Posts Tagged ‘plumb’

Making the Best of Plumbing Problems

May 22, 2022
OK, so this master bathroom suffered a water leak, and the plumber had to cut through the drywall in the potty room in order to access the shower fixtures.
Here the contractor has replaced the cut-out piece of Sheetrock. He did a really nice job. For the most part. Of course, he didn’t bother to remove the wallpaper before doing his repairs. This is vinyl paper (thick, slick, slippery, backing absorbs moisture) and really should have been removed first.
But I was able to work around the patched-in area.
The prep for this small room was a lot more involved than I anticipated, and required an extra day. Too complicated to get into, but there were two layers of wallpaper, and no primer by either of the previous installers. Original install dates back to the ’80’s. It took me a day and a half just to do the prep on this small commode room.
The room finished. Note the stripes centered nicely on that back wall.
The pattern and material were chosen to coordinate with the green stripes in the main area of the master bathroom.
Kill point (final corner) over the door. I “shrank” some sections in order to get even widths and maintain the pattern repeat and match.
The plumbing problem also damaged an area on this wall outside the water closet. So this area around the door needed to be replaced. The homeowners didn’t have any left over paper, so they chose something similar in color, style, and composition to the green striped paper you see to the right.
Here is that transition door wall finished.

We decided to use the stripe to define the ‘break’ between the two patterns.
The alternative would have been placing the stripe against the door molding … but I felt that would be too repetitive, plus it would have left a cut-off section of flowers running along the side of the green stripe, and same on the opposite side of the door frame.
And, yes, the wall definitely is not straight, square, or plumb.
And here is that opposite side of the door frame, with the stripe running nicely along the shower tile.
Some overlapping was involved in this job. Since the wallpaper is vinyl, and vinyl is slick, you need a special paste to be able to grab ahold of the glossy surface. These days, I sure don’t use often border paste, also sometimes called VOV or Vinyl Over Vinyl . But I was mighty glad to find this 10+ year old container deep in the bowels of my van. Still fresh and sticky, too!
Besides borders not being popular today, these “satin” and “silk” look wallpapers are not very common. But this is exactly what the homeowners were looking for, to coordinate with the existing, 30-year-old paper in their master bath. Saved them having to replace all the wallpaper in both rooms!
This paper is very economical, too. The couple shopped with Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village, and she was able to track down the perfect material, pattern, and color.
Now, aside from all the positive things I just said about this paper in this current application, I do want to make clear that I am not at all fond of this type material. Without getting into a long schpiel here, please click and read the page link to the right “Stay Away From Pre-Pasted Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl …. ”
I will also add that I’ve developed a technique to work with these materials, and so far the installs, including today’s, have been going nicely.
One double roll bolt had some of these blue mark printing defects running through about half of it. Luckily, most of these were on a section of paper that was cut off in order to turn a corner, so was discarded and not put on the wall.
Exclusive Wallcoverings is the manufacturer. Usually I work with their non-woven or traditional paper products, which are quite nice.
The home is in the West University area of Houston.

Logistics for Hanging Jungle Wallpaper Mural in Nursery

May 19, 2022

Let’s do some engineering so we can get this mural on the wall. The wall is a few inches less than 12′ wide, and 9′ high.
The mural comes as a set of four panels, and the total width of the mural is 6′ wide x 9′ high.
Therefore we need two 4-panel sets to span this wall.
Here is the first set of four panels, pasted and hung. A really tricky thing with murals is that the strips / panels you place next to your first set need to match up with the existing pattern. Meaning, the panels need to be able to be hung consecutively next to each other and have the pattern continue uninterrupted.
Not all murals are designed to continue from one to the next. Some will only fit a wall of certain dimensions.
Still others are custom made to fit specific sizes … but that’s a topic for another blog post.
You’re looking at two sets of mock-ups of the mural, side-by-side. The dotted lines show each individual panel.
Toward the center, you see where Panel 4 of the mural on the right meets up with Panel 1 of the mural placed on the right. You can see that the trees and other elements from the mural on the left match up with the motifs on the mural to the right. This is good! It means that we can place murals next to each other to cover a wider wall space.

Here is the finished wall with two murals placed next to each other, with the trees and animals continuing from one mural to the next.
Second issue: The wall height between crown molding and baseboard was exactly 9′ high. The mural came exactly 9′ high. This might sound perfect – but it ain’t agonna work.
The wallpaper / mural needs to be a few inches (preferably 3″-4″) taller than the wall itself. (Same goes for width) This little bit of wiggle room allows you to trim at the top and bottom of the wall. And it allows for walls that are not perfectly plumb and floors and ceilings that are not perfectly level.
In this case, it wasn’t going to be possible to get the mural to fit inside that 9′ high space across a 12′ wide wall without going off-track a bit. We needed about 2″ of extra height at BOTH top and bottom.
Well, you can’t make the wallpaper mural any taller, so we opted to make the wall shorter. The builder added an extra tall baseboard along the bottom of just this one wall.
This reduced the wall height by about 3″, which gave us just enough extra paper length to split between the ceiling and baseboard. A little will be trimmed off at the ceiling line, and a little off the bottom / baseboard.
If you look at the picture of the finished wall, the 4th photo, you’ll see that there are more “important” design elements at the bottom of the mural than at the top. The manufacturer does this on purpose, because they know that some of the mural will need to be cut off, in order to accommodate different wall heights, and for trimming at the ceiling and baseboard. Nearly a foot can be trimmed off the top of this mural without losing anything like an animal or a tree top.
The same is not true about the bottom, though. As you can see in this photo, the designer has let elements run all the way down to the bottom of the mural … leaves, plant stems, and, as in the photo above, a bird’s feet.
I tried to raise the strips up as high as possible, to avoid cutting off his feet. But I had to leave enough to accommodate trimming and wonky walls. So, as you see in the photo, the poor guy got his feet cut off.
Still, all this is happening at the bottom of the wall, and no one is really paying attention to this area. Plus, there will be furniture in front.
Still, all worth noting.
Jungle Wallpaper Mural is by Lulu and Georgia and is in the Sure Strip line made by York .
Some take-aways from this post that I hope you will keep in mind …
~Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall. Add 4″ to height & width
~Consult with the paperhanger before ordering any material
~Rather than a mural that comes in one set size as this one does, consider a custom-sized mural that can be made to fit your specific wall. I like rebelwalls.com among others.

