Posts Tagged ‘laser level’

Rifle Paper Peacock on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

April 5, 2023
The entire bedroom is to be wallpapered . Originally, all the walls were a soft sage green . The homeowner wants the room to be a sort of retreat . Here the walls are primed and ready for wallpaper .
Done! What a fun pattern . Peacock is very popular. At first the homeowner wanted this on all four walls. But I mentioned that the circular movement of the design could be overwhelming all the way around the room. So she opted to put the bold pattern on just this feature wall, and chose something quieter for the remaing three walls.
IPositioning the first strip . I plotted to have the peacock fall down the center of the wall, so it will be balanced nicely behind the headboard . Note that the center of the peacock isn’t perfectly in the center of the wallpaper, so I had to position the strip a little off-center on the wall, so the peacock’s body would hit the center point .
Because this is a dark paper and sometimes the wall peeks out from between the seams , I’ve striped black paint under where the seams will fall. Not too heavy, though, because you want the wallpaper primer to still be able to do its job, part of which is to be grabbing and holding the seams down. I use a heat gun to get the paint to dry quickly.
I just use acrylic craft paint from the hobby store ( Texas Art Supply , which is close to me). I daub some paint on a scrap of sponge , dip it in a small amount of water (in the Gatorade bottlecap) to dilute it a bit, and then run it down the wall, using the light beam from my laser level as a guide.
I also use pastel chalk to color the white edges of the wallpaper, so they are not visible . Be sure that what you use is chalk and has no oil … oil will stain wallpaper and other surfaces (think potato chips on a paper napkin). This Rembrandt brand is oil-free. Apply from the back, getting color on the edges only, and not on the surface.
This is a non-woven / paste the wall material. It’s strong and durable and stain-resistant . In addition, it will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate, leaving no damage to the wall.
installer Houston

Laser Line Not Straight

April 4, 2023
A line from a level – in this case a laser level – can help ensure that your wallpaper strips hang perfectly plumb . In this room, I’m to hang wallpaper on the horizontal accent wall , as well as the angled / vaulted area above it. I was disappointed to learn that the light beam doesn’t shoot straight up both sections of the wall . The light beam refracts as it hits the angled portion of the upper wall. Turns out that the laser level (the blue object you see on the corner of my work table ) has to be EXACTLY in front of the wall, at a properly perfect 90* angle perpendicular to the wall .
Well, that sounds simple enough. Thing is, the level has to sit on a surface that is itself perfectly level, and situated directly in front of the wall. In this nursery, there is no suitable furniture , nor is my table long enough to span that whole 12′ wide wall .
So I just winged it on the upper portion, using measurements rather than a plumb line, and the wall turned out fine.

