Posts Tagged ‘paste residue’

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

August 9, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


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.

Runny Ink

March 29, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Look under the dark leaf. See the smears of green ink running downward?

The manufacturer possibly is using an “eco-friendly” water- or vegetable-based ink, and it is not stable when it gets wet. Since this is a pre-pasted wallpaper and is designed to be run through a water tray to activate the paste, it is impossible to not get it really wet. While positioning the paper on the wall and wiping off paste residue, even lightly wiping the surface with a damp rag would cause the ink to run. (Wiping in the opposite direction would push the ink back to where it was supposed to be.)

There are alternate ways to paste this type of paper, but since I had started with the manufacturer’s recommended method, I pretty much had to continue, since switching to another method might alter various aspects of the paper’s performance.

So I adjusted my usual techniques, and avoided wiping the paper with a damp rag, and instead used dry paper towels – lots of them.

Stripping Wallpaper

January 22, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


Here is a shot that shows all of the stages of stripping wallpaper.

First you see the striped wallpaper. This particular one is a paper-backed solid vinyl, which I find easier to remove than many others, or at least, ut causes less damage to the wall (usually).

The first step is to peel off this top layer. I use a stiff 3″ putty knife to get under the vinyl (without digging into the paper backing), and then pull off the vinyl. Usually, it will come off in large strips. But sometimes it breaks apart into little pieces, which take much longer to get off. In the photo, you can see both a large(ish) piece coming away from the wall, and jagged areas where I have been fighting spots that want to come off in tiny pieces.

Wallpapers made of different materials might peel off differently, but the concept and process are the same.

Once that top layer is off, you will be looking at the paper backing. In this photo, the backing is a light tan color.

The backing is then soaked with warm water and a sponge. Some people use chemicals or additives or even a steamer, but all I use is clean, hot water. The idea is to reactivate the paste, so it will release from the wall. Once the backing is wet, you can see it turn color, to a dark tan. With other types of paper, the backing might be white, or even difficult to see.

Once the backing is good and wet, the paste will loosen and, if you are lucky, it will pull away from the wall easily, as in the photo. In other instances, you might need to use that stiff 3″ putty knife to scrape it off the wall – gently, to avoid gouging onto the wall.

It’s really important that you not force the paper off the wall, or tear the Sheetrock in the process.

The underlying surface will have a lot to do with your success, too. If the previous installer primed the walls properly, or even if the builder applied a coat of cheap paint, you will have better results than if the paperhanger put the wallpaper directly onto the drywall.

The wall can then be wiped gently with the damp sponge to remove any paste residue.

Realize that this procedure will take a long time. You cannot expect to strip a whole room of wallpaper after dinner. Rushing, and trying to “force” the paper off the wall, along with not understanding the process, are major reasons for damage to the wall. Oh, and patience. You must exercise patience.

Brown Stuff on Woodwork

December 8, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


See that brown craggily line, running vertically up the door molding? That is residue from wallpaper paste, left by the previous installer – in 1994 !!

It’s common for paste to get onto ceilings and woodwork, but you’re supposed to wipe it off. Sometimes it’s hard to see, though. Or sometimes you think you’ve removed all the residue, but some hides from you and remains behind. And over time, the residue can darken and flake. That was the case in this home.

What gets me is, this brown cracked flaky stuff had stayed here, easy to see, for twenty years. That’s a shame, because all it took to remove it, after, yes, 20 years, was to wipe the woodwork with a damp rag.

We are lucky that the homeowners had not painted the woodwork in all this time, because putting paint over this paste residue would must surely cause the new paint to crackle and flake.

Note to self: Always wash, prime, and wipe off dust, from moldings or ceilings or other surfaces, before painting.

(I didn’t get pictures, but there was also crackly paint at the ceiling, caused by paste residue eating into the ceiling paint, which will cause bubbling, lifting, and cracking)

CUTE Paper – But It’s a Goner!

August 19, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

The girls who use these two bathrooms are getting older, and need a more sophisticated look. But the rooms are so darned cute, it hurt to strip the paper off!

What also hurt is that the previous installer did not prime the walls, but hung the wallpaper directly on the raw Sheetrock. That made it a lot harder to get the wallpaper off, plus increased the possibility of tearing the Sheetrock, which is a big problem. It was even harder to get the wallpaper off the greenboard, which was used around the shower areas.

The bottom photo is a good shot of how wallpaper is stripped off the wall. You can see how the top inked layer has been pulled off, leaving the white backing still on the wall. This layer is soaked with warm water and a sponge, and, once the paste has been reactivated and softened, that backing layer can be gently pulled or scraped away from the wall, revealing the Sheetrock underneath.

Once I got all the paper off, I washed the walls to remove paste residue, patched little dings in the walls, and then primed with Gardz, which is a good sealer in the event that any paste residue still clung to the walls.

Keeping Non-Removable Elements Clean

May 30, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

In the first photo, look at the paste residue another installer left on his client’s thermostat. This is easily avoidable, because the covers are usually simple to remove, and then you can detach the whole thing from the wall, put the wallpaper behind it (which looks much better than cutting around it, and prevents curling, too), and then replace the thermostat, perfectly clean.

On my job today, I encountered this 2-component alarm system. My original thought was to remove the outside boxes, much like a thermostat. But the thingie on the left wasn’t gonna budge from the wall, and the big box on the right had so many wires and intimidating stuff inside it that I quickly closed the lid and opted to work around it.

It’s possible to put the paper up, smear paste on the boxes, and then go back and wipe it off. We wipe paste off all sorts of things all the time, like baseboards and moldings, mirrors and window glass, etc.

But these boxes were complicated, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning them afterward. So I taped plastic over them, then worked the wet wallpaper around them. The wet paste got on the plastic, but not on the boxes. Once I finished manipulating the paper into place, all I had to do was remove the plastic and the tape, wipe a very few minor areas, and it was all nice and clean and ready to go.

WHAT is the Brown Stuff?

December 24, 2014

Digital Image
In the background, you see my primed and ready-to-accept-wallpaper wall. On top of the door frame, you see some dark reddish-brown streaks. These are remnants of paste from left from the previous wallpaper installer. I found these reminders in all three rooms I papered in this home.

In the photo, the dark red paste is most likely clay-based, a type of adhesive I don’t like to use, because, although it has high tack and holds the paper well, it stains and is difficult to clean off. It’s typical that paste residue will get on woodwork or ceilings, and after you trim off the wallpaper, you are supposed to wipe off the paste residue. Here and in the other rooms, I don’t think the previous guy did a bad job, and I don’t think he carelessly left paste residue. When the paste and woodwork and everything else is wet, it’s very hard to see if any residue is left behind. Once it dries, though, it gains color, and becomes more easy to see.

I don’t know how many years ago this paste residue got onto the woodwork, but I found it interesting that it wiped off easily when I wiped it with my damp rag.

Lively Bathroom Update

April 11, 2014

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital ImageMy “before” photos didn’t turn out, but this under-the-stairs powder room was originally papered in a muted all-over pattern. It wasn’t outdated and was in perfect condition. But it didn’t suit the new homeowner’s taste, so she had me change it to this squiggly, shiny wallpaper.

I stripped off the old wallpaper, scrubbed paste residue off the walls, fixed dings and filled in where the toilet paper holder had been removed, then primed, then hung the new paper. She totally loved it!

Note that the paste is still wet, and the paper and seams will be nice and flat once everything dries.

This wallpaper is by Brewster, #141-65502, and was installed in the powder room of a townhome in Montrose. I am going back next month to do two bathrooms, once the other renovations are completed.