Posts Tagged ‘mold’

Ink Spots Bleed Through Wallpaper

July 8, 2018


Well, this has been a month of issues with stains on walls! I was smoothing these textured walls with joint compound, and noticed some red splotches on the paint. I studied them, but decided they were paint, which is stable and not a problem. But a little after I had skimmed over the spots, I looked again and noticed that the red color had bled through.

Evidently it was ink, or lipstick, or child’s crayon, or some other such substance. Along with rust, blood, water, oil, mold and mildew, and a few others, these materials will bleed through paint and wallpaper. It might not happen right away, but eventually you will notice stains on the paper.

These stains can be sealed with a stain-blocker. I like oil-based KILZ Original, but the shellac-based BIN primer is good, too. Water-borne sealers may be environmentally-friendly, but I don’t trust them to work as well.

But in this case, I preferred to just get rid of the questionable areas. I took a knife and dug out the part of the wall that had the red spots. Those are the chips I am holding in my hand. Then I skim-floated over the area to smooth it, and proceeded with my wall prep and wallpaper installation.

No more red spots showed their faces. ūüôā

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Mildew!

December 13, 2017


You can clearly see the mildew on the wall that was revealed when I removed the wallpaper. It shows up as the black rings / circles.

The mildew was caused by moisture trapped in the wall by both a leak in the roof or siding, and a leak from a bathroom that crept under the floor – compounded by being trapped inside the wall by a solid vinyl wallpaper that would not breathe or allow air to pass through. Another reason to avoid paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper.

Note: This issue was with mildew. Mildew is not nearly as dangerous as mold. Still, the homeowner took the contractor’s advice and had the drywall completely removed and replaced.

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.

Mildew Found Behind Wallpaper

September 20, 2017

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I removed a strip of paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper from the wall over a shower in a room used by two teenagers.  The type of paper (one of my least favorites), the humidity from the hot and heavy shower usage, the  lack of primer used by the previous installer, and an exterior wall that most likely had some moisture problems, all added up to a recipe for mildew.

I used bleach and then another mold / mildew product to kill and remove the mildew, then went over it with an oil-based stain-blocking sealer called KILZ.

Over the KILZ, I added a coat of wallpaper primer.  The two primers that I use most are the large cans in the last photo, and they each are used for different circumstances.

 

Wallpaper Coming Loose – Bad News for the Homeowner

July 25, 2017

I was called to do some repairs today, where the wallpaper I had put up two or three years ago was coming loose at the seams. There was one seam a few feet away from the corner involved, and then also the edge of the wallpaper that fell in that corner.

I reglued the loose seam, and then moved to the corner strip. Before fixing something, I like to understand what went wrong to cause the problem. If you know the underlying cause, you have a better chance of fixing it, and you also have the knowledge to prevent it from happening in the future.

But I could not figure out why this paper was not sticking to the wall. After a little investigating, I discovered … that there was a layer of black powdery mold behind the wallpaper.

After more investigating (which involved pulling the entire strip off the wall), we discovered that there was some kind of water leak, probably from the roof or the exterior wall, that was allowing moisture into the wall. Moisture is going to cause mold / mildew, but with the vinyl wallpaper on top of the wall, which won’t allow air to pass through, the situation is exasperated.

Needless to say, I ceased with the regluing. And needless to say, the poor homeowners have a larger situation on their hands, to find the source of the leak and get it sealed up, and the wall repaired.

Stupid, Unresearched, and Misleading News Article About Wallpaper

June 29, 2017

A spot with this information (click link below) aired on the local news Monday, and since then it has popped up on news and information sites on the Internet. Like many such “news” stories, it is all sensation and no honest information.

The article purports that “wallpaper can make you sick.” However, what it really should say is that MOLD in the air can make you sick. The article tosses out this scary claim, but makes no explanation of what kind of wallpaper might be involved, what the conditions of the room are, what connection mold has with wallpaper, how common this situation is. I will give them credit for listing a (scant) few other possible causes of mold in a building.

