Posts Tagged ‘painter’

Contractors and Painters Should NOT Prep Walls for Wallpaper

July 14, 2018


This home in the Meyerland neighborhood of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey, and has been redone, and is now ready for final touches, like decorating, i.e. – wallpaper!

The first three photos show how the contractor left the walls. It’s hard to conceive how anyone could think these walls are “ready for wallpaper.”

What you are looking at is where the contractor ripped off the top, inked layer of the original wallpaper. Most of them don’t realize that there is a backing layer of paper that is left on the wall, that should be removed, too. Simply soaking this with a wet sponge will reactivate the paste and allow the paper to be removed easily, and with no damage to the wall (esp. if there is a good primer underneath the paper). Read my page to the right “How to Strip Wallpaper” to see how this should be done.

Instead, this contractor left the paper backing on the wall. Some of this porous backing is exposed. Other areas have been covered with the paint that was used on the woodwork. This solvent-based paint “raises the grain” of the surface it’s applied to – see all the hairy fibers from the wallpaper backing that have gotten stuck in the paint and raised up? Some of them are more than 1/4″ high. They create a gritty feeling on the surface, like really coarse sandpaper.

The surface is uneven, and the bumps will show under the new paper. The unevenness also means that areas of the paper will not be able to contact the wall, so there will be gaps and air bubbles and poor adhesion. The backing of the original wallpaper has been exposed, and when new, wet, pasted wallpaper gets placed on top of that thirsty paper backing, it will absorb moisture, expand, and bubble.

I had three missions. 1.) Seal the surface 2.) Smooth the surface 3.) Prime with a wallpaper-appropriate primer.

I rolled on a coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz to seal the surface, so that my following treatments would not cause the paper backing to bubble. When that was dry, I skim-floated the wall with a coat of joint compound. In the areas where the hairs were 1/4″ high, the skim coat was pretty thick, and took a good while to dry. Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, then vacuumed the dust of off the floor, used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the walls, and then followed up with another coat of Gardz. It will soak into the joint compound and dry hard, forming a stable surface for the new paper to adhere to.

The last photo shows the wall once I finished.

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A Pet Peeve – Paint On The Bottom Of Crown Molding

July 15, 2016
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See the beautiful white crown molding at the top of the photo? See the tan wallpaper at the bottom of the photo? Now see the ridiculous mauve line of paint along the bottom edge of the crown molding? That’s not a shadow. It’s paint. Unnecessary and marring paint.

Before the wallpaper went up, the walls were painted a reddish mauve color. Some painter was either too lazy or too unskilled to “cut a neat line” between the wall and the bottom edge of the crown molding. Instead, he let his brush run paint up onto the bottom edge of the crown molding, eliminating the crisp line between the wooden molding and the wall.

I think that beautiful trim work is one of the defining features of a home. One of my pet peeves is when a painter compromises that by blurring the line of definition between molding and wall. I’ve even seen them paint the edges of door and window moldings, because it’s easier than taping and takes less skill than cutting a sharp line with a proper trim brush.

A Word to the Wise – Measuring, Ordering, Prepping Walls

May 15, 2016

People! Please do NOT let your painter or handyman or Uncle Billy “prep the walls for paper.” They may be good at painting or at general home repairs, but they do not know the intricacies of wallpaper, or what constitutes a properly smooth and sound and sealed surface, nor are they familiar with or know where to purchase wallpaper-specific primers. Trust me – I am much better at wall prep than they are.

As I tell my clients, “You can pay your painter to prep the walls, but you will have to pay me to do it over again.”

And, People! Please do NOT pull out your ruler and calculator and try to measure the room yourself, and do NOT go by any “guides” posted on-line, nor by the calculations of someone who works in a paint store and has a few wallpaper books on display.

Figuring up how much wallpaper to buy is multi-faceted, and can be tricky. Many concepts need to be factored in – type of paper, manufacturer, pattern repeat, width of paper, length of roll, height of wall, on and on.

And, People! Do NOT order your paper until the walls have been properly measured by a professional. A professional PAPERHANGER, that is, not a professional painter or Sheetrocker.

Double-Header – Two of My Pet Peeves in One Shot

March 2, 2015

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Pet Peeve #1: A lazy painter (or an unskilled one) who paints the wall and, instead of taping the bottom of the crown molding to protect it from wall paint, or using a good angled trim brush and a steady hand and some pride in his work, instead takes the easy out and lets his brush push wall paint up onto the bottom edge of the crown molding. Crown molding is so pretty, and one of the key factors that really class up a room. But without that bottom edge, you miss much of it’s glamor.

