Posts Tagged ‘paste residue’

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

10″ Head Space – I Can Do It!

December 13, 2019

Not only was there only a mere 10″ of clearance between the cabinet and the ceiling, the niche was way deeper than the typical cabinet, because below it was a 36″ deep refrigerator. Even standing on the very top of my ladder (ya know – the step that OSHA says NOT to stand on!), and contorting my whole torso on top of the cabinet, it was difficult to reach the back wall. And even more difficult to maneuver my hands and tools.

I managed to skim-float the area, sand it smooth, and prime it. Today it was time to get paper onto it.

The fewer tasks I had to do, the easier (and safer) it would be to accomplish.

The first thing I did was to trim the paper horizontally at the point where I wanted it to meet the ceiling. This eliminated the need for me to squeeze in a straightedge and trimming blade and try to manipulate them in the deep, narrow space.

Likewise, I wanted to avoid having to trim in the last corner (on the right). So I measured carefully, and pre-trimmed my last piece to fit. It was 3 7/8″ at the top, but widened to 4″ at the bottom.

After the strip got pasted and booked, it expanded a tad, so I had to trim off a teeny bit from the right edge. And also a little more off the upper right, due to the wall being un-straight at that point.

I was able to get my plastic smoother and damp microfiber cloth into the space, to smooth the strips to the wall and wipe off any paste residue.

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.

Runny Ink

March 29, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.