Posts Tagged ‘plumb’

Laser Level Plumb Line

September 29, 2021

That dark object on the right is my laser level – a cool gadget that shoots a red vertical line onto the wall. That line serves as a guide for placing a strip of wallpaper, and for ensuring that it hangs nice and plumb.

There are other uses, too. And some fancy (i.e. expensive) ones will shoot horizontal lines, multiple lines, lines onto the ceiling ….

Dining Room Is Brightened and Warmed at the Same Time

September 11, 2021
Before. Walls are primed and ready for paper.
After
The homeowner raved about how the wallpaper made the room look so much brighter. And it coordinates so nicely with the color of the woodwork and wainscoting.
Detail. There is a slight raised-ink feel.
Using my laser level to get the first strip plumb, and the motifs centered vertically between the windows.
The pattern name “Kashmira” reflects the slight ethnic feel of this pattern. The manufacturer is Baker Lifestyle, in their Echo Collection.

Here’s a dining room in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston that feels both cheerful and snug at the same time.

The material was “non-woven” and could be hung using the paste-the-wall method. However, I prefer the flexibility and accuracy that comes with pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design, who works mostly in the Heights area of Houston.

Laser Level Line Up

August 24, 2021

I have engineered this first strip so that the stripe falls smack in the center of this accent wall. It will create a nice balance around the headboard of the little girl’s bed.

I am using the red light, vertical line of my laser level to ensure this first strip of wallpaper goes up nice and plumb.

Turning an Inside Corner With Wallpaper

August 15, 2021

When bringing wallpaper around an inside corner in a room, you virtually never should wrap a full sheet around the corner.

That’s because corners are never absolutely straight, walls are never perfectly plumb, wet wallpaper stretches and twists… Coming out of the corner, the outer edge of the paper will never be straight, so the next strip won’t butt up properly. And the strip could be thrown off-plumb, meaning that the design will start tracking up or down the wall. Oh, and you will probably get wrinkles and warps, too.

To prevent all this, you split the strip in two vertically, and allow just 1/16″ or 1/8″ to wrap around the corner. See top photo. This tiny bit of wrap is important, because, if you cut exactly into the corner, you would end up with a visible cut edge, plus gaps in the corner.

Your next strip is then overlapped on top of this narrow wrapped edge, as shown in the second photo.

Note that when you do this, you will cover up and lose some of the design.

To minimize this, I have my clients buy a little extra paper. Then I can use a fresh sheet to split vertically, while matching the pattern as perfectly as possible. Yes, it uses more paper and costs a bit more … but for a visually seamless transition from one wall to the next, that you will be enjoying for the next many years, it is a good pay-off.

This new strip that gets overlapped and hung coming out of the corner … It is important that it be hung plumb. Because if it’s not, then all subsequent strips will fall more and more off-track.

In the last photo, I am using the red line of my laser level to ensure that the right edge of this new wallpaper strip is perfectly level.

Often, this means you have to “adjust” the strip in the corner … and that often means that you will have to trim off some, in order to get it to lie nice and tight in the corner. And, yes, that means losing a bit more of the design.

This is inside corners, pretty much in a nutshell. Of course, there are a lot more details and nuances not covered here.

wrap

overlap

lose pattern

laser level to plumb up

Getting a “Fat Cut” in Corners – Using a Euni Plate

May 7, 2021

You never wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner.

Corners are neither straight nor true-to-plumb. So trying to wrap around a corner will result in a warped edge, and most likely a strip that is wonking off-plumb.

So you cut your strip of paper vertically in the corner, leaving a tiny bit wrapping onto the new wall. See second photo.

Your next strip of paper will overlap on top of this narrow wrap.

Splitting the strip and overlapping means that you will cover up and lose some of the wallpaper design. Hence, the less you wrap around the corner, the less of the design will be lost in the overlap.

The thickness of the rolled edge of this stainless steel plate / tool is just perfect as a trim guide! Trimming against the rolled edge will yield a 1/16″ – 1/8″ wrap around the corner. So, when you overlap your next piece (the strip you split in half vertically), you are only losing a fraction of the wallpaper design.

This tool has other uses as well – some are too complicated to get into here. But the thinner edge can be used as a trim guide for regular wallpaper work. It’s shorter than most trim guides, so it can be used in small areas. The rounded edges can be used to press paper into areas, or to crease paper before trimming – without leaving marks. And the angle has a purpose – again, too complicated for here. Plus, there are other plates with different angles available, each with different uses.

This ingenious gizmo was conceived by Eunice Bockstrom, a Canadian and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). Once or twice a year, she has a metal shop make a run of these metal plates. Eunice has also invented some other very helpful tools, and they also become available when the factory makes a run of them.

We call all of these Euni Tools. 🙂

Crazy Unlevel Ceiling Line

January 14, 2021

OK, folks – you can’t keep the wallpaper looking straight as it runs along under the ceiling (meaning, keep the same motif at exactly the same distance from the ceiling), if the ceiling itself isn’t level or even straight.

