Posts Tagged ‘painters’

Cole & Son “Woods” in Bellaire Powder Room

January 7, 2018


This family’s home in Bellaire had been damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Four months later, much of the home has been fixed, but the house is still not livable yet and there is still much work to be done. The mom and dad are both at the point where they want just one room done, one room that is pretty, and a little normalcy back in their lives.

I, personally, think they are rushing things a bit (because I like wallpaper to be the very last element done in a home), but the wife assured me she would make sure that other contractors (painters, floor guys, plumbers, electricians, etc., would not damage the wallpaper.

The mom originally planned to have the powder room painted. She was at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet to look at paint samples, and happened to glimpse a sample of this wallpaper pattern. “Woods” by Cole & Son is a popular pattern (I have hung it many times – do a search for previous posts), and it pulled her in immediately.

The powder room is large, and “Woods” was a wonderful choice for it. It fills the wall space nicely, and adds a lot of upward movement. It also adds an element of contemporary style, which the homeowner wanted to add to her previously-traditional styled home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is a non-woven material and uses a paste-the-wall install technique (rather than paste-the-paper). It was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

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Repainting Woodwork? Don’t Let Painters Tape the Wallpaper!

July 3, 2017

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More Reasons NOT to Let the Painters Prep the Walls for Wallpaper

May 16, 2016
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This week, I got at least three calls / e-mails that declared: “Our painters prepped the walls for you, so everything is ready to go.” NOT TRUE! Painters are good at painting, and at prepping walls and woodwork for paint. For PAINT. So why would you have them prep the walls for WALLPAPER?

I run into this a lot. I think the painters are at the house working on something else (like PAINT), and they want to pick up a little extra money, so they tell the homeowners that they can prep the walls for the paperhanger. Folks – don’t fall for it. Let the wallpaper professional do what he / she is good at. Let the WALLPAPER HANGER prep the walls, not the painter (or anyone else).

Here’s what I encountered today. The walls in this bathroom were originally textured. The painters (or contractor or some other worker) skim floated the walls to smooth them. They did a decent job. In the middle of the walls.

But look closer. These guys did not bother to remove the switch plates or the light fixtures (top photo), so there are rough areas under where the new wallpaper will go, plus a difference in height of the wall surface. I always remove towel bars and light fixtures and smooth the wall as completely as possible.

They also did not get the smoothing compound tightly into corners or along the ceiling and baseboards (second photo). This leaves a gap or jagged area where the wallpaper is supposed to be trying to hold onto the wall. Not good at all. I ask myself, “Is this a good bed for the wallpaper to lie in?” What you see in the photo is not. I always squish the smoothing compound into the corner, and then take my finger and run it along there, like you would with caulk, creating a smooth transition, which gives the wallpaper something solid to grab ahold of.

The painters did a good job of sanding the walls smooth, but they did not wipe dust off the walls. Nothing sticks to dust. Not paint, not primer, and not wallpaper. These things will “kinda” stick, but once tension / torque is put on the wall (by drying / shrinking paint or wallpaper), the subsurface is likely to let go, resulting in peeling paint or curling seams. It is imperative that sanding dust be wiped off the wall with a damp sponge, rinsed frequently, before paint or wallpaper are applied.

One e-mail I got the week stated that the painters had “prepped the walls” (whatever that means), and then applied KILZ 2 as a primer. “These guys prep walls for a high-end interior designer all the time, and this is what they use.” But why would you not ask the paperhanger who is going to hang the paper which primer he / she prefers? KILZ 2 is a sealer and stain blocker. It is not a wallpaper primer. It was developed as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to KILZ Original, but is not nearly as good. It is also latex, which is not a good choice under wallpaper.

Once a product is on the wall, it’s on there. You can’t get it off. So you can only go over it with something more suitable. This results in more and more layers piled up on the wall, some of which may be compatible and may adhere to one another, and some of which may not. Now put paste, wallpaper, and tension-while-drying on top of that. See where this is going?

If you want to have your painter prep the walls for wallpaper – go ahead. But as I tell my clients: You can pay your painter to “prep the walls,” but you’re going to pay me to do it over again.

Coordinating Companion Papers in a Powder Room

December 13, 2015
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These homeowners had their painters strip off the old (dark red) wallpaper, and were eager to get the new wallpaper up in time for their annual Christmas Eve party. Even though I am booked up with work through most of March, I had an unexpected opening, and was able to get their paper up today.

