Posts Tagged ‘out of plumb’

Geometric Pattern in a Powder Room – Flooded Home

May 20, 2018


This home in the Energy Corridor area of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August. A lower section of drywall had been cut out and replaced. The contractor’s wallpaper hanger put up this identical pattern. The homeowner wasn’t pleased with the job. To be honest, the installer did a pretty good job, in a room that was very difficult to hang. There were a few minor things that could have been done differently.

But what bothered the homeowner most was that the walls had not been smoothed properly before the paper went up. With that west-facing window blasting angled sunlight into the room, those irregular surface flaws were quite obvious. See the top two photos. (You may need to enlarge them.)

I stripped off the original paper and skim-floated the walls to make them as perfectly smooth as possible. I followed with a primer. (The previous installer had not primed the walls.) See third photo for walls that are ready to go.

This room was a major bugger bear to hang. For starters, there was a large metal mirror that protruded about 4″ from the wall, that could not be removed. This was directly over a pedestal sink. (The previous installer had the luxury of hanging the room before the sink was in place.) It’s hard to explain, but the logistics of winding wallpaper around these three-dimensional objects, preventing the paper from tearing, having the ridged and unforgiving pattern match on all planes, keeping the edges plumb, and keeping the edges straight so they would butt up with the next strip, all while fighting edges of the wallpaper that wanted to curl backwards, were extremely difficult.

In addition, the corners of the room were out of plumb, which pretty much guaranteed pattern mis-matches in all the corners. On a wild floral pattern, no one would notice. But with a geometric pattern like this trellis, the eye would catch even minor mis-matches.

Compounding all of that was the fact that nothing in the room was centered. The window was not in the center of the wall, nor was the toilet – and they were not aligned with each other, either. The sink was not centered on the mirror, the faucet was not in the center of the sink, and the spout was off-set from the handle. I finally decided to balance the trellis design on the mirror, and it did fall perfectly symmetrically on either side. The kicker is that the room is so narrow that you can’t stand back far enough to appreciate all my efforts. 😦

I probably spent 40 minutes plotting how to tackle the first wall, and then a full two hours hanging the first two strips (the ones around the mirror and sink) (sorry – the room was too small to get good pics). The longer I worked, the more appreciation I had for the previous installer and the job she had done.

In the end, the walls I had prepped were smooth, and there were no objectionable bumps or gouges showing under the paper. I pulled some tricks out of my hat and got the pattern to match in the corners pretty darned well.

That window with it’s danged strong light still was a foe, though. The wallpaper seams butted together just about perfectly. Yet because of the way the edges curled back when they got wet with paste, I fought to keep them down tight to the wall. Once dried, they were nice and flat. I was pretty content. But when the sun moved and light came through that window from a different angle – some of those seams looked positively horrid! The light was casting shadows and making it look like the seams were overlapped. Yet they were perfectly flat. The inclination is to go over and over the seams with various tools and try to “force” them to lie flatter – but this can burnish or otherwise damage the wallpaper or the underlying surface. The good news is that as the sun moved, and as the louvers on the shutters were adjusted, the shadows disappeared and the seams looked good.

Let’s hope that the homeowners see this room only in the most positive light. 🙂

This wallpaper is by York Wall, one of my favorite brands. Interestingly, the paper came with the correct label, but the instruction insert was for another line made by this same company. I’m glad that I was familiar with both products, and had the sense to disregard the info that was not relative.

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Last Corner – “Kill Point” – On a Trellis

April 5, 2015

Digital Image

I apologize for the dark photo, but this is actually pretty cool. The kill point is the last corner in a room, and the wallpaper pattern virtually always ends here in a mis-match. But today, the last corner matched absolutely perfectly. That is VERY rare! It is just a chance of fate that the pattern on the right got cut off at exactly the same point as the pattern on the left, so when they met in the corner, the match was perfect.

But, well, it didn’t exactly happen all that easily.

If you look closely at the wall on the right, you will see that the pattern is a little lower than the pattern on the left. That is because the corners of the room were not plumb, causing the wallpaper to hang crooked, and when that happens, the pattern will travel up or down hill at the ceiling line. I think it’s more important to match the pattern in the corners as precisely as possible, even if it means that the pattern is not straight along the ceiling line. Because this is so common, we try to make the pattern match best at eye level, and hope that people don’t spend too much time looking at the ceiling line.

Anyway, as you move around the room hanging paper, the other walls may be out of plumb, too, causing the subsequent strips of wallpaper to go off-plumb, and then their pattern will also travel up or down hill. That means that, by the time your last strip butts up against your first strip, your horizontal lines may not line up.

And that’s what happened here. But you hardly notice. Why? The wall on the right has a seam about 2″ from the corner – right were the two motifs meet. When I had the pattern perfectly matched across this seam, the silver “ring” at the join point matched perfectly with the one on the previous strip, but the black lines from the trellis on the right did not line up with the black lines on the left.

So what I did was, I carefully removed the narrow 2″ strip of paper and slid it a little higher on the wall, matching it to the black lines on the pattern on the left side of the corner. This threw off the match of the silver rings on the wall on the right. But, hey, it is only slightly off, and it’s 7′ high and over the door, so who’s gonna notice? But if those black lines on the trellis motif mis-matched, people would notice.

This was a small adjustment, but it made a world of difference in how the finished room looks.

I realize that this is the kind of post that only a paperhanger could follow and appreciate. But I was just so excited today, to be able to have a perfectly matched kill point!