Here are a few true facts that the reporter should have dug up and included in her story. Wallpaper itself does not support the growth of mold. In fact, acrylic-coated papers, pulp papers, non-woven material, and natural fibers (grasscloth) all allow air to pass through them.

Now, it is true that mold can grow behind some solid vinyl wallpapers that are commercial grade (and unlikely to be used in homes), because they don’t breathe. But conditions would have to be right for this to happen – improperly prepped walls, improperly installed wallpaper, humidity or dampness in the building, moisture inside the wall (leak in a pipe or roof), lack of air conditioning / heating, lack of air circulation or ventilation. And usually the mold just sits there. It’s when the wall surface is disturbed (removing old wallpaper) that the mold might be released into the air.

I sure hope that people don’t read the headline or the skimpy story, and fall for its misleading information, and avoid using wallpaper in their homes or offices. The fact is, a good quality wallpaper that is hung properly in a building that is maintained properly will enhance the setting, and give many years of beauty and “clean living.”

Here is the link. http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-workplace/Health-in-the-workplace/your-wallpaper-might-be-making-you-sick-20170626

Mystery Dots Killed With Kilz

August 1, 2015
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This powder room was originally painted a very dark brown. The new homeowner had her painters cover it with a good quality sealer and stain blocker, oil-based KILZ Original. This makes a good wallpaper primer, too. So I didn’t need to do any prep, but could just start hanging wallpaper.

But when I looked at the walls, I noticed some light dots all over one area. It looked to me like possibly something bleeding through – as if oil or mold or something had gotten onto the wall. This is a problem, because these substances can bleed through wallpaper and stain the surface.

Or – the dots could have simply been because the painter had a lump stuck to his roller, and it was leaving this pattern with each rotation of the roller.

But you never know, and I didn’t want to risk having something stain the new wallpaper. Even though I had been told that the room had been painted with KILZ, and I know that that product seals off stains and prevents bleed-through, I wanted to be extra sure. So I got my “emergency” quart of KILZ out of my van and daubed more on, on top of each of those little dots.

In the photo, you see some dots, and some daubs of KILZ.

A Repair Today

April 26, 2015

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I hung this “Snow Leopard” animal print wallpaper almost exactly a year ago, in a great room in a new home in the Galleria area of Houston. Slowly, a pink spot began to develop near the bottom of the wall, and it turned out to be an indicator of mold – caused by moisture inside the wall. The builder came in, peeled back a few feet of paper, cut into the wall, fixed whatever was leaking, and then patched the spot (third photo).

He did a pretty good job, but I wanted the wall to be smoother so no bumps would show under the wallpaper, so I refloated the area (meaning I covered it with a thin coat of plaster-like material), then used my cool tool heat gun to get it to dry quickly. Then I sanded, primed, and used the heat gun again to get the primer to dry quickly.

I could have patched in a new piece of wallpaper about 18″ above the floor, which would have been pretty well hidden by the large TV console. But the homeowner didn’t want a patched-in piece, with the potential for a visible horizontal splice / seam. So, in the first photo, I have removed the entire strip of wallpaper from the middle of the wall. It came off easily and in one piece, with just a few bits of backing still stuck to the wall … this is printed on one of the newer “non-woven” substrates, designed to be breathable and to come off the wall easily. It did!

Usually, I will strip off the damaged strip, and then all the other strips from that point until I reach a corner, and replace all of them. That’s because wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and each strip can expand at a little different rate, so each strip has to be hung sequentially, one after the other.

But these non-woven papers do not (generally) expand. So it is possible to remove just one strip and patch a new one into the same spot, and expect it to fit nicely. That’s what happened here.

I am not 100% thrilled with the way the seam on the left looks, because it is more visible than the other (older) seams on the wall, and even than the seam on the right side of the same strip. And I don’t know why that is. It’s possible that the strip came off a roll of a different run number. We had limited left-over paper to work with.

But the bottom line is, the homeowner was happy, and the wall is much nicer looking, now that that pink blob is gone!