Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

Protecting Woodwork from Paint Splatters

August 25, 2022
I hate seeing little speckles of paint on people’s floors or moldings . This happens when tiny splatters of paint fly off the roller cover . Sometimes the operator is just moving too fast , but some paints are thinner and prone to splatter than others. You can Search here to find pictures of what I’m talking about.
To prevent my wallpaper primer from landing on the floor , baseboards , backsplash , or, as in this case, wainscoting , I first cover the floor or vanity with dropcloths . Next I use these strips of thin , flexible , plastic-backed paper dropcloth material to cover anything that the dropcloths can’t reach.
I use push-pins to hold them in place.
I cut these strips from larger dropcloths. 8″-9″ wide seems to be about right to protect most baseboard heights and other surfaces , such as this chair rail wainscoting in a Houston Heights dining room .
Once I’ve rolled primer on the wall above, I remove the protective strips and use an angled trim brush to cut in the primer along the top edge of the molding .
wallpaper installer

Working Around a Thermostat

August 22, 2022
Wallpaper looks better and will have fewer wrinkles and relief cuts , plus there will be fewer cut edges to come loose, when it goes behind objects like switch plates and this thermostat.
Here it was a matter of gently pulling off the glass front of the Nest thermostat, then removing two screws on the mounting bracket. I left it connected to the wires in the wall, but pulled the wires out further from the wall so there was more play to work around.
I was able to place the wallpaper over this area, cut an “X” where the thermostat was, and then pull both the thermostat and the back plate through the wallpaper. Note: I wrapped the thermostat in plastic before starting, to protect it from wallpaper paste / adhesive .
Then put the backplate in place, reattach the thermostat, and then replace the glass front. Smooth the wallpaper into place. All looks perfect!

Wrong Electrical Boxes for These Sconces

August 13, 2022
This is the mounting bracket for a sconce / light fixture . The fixture itself is exactly the same size as the bracket.
So it’s unfortunate that the electrician used an electrical box that is too large . As you can see, the blue box shows on both the left and right sides of the light fixture.
(I will also add that I think this light fixture is narrower than most – I suspect it was made overseas where boxes and codes are different from here.)
In addition, the blue box juts out from the wall and will create a bump under the wallpaper , plus prevent the paper from adhering tightly to the wall . The jaggedly cut drywall will leave impressions under the paper, too.
Here the plastic electrical box is recessed better into the wall. But there are still gaps on the left and right sides of the bracket.
To get the wallpaper around the brackets without gaps showing , I removed the brackets, and then brought the wallpaper in to cover the electrical junction boxes by about 1.” (no photo)
If the electrician needs more space for his wires , he can always trim the wallpaper back a little.
In the instance of the box in the top photo, there will still be wallpaper that can’t sit tight to the drywall , but once the sconce is replaced you really won’t notice.
I also had the option of leaving the mounting brackets in place and then placing the wallpaper over the metal plates. But first of all, I think this is against building Codes. And second, if the sconces are changed out later, or if someone needs to access the electrical connections, removing the mounting plates would most surely tear the wallpaper in the process.
So, best to have the wallpaper behind the plates, rather than pasted on top of them.

Thin Blue Plastic Tape Keeps Paste Off The Wall

August 7, 2022
Panel of wallpaper lying on my pasting table. The left edge will go up against a painted wall that is not to be wallpapered. It’s important to keep paste off this wall, because the paste can cause the paint to crackle and flake off. Yes, you can wipe paste off the wall, especially if it’s a gloss paint. But better to not get paste on the wall in the first place.
So I’ve placed a strip of this cool blue plastic tape along the edge. It sticks to the pasted wallpaper, but will not let paste get onto the wall.
Here is the wallpaper in place, with the little 1″ overage wrapping onto the wall to the left. See how the blue tape is preventing paste from getting onto the wall?
Once I finish trimming, I will remove both the excess paper and the blue tape. Be sure to remove any blue tape that is still behind the wallpaper.
This also works for ceilings and for abutting another strip of wallpaper.
This tape is much better than painter’s plastic or ” caution tape ” because it is lightly tinted so you can see it, it’s translucent so you can see through it, it has the perfect body – thicker than painter’s plastic but more flexible than caution tape, and has a unique textured surface that makes it handle nicely, plus you can easily snap it apart so there is no need for scissors or razor blades.
It’s made in Japan and tricky to get. If you’re interested, email me at wallpaperlady@att.net and I’ll hook you up with the supplier.
The very edgy wallpaper? It’s by Spoonflower and called Serpents and Apples .

Smoothing Over A Mess

August 3, 2022
This kind homeowner had the sink / vanity in this powder room removed. This makes it a LOT easier and faster for me to to get the wallpaper up, and with less stress on the paper and fewer relief cuts .
Removing a sink that’s attached to the wall often damages the surface. Here you can see how the workman used spackle compound to cover the torn drywall and other damage.