Pet Peeve #2: Someone skim-floated the walls in this room. But when he got to edges and corners, instead of tapering the mud off, he simply stopped floating, leaving what I call a “drop off” (a gap and thickness) right the bottom edge of the crown molding. This won’t look good if the wall is painted, and wallpaper sure won’t look good, nor have anything to hold on to, with that little gap there.

It’s pretty hard to undo this, so what I did was to skim-float the whole area. But my little trick in corners and at the edges of molding is to push a little of the joint compound into the corner, then take my finger and run it along the edge, creating a smooth joint and a good place for the wallpaper to grab ahold of and lie in. Yes, a little mud gets on the molding. But once I put the paper up, I will wipe any residual paste off the molding, and the joint compound wipes off easily at that time, too.

My method looks sooo much better.

Wonder Why I Inisit On Doing My Own Prep?

November 26, 2014

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The painter told the homeowner he had made the walls “smooth and ready for wallpaper.” He charged her for this mess, too.

Guess who had to sand, refloat, sand again, and then prime? But you can bet I got that wall looking great!

Moral: No matter what the contractor or painter says, the WALLPAPER HANGER is the correct person to prep walls for wallpaper.

Painters Ain’t Decorators

March 24, 2012

I hung wallpaper this week in a home where PhilPaint was doing painting work. http://philpaint.com/ Excellent company, by the way, with nice guys and good work.  They can even do things like repair Sheetrock and install crown molding, saving the homeowner having to hire multiple companies.

Anyway, one of the painters would come into the room where I was working, to talk about wallpaper, and other topics. We had lots to talk about.

Then I mentioned how I had visited the client’s home to do the bid, and helped them look through wallpaper selection books. I started talking about pattern and scale and color and coordinating with furnishings, etc., and how much I enjoy helping people choose their papers.

Then I noticed the guy’s eyes starting to glaze over. He didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

“Don’t your painting clients ask you about color selections, or decorating ideas?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “They don’t ask, and I’m glad, because I would not know what to say about decorating.

Well, I guess that, from the customer’s point of view, paint and wallpaper are two different things. Paint mostly freshens a room, while maybe adding some personality if it’s a specific color. But wallpaper really makes a statement, and influences the whole feel and decor of the room. So the wallpaper choice really has a whole lot more to do with the final look of the room. And homeowners like to ask me my ideas about that.

Another thing is, I guess because I’m a gal, homeowners feel I’m more decorating-oriented, compared to the average painter guy, who would rather stick to his brushes and rollers than talk interior design.

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wallpaper installer houston, interior design, painter, homeowner

More Fun With Contractors and Wallpaper

April 15, 2010

You know how things come in threes? Well, here comes No. 2:

A few days ago, I got a call from a painter friend whose crew had accidentally damaged a client’s wallpaper while taping off areas in preparation for painting.

Well, the other day I got a call from another contractor, whose crew had accidentally damaged the client’s wallpaper while installing and working on new counter tops.

This is pretty common, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone was being careless. Countertops are heavy, and, while positioning them, it’s easy to bang into the walls and damage the wallcovering.

It’s also a reason why, when redoing a room, I like to be the LAST contractor to work, to lessen the chances that damage will be done to the new wallpaper.

In fact, just today, I got an e-mail from someone who read my post about Don’t Tape the Wallpaper!, who realized it would be better to have me come do the installation AFTER her painters were finished.

DON’T TAPE THE WALLPAPER!!

April 9, 2010

Please read the links at right to learn about me and my wallpaper installation business.

I got a frantic call from a painter buddy of mine the other day. It seems his crew was prepping a room, getting ready to spray paint a shower area. They were putting plastic over areas not to be painted, and using tape to hold the plastic in place. All standard proceedure.

The only problem was, the surface they were applying the tape to was wallpaper. And not a durable, tape-resistant type like solid vinyl, and not even the more delicate vinyl-coated paper, but a very expensive UNcoated PAPER paper.  And VERY expensive.

Yep, you guessed it – the tape pulled the ink right off the paper, and even lifted some of the paper away from the wall.

Moral: Don’t trust what labels say… Blue painter’s tape, green “removeable” tape…. NO tape can pressed onto wallpaper and then removed safely. There is ALWAYS the chance that it will lift the paper, remove some of the ink, or, most commonly, remove the top layer of paper.

Repairs can be tricky, and in some cases, impossible.

Best to leave the tape on the store shelf!