Posts Tagged ‘paper-backed’

Homeowner Tackled the Wallpaper Install – So, How’s That Working Out for You?

August 9, 2017

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The homeowner tried tackling this wallpaper installation herself, without even consulting so much as a YouTube video. She didn’t do an all-out bad job, and the paper is still stuck to the wall after three years. But there are a number of things that were done incorrectly.

1. Walls were not primed with a wallpaper primer

2. Caulk should have been run around the top of the backsplash

3. Paper was wrapped around the edge of door moldings and not trimmed.

4. Seams were overlapped

5. Overlapped areas were not secured with a “vinyl-over-vinyl” adhesive.

6. Pattern was not matched.

7. And, last but very important – a poor choice of wallpapers.

I am not a fan of paper-backed, solid-vinyl wallpapers, especially the pre-pasted, lower-end products. Do a Search here on various terms, and you will learn a lot about the material and its poor performance. IMO

In the meantime, when I take on this job, I will remove all the old paper, scrub the walls to remove paste residue, fix any dings in the walls, prime with an appropriate primer, hang the paper properly, by matching the pattern, butting the seams, and trimming correctly along baseboards and door moldings, etc., and, when finished, I will run clear caulk along the top of the vanity and other key areas, then give the family my “lecture” about leaving the door open and using the exhaust fan and avoiding long steamy showers.

Stripping Off The ’90’s To Reveal – The ’70’s

July 20, 2017

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Today I stripped paper off the walls of a typical entry in a typical ’60’s / ’70’s-era home.

The paper I removed was a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl in a striped design. This is a typical pattern, and a typical type of material, for that time.

Under it was the original paper from when the home was built in the ’70’s. If you remember, that was back in the days of Harvest Gold, Avacado Green, orange, and Flower Power. This vintage paper has three out of the four!

After all these years, and despite having been covered up by the vinyl wallcovering, the orange paper was in perfect shape – tight to the wall, and brilliantly colored. The vinyl paper, on the other hand, was curling at the edges and was discolored.

This is partly due to age, but mostly due to having been improperly installed… previous installer did not remove the old wallpaper, and did not prime the walls, plus these pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyls are just not good papers.

This home is in the Kirkwood / Briar Forest area of Houston.

Pouched Seams in Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

June 27, 2017

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I hung this paper in a master bathroom back in 2001, and it has held up very nicely. But if you look closely, you can see that the seams are “pouched” up just a little.

This is a type of paper called paper-backed solid vinyl, and often comes pre-pasted, and is usually toward the lower end of the price point. I don’t like these papers because they have a habit of doing just this – curling every so slightly at the seams.

The reason, I believe, is that humidity gets into the seams and then into the paper backing. The paper swells, and the vinyl surface has nowhere to go, so it curls backwards on itself.

Better alternatives are acrylic-coated papers, or the newer non-woven wallcoverings.

Wet Stripping and Dry Stripping Old Wallpaper

February 19, 2017
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I hung these papers 15-20 years ago. Still in perfect shape, too, I might add. 🙂

The homeowners are moving, and are trying to make the house as neutral as possible before it goes on the market. So the child-friendly lime green wallpaper had to go.

In the top photo, I am stripping a paper-backed solid vinyl paper. It is considered a peelable paper. These are pretty easy to get off, if you are patient. You peel off the top plastic printed layer, which usually comes off in large pieces. That leaves the tan paper backing stuck to the wall, which you can see as a “V” in the upper center of the photo. To the left of that area, I have wet the paper with a sponge and hot water, so it has turned darker tan. Once the water reactivates the adhesive, this backing will peel away from the wall easily; or it may need to be gently scraped off with a stiff 3″ putty knife. This process is pretty easy on the wall, and leaves little damage.

The second photo shows a thin paper wallpaper coming off by simply pulling on it. This is what is called a strippable paper. Interestingly enough, this paper was most strippable up high, where humidity from showering would have collected. Even strippable papers don’t always come off in one piece, and when they do, the process can put too much stress on the wall, so you might get pieces of the primer or underlying surfaces pulling off, too. To minimize damage to the wall, these papers can also be removed in the 2-step process outlined above. Since they are thinner, it’s a little harder to get the top inked layer off. But if you wet the surface first, which seems to make it stronger so it comes off in larger pieces, and then use that stiff 3″ putty knife to gently get under the top layer, and proceed as above.