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Close-up. This isn’t a very smooth surface, and the wallpaper will have a hard time grabbing ahold and adhering. It’s also way too porous and crumbly to support wallpaper.
In the top photo, you see where I have applied smoothing compound on the upper portion of the wall. I’m working my way down.
Once it’s dry, I will sand and prime it, and it will be nice and smooth.
Here’s a shot of the fresh smoothing compound, before sanding.
Some people use a drywall taping knife or a broad knife to apply the plaster-like substance. I prefer the trowel you see in the photo, because it gives me more control and precision.
The 2″ flexible putty knife is for getting into smaller areas. The 3″ stiff ” Hyde ” putty knife is for knocking off high points or bumps on the wall before applying the smoothing compound.
This process is called skim-floating or skim-coating .
I like to use the Plus 3 lightweight joint compound made by Sheetrock . We just refer to it as mud . Find it in the drywall aisle.
The Plus 3 spreads on easily enough, sands easily , and the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up easily – as opposed to getting air-borne and drifting all over the place.
This box, which is approximately one cubic foot , weights 32 pounds . Ugh. Try carrying that across a parking lot and then up to the third floor of a townhome!
I like to transfer the material to a 5-gallon bucket. This is what it looks like in the bottom of the bucket.
Easy to scoop out. When I’m finished, I use a wet hand to smooth down the surface, wipe residue off the sides of the bucket, then place a thick sheet of plastic over the surface to keep air from drying it out. Then, of course, I put the lid onto the bucket.

Plastic Lids on Paint Cans

July 19, 2022
I’m used to paint and primer products coming in metal cans with metal lids. Lately some companies are using plastic cans with a metal rim, and then a metal lid. I think they’re trying to be environmentally-conscious … Although, truth be told, most such cans – plastic or metal – are not recyclable, due to product residue left in the can and it would take more effort and energy and water to rinse it out and then put that residue into our water system.
Besides that, besides the best efforts on the part of us consumers, reports are that most plastics aren’t recycled, anyway.
Moving on … when I couldn’t get my usual primer I bought some of this alternate. I was surprised to see not just a plastic bucket, but also plastic lids.
Not a big deal. Just something different, and maybe better for the ecology, somehow.
The main thing for me is, the lids don’t seem to go back on easily or completely, even when I stood on the can with my full weight. 🙂
So, some worries about the product drying out, and / or splashing out of the can when I shake it.
And probably need to use a hammer to get the can securely closed.

Paint Doesn’t Stick to Plastic

June 15, 2022

You are looking a the plastic escutcheon / decorative cover to hide plumbing pipes under this pedestal sink.
Someone painted it the same color as the wall, and with the same wall paint.
Only problem is, most paints won’t stick to plastic. Plastic is too slick.
That’s why now the paint is peeling off with just the slightest tug or tension. It’s peeling away like a snake shedding his skin.
There are some solutions for this. For starters, the plastic could have been sanded, to give the paint some “tooth” and something to grab ahold of. There are also primers that will adhere to plastic and prepare it to take the paint.
Even simpler, there are paints formulated to stick to plastic. Krylon makes some, and I’ve used it on my outdoor lawn chairs; it’s held up nicely for about 20 years.

Resplendent Transformation for Pre-Teen Girl’s Bathroom Vanity Area

June 3, 2022
The vanity and marble countertop have been removed. This makes it easier for me to work, and also allows the paper to go down behind the countertop, rather than being cut along the top of the backsplash. So no worries about splashed water wicking up under the wallpaper and causing curling.
What a beautiful room for a 10 year old girl!
Peacocks and posies .
This is a non-woven or paste-the-wall material. It was pretty thick and stiff. N-Ws contain minimum 20% polyester. There are many advantages to using them as wallpaper, including easy removal when it’s time to redecorate, because the strong material is supposed to stay in one piece and strip easily off the wall.
One of my colleagues says it’s made of fiberglass. In this close-up shot, you can see the fibers and plastic-like sheen. I have a hunch my friend is correct!
Manufacturer is Graham & Brown , pattern name is Resplendence , color is Blush ( dusty pink ).

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

Keeping Dust to a Minimum

February 5, 2022
Most homes in the Houston area have textured walls. These bumps are unsightly under wallpaper, and also interfere with consistent adhesion. So I like to skim-float the walls with drywall joint compound (I use the Plus 3 version) and then sand them smooth.
Sanding this stuff creates lightweight, powdery dust that sifts through the air and gets over everything. Homeowners tend to hate that. 🙂
So here I’ve created a ” tent ” out of painter’s plastic along the walls where I will be sanding. This creates a pretty darned effective barrier that prevents dust from getting into the rest of the room.
Here’s the dust created by smoothing just the top 5′ of wall area. And my ShopVac to clean it all up.
I find it easiest to let the dust fall onto the floor and even the carpet. It’s easy to vacuum dust up off these surfaces. Dropcloths and plastic tend to get sucked up into the vacuum hose, and the dust doesn’t come with it. I once tried protective self-adhesive plastic that’s made to cover carpet … but it was extremely difficult to unroll, plus, it was even more difficult to get back off the floor. I truly feared it would pull off the surface finish of the floor along with it.
The vacuum gets most of the dust. But there is still a fine, invisible layer left on surfaces. So you need to take a damp rag and wipe the floor.
I also vacuum the walls. After the visible dust is gone, it’s imperative that you take a damp sponge and wipe residual dust off the walls. You have to rinse the sponge frequently to get all the dust. If not, it’s like, as I like to say, it’s like flouring a cake pan – the wallpaper will kinda stick – but not really stick.
Once the walls are perfectly dust-free and dry, follow up with a wallpaper primer.
Then go and hang your wallpaper!