Posts Tagged ‘pandemic’

Wall Prep Ahead of Wall Re-Do

July 20, 2022
This wallpaper in a Houston Heights townhome’s breakfast area was hung by “the contractor’s guy ” and he ran into some problems. First, I suspect the wall had not been adequately coated with a primer designed for use under wallpaper . This may be a large part of why the paper has come loose from the wall in places, and shrunk and gaps at the seams.
The wallpaper is an old-fashioned British pulp material , which is quite different from the non-woven material that this company usually prints on. If the installer was not familiar with hanging a pulp, yes, he can have a tough time of it.
There are other issues that the homeowner is unhappy with, such as tears, slices, patches, and, of course, these un-stuck seams. I’ve posted more pics previously, if you can Search to find them.
My task is to get the paper off and then prep the wall for hanging new material.
Most of the paper pulled off the wall easily. But there were areas where the guy had used a stronger adhesive to try to hold the edges down. Those would not come off the wall without causing damage to the wall. So I pulled off the top, inked layer and left the paper backing on the wall.
This stuff is porous and will bubble when coated with a water-borne primer , and with wallpaper wet with paste.
So I sealed these areas – I sealed the entire wall, in fact – with Gardz (by Zinsser ). This stuff is pretty incredible. It’s a thin, watery primer / sealer that soaks into the surface and binds loose components together, then dries hard and solid .
Latex paints and other water-based products (usually) won’t penetrate it, so won’t cause the underlying material to re-wet, expand , and bubble .
Just a note … due to pandemic and other supply chain related shortages , Gardz has become difficult to find. This can was about 1/4 full and I had it sitting behind my trash can, intending for weeks to toss it out. Now I’m glad that I procrastinated!
Once the Gardz sealer was dry, I skim-floated over it with joint compound , a.k.a. ” mud .” In most areas of the wall, my skim coat was as thin as possible, but I did have to make it much thicker over the areas with the paper backing stuck to the wall.
I set up three fans , and also used my heat gun , to get the smoothing compound to dry. I like the Plus 3 version made by the Sheetrock company. It sands easily and doesn’t make too much air-borne dust.
It took a couple of hours to dry. Then I sanded it smooth , vacuumed up the dust with my Shop Vac , used a damp sponge to get residual dust off the wall , and then let the wall dry once again.
Finally I applied a coat of my favorite wallpaper primer, Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman. I used a paint roller to roll it on to the main areas, and an angled trim brush to cut in around the ceiling and moldings.
Here is the wall all smoothed and primed .
Originally I had planned to strip , prep , and hang this half-wall all in one day. But ended up the prep took more time than I anticipated (about 8 hours ) , so we’ll let the primer dry overnight and save the wallpaper installation for another day.
The wallpaper pattern is called Strawberry Thief and is by the famous William Morris designer from the very early 1900’s . I’m sure seeing a surge in interest in his patterns, particularly this one. Do a Search to see other jobs I’ve done with it.

COVID Pandemic – Insight re Wallpaper ‘s Impact On Our Homes and Our Psyche

June 17, 2022

Taken from the current issue of The Installer , the newsletter of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ).

” The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent
shelter-in-place mandates brought home as
never before how crucial interior décor is to our
everyday lives. Surrounded by our own walls,
we learned that bland, dull interiors make for
a boring and dull life, while vibrant interiors
create a sense of energy and liveliness. “

