Posts Tagged ‘hurricane harvey’

Store Leftover Wallpaper in the House (Not Garage or Attic)

March 27, 2018


These homeowners had damage from Hurricane Harvey and needed to replace two strips of grasscloth. They brought the box of leftover paper in from the garage – and discovered that paper was ruined. Water had gotten onto the garage floor, soaked the box (which was sitting on the floor) and wicked up into the ends of the paper. Some of it was even mildewed.

Moral: Always store left over paper in the house, under climate-controlled conditions. Never the garage or attic.

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Grasscloth Repair

March 18, 2018


These homeowners in the Rice Village area of Houston suffered a window leak during Hurricane Harvey. Water stained the seam between two strips of grasscloth. Both strips had to be removed and replaced.

The strip to the left worked it’s way around the window and over the top. To replace this entire strip would have used an 8′ length of paper, and required removing the window valance. I wanted to use shorter scraps left from the original install, and also sure didn’t want to mess with taking down the curtains.

The grass portion pulled off easily, leaving the paper backing on the wall. I used a sponge and bucket of water to wet this backing, which reactivated the paste, and the backing came off easily, with no damage to the wall. (2nd photo)

I cut the grasscloth horizontally just to the left of the window sill. That way, I only had to replace the bottom portion. I pulled off a few of the strands of grass, leaving the black paper backing on the wall. (3rd photo)

Then I cut a new strip and placed it on the wall, and trimmed along the top of one strand of grass, so that it laid over the black paper backing on the wall, and met up with the other grass strands on the upper portion of the wall. (4th photo)

Except for a teeny extra thickness due to the black paper underneath, the join is invisible. (5th photo) At the factory, the grass fibers are held to the backing by sewing them in place with thread. There are a few loose threads where the material was cut, but that’s just going to happen, and it’s barely noticeable.

A Small Repair Today – Plumbing Issue

March 15, 2018


This couple had water damage from Hurricane Harvey, and I repapered their powder room a month or two ago. Well, recently a pipe burst, and, long story short, they had to replumb the whole house. To run the new pipes, the plumbers had to cut holes in the drywall.

The top photo shows where the plumber patched a hole with a scrap of drywall. He left some irregular areas and rough edges that would show under the wallpaper. So I skim-floated over these areas and then sanded smooth, as you see in the second photo.

There was precious little paper left, so a patch was called for (rather than replacing the whole wall). From leftover paper that matched the pattern around the drywall patch, I cut along the pattern design (third photo). This would be less visible than if I cut a square patch with straight edges.

Once I put the patch into place, lining it up with the pattern on the wall, the repair was invisible. (The gap at the bottom will be caulked.)

Another Reason to Buy (and Keep) Extra Wallpaper – Repair Water Leak

March 14, 2018


Having extra wallpaper is a good thing. Keep it wrapped up with its label, and stored in a climate-controlled closet. You never know when you will need to pull it out to make repairs.

This home was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Repairs were made, and I hung beautiful new wallpaper in the powder room just a month or two ago. Well, the poor homeowners suffered another water issue – a leaky pipe. Yes, this would be one of the new pipes in their new powder room.

Fixing the leak required cutting a two holes out of the drywall. The plumber did a decent job of patching the holes. The next step is covering that drywall with some wallpaper.

It’s such a good thing that the homeowners have scraps left from the install.

1950’s Bathroom Revisited – and Updated

February 17, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston suffered damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper had to be replaced. The homeowner chose the aqua trellis paper, thinking it would compliment the original sea-foam colored tile (which I happen to love, BTW). The contractor let his painter hang the new wallpaper. Both these decisions turned out to be mistakes.

I was called in to remove the trellis paper, prep and prime the walls, and then hang this beautiful and bold paisley pattern. Some of the photos are washed out, but in the good ones you can see the rich hues of this fun pattern. And it coordinates perfectly with the tile.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Stripping Off Old Wallpaper

February 14, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 ranch-style home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was damaged by a roof leak during Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s guys did a good job replacing drywall and painting the woodwork, but they fell short when it came to wallpaper. See first photo.

But this just gave the homeowner a chance to choose something that coordinated better with the decades-old tile that she loves (and that I love, too), and to pick a paper with more color and flair, that is more suited to her taste. See tomorrow’s post for that.

My first task was to remove the existing wallpaper. It turned out that there were two layers of paper, and, in some places, THREE layers.

In the second photo, I have removed most of the top (new) paper, which is the aqua trellis by Thibaut. I took it off by simply tearing it off the wall. Below it, you see the green savoy (small, tight, squiggly) by Waverly. Interestingly enough, I have hung this a bunch of times – in the ’90’s. 🙂

This paper was attached more tightly to the wall. To remove it, I had to first separate the top inked layer from it’s paper backing. You can see this in the second photo. Once the top layer, with it’s water-resistant acrylic surface was removed, it left behind a white paper backing. I used a sponge and bucket of hot water to soak the backing. It didn’t take long before the underlying paste reactivated, and then it was ready to let go of the wallpaper. You can see clean wall revealed in the photo, where the layers of wallpaper have come away.

In one area of the room, I got a surprise. There was a third layer of paper under the others. The top vinyl layer had been stripped of eons ago, but the tan, gritty paper backing was left on the wall. You can see this in the third photo dry (light tan) and soaked with water (dark tan). Once that tan paper backing got soaked enough with several spongings with hot water, the paste reactivated and the paper was happy to come away from the wall.