Outsmarting Bull Nosed / Rounded Edges / Arch

March 25, 2023
Looks nice, huh?
But these rounded edges , especially arches , have been a thorn in the side of wallpaper installer s since they became popular more than 10 years ago. Hanging paper on them and trimming neatly at the right point is difficult. Because the paper is hanging over the edge blocking your view of where you need to trim . A level or laser level don’t always work because the home’s framing isn’t always perfectly plumb . Metal straightedges / trim guides are useful, but can slip and mess up your cut. The arches present their own challenges because a straight edge won’t line up with them .
A colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) invented this gadget , which is a huge help. This is a 1.5″ section cut off from the 10′ length of bull nose corner bead used in the drywall construction of these edges. Then you cut notches in it at the point on the corner where you want to trim your wallpaper .
Some installers place a trimmer blade in the notch and slide the gadget along the edge, trimming as they go. I find that the thing wobbles too much for an accurate trim, plus it’s difficult to hold the blade while you’re sliding the thing down the wall. So I put a pencil point into the notch and draw a line along where I want to trim. Then I can use a straightedge and trimming blade , or a scissors, to cut along the line. Makes a nice, even, straight cut! Note that I like to wrap it about 1/3 of the way around the rounded edge.
OK, so you’ve seen how I trimmed along the edge to the right. Now here’s another trick that I’m going to use on the edge to the left, as seen in the photo. The wallpaper strip is 20.5″ wide. But I trimmed it vertically so that the piece over the arch is 10″ wide. That correlates to the point where I want to trim the strip that will land on the rounded edge going down the wall.
Note that I have not completely trimmed the part under the arch on the left side, because I want to be sure the cut edge lines up with that on the next strip I’m going to hang.
The blue plastic tape is there to keep paste off the wall paint . It will be removed after the piece is trimmed to fit.
Now here I’ve placed the remaining 10.5″ wide left section of the strip of wallpaper. You can see how it’s falling perfectly along the bull-nosed edge – saving me from having to use a blade or straightedge or gadget.
Note that this works only if the edge is perfectly plumb , and that the piece above the arch is also perfectly plumb, and my new strip is hanging perfectly plumb. This paper is a non-woven material, and is somewhat stiff and unbending , so not really amenable to twisting or tweaking into place. Plus, you want to keep that left edge straight, because your next / subsequent strip will need to butt up against it. Trust me, I did a lot of measuring and shooting the laser level before I pasted or hung any paper!
Now that it’s in place, I can go back and trim that remaining bit under the arch, making sure that it meets up in the corner with the edge of this piece .
Here’s another shot of it finished.
Closer up.
This tree branch foliage pattern is called Twining and is by Graham & Brown . I like most everything they make. The non-woven substrate is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to the wall , when it’s time to redecorate .
This home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks / Heights neigborhood of Houston .

Challenges With Moody Jungle Powder Room

February 12, 2023
Yesterday’s install was quite fun, but there were some unusual or challenging features to the room. Here are some of them.
First, in most areas, the chair rail had a sort of gap between it and the wall, probably then filled in with caulk. I used some craft paint from Texas Art Supply to color that in, so there wouldn’t be white showing between the dark green paint and the black wallpaper.
My usual trim guide (not pictured) is thin, designed to allow you to cut very close and tight to the edge. But in this case, I was afraid it might leave some of that gapped area showing between the paper and the wood trim.
So I used this steel plate tool, which is thicker and would allow me to get a fat cut – just enough paper left to wrap a teeny bit onto that gap area. Note that before I trim, I’m going to press that edge into the corner. I couldn’t hold the camera and hold it in proper position at the same time.
Also, you’ll notice the rolled edge at the top of the tool. That’s thicker, and allows for getting an even fatter cut, for instance, when you want just a tad of paper to wrap around a corner . Do a Search to see my previous post about this technique.
Here I’ve made the trim cut and am peeling away the excess that was trimmed off at the bottom.
See how the bottom edge of the wallpaper now wraps a tiny bit and fills the gap neatly?
Next issue – wall height. On this wall, the height is 3′ + 30.5″
But on the opposite wall, the height is 3′ + 29.75″.
This means that you can expect the ceiling to move up or down, which means that a pattern motif – let’s say one of those cute chameleons – could get his head chopped off by the descending ceiling.
Next issue – bowed wall. Here my yardstick is sitting pretty squarely against this wall, in a corner .
But as I move it up the wall a little further – wow! – that wall takes a dip to the left. And it’s quite a dip! The wall has a bow in it.
I can get my next strip of wallpaper to cover that space. But the fallout will be that pattern motifs will hit the wall at different points, which means that the next piece to be placed after that, the pattern will not match perfectly at all points.
All right. So that previous corner had a bow. This one is out of plumb. Here you see my laser level showing that my wallpaper strip is hanging nice and plumb.
But move the laser to the corner and you see that it’s out of plumb .
Here’s a better example. Again, this causes the pattern to not match perfectly in the corners.
Another shot of the bowed wall, which, for various tech reasons, due to Word Press ‘s crappy New Editor , this shot got out of order and I was not able to place it with the others under the topic.
Papering around the electrical outlet , I had to unplug my light source. There was light coming in from the hall. But this paper, as well as the paint, were so dark that I couldn’t see well to work. Enter my Big Larry flashlight .
Small enough to fit in my toolbox , but really bright and dependable for when you need it.
The pattern is called Fantasy Tree and is by Breeze and was purchased through one of the showrooms in one of Houston’s decorative / design center s. It’s a nice non-woven material , easy to hang , easy to remove , durable and stain-resistant .

