher polyester content and less paper, this should hold up much better in the humid bathroom. Nonetheless, I did lecture the homeowner to run the exhaust fan and to keep the bathroom door open for air circulation.

The home is in the League City subdivision south of Houston.

Solid Vinyl Wallpaper is Not Good in Humid Areas

September 18, 2019


I don’t recommend the economical (i.e. lower end) pre-pasted, solid-vinyl wallpapers in humid rooms. Yes, the vinyl will resist water and stains if it gets splashed. But that gritty paper backing sucks up moisture, even moisture in humid air. When it does, the paper expands. The top vinyl layer does not. So the expanding paper pushes the plastic surface away from the wall, as you see in these photos.

In a further scenario, the two layers actually delaminate (come apart) from one another. This sort of seam cannot be glued back down.

It’s best to avoid this type of paper.

Swirling Dragons and Swooshing Garments

May 25, 2019


OK, that’s a really dumb title. 😦 But every time I look at this restless dragon surrounded by roiling foliage and water, I think about the clothing tumbling in endless summer-saults in the washing machine in this room. Yes, this fun and mystical wallpaper is enhancing a laundry room.

The home is in the Rice University / Medical Center neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper has bright shades of green-blue on a silver metallic background. It’s a non-woven material, and could be hung by the paste the wall method. Since this room had a lot of obstacles and weird angles and obstructions like non-removable shelving, I opted to paste-the-paper instead. This also rendered the material a lot more flexible and malleable, which was much appreciated, since the room had a lot of features that made it quite difficult to hang.

Normally, I wouldn’t be too crazy about wallpaper in a humid room like a laundry – especially since the air circulation is pretty poor. Humidity can cause wallpaper seams to let loose and curl. But because these newish non-wovens are made of natural and synthetic materials (such as fiberglass), they are more breathable, and thus shouldn’t present issues of curling seams or delaminating. They are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

This wallpaper is made by York, one of my favorite companies, in their Dwell Studio Line. It 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.

Hoping to Rectify Failure (Humidity Causes Poor Seams)

August 24, 2018

Humidity is the great enemy of wallpaper. In addition, the lower-end, pre-pasted, solid-vinyl papers with the gritty manila paper backing are not a good choice, in my opinion, in any room, but particularly not humid rooms like bathrooms. This house on the beach with irregular climate control spelled double trouble.

This home on Pirate’s Beach on Galveston Island (south of Houston) was on the beach, so was exposed to lots of humidity. In addition, because the homeowners use it only sporadically, they turn the air conditioner off or set it to a run less while they are away. This means that the home fills up with humidity. And even when the A/C is running, air circulation in this room is poor.

Metal elements such as the light fixture and screws holding things into the walls were rusted. Mildew was found behind some sheets of wallpaper. And the wallpaper itself was curling at the seams – a result of the paper backing absorbing moisture from the air, expanding, and forcing the vinyl surface to curl backward at the seams. (Read more about this on the page to the right about vinyl wallcoverings.)

Another factor for the poor performance of the original vinyl wallpaper was that the walls had not been primed, but the installer put the vinyl paper on top of new drywall. And nothing was done around the shower to protect the paper from splashing water.

I stripped off the old vinyl wallpaper, washed the walls with bleach to kill the mildew, and primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Once the new paper was up, I ran caulk along the top of the vanity backsplash, and all along the shower and tub, to prevent splashed water from wicking up under the paper.

The new wallpaper is a thin non-woven material that is “breathable.” No wallpaper is going to hold up under very humid conditions. But this one has a much better chance of staying nice and flat for many years.

The new wallpaper is very similar in appearance to the original, and keeps with the beachy feel of the home. It is by Brewster, in their Chesapeake Bay collection, in the Easy Walls line, and is reasonably priced. It is a pre-pasted material. I did augment the manufacturer’s paste with a .

In the photos, the paper looks blotchy. That is because it is still wet; it will be nice and white when it’s finally dry. The drying time worries me, though, because after six hours, even some parts of the first strips were not dry. This is a real indicator that the room has some serious humidity and air circulation issues.