Posts Tagged ‘paste’

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.

“Priming” Wall With Paste to Keep Seams Down Tight

August 3, 2021
Hard to see, but the slightly darker, shiny section of wall to the left of the wallpaper is a bit of paste that I have rolled onto the wall along where a seam will lie.
The paste has pulled the edges of the paper nice and tight to the wall. Never mind the slight pattern mis-match … this is a hand screen print, and it’s pretty common for these to be slightly off in printing and/or trimming. The pattern matched better above the door, then drifted off as the paper neared the bottom of the strip. You can also see that some of the edges are somewhat jagged and saw-dusty, due to trimming at the factory.

Some manufacturers use inks that fight with their substrates. The substrate absorbs moisture from the paste and expands, but the inked layer does not, so you end up with the bottom layer stretching and forcing the top layer to curl back, resulting in edges that curl and don’t stay tight to the wall.

Any time you smell ink that calls to mind mothballs, you can expect to deal with this issue. It’s pretty common with screen printed wallpapers.

One trick is to lightly sponge the surface with water before pasting the back. Another, which I have discussed here previously, is to paste the paper, fold and book it, and then dip the rolled-up edges into 1/4″ of clean water. Then place the rolled up strip into a plastic trash bag for the booking period. This helps to keep the edges from drying out while the paper books.

On many papers, I’ve found that it also helps to roll a light coat of paste onto the wall, just under where the seams will fall. This works amazingly well to grab the edges and hold them tightly against the wall.

Preventing a Stain from Bleeding Through

July 31, 2021

See that oval ring on the paint? That’s from someone lying on the bed and letting his head rest against the wall. Don’t know whether he used hair tonic or not, but even a clean head of hair will contain oils, and those oils will wick into the paint and cause a stain.

The bad thing about this and wallpaper is that certain substances will bleed through wallpaper, staining the surface. Oil and grease are sure contenders.

To prevent this bleed-through, I painted over the stained area with a stain blocker. My favorite is KILZ Original Oil Based. It stinks to high Heaven and breathing too much will make you high, but it is outstanding at sealing all sorts of nasty substances.

Wallpaper paste will not stick to this, so, once it’s dry, roll your usual wallpaper primer over it.

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.

Dark – But Not Boring – Paper for Media Room

July 10, 2021
Media room before.
After
It was tricky getting the paper into that 1 1/2″ wide space between the windows, but it really makes the windows stand out.
Close-up. The non-woven material is made of synthetic fibers, rather than cotton or wood pulp.
The manufacturer is Schumacher, and the pattern is called Cymbeline.

When you’re cocooned to watch a movie in your tricked-out media room, you want the room nice and dark. But a dark wallpaper doesn’t have to be plain or simply textured.

The vining tree limbs and leaves of this wallpaper pattern add interest and movement to the walls and keep the mood from falling somber. But don’t distract from what’s going on on the big screen.

Schumacher is not one of my favorite brands. But this paper was not one of their contrary screen prints, but rather a non-woven material. It was stiff and thick, but pasting the back softened it up and made it pliable and cooperative.

The home is in the Montrose neighborhood of central Houston.

Remove TV Before Wallpaper Goes Up

July 9, 2021

Here is the wall in a media room where the big screen TV hangs. It’s virtually impossible to hang wallpaper around these wall-mounted TV’s. It’s just difficult to do, plus paste gets smeared all over the TV.

So I request that the TV be removed. The black horizontal bars are the mounts for the TV. These are pretty secure in the wall, and I feel it’s better to not mess with them. It’s easy enough to trim around these bars and the cables. And once the TV is back in place, you’re not going to see any little gaps between the wallpaper and the brackets.

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

July 8, 2021
Chalk pastels for coloring the edges of the wallpaper. (Do NOT use oil pastels – they stain wallpaper.)
Craft paint from the hobby store used to stripe the wall where the wallpaper seams will fall. Note the red vertical line from my laser level, which serves as a guide. I use a small square of dampened sponge to wipe on the paint. Be sure to let it dry before hanging the paper.

Manufacturers have a bad habit of printing dark wallpapers on white substrates. Since wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then shrinks as it dries, you have the potential for the white edges of the paper showing at the seams. There is also the possibility that the white wall behind the paper will be exposed, too.

To minimize these chances, I use chalk pastels to color the edges of the wallpaper, and diluted craft paint to stripe under where the seams will fall.

