Posts Tagged ‘peeling’

Rubbery, Problematic Smoothing Compound

June 15, 2018


I was stripping wallpaper by peeling off the top vinyl layer and then soaking the paper backing to reactivate the paste so the paper could be removed from the wall – and ran into this.

It looks like the previous installer smoothed the wall (which is good), but used a latex spackling compound instead of the more typical joint compound. The latex became wet from the water I was using to soak off the wallpaper, and began to pull away from the wall.

This is all bad, because it leaves a bumpy mess on the wall that will show through the new paper. But worse is that it is an unstable surface for the new paper to try to hold on to. When wallpaper paste dries, the paper shrinks and puts tension on the surface below, particularly the seams. If the surface is not solid, the layers can actually come apart (delaminate) resulting in curled or gapping seams.

This is not “loose paper,” and cannot simply be glued back down. The different layers inside the wall are actually coming apart, and will require a lot of work to make the wall sound again.

Once the paper was off and the wall was good and dry, the layers seemed to adhere to each other better, and the wall felt more solid. The way I treated it was to roll on a coat of Gardz, which is a penetrating sealer that binds things together. It did a good job. Then I skim-floated over that with joint compound, which, when sanded, would leave a nice, smooth surface.

One more coat of Gardz on top of that, and the wall was sound and ready for wallpaper.

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Improper Prep Leads to Failed Wallpaper Job

February 7, 2018


The new homeowners bought an adorable 1920’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston, and inherited a dining room with a beautiful wallpaper pattern – that unfortunately had not been hung properly. The wallpaper was curling at the seams, peeling away, and literally falling off the wall. It is taking chunks of a white substance along with it.

It’s hard to determine exactly what is causing the failure, but the first issue is that the underlying wallpaper was not removed. Since wallpaper has an acrylic coating, it does not provide a secure foundation for the new paper to adhere to. In some cases, it’s not possible to remove the old paper, and then the seams should be floated over, and the old paper should be primed so it will have a surface that the new paper can grab ahold of.

Here, it looks like the walls were either not primed at all, or were primed with a flat wall paint. Some of that paint is letting go of the old wallpaper and pulling away from the wall, which allows the new paper to fall off.

Ideally, that striped ’90’s paper should be stripped off, along with any other layers of paper underneath. But it looks like some of the underlying paper was floated over, and that makes it particularly difficult to remove.

I suspect there are other issues going on, so it will take some time and exploration to decide what will be the proper approach for removing the beige paper and then prepping the walls, before the new homeowners’ new paper can go up.

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)