Posts Tagged ‘original’

Replacing One Wall

April 13, 2019

I hung this sunburst medallion wallpaper in an entry in west Meyerland a year or two ago. Originally, there was a doorway in the middle of this wall that led into the adjoining room. The homeowners had the doorway closed off, and the opening was replaced with a new piece of Sheetrock. This needed to be covered with wallpaper.

New wallpaper could not be patched in, and the damaged areas along the wainscoting could not be readhered, so new paper had to be bought to cover the entire wall – as well as a section over the entry door.

The second and third photos show where the contractor had pulled the paper away from the wall. As you can see, it took some of the primer and the paint below it, too. I wish I knew what the contractor did to have this result, because when I stripped off the rest of the wallpaper, it came off easily and left the wall surface below it perfectly intact.

I suspect that he just yanked the paper, or possibly used heat or some weird chemical. The proper way to strip off wallpaper is to wet it, then separate the top, inked layer from the bottom, substrate layer, and pull the top layer gently off the wall. Then you take a sponge and bucket of water and wet the backing. Once that water reactivates the paste, the paper backing will come away from the wall easily and with little-to-no damage to the wall.

I also suspect that this paper was hung over KILZ Original oil-based primer, which was a superb primer because it stuck tight and because it was not affected or reactivated by the water used to soak the wallpaper backing. Unfortunately, the formula for that product changed due to EPA regulations, and wallpaper paste will no longer stick to it. These days, I’m using two alternative primers – both water-based, and I am curious to see how they hold up when wallpaper is stripped off them.

Back to today’s job … Once I got the paper off, I used joint compound (“mud”) to smooth over the uneven areas between the contractor’s stripping job and mine, then sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, primed, and then hung the new paper.

The wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut, and is called Bahia. It’s a non-woven product, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. As you can see, neither the contractor nor I had success with that. The tried and true separate-the-layers-and-saturate-the-backing-with-water method was the solution.

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Stripping Off What I Hung 20+ Years Ago

February 12, 2019


I hung this viny pattern back in the early 2000’s in dining room in the West U neighborhood of Houston. Now that it’s time for a change, I got to strip off what I had hung 20 years ago.

I was amazed at how easy it was, and at how there was NO damage to the walls.

The paper came away from the wall when I simply pulled it dry, but I was afraid of doing damage to the walls, especially at the seams. (When wallpaper dries, or over time with fluctuations in temperature and humidity, wallpaper can put stress on the seams, which can cause layers inside the wall to delaminate and come apart.)

To lessen the chance of putting stress on the seams, I used a sponge to put water on the surface of the paper. Because it was paper (not vinyl), water was able to penetrate, and reactivate the paste that was holding the paper to the wall. I made many trips around the room, soaking the paper each time. The more water that was able to soak into the paper, the softer the paste became, and the easier it was to pull the paper away from the wall.

Usually, the inked top layer of paper separates from the paper backing, and then you sponge water onto the backing layer, which reactivates the paste and then it comes away pretty easily. But in this case, the top and backing layers stayed together, and came off in one intact piece. This virtually never happens.

Note that I am pulling down, and not away from the wall. Pulling downwards minimizes stress on the wall. And I am pulling slowly and gently – not yanking.

What’s better – there was absolutely NO damage to the walls. Not one bit of primer pulled away from the surface, not one seam gave way, nothing to patch.

Why? Because when I prepped these walls 20 years ago, I did a proper job. I skim floated the textured walls to smooth them, removed all residual dust with a damp sponge, then primed with oil-based KILZ Original – great stuff, for many reasons. It holds tightly to the surface, it won’t rewet when water is sponged on the surface, it’s strong enough to resist double-cutting (strokes with a razor blade), it dries thin and smooth, and much more.

I wish I could still use KILZ Original. It was a superior primer for wallpaper (as well as stain-blocker). Unfortunately, EPA regulations have required manufacturers to make changes to their product, and wallpaper paste will no longer adhere to it.

I’m using alternatives now, and am pleased with the results. …Although I have not had experience stripping paper off these new products, so time will tell about that.

But these photographs of my experiences yesterday show what a superlative product the original KILZ Original was, and how important it is to take the time to prep a wall properly before hanging wallpaper.

Treating Mildew on Walls Before Wallpapering

July 11, 2018


When the old wallpaper was pulled off, surprises were revealed! Here you see mildew (don’t worry, it’s not mold) that had grown under the paper where a water leak had lead to damp conditions, probably exacerbated by the thick, non-breathing, vinyl wallpaper.

Mildew will bleed through wallpaper, and it can also create a powdery colony that will not provide a stable surface for the wallpaper to grab ahold of.

To kill the mildew, I washed it with full-strength bleach. When that was dry, I went over it with an oil-based stain blocker. I like the product KILZ Original.

Wallpaper on a Window Valance

June 12, 2018


I hung a beautiful grasscloth in the West U. living room of this empty-nester couple a month ago. They were putting the room back together, including hanging the curtains. This window valance had been covered with padded fabric which matched the drapes. Since the drapes are being changed, the valance no longer worked. The couple thought that the valance would look better covered in the same material as the walls.

So … I brought the valance home, along with some left over wallpaper scraps, and covered it.

The photo is deceptive – the thing is about 7′-8′ long. At first I thought I could take it to work with me and do it while I was waiting for primer to dry, for instance. But it’s way too big and loppy to haul into someone else’s home and, would, of course, take more time than anticipated.

So it sat in my garage for a couple of weeks, until I finally found a spare moment (three hours, actually) to pull out my tools, set up my table, get out the measuring tape, and slap some paste on that puppy.