When a surface is level, and you place a level against it, the bubble will be smack in the middle of the window. As you can see, in today’s room, the bubble wasn’t even trying to be in the center of the window.

Even crazier, these two photos were taken on the same wall, and just a foot apart.

That means that the ceiling line was more like a roller coaster than a nice, flat, level platform. Understandable in a 1935 house built on ever-shifting Houston “gumbo” soil.

How this applies to wallpaper is that, if you are trying to position a particular motif – let’s say it’s a sailboat – just under the ceiling, as subsequent strips of paper get hung, that sailboat motif is going to move up and down under the ceiling line. Sometimes that even means that the top part of the sailboat may get chopped off as the ceiling line moves downward.

Fudging To Get The Height Right

December 27, 2020

Because of various reasons too complicated to get into here, in order to keep the pattern matched in the corner to the right (not shown), the wallpaper strips moving to the left torqued off-plumb. And thus the pattern started tracking upward at the ceiling line, which meant that the navy blue flower I positioned just under the crown molding started moving upward and was getting cut off at its top by the molding.

I needed to pull the pattern down. I took advantage of the short space over this doorway to make adjustments. I cut the strip in two vertically, trimming along motifs in the design.

Then I pulled the section on the left down to where the flower hit the crown molding just where I wanted it to. By pulling this strip a little to the right to where it overlapped the previous strip just a bit, I was able to cover any gaps caused by the trimming.

I used my laser level on the left edge to ensure the strip was plumb. This would keep the pattern straight along the crown molding as I continued to hang strips moving to the left and around the room.

Because this is up so high over the door, and because I trimmed along the design motifs, no one will notice the slight ridge caused by the overlap, nor any small mis-match in the pattern.

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.  

Small Under Stair Segment

September 1, 2020


Just a tad of the underside of the home’s curved staircase jutted into the under-the-stairs powder room. The homeowner and I considered leaving the underside white, like the ceiling. But we decided it would look better to have all surfaces covered with the wallpaper.

Getting wallpaper onto both surfaces of this element presented some challenges. First, the curves and irregularity of the drywall work meant that paper would likely twist and warp and go off-kilter. Next, the underside was not perfectly flat, so there was the likelihood of void areas where the paper would not stick to the surface. Also, the curves and angles mean that the design will be torqued off-plumb, leaving the animal figures crooked and also not straight along the ceiling line. Finally, you can only match the pattern in one place, so that means that we would be left with mis-matches in three of the four corners / junctions.

Luckily, this pattern was extremely amenable to looking good even if it went off-plumb, tracked away from the ceiling line, or didn’t match perfectly. In addition, the SureStrip line (by York) is very flexible and malleable, and it adheres well with minimal shrinking, even on a surface with undulations.

I decide to match the pattern at the bottom of the sloped wall, where it meets the vertical back wall. Since this wall was a little higher on the left side than the right, it angled the new strip above it a bit to the right. Not a big deal … It’s only 27″ high, and no one is going to notice that the animal motifs are leaning a tad. And definitely no one is going to notice that the vines are not perfectly vertical.

Note that before applying paper to the underside of the slope, I wrapped 1/4″ of the paper from the horizontal area onto the underside (photo 2). This does create a slight ridge when the paper is applied to the underside and overlaps onto this 1/4″ flap. But I like this method, because it creates a nice, tight bond, and it eliminates the possibility of gaps showing if the two surfaces of wallpaper were trimmed flush to the corner of that rounded edge (which is not absolutely perfectly straight).

So, speaking of that slightly rounded edge, as well as the one to the left of the slope, in both these areas, the wallpaper pattern could not be matched. Not a big deal. It doesn’t assault your eye at all. I’m very pleased with the way this turned out.

On to other things. In the upper left, you might notice that there are two monkeys next to each other. This is just a result of the way the pattern worked its way across the wall, after being fitted to walls moving back into a 90* angle, and to walls moving forward in a curve. I did do a little cutting along the vines, so the slight mis-match would be less noticeable than if it were a straight vertical break in the pattern.

You’d have to spend a lot of time looking up behind you at that exact point to even notice that the two monkeys are closer to each other than they “should” be.

Later, I did go back and use scrap paper to cut an appliqué of a rabbit – also trimmed along the wavy lines of the foliage – and pasted this on top of the monkey. Sorry, no photo. But seeing a rabbit instead of an ape successfully broke up the repetitiveness of the dual monkeys. Now, all you see are happy animals in a forest.

Colorful Backdrop to an Eastside Powder Room

July 24, 2020


The homeowner owns some treasured artwork (one painted by her grandfather!) that will really pop when placed against this cute, tight, small-scale geometric print in bright orange.

The wallpaper is by York, one of my favorite companies, in their SureStrip line, which is also a favorite of mine.

This paper comes pre-pasted, so you only need to activate the paste on the back with water. And it is designed to strip off the wall easily and cleanly, when it’s time to redecorate.

As with most rooms, the walls were not straight or plumb, so it was more than a bit of a challenge to make the pattern look straight, while also matching the design when turning corners.

In the end, the room looked great.

Central Houston