I was uncommonly lucky today, because whoever hung the original wallpaper had taken the time to prep the walls correctly. First, he skim-coated the textured walls to yield a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to. Second, he applied good quality penetrating sealer. This sealer might have been Gardz, a product that I use now, or another similar sealer, perhaps even a solvent-based (as opposed to water-based) sealer. His sealer provided a hard surface for the new paper to stick to, and also gave a surface that was resistant to all the water I was using to strip off the old wallpaper.

Check out the fourth picture to see the huge pile of wallpaper I pulled off this one small hall bathroom.

Once all the paper was off, the walls were in very good condition. There were no delaminated areas, no lifted areas, nothing that needed patching – just an amazingly intact surface.

I did a few little touch-ups to a few little areas (I wanted to clean up 60 years of grime collected along the top of the tile), and then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer, by Roman’s, their Pro 977 / Ultra Prime. It’s a white pigmented primer, and is a wonderful surface to hang wallpaper on.

Raising Ceiling and Brightening Room with Upward Pattern and Pearlized Finish

December 9, 2017


This powder room in a townhome in the Bunker Hill area of Houston was affected by flood water damage from Hurricane Harvey. Contractors replaced two walls with new Sheetrock. But the sink wall remained intact (top photo) and needed to be stripped of its original wallpaper, then skim-floated, sanded smooth, and then primed, before wallpaper could be hung. In addition, there were two other walls that needed to be smoothed and primed.

Fixing damaged walls also gives homeowners a chance to update their décor. The Chinoiserie pattern in the top photo is fine. But after the re-do, the homeowners wanted something more modern and in keeping with a more vibrant lifestyle. See the second photo for their new take on style!

This is a small under-the-stairs powder room with no window, and the ceilings are less than 7′ high. The upward movement of the wallpaper pattern, coupled with the swoopy design of the foliage, sweep your eye up, and add dimension to the walls. The pearlized color further helps visually expand the space.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a very good quality, mid-price range product. It was bought at below retail price from 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

Two Months After Hurricane Harvey Things Are Not All Right In Houston

November 8, 2017

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Some of the homeowners effected by this massive storm contacted me shortly afterward, seeking help with insurance quotes, repairs, etc. But now that more weeks have passed, I am getting a second wave of calls.

Some are from people whose homes are finally getting put back together. Some are from people who are half-way through initial repairs. Many more are not yet back in their homes, or who are living (“camping out” is a more appropriate term) in what is a shell of what was once their former home (read below). And there are countless families whose homes are just now coming out of the water, or that are still not yet approachable, or that have been underwater for so long that they are unlivable – meaning, totally destroyed, not salvageable, mold-infested, insurance won’t pay to fix it, you can’t sell it because no one will buy it, you can’t fix it yourself because you don’t have time because you have to go to work and you don’t have the money because insurance won’t cover it, and your brother has been very kind to let you stay in his home for two months, but it’s wearing thin because they want their privacy back and you want to be back in your own home … but it’s unlivable.

I visited two clients today who were effected by the flood. These photos are from a homeowner who lives in a neighborhood that was “intentionally flooded” when officials made the decision to open the reservoirs, which would save many thousands of homes and families, but would knowingly flood the homes of thousands more.

The city has been through this neighborhood THREE TIMES already to pick up debris – more keeps piling up. Most of it is white… drywall, doors, tile, door and window trim,,, and much of it is brown … wooden floors, cabinets, furniture. And books, clothing, artwork, television sets, garage stuff, toys, anything the sewage-tainted water could have touched or wicked its way into.

All the homes look like ghost houses – uncovered windows, empty rooms, lawns scraped to bare earth by the mechanical claws that swooped up their soggy Sheetrock and personal belongings. All the drywall is torn out, the bottom 4′ of it. No flooring, just the cement slab. No doors, no trim, no kitchen, no cabinets, counters, appliances, no toilet. My client and her family were living holed up on the 2nd floor. All they had downstairs on the concrete floor was a folding table with plastic chairs around it, and remnants of an easy-to-fix meal – sandwiches.

All this while trying to maintain a “normal” American life – going to work every day, kids going to school, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, church, groceries, laundry – but there is no washing machine, no hot water heater ….

All while trying to coordinate contractors, selecting tile and wallpaper, find the best deal on major appliances, juggle financing ….

Here is the “new normal” for hundreds of thousands of American families along the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Harvey Is Not Done With Houston

October 28, 2017

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It’s been two months since Hurricane Harvey swept across the South, wreaking destruction over much of the city of Houston (and countless communities to the west and east, along the Gulf Coast).

By now, many of the homes that were damage have been put 60% back together.

But many home owners are still struggling with the aftermath of the storm – sodden Sheetrock, wet studs, mold, warped floors, ruined doors and molding, on and on.

Across the street from where I worked today, ServiceMaster was putting a temporary patch on a roof, to keep out rain brought by the incoming cold front.

I am adding this note on February 4, 2018, five months after the storm.  Many homes are still not fixed / livable, and a whole lot have not even started.   It’s heartbreaking, seeing the families huddled in their upstairs, crammed in with what furniture and possessions they were able to haul up there, with the first floor devoid of drywall, flooring, curtains, not even a kitchen.  Many are still living with relatives or in rentals.  The stress is hard on relationships, too.

It will be a long road back to normalcy.

Flooding in Houston

August 29, 2017

Sitting home, house-bound, rained in, jobs postponed, due to Hurricane Harvey and massive flooding in Houston.  It’s impossible to get anywhere safely.  I and my house are fine.  I hope my customers, past and future, are equally well.  Many people here have lost their homes.