Summer 2022 issue

Dining Room Faux Silk Repair – Foundation Shifting Twisted Drywall

December 14, 2021
Always save the leftovers from your wallpaper install! I hung this textured vinyl faux silk ” Wild Silk ” wallpaper by Thibaut ( # 839 T 344 ) at the beginning of the pandemic, a year and a half ago (April 2020 to see my blog post). Since then, the house had significant shifting of the foundation, which caused damage to the drywall over doorways. Here the homeowners’ ” guy ” has very skillfully cut into the Sheetrock, replaced studs inside the wall, and closed up the hole, leaving everything amazingly smooth, with no damage to the surrounding wallpaper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a contractor do work this well.
I didn’t get pictures of my “during.” But here is the area right after I used left over scraps to replace the missing piece. I used a double cut / splice to to meld the two strips together at the bottom. (sorry, no pic). It was tricky getting the replacement strip of wallpaper in there, because the new strip expanded and twisted differently from the original wallpaper. Too difficult to explain here, but the bottom line is that the new strip was too wide for the space, plus the pattern drifted and so would not line up on the left side of the new strip. All this is evidence, I believe, that, with time and weather, the wall continues to shift and stretch. I did a lot of tweaking and twimming and touching up with pastel. All said and done, it turned out great. The white line you’re seeing is fishing line hung from the ceiling – not the wallpaper. 🙂
Still, there was a bit of a white line at the edge of the original strip on the right side. (not pictured) This was caused by the contractor either abrading from overworking or from smoothing compound infiltrating into the edge of the wallpaper. Either way, it was extremely minor, and unavoidable. Still, it left a pretty noticeable white line along 18″ of seam area. In the photo above, I have used chalk pastels to color the edges and even out color differences. From three feet away, you can hardly see it!
Here are the artist’s pastels I used to disguise the white area. They’re from Texas Art Supply (right around the corner from me!) I also used these chalks successfully on a 2″ circle of wall where someone had either abraded the surface by rubbing, or possibly bleached the area. No pic of that, but I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Hallway Wallpaper Repair – Thibaut Honshu

December 11, 2021
This couple in the West University neighborhood of Houston loves color and avant garde – unexpected and fun! I hung this Honshu wallpaper by Thibaut in their small hallway at the beginning of the pandemic – April 2020. Since then, they decided to change the faucets and showerhead in the bathroom on the other side of this wall. To access the pipes, the plumber had to cut a hole in the drywall. The ‘guy’ that this couple uses did a fantastic job of cutting the drywall, preserving the wallpaper, and then patching the hole. You can even see that his cuts are perfectly level and plumb!
Slapping wallpaper patches over the two holes would have probably sufficed. But I wanted to make it better, so I stripped off and replaced the old wallpaper. This meant patching the guy’s drywall repairs. I didn’t get a photo, but I used drywall tape and joint compound to even out the areas. A heavy duty floor fan plus a heat gun helped get the smoothing compound to dry in a few hours. I sanded smooth and applied wallpaper primer, and ended up with what you see in the photo.
To conserve paper, instead of replacing the entire two strips from ceiling to floor, which could have caused some problems with matching the pattern on the left side, I patched in about one foot down from the ceiling line. To disguise the appliqued area, I used a scissors and trimmed around the wallpaper design, as you see here. This is less visible than a straight horizontal cut.
In this photo, the two strips have been put into place. You could never tell there was a hole (or two) !

Mold Growing Under Wallpaper

August 31, 2021

I hung this paper maybe a year before the Pandemic. It was a pretty new home, in the Towne Lake are of Cypress (NW Houston). Now, two or three years later, this pink patch has developed on the lower part of the powder room wall that backs up to the garage.

To me, my experience says this is mold.

There’s gotta be moisture inside the wall coming from somewhere.

The homeowner has already contacted the builder (thank goodness for warrantees!) and it’s certain that much of this wall will be torn out. Once the leak is fixed, the mold has been remediated, and the drywall patched, I will come in and replace the wallpaper.

This will entail either the one wall. Or possibly redoing the entire room.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut, and is called “Giselle.” The homeowner will replace it with exactly the same pattern and colorway.

Pandemic Shortages

August 6, 2021

Computer chips, furniture, home office supplies, flour, disinfectant, toilet paper and – building supplies. Just look at these empty shelves at my Sherwin-Williams store!

It’s a combination of not being able to obtain ingredients, along with increased demand as people spend more time at home and start those honey-do projects.

Luckily, I have not had trouble getting wallpaper paste or primer or other basic supplies (knock on wood!).

But I will ‘fess up to having stockpiled a small cache of most-needed items in my garage – just in case.

The Pandemic, Wild Patterns, and Zoom

July 25, 2021

The owners love the large home office in their new house, and it’s been a real boon while they are working from home during the COVID pandemic.