The homeowner had removed the upholstery and the padding, and hammered the staples down as flat as possible. Then I sealed the wood with oil-based KILZ Original stain blocker, to prevent any wood sap from bleeding through the wallpaper. Since wallpaper paste won’t stick to most oil-based products I followed that with a coat of wallpaper primer (Ultra Prime, Pro 977 by Roman’s). On the driveway under the June Houston sun, that didn’t take long to dry. 🙂

Then some careful measuring to get panels of equal width, pasting, and applying the grasscloth to the wooden frame. I used a special “super glue for wallpaper” (clear silicone caulk 🙂 ) for the edges, to be sure the grasscloth would be able to grip on to the uneven and rough wooden surfaces.

I was pleased with the way it turned out. And I know the homeowners will be happy to get the valance up on the wall, their curtains up, and their room put back together and ready to enjoy.

Mildew, Bleach, KILZ

June 7, 2018


Whooah! I stripped off wallpaper from this wall around a window in a home that had some water damage from Hurricane Harvey, to find this black powdery stuff – mildew. You don’t want to put wallpaper over a wall that has mildew, because the black stuff will continue to grow. And because it’s chalky / powdery, it the wallpaper will not stick to it. And it will also work its way through the wallpaper and create a stain on the surface.

I use bleach to kill the mildew and remove it from the wall. Once dry, I use KILZ Original oil-based stain blocker to seal the surface. In this case, I also skim-coated the wall, to make it nice and smooth. I will follow that with a coat of Gardz, a penetrating sealer that is also a good product to hang wallpaper on.

Repairing Water Stains from Flooding During Hurricane Harvey

May 2, 2018


This home in Bellaire (Houston) received damage from flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Water stains appeared on a small area of the wallpaper just above the baseboard in this powder room. Luckily, the homeowners had saved the paper left over from the original install, so I had material to use for the repair.

Certain substances, like grease, blood, smoke, rust, ink, tobacco, and water stains will bleed through wallpaper (and also paint and other materials, too). To prevent this, the discolorations must be treated with a stain-blocking sealer. Many of these are shellac-based, such as BIN, made by Zinsser, but there are others. I prefer oil-based KILZ Original (2nd photo).

I could have just cut some wallpaper and slapped it on top of the stain. But I wanted to be sure these flood survivors wouldn’t have to look at water stains again. So I used KILZ to cover the stains (3rd photo).

The next week, I came back to do the patch. Using my self-healing craft cutting mat with angles and measurements to trim on, along with a straightedge and razor blade, I cut appliqués to paste on top of the stained paper.

It wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because the wallpaper had to be hand-trimmed (use a razor blade to trim off the unprinted selvedge edge). And pasting the paper causes it to absorb moisture and expand, which can throw off the pattern match. So I was dealing with factors relative to what the other guy did and the products he used, compared to my own techniques and products / paste.

It took two tries, but with careful trimming and a little touch-up paint, the job turned out great (last photo).

I also used paint to cover some stains at the top of the baseboard, and also re-pasted some loose areas in other parts of the room (no picture).

Wallpaper Primers

April 20, 2017

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There are lots of “wallpaper hangers” out there who slap paper up on the wall without a thought to prep. To do the job right, and to help ensure that the paper will stay on the wall for years to come, one of the basic steps is to apply a good primer.

There are different primers that will work under wallpaper. Here are a few that I use, depending on what the situation is in the room.

Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 is a white-pigmented wallpaper-specific product, and it is my primer of choice.

But when I have skim-floated walls to smooth them, the new surface needs to be sealed, and Gardz is a wonderful product for that. It also seals and binds torn drywall. And it is also a good primer for wallpaper.

KILZ Original (oil-based) is called in when there are stains (water, rust, smoke, grease, etc.) or other problems that might bleed through the new wallpaper. For decades, KILZ was my go-to primer for wallpaper, too. But in recent years, to keep up with regulations from the EPA, the formula has changed. This primer may be more compatible with the environment, but the chemical make-up has changed, and wallpaper paste no longer wants to stick to it. So it’s used to seal stains, and then another wallpaper primer is applied on top of it.

Stripping Wallpaper

December 26, 2016

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Digital Image


Today I repapered a powder room that I have done at least twice before, over 20 years or so. The existing paper stripped off easily, in part because it was a pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl paper, and also because of the primer I used to seal the walls – oil-based KILZ Original. The primer protected the walls and kept them intact, and there was no damage to the walls whatsoever.

The photo shows all steps of removing this kind of wallpaper. The printed top vinyl / plastic layer is pulled off. With this kind of paper, the top layer usually separates and pulls off easily and in large pieces. This leaves a paper backing still stuck to the wall. This is the light tan area you see in the photo. I use a wet sponge to soak this layer. When it gets good and wet, it turns dark tan, as seen in the photo.

The next step is to remove this backing. Once it’s good and wet, the paste holding it to the wall will reactivate, and the wallpaper will peel away from the wall easily and in large pieces. Sometimes it might be necessary to scrape the paper off the wall, which can be done with a not-too-sharp 3″ stiff putty knife, taking care not to gouge into the wall surface.

Covering Rust – Rust Bleeds Through Wallpaper

April 13, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


The dark red stain on the edge of that outside corner is rust. It is coming from the metal bead used to define the corner when the house was built. The only problem is, in a steamy bathroom with poor ventilation, these metal beads are sometimes prone to rust.

And rust bleeds through wallpaper.

Before I started hanging the new, pastel-colored wallpaper, I had to block off the rust stains. Nothing tackles this job better than the original oil-based KILZ Original. I’ve taken a small brush and applied KILZ to a half-inch wide strip that runs the height of the wall. It dries in about an hour, so paper can be hung fairly quickly.

Other substances can stain wallpaper, so KILZ is good to have on hand. KILZ also seals off water stains, oil and tar, ink and markers, and odors, like smoke from cigarettes or fire.