Posts Tagged ‘paper’

“I Should Have Done This Years Ago” – Adding Color to a Previously Brown-and-Bleak Bathroom

February 25, 2018


Sorry, I didn’t get ‘before’ photos – but it was a ’70’s era brown-and-gold-disco-theme paper that didn’t fill the space well, and it felt heartless.

This new lavender-colored wallpaper isn’t much brighter than the old brown paper, but it does have a lot of life. The vines in the floral pattern have an upward movement that engages the eye. The scale and pattern fill the space nicely (this bathroom has very high ceilings).

Best of all, the lavender color – while subdued – is a real game-changer. The room finally, after nearly 25 years, has color and vibrancy.

While I was working, and as the wallpaper began to cover more and more walls, every time the homeowner walked into the room, she said, “Why didn’t I do this YEARS AGO?!”

This is a large master bathroom in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston. It’s a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl paper by Exclusive Wallcoverings, and was sold by Sherwin-Williams.

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Stay Away From Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl Wallpapers

February 21, 2018

Wallpaper - Curlinig Seam, Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl, Mylar
Paper-backed solid vinyl papers are about my least favorite of all papers. The main reason is that they tend to curl at the seams, especially when there is humidity present.

The issue is that, IMO, the gritty manila-type paper backing is porous, and so it will pull moisture and humidity out of the air when the room is under humid conditions (teenagers taking long hot showers). Once this happens, humidity / moisture can enter the seam and soak into the paper backing, the vinyl surface can delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing, causing the surface to curl away from the substrate / backing. This is what you see in the photo.

Because the two layers of the wallpaper have actually come apart, it is also very difficult to paste back against the wall. It would be far better to remove all the wallpaper, properly prep the surface (smooth, primer), and then hang the new wallpaper.

Brightly Nautical Wallpaper in a Master Bathroom

July 8, 2017

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I didn’t get pictures of the original wallpaper, but it was a pre-pasted, paper-backed solid vinyl (my least favorite kind) and had been poorly installed on un-primed bare drywall. Over the 12 years it was up, humidity from the bathroom had penetrated the seams and caused the paper to curl.

This paper (not vinyl) wallpaper, hung over properly primed walls, will cling tightly to the wall and perform well for many years to come. Plus, it’s bright and pretty and adds a lot of life to the room.

One shot shows the oceanic paper in the main room, looking into the potty / water closet, which has been papered in a coordinating yellow striped pattern. I really like using two papers this way. See tomorrow’s post for pics of the potty room.

This home is in West University Place (Houston). The wallpaper pattern is #839-T-6701 by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Fun Rainbow Fan Pattern in a Hall Bathroom

June 22, 2017

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Another all-white bathroom goes from dull to lively and fun, thanks to wallpaper!

This pattern is called Chou Chou, and is by Sister Parish Design. The substrate was paper, and it was a hand-trim product. It was positively lovely to work with.

The pattern, however, was NOT. Those rainbows look alike, but they are not. It was the Devil trying to tell one blue dot from another. Add to that extremely off-plumb walls, bowed walls, and an unlevel ceiling, plus the selvedge edge obscuring the pattern motif at the edges of the paper. I spent more time trying to match up dots than I did hanging paper.

The room had some tricky elements to it, too, so this install took way longer than I had anticipated or planned for. Let’s just say, the homeowners gave me a key, told me how to let myself out and lock up, and went to bed.

So it was a loooong work day (night). Still, it turned out looking fantastic.

This home is in the Galleria area of Houston. The interior designer for the job is Layne Ogden.

A Good Reason Not to Double-Cut

April 10, 2017

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A double-cut is a paperhanger’s term for splicing two strips of wallpaper together. The edges of the strips are overlapped about 1″ on the wall, and then, bracing against a straightedge, a sharp razor blade and plenty of pressure are used to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Remove excess paper from both layers, and you have a perfectly butted seam.

The only problem is that it’s virtually impossible to do this without scoring into the wall, slicing through the top layer (or more). This cut makes the surface unstable, and when the new wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension (torque) on the wall’s surface. This shrinking and tension can cause the wall to split and curl back, leaving a gap or a gaping wallpaper seam.

This is what you see in the photo.

To remedy this, I wanted to bridge the gap with something that would move with any shifting in the drywall, and that would not cause ridges under the new paper.

The new wallpaper was a thick, textured material, so I was not overly worried about ridges from the patch telegraphing through it.

I used strips from the paper backing of the old wallpaper / grasscloth I had just stripped off the wall to cover the cut wall areas. I tore the patches, rather than cutting, because the “feathered” edges of the torn paper would be less noticeable under the new paper than a sharp, straight edge would be.

The strips were wet from having been stripped off the wall with water, and the wall’s surface had damp paste residue remaining on it, so the patching strips adhered nicely to the wall surface.

But, to be sure, I brushed on Gardz, a penetrating sealer and “problem wall solver.” It soaked in, bound the surfaces together, dried, and made a taught, strong surface for the new wallpaper to go over.

Still, I made sure that my seams did not fall in the same exact spots as these compromised areas of wall. That greatly reduces the possibility of seams in the new wallpaper from curling back or pulling away from the wall.

As it turns out, because of the way I engineered the wall and various other factors, I did end up doing a double cut splice over this door. But I made sure it was not in the same place as the compromised wall surface. In addition, I protected the wall by putting a thin polystyrene (plastic) strip under the wallpaper before I cut, so that when I pressed my razor blade hard to cut through the two layers of cork, it did not damage the wall. Sorry, no pics, but there are other photos of that process on my blog, if you want to do a Search.