Of course, what is under the paper has to do with it, too. In this case, my wonderful primer oil-based KILZ Original has provided a strong and water-resistant surface that sticks tightly to the underlying wall, and that let go of the wallpaper with no damage to the walls.

Don’t Buy Paper-Backed Vinyl Wallpapers – Bad Seams

February 4, 2017

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Today’s wallpaper was a pre-pasted solid-vinyl material with a somewhat gritty manila paper type backing. These papers are usually in the lower price spectrum. These papers are also my least favorite type of wallcovering.

In the upper right of the photo is a seam that is what I call pooched. Puckered just a little. Other parts of the seam gapped a little. There were many areas that curled and would not lie down flat against the wall. I tried three pasting methods with the paper, but none of them left really good looking seams.

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers? The problem is that the paper backing absorbs moisture from the wet paste and expands. That expansion pushes the vinyl surface backwards and creates the little bit of curl at the seams. Often, this will lie back down once the paper is good and dry (which can take a while, because it’s plastic and there is nowhere for the moisture to go because it can’t pass through the plastic). But not always.

Now, if the seams curl when they are wet with wallpaper paste, how do you think they will perform when your teenager takes 40-minute showers and steams up the room, or on those days when you turn off the A/C and open the windows to enjoy the fresh air – a.k.a. Houston Humidity?

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers?

This paper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings and was made in England.

Better options would be a vinyl coated paper (similar terminology, but a big difference in material content), or one of the newer non-woven substrates, preferably the thinner ones (like the Sure Strip line), rather than the thick, spongy, or stiff ones.

A Whole Dining Room’s Trash In One Neat Roll

June 18, 2016

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I like to make a game of seeing how long I can go without using a trash bag. Well, it’s been weeks, maybe months.

Today I was stripping off a paper-backed solid-vinyl wallpaper. The top vinyl (plastic) layer of this type of paper usually pull off in large pieces, even full-length strips. That’s what happened today. So I laid those out on the floor.

As I soaked the paper backing, it also let loose from the wall and came away in large, intact strips. I layered those on top of the vinyl sheets already on the floor.

Once all the paper was off the wall and stacked on the floor, all I had to do was to roll it all up into one neat package.

It’s amazing how large the dining room is, yet how small is this roll of recovered wallpaper.

Off to the trash bin you go. No trash bag required!

(Note: This wallpaper was made of vinyl and is not recyclable … when I have scraps of paper wallpaper, it goes into the recycling bin.)

Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl Wallpaper Not a Good Choice in Wet Areas

May 24, 2016

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Here is a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid-vinyl wallpaper that has been in a bathroom for 10-15 years. I am not fond of these papers in humid areas, because moisture tends to find its way into the seams and cause the paper backing to swell and expand, which causes the vinyl surface to bend backwards, causing a curled seam.

This room does not receive a lot of humidity, so the seams still looked good. However, along the top of the sink, where water splashes and sits, water was able to wick under the wallpaper and soak into the paper backing of the vinyl wallpaper. The paper stretched and curled, as you see along the top of the backsplash.

My solution, or, rather, prevention, of this is to run a bead of clear silicone caulk along the top of the backsplash where the wallpaper meets it. This prevents water from being wicked under the wallpaper, and should prevent curling seams for years to come.

Vinyl Papers and Bubbling

June 25, 2014

Digital ImageIf you look closely to the left of the mirror, you can see little air bubbles under the wallpaper. This is called “off-gassing” – I just call it “burps.” 🙂

This happens mostly with pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl wallpapers, and is a result of the wet backing trying to dry, but the moisture being trapped between the wall and the vinyl. Usually, small bubbles like those in the photo disappear as the paper dries.

But sometimes, like with this paper, very large, even fist-sized air pockets will develop. So I always go back over the room a few times, chasing these bubbles out with my smoothing brush or squeegee.

I usually recommend against these paper-backed solid-vinyl papers, and this is one reason why. Another reason is that, in humid rooms such as bathrooms, the backing tends to absorb moisture, which leads to curling at the seams, something that cannot be reglued or repaired.