Plumbing Up Coming Out Of A Corner DRAFT

January 29, 2023
Here I’m hanging wallpaper, moving from right to left, preparing to turn this corner . You don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner (see previous post for more information). So I’ve cut a new strip, trimmed off excess on the right so the pattern on the new strip matches that on the existing strip, and am getting ready to proceed to the left.
But corners are never straight or plumb , and chair rail and ceilings are never perfectly level . So if I butt the new strip right up into the corner, if that corner is off-plumb , it will cause the new strip, and all subsequent strips, to be off-plumb. And that means that the design motifs will start tracking up or down hill as we move across the wall.
You want all the motifs to be at the same height along the ceiling and chair rail – within reason, of course, because if those features are not level, the motifs can’t help but move up or down.
Anyway, the best you can do is to hang your new strip perfectly plumb . So here you see I’ve shot my laser level at the wall at the far edge of the new strip. I’m butting my new strip up to that red line. I’m also using my 2′ bubble level as an extra guide.
Note that sometimes this means the new strip will not butt up perfectly in the corner, because it may tilt a bit to the left or right. When that happens, you just trim off the slight overlap. This means you may end up with a slight pattern mis-match in the corner. Usually not too noticeable.

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

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

1/2 Inch Width = A Full Strip

December 15, 2022

I’m fixin’n to hang faux grasscloth on this accent / headboard wall in a master bedroom in the Spring Branch area of Houston. The textured wall has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The material is 20.75″ (20 and 3/4″) wide . So here I’m measuring off how many strips of wallpaper I’ll need.
I’ve counted out seven strips across the wall, and have come to my last (8th) strip. Look at my pencil mark – it’s at 21.” Remember that the paper is 20 3/4″ wide. This means that, to cover that last, scant 1/4″ width , I’ll have to use a ninth strip. Which will be a whole 9′ high strip that’s 20.75″ wide.
Useing a 1/4″ wide strip off a 9′ long length leaves us with a whole lot of waste – paper / square footage just going into the trash.
This is, again, why you should not purchase wallpaper based on square footage. It’s more a matter of determining how many strips you will need – factoring in the pattern repeat, etc.
Even better , have the wallpaper installer make a site – visit and calculate for you.
Going a step further … Since this is a (faux) grasscloth and has not pattern match , the seams will all be visible . So we try to balance the panels on the wall. Meaning, the wall will look better with panels of equal-widths, instead of, for instance, eight panels at 21″ wide and one at 1/2″.
For the record, it also looks better to not have a seam fall at dead-center on the wall. Better to have that center panel straddle the mid-point.
With this particular install, that’s what I chose to do. I took the first (let’s just call it 21″ wide for ease) … I took the first 21″ wide panel and used my laser level to line it up so 10 1/2″ fell on either side of the center line on the wall. So, this first panel was straddling the center line.
From there, I used full-width (21″) panels one either side.
Until I got to the last panel on the left, and the last one on the right. These two ended up each being about 15″ wide. So I had seven panels that were 21″ wide, and then two flanking on either side that were 15″ wide. This gave the wall a nice, balanced, uniform look.
Yes, I could have hand-trimmed each strip to 19″ wide or whatever the math would have worked out to. But my option was simpler, faster, maintained uniformity between the majority of the panels, as well as uniform width on the two outer panels, eliminated the worry of gaps at the seams due to unevenly trimmed rigid vinyl goods, and the 6″ width difference wasn’t very noticeable. And, also, since this was a faux grasscloth and color variations were minimized, you could hardly see the seams, nor the width of the panels, anyway.
From 5′ away, this wall looked perfectly homogeneous .