It was a little nip-and-tuck, though, because they had ordered their paper without first consulting a paperhanger, and, as commonly happens, they ordered too little. 😦 So, they had to pay mega bucks to get the necessary double roll shipped via 2nd Day Air, smack in the middle of the holiday shipping season. Happily, it got here 12 hours before the install day, and I was able to pick it up from the wallpaper store, to save the client the trip into town. We were also lucky that it was the same run number.

The painters had done a good enough job stripping off the old paper, and originally, I thought all that I would have to do would be to prime the walls. But once I got to scrutinizing the walls, particularly the corners and edges, I knew that the walls could be in better shape. So I skim-floated and sanded just about everything, creating a very smooth, homogenous surface for the new wallpaper. All this added about three hours to my workday, plus some dust from sanding (which I vacuumed and wiped up).

The job would have looked good enough if I had hung the paper on the painters’ “prepped” walls. But I was glad that I had taken the extra time and labor to smooth the walls and ceiling, because the finished job looked fantastic, with no uneven areas or bumps showing under the paper, nor any areas raising questions regarding adhesion.

I am not usually a fan of wallpaper on the ceiling, especially when it’s a dark paper. But in small powder rooms, it can be very appealing – some designers call this sort of treatment in a small room a “jewel box.”

The two wallpaper patterns are by Designer Wallpapers, which is by Seabrook Wallpaper. They are in the same colorway, and are designed to work together, as coordinating, or companion, patterns.

The murky brown, fuzzily striped pattern went on the ceiling. A coordinating brown, hazy pattern went on the walls, and it featured a foggy medallion in a traditional motif. The finished room, with the dark vanity, dark granite countertop, and oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures, looked fantastic. To me, it looked like something out of a 14th Century castle.

Unfortunately, all of these elements don’t show up on the photos (Man, is it difficult to get photographs of tiny rooms!!) But you get the idea. And, I can tell you – this finished powder room looks fantastic.

AND … it will be ready to receive guests at the homeowners’ party on Christmas Eve.

I hung this wallpaper in a powder room in Barker’s Landing, near I-10 / Memorial and Hwy 6, in west Houston. (Interestingly enough, I had done another job, in a dining room, in this same subdivision, just a few months ago.) It is by Designer Wallpapers, which is made by Seabrook, and was unusually nice to work with. Pattern numbers are FR61205 and FR61405. It was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

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.

Do NOT Put Tape On The Wallpaper!

July 17, 2015
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Sometimes, after I’ve spent many hours wallpapering a room, the home owner will say, “We’re having the painters come tomorrow, to paint the trim and ceiling.”

And I know just what will happen. In order to protect the new wallpaper, and to help get a crisp line with their paint, the painters will put blue tape along the edge of the wallpaper.

Do NOT do this! Never!!

Folks! No matter what you have heard, no matter what the manufacturer says about how their tape will easily peel away from surfaces – IT IS NOT TRUE. At least, not with most wallpapers on the market today.

As you can see in this photo, when tape was removed, the top, inked layer of this wallpaper was pulled away from the backing, leaving a white void. And, no, the wallpaper installer canNOT “fix it.” Well – sometimes. But usually, even with damage to just small areas, often the paper is destroyed, and the only solution is to remove it and replace it – all of it.

Bottom line: If you are going to paint, or do other work in the room, do it beFORE the wallpaper goes up. And, if that’s not possible, at any rate, do NOT put tape on the wallpaper.

Why Have I Not Removed the Switchplate Covers?

November 13, 2014

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Some painters are proud of how well they can “cut a line,” meaning, how neatly they can paint right up to switchplate covers. Some paperhangers don’t remove them, either. I call this plain lazy. It’s a little more work to remove the covers and keep track of the screws, but it looks much better to have the paint and wallpaper go behind the plates, and it keeps the paper from curling up, too.

Yet, in this room, I have finished the priming (except for that Sheetrock patch in the corner, which I will sand and prime tomorrow), but I have not removed the outlet and switchplate covers. I have not removed the light fixtures yet, either. Why?

Well, this family has young children. Since I will not be hanging the paper until tomorrow, I wanted them to have light in the room overnight, so I left their fixtures in place. And because of the slight chance of a child touching an exposed electrical wire, I opted to keep the switchplate covers in place for now.

First thing tomorrow, I’ll remove the covers and the light sconces, and rig up temporary lighting so I can see. Then I’ll attend to the patch, then spot prime the areas that did not get a coat of primer today.

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.