Crumbly / Unstable Wall Issues

June 2, 2021
Starting to strip wallpaper. You see the top, inked layer, the tan backing layer, and the white skim-floated wall beneath.
Wall surfaces delaminating at seams
Gardz, a penetrating sealer that binds surfaces together and dries hard.
My first idea was to just Gardz the lifted areas. The sealer is newly applied and still wet in this photo.
Gardz’ing the whole wall created a more stable surface. This doesn’t look much different from the photo above. But in actuality, the the Gardz has sealed and “locked down” the surface, as well as soaked into the material and sealed the inner layers as well.
Applying a skim-coat to even out the surface levels.
Once this skim-coat is dry, it will be sanded smooth.

The installer of the original paper did a good job of skim-floating the wall and creating a smooth surface. But he didn’t apply a sealer or primer. Thus, when I used water to strip off the old wallpaper, the moisture soaked into his skim-coat (drywall joint compound, a plaster-like substance, which we also refer to as “mud”). Some of the skim-coat came away from the wall,,, particularly in areas of stress, such as where the wallpaper seams had lain.

In fact, long (years) before I began stripping the wallpaper, many of the seams had started to pull away from the wall, taking inner layers of the wall along with them. This is because wallpaper shrinks as it dries, and that creates tension on the wall. If the wall surface is unstable, these layers can delaminate (come apart), and the result is an open seam with chunks of wall material stuck to it.

This can also happen over time, as temperature and humidity changes can cause the wallpaper and / or wall surface to absorb and then let go of moisture. All this puts stress on those wallpaper seams and on the layers inside the wall.

Besides these seam areas that let go, I had one wall where the entire surface came apart in a mottled effect.

Another factor is that the original skim-coat had been applied over a glossy paint. It’s hard for anything to stick to gloss. The guy probably should have rolled on a “bonding primer” before applying his skim-coat.

Of course, all that increases the time and materials needed, and ups the cost to the homeowner.

Gardz is a wonderful product that is designed to soak into surfaces and “bind them together.” It dries hard and is pretty water-resistant. It was originally intended to “lock down” torn drywall. But workmen quickly discovered that it would fix a whole lot of other surfaces – such as my delaminating skim-coated walls.

At first I thought I would just Gardz (we use it as a noun and as a verb!) the areas that were lifting. Once it dried, I intended to skim-float over these areas, sand smooth, and then prime the entire room with my usual wallpaper primer – Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

But I realized that, even after I wiped down the walls with a damp sponge, they were still covered with powder or grit. This was powder from the layer of skim-coat, as well as residue from wallpaper paste. Neither my primer not wallpaper will stick securely to powder.

So I decided to roll Gardz on to all the walls, ceiling to floor.

Fifth photo – I was really pleased with the way the Gardz soaked in and drew all those layers together. There was no more power on the surface, and the inner layers of the walls were all pulled together.

To even over these vacant areas, and to create a pristine new surface, I skim-floated over the entire wall surface – all walls, floor to ceiling. See last photo.

Once that is dry, tomorrow morning, I will sand everything smooth. Next I’ll apply my 977 primer.

Then walls will be stable, and the surface will be ready to take on the new wallpaper.

Here’s What You Get When You Ask The Painters To NOT Get Paint On The Wallpaper …

May 21, 2021

In the photo, you see where the painter let his paint roller bop against the top of the wall. There are other areas where they painted the ceiling, but let their brush run along the top 2″ of wallpaper.

So what’s the problem? My task for today is to strip off the wallpaper. But the paint on top of it makes it difficult (impossible) for water to penetrate the wallpaper. Water needs to be able to soak through, so it can saturate the material and reactivate the paste.

If water can’t pass through this barrier and soften the paste, it will be a long road to hoe to get that paper off the wall easily and without damage to the underlying surface.

Whoops! Someone Painted Over Old Wallpaper

April 21, 2021

Just looking at the walls, I had not noticed . But when I removed the light switch cover, it was clear that someone didn’t bother to remove the old wallpaper, and just painted over it.

Actually, they probably did do some prep, because you could not see seams under the paint. They must have taken steps to cover the seams.

And there was no flashing … difference in texture between paint over wallpaper, for instance, and paint over smoothing compound that was used to disguise those seams.

And there were no bubbles (caused by latex paint on top of wallpaper that absorbs moisture from the paint and swells) and only a few tiny loose areas.

Still, it would have been better if the previous guy had put some effort into removing the wallpaper, and then washing the paste off the wall and then sealing with a stain blocker, to prevent paste residue from causing the new paint to crackle and flake off the wall. Then the room would be adequately ready for paint.