Textured Faux Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

December 9, 2022

Before. I’ve skim-floated the textured wall , sanded it smooth , wiped off the residual dust , and then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer . Now we’re ready for wallpaper !
Done! Just a bit of texture , and a little neutral color to add some warmth to this large , mostly-grey , master bedroom . Oh – and some subtle sparkle . See following photos .
It looks like real grasscloth . But it’s a faux! To help these homeowners avoid the disappointing color variations and low durability of real grasscloth , I encouraged them to consider textured vinyl products that recreate the look and texture of the real stuff , but without the drawbacks. Please click and read my link to info about grasscloth on the right of this page.
Real grasscloth , and the fauxes , as well, have visible seams (very minimal issue with the fauxes). So it’s important to balance the strips , so you have equal widths of panels as you traverse the wall. In other words, you don’t want five 36″ wide strips and then one 20″ wide strip.
And you’ll want to center those strips on the wall. Position them so you have an equal number of equally-sized strips on both the right and left sides of the wall.
Another design concept is to not have a seam fall down the center of a wall. Rather, it just feels better aesthetically to have the strip straddle the center line .
Here I’m hanging my first strip, having already calculated where the center of the wall is, the center of the wallpaper panel is, measured over to where the seam should fall, and then placed the red line of my laser level so it will guide where I should butt the edge of the wallpaper against.
That’s my Bosch laser level gizmo sitting on the top of the headboard, shooting its red light beam onto the wall.
Another shot. I’m using the vertical light beam ; the horizontal beam is not relevant in this install .
This textured vinyl material does a pretty darned good job of recreating the look and feel of real grasscloth . This photo is from about 6′ away.
A closer look. Note the bit of silver shimmer in the background , that adds a luxe look to the overall effect .
The wallcovering is by York , one of my preferred brands . It’s on a non-woven backing , which has many advantages over traditional paper-papers. It’s breathable , stain-resistant , will strip off the wall easily and in one piece with minimal / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method (which is what I did today) or the paste the paper technique (which I use most of the time).
I felt that the seams laid down better and had less ” rebound ” edge curl from factory trimming than many of the heavier vinyl faux non-woven backed materials I’ve worked with. In other words, I liked this product pretty much!
this particular material was also thin and flexible , so it was easy to work with and manipulate if needed.
The home is in the Spring Branch area of Houston.

Preparing To Work With Black Wallpaper

November 12, 2022
Black wallpaper’s gonna go on this wall . Because wallpaper sometimes shrinks a tad as it dries , and because manufacturers can’t always guarantee a perfectly straight cut edge , it’s possible that some of the wall will peek out from behind the seams .
One way to prevent this is to stripe dark paint on the wall under where the seams will fall. This wallpaper is made of non-woven and won’t expand as it gets wet with paste . Each strip is 27″ wide . This makes it easy to measure and plot where each seam will fall.
The center of the pattern is not placed in the middle of the wallpaper strip, but 10″ in from the left edge . I used that information to calculate where the seams would fall .
The paint I use is just craft paint from Michael’s or Texas Art Supply . I thin it with water (in the orange Gatorade cap) and swipe it on the wall with that scrap of sponge . It’s important not to make the paint too thick , because you want the wallpaper to be adhering to the wallpaper primer , and too heavy a coat of craft paint will prevent that primer from doing its job.
After laying out where each seam will fall, I use this laser level to shoot a vertical red line onto the wall, as a guide for where to swipe on the black paint .
Because this wallpaper is printed on a white substrate, it’s possible that that backing will show at the seams. So I use black chalk – again from the art supply store – to run down the edges of the wallpaper .
There’s been an uptick in interest in dark colors in wallpaper these days.
This wallpaper is by Rifle Paper .