But they learned real quickly that wild wallpaper in the background doesn’t make for a professional meeting experience on Zoom!

So I stripped the paper off, and they will paint instead. This was a non-woven material, and stripped off the wall fairly easily by simply pulling – carefully. That’s exactly what non-wovens were designed to do.

Rather than try to strip the whole panel off the wall, which does put quite a bit of stress on the wall surface below, another option is to separate the top, inked layer from the backing, as you see in the second photo. The white is the backing left on the wall. This is pretty easy to do, in most cases.

Then all you need to do is to use a sponge and bucket of water to soak that backing until the paste becomes soft and reactivated. Then it’s easy to peel the backing away from the wall. This puts virtually no stress on the wall and usually leaves you with a perfectly intact surface underneath.

There are more detailed instructions on my “How to Strip Wallpaper” page link to the right.

Katie Kime – Tough Install Today

July 21, 2021
The Great Persuader

The previous wallpapers I’ve hung by Katie Kime have been on a non-woven substrate, a dependable synthetic material that has many positives going for it – light weight, breathable, stain-resistant, strips off the wall easily when redecorating, doesn’t expand when wet with paste so you can paste the wall as an alternative to pasting the paper, doesn’t expand so you can hang pasted strips immediately (no booking time), and your measurements will be accurate.

So I was surprised today by the weight of this material. And I could tell immediately that it was not their usual non-woven material.

Through a 20-minute Chat with their Customer Service (which is excellent, by the way), they told me that, due to the construction supply shortages related to the COVID pandemic, they are currently unable to get their usual materials, os have temporarily switched to a vinyl.

The backing looks like non-woven to me, but their instructions say to paste the paper and then book for 10 minutes, like a traditional paper. I suspect these instructions are outdated, but I followed them anyway.

This stuff was very thick and stiff … like working with a sheet of plastic. It was hard to press tightly into corners and to get tight cuts at ceiling and floor. I had to push really hard with a brand new blade to even slice through it.

I even had to use the heat gun to “melt” the material a bit so it would fit into and around inside and outside corners. This stuff would be the dickens to hang in a room with intricate cuts and turns.

WOW! Color in Home Office

March 14, 2021

You won’t fall asleep at your desk with this wild stuff going on!

Due to the pandemic, this homeowner is now working from home. A downstairs bedroom was converted to her home office. She wanted something to cheer up the slightly dark space, as well as bring some nature into the room.

The wallpaper pattern is “Summer Garden,” by Milton & King, a British company. This comes as a 2-roll set, with an “A” roll and a “B” roll, with each roll starting with a different pattern motif at the top. Really, it’s just a standard drop match, but that’s the way M&K packages it.

M&K is nice to work with, and will hold up nicely. It is a non-woven material, which contains polyester rather than tree or cotton fiber. It doesn’t expand when wet with paste, so there is no booking or waiting time. And it can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, which is what I did today – easy-peasy on a single accent wall like this.

The first photo shows the primed wall, ready for paper, with the original tan wall color visible on the walls on either side. In the third photo, I am laying out the bolts, getting a handle on how the pattern match and the “A” and “B” thing work. The layouts with M&K tend to differ, depending on the particular pattern.

The townhome is in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Tailored and White-Washed Cork Wallpaper – Home Office

February 13, 2021

During the pandemic, the man and wife are both working from home … in the same improvised home office … and getting on each other’s nerves. The lady of the house decreed it’s time for the guy to move out!

So they commandeered the home’s original living room and are turning it into an office for him.

They wanted something to warm the look of the four all-white walls, while maintaining an air of professionalism and business, and at the same time being a choice that could transition to another use, once the pandemic ends and the room no longer needs to serve as an office.

This white-washed cork wallpaper with flecks of gold is the perfect choice for an accent wall behind the man’s desk.

As with all natural material wallpapers, you can expect shading and color variations between and even within strips. This one turned out pretty homogeneous.

I don’t have information on the brand or manufacturer. The material is natural cork, which is applied to the paper backing in bocks approximately 6″ square. It comes 3′ wide x 24′ long, and is a paste-the-material product.

The rather contemporary home is located in Bellaire (Houston).