Posts Tagged ‘plaster’

Treatment for Warped Outside Corner

November 15, 2020

The wall to the left is behind the toilet.  You can’t see it, but there is a wall to the right of the toilet that then wraps around that outside corner you see in the center of the picture.

Wallpaper, especially a stiff non-woven material like this, does not like to wrap around corners.  Most corners are not absolutely plumb, so wrapping around them throws the paper off-plumb, or even causes wrinkles and warps.  The next strip of paper will not butt up perfectly with a warped edge.  

This corner was way worse than the typical corner, because it actually had a bow in it, so it was nowhere near straight.  There was no way that wallpaper would wrap around the corner without warping and going off-plumb

My solution was to split the paper vertically and wrap just 1″ of the paper around the corner.  Then I would cut a new strip of paper, split it vertically, making sure to match the pattern at the corner’s edge, and overlap it on top of the wrapped 1″ piece.

The only problem is that the 1″ wrapped piece had a thickness, so it would leave a visible ridge under the new strip, the entire length of the wall.

So I took some joint compound (like plaster or putty) and used a 1 1/2″ flexible putty knife to run it along the cut edge and wall, evening out that little difference in height.

Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth and primed it with Gardz.  

The ridge is gone, no bump will show, and I am ready to proceed with hanging the new strip to moving to the right.  

Got a Call for a “Wallpaper Disaster” Today

June 21, 2016

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Monday: This evening, I got a call from a friend who is a member of the Masonic lodge not far from my house. It seems they are renovating a room – and hope to have it finished in time for an awards luncheon on Saturday. That would be four days from today. They intend to strip wallpaper, paint the walls and a heavily textured ceiling, pull up old carpet, and lay a new laminate floor. And it’s a BIG room.

The top layer of wallpaper was vinyl, and stripped off easily and cleanly. But this bottom layer, which is the original paper from when the lodge was built in 1952, was not cooperating. They had soaked it, used a solvent, and tried scraping, but the paper wasn’t budging. That’s what you see in the photo – some original paper, some scraped off with backing and / or paste left on the wall, and some bare plaster. So my friend called and asked if I could take a look.

I was curious, because this type of wallpaper usually comes off relatively easily, once it is soaked and the old paste reactivates. Especially since the walls appeared to have been properly sealed, which makes removal later easier.

But once I got to playing with it, I realized that the old wallpaper had been coated with a sealer, before the new vinyl was applied. In other words, the original installers did a good job by properly sealing the plaster walls (you don’t see many buildings in Houston that have authentic plaster walls!), and then the next crew did a good job, too, by sealing the original wallpaper before applying the vinyl wallpaper. (Actually, they should have stripped off the original paper, but perhaps they were unable to do so, which sometimes does happen.)

But the sealer kept water from penetrating into the paper and reactivating the paste. So the lodge guys could have soaked the walls all day, but not accomplished much. (They were also using a squirt bottle – my bucket of warm water and a large sponge soaks much more area much faster.)

Sometimes, it’s time to call uncle. If the paper won’t come off, take proper steps to prepare it so you can go over it. So what they’re going to do is skim-float the wall with joint compound, which means they will be troweling on a thin layer of a plaster-like substance. Once that is dry (overnight), they will sand it smooth and then wipe off all dust with a damp sponge rinsed clean frequently. That will leave a very smooth surface, with none of the ridges from the torn wallpaper showing, nor any cracks in the plaster.

To create a uniform surface under their new paint, it is important that they float the entire wall, even areas that do not have torn wallpaper, because their new paint will soak differently into the various surfaces of the wall – plaster, wallpaper, wallpaper with a sealant over it, residue from wallpaper paste, etc. Skim-coating the entire wall, including corners and edges along ceiling and moldings, will create a perfectly uniform surface, that will yield a uniform finish on the new paint.

Before painting, the newly smoothed wall will need to be sealed, and I recommended Gardz by Zinsser. It is a penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces, such as new joint compound. (It is also wonderful – in fact, designed – to seal torn drywall, to prevent bubbling when a water-based product is applied.)

I know you can hang wallpaper on top of Gardz, but they will have to ask the paint store guys if they can paint on top of it, or if it will need a paint primer first.

It’s a lot of work, but the guy there whom I talked to seemed up for the challenge – he was knowledgeable, energetic and enthusiastic, and I got the impression that he didn’t have a day job and so could invest some serious hours at the lodge, getting the room into shape.

They promised to give me an update, later in the week.

Soft-Toned Damask on a Tall Bedroom Accent Wall

March 22, 2015

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I don’t get many opportunities to pull out my 16′ extension ladder, but this week I did … the ceilings in this master bedroom were 12′ high! – just a few inches further than I could reach using my 6′ ladder. The first two photos were taken yesterday, as I was “floating” or “skim coating” the wall, to smooth it so the texture would not show through the wallpaper. The whiter areas you see have the plaster-like substance applied, as I work my way from top to bottom, from left to right.

Because of the dark paint on the other walls, I stopped the white “mud” just a hair away from the corner. In the second photo, that is my floating trowel hanging from the brace of the ladder. I floated the wall yesterday, and let it dry overnight. Today I sanded, vacuumed, wiped dust off the wall with a damp sponge, primed, and then finally hung the wallpaper.

I started in the middle (third photo), so I could center the damask motif on the wall, which will look nice once the homeowners get their bed and headboard back in place. The plastic is on my ladder to keep wallpaper paste from slopping all over it. I don’t have to do this with a normal step ladder, but extension ladders require a different angle of approach, and I couldn’t avoid having the pasted paper unbook and flop against my ladder. Yuck.

Fourth photo just shows some of the mechanics of how all this happens. The next pics are shots of the pattern; really pretty, soft, and nicely suited for a bedroom. They wanted a light color on the wallpaper, as it would contrast nicely with their brand new, very dark hardwood floors.

This wallpaper pattern is by Etten (by Seabrook), and is printed on the newish non-woven substrate, which is designed to peel off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. Note that, since these papers are generally thick and somewhat puffy, you often see the seams just a little (last two photos).

The room was a master bedroom in a fairly new home, and the location was Pearland, a suburb of Houston, Texas.

Patching the Other Guy’s Patch

March 11, 2015

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In this Rice University area powder room, the original towel bars were not going to be replaced. So someone (I suspect the homeowner) removed them, and then attempted to fill in the holes left from the hardware. What people don’t realize, though, is that, even though the holes have been filled in, there are still dents, and also ridges from the gummy material used, that will all show under the new wallpaper.

So I “floated” joint compound (kind of like plaster) over the area, let dry, and then sanded until smooth. The second photo shows after this work has been done – a nice, smooth surface that will be invisible under the new wallpaper.

The walls were originally a lilac color. I primed with a thin white wallpaper primer, which you can see in the second photo. Then I applied my patching compound. The material I use to patch works better with a different primer, which is clear, so that’s why you see a little color difference, and a little of the lilac paint still showing. Don’t worry – none of this showed through the new wallpaper.