Don’t Use Vinyl In Rooms That Have Drippy Water Or High Humidity

November 9, 2016
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I am getting ready to strip off this paper, which I hung more than a decade ago. (I also hung the previous paper, about 20 years ago, so this will be my third time to paper this powder room!)

The first photo is a seam that happened to fall just where the hand towel hung. Over the years, as people reached for the towel, water dripped from their hand and onto the wallpaper, and then was wicked into the seam. The paper backing would become wet, and swell. Over time, the top vinyl layer delaminated from the paper backing, curling backwards.

The same thing has happened in the two other photos, which show the baseboard around the sink, where, presumably, water also got dripped onto. (This is a home with active children.)

The other walls that were away from the wet areas were perfectly intact, from crown molding to baseboard.

The moral is, solid vinyl wallpaper with a paper backing is not a good choice in areas that will be exposed to water or humidity. Manufacturers try to market vinyl as “bathroom” wallpaper, because it is more washable than paper wallpapers, and because water will roll off its surface. But water will also get sucked into the seams, and cause the delaminating and curling that you see here.

Not surprisingly, these paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers tend to be at the lower end of the price range.

Much better choices are wallpaper made with a paper surface, or a vinyl-coated surface on a paper backing, or even the newer non-woven materials, especially the thinner ones.

Note that solid vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing is a whole ‘nother animal, and will hold up quite nicely in a splash-prone area.

In all cases, I like to run a bead of clear caulk around the top of the sink, to prevent splashed water from being wicked up under the wallpaper.

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.)

It’s Great When Clients Send Me This Information

June 5, 2016

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This the backside of a wallpaper sample in a selection book. The client has not always made a choice when I first visit the home and measure the room. With this information, I can recheck the measurements and factor in the pattern repeat, pattern match, and other factors, to be sure they’re ordering the right amount of paper.

Knowing the manufacturer is valuable, too, because some manufacturers package their goods in American rolls, and some package in European rolls, and call what I call a double roll a single roll. Most (but not all) grasscloth is 36″ wide, and that’s a whole different ball game. Once I know what the client is purchasing, I can advise them correctly on how much to buy.

It’s also helpful for me to know if I will be working with paper, vinyl, non-woven, grasscloth, or other materials, as some may require special paste or equipment. And it always fun to know what pattern and color I will be putting up.

Paper-Backed Vinyl Is Not Good In A Bath

April 24, 2016
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Oh, boy. I sure don’t like vinyl papers that are bonded to a paper backing. Here is a very visual reason why – Under humid conditions, they delaminate (surfaces separate) and curl.

This particular type of paper is about my absolute most detested, because of it’s propensity to curl. The material is typical of what was hung back in the ’70’s. Other issues factor in, like the type of primer used (or not used 😦 ), the paste used, type of paper backing, type of vinyl surface, age of home, ventilation in the room, and just how much steam is generated when the shower is used.

To be fair, this wallpaper had been up and looked good for a long, long time (possibly back to those ’70’s!). So maybe Father Time is just taking its toll.

And maybe Father Time has an ulterior motive … I mean, look at that paper! Isn’t it about time for a little update?!!

Beautiful British Birds & Foliage in a Powder Room

March 24, 2016
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I have hung this pattern a couple of times before, and I have to say, it is one of my all-time favorites. The idea of this pattern dates back to the 1800’s, so it is very historic and classic. It is by a British manufacturer, and one of the homeowners is from England, where they pretty well “wallpaper everything” – and generally in flowery prints – so this bird-and-foliage pattern felt like home to her.

She got a good deal on it, too. Bought new, this paper is about $150 a double roll. Well, she stumbled upon an unopened bolt at an art store for a steal, and snatched it up. Once I got to the house and measured, though, it was clear that she would need more paper. Once again, she got lucky, by finding two more bolts on ebay for a price way below retail.

Unfortunately, the run number of the original paper did not match the run number of the new ebay paper, so we had the potential for color variations between strips. Also, the room really should have had four bolts, not the three we had.

But I measured the walls carefully, counted how many strips would be needed, figured where I would be able to fudge on the pattern, and then rolled out the paper to see how we would do. It turned out that this homeowner was, once again, lucky, because the baseboard and crown molding in the room reduced the wall height from 8′ to 7′ – and that was just enough to allow me to get four strips of paper from each bolt, instead of the usual three.

There was just enough paper to do the room, and I was able to keep the different runs on separate walls, so there were no eye-jarring color variations between strips. We ended up with, literally, about 2′ of paper left over. Whew!

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is printed on a traditional pulp substrate, different from the non-woven material that they are using these days for much of their paper. Pulp papers do not have a protective coatings so they will look wet if they get splashed by water. They also will not stand up to stains or spills of any kind, and you have to be careful not to touch the paper when reaching for a light switch, or the paper may discolor from oils in your hands.

That said, I love the pulps, because the colors and inks and matt finish are unique and beautiful. They lie flat on your wall and don’t have issues with curling at the seams or delaminating like vinyl papers sometimes do.

I hung this in the powder room of a 1930’s home in Riverside (near downtown Houston).  Most everything in the home (floors, tile, sinks, faucets, windows, doors, doorknobs, stairway’s iron railing, telephone nook, stained glass windows, Art Deco features, on and on) are original to the home, and are in perfect condition.  The home even has plaster walls!   These elements are reveared and will be preserved by the homeowners.    It was a real honor to work there.