Making A Corner Look Straight When It’s Not

March 25, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper from right to left, working around this corner. I’ve wrapped the paper 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut a new piece that will overlap that 1/8″ and continue to move to the left. (Search here to learn more about turning inside corners.)
This is a 100 year old house, and this corner is way off-plumb – on both the right side and the left side. The chair rail, however, is perfectly level.
Here, the pattern matches nicely at the bottom of the wall. But as it moves up, the crooked corner takes over, and the pattern becomes mis-aligned.
By hanging the paper crooked, I can match the wallpaper pattern perfectly in the corner. But that will skew the left edge of this new strip off-plumb by slanting it to the right. That means that every subsequent strip will track off-plumb … and the motif at the top of the chair rail will start to climb uphill.
Since the chair rail is so prominently visible, I think it’s more important for the pattern motif to be straight along the chair rail, than to be perfectly matched in the corner.
But I didn’t like the way the pattern was getting un-matched at the upper part of the wall. I thought I could make it look better.
This design gave me something to fiddle with.
One option was to cut the paper vertically between the two rows of “swoops.” Then I could match the pattern in the corner, and pull the excess paper to the left, overlapping one strip on top of the other about 1/4″ at the top and tapering down to nothing at the chair rail. It’s a thin paper in a room with not-great lighting, so this overlapped lip would not be very noticeable. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I could make the overlap invisible by trimming the paper along the design. Here I’ve removed that corner piece.
On the left is the strip I’ve cut off.
Here I’m putting the strip into place, and making sure that the pattern matches nicely in the corner. This pushes the upper part of this cut strip further to the left, so it overlaps the other strip of paper just a little
Now, instead of a visible straight overlap the full height of the strip, the overlap comes along the rounded edges of the design. That black line disguises the overlap beautifully!
Here it is nicely matched in the corner, with invisible overlap along the curved black line.
The excess still needs to be trimmed off at the ceiling and chair rail.
Mission accomplished! The design matches nicely in the corner, the paper moving to the left is hung perfectly plumb, and the motifs are all at their proper heights along the chair rail and ceiling.
This fun retro mid-century modern pattern is by Designer Wallpapers.

Unplumb Walls and Geometric Wallpaper Patterns

March 9, 2022
You usually don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner. You wrap 1/8″ around, slit the strip in two vertically, and then apply a new strip overlapping that 1/8″. The trick is getting the pattern of that new strip to match up with that on the original wall.
And it helps if the walls are straight and plumb.
Here I’ve done a great job of matching the pattern in the corner. This is the top 2/3 of the wall.
But, as you move down the wall, it becomes quite evident the wall isn’t plumb. In fact, this wall had an actual bow in it, so it wasn’t flat or straight, either. So it’s impossible to avoid a pattern mis-match like this.
The standard practice is to match the pattern at eye level. Then, as it moves up and down the wall, you’ve gotta accept any mis-matches that result.
In this case, we’re lucky that the new vanity will block most of this.
This is called Hick’s Hexagon and is by Cole & Son.

” Shrinking ” a Strip to Make for a Good Corner

February 5, 2022
I’m hanging wallpaper moving from right to left. The wallpaper is 21″ wide. The width between my last strip (over the door) and the corner is 19″ wide. This means that my next strip is going to wrap around the corner by 2″.
This is not good. You never want to wrap wallpaper around an inside corner, especially a tiny amount like 2″. Corners are never straight, and thus the wrapped bit will be warped and un-straight. The next strip will never butt up correctly with it, leaving gaps and overlaps. You will also end up with a new strip that is not hanging plumb.
Also, wrapping around corners doesn’t allow for movement in the corner as the temperature changes in the room, or as the house shifts on its foundation.
The goal is to wrap the corner by about 1/16″ – 1/8″, and then overlap the new strip on top of that narrow wrap.

This is how I want my strip to land in the left corner.
Bottom line – if I want my next strip to wrap just 1/8″ around the corner on the left, then it’s going to overlap by 2″ onto the existing strip on the right. If that happens, we’ll lose 2″ of the pattern and have some eye-jarring cut-off pattern motifs.
So, somewhere, I need to “lose” 2″ of paper. Looking at the short seam above this window, I see where I can remove some paper without messing up the pattern too much.
I’ve removed the strip and used my straightedge and a razor blade to slice off 3/4″ of paper.
The blue plastic is there to keep paste off my table, and the shiny thing is a protective plastic strip I use to keep from cutting into the wooden table.
3/4″ removed.
Slid back together, you don’t much notice the very minor pattern mis-match created by the absence of the narrow strip.
This could work on a longer strip as well, depending on the pattern motifs.
Now the left corner is how I want it.
But the right edge of the strip is overlapping 1″ or more over the existing strip over the window. You can see there is a pattern mis-match, not to mention a bump where these two pieces overlap. So I’m going to do a double cut and splice these two strips together.
Splicing means you press hard to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Your blade will probably cut a bit deeper and dig into the wall, scoring the surface. This is bad, because an un-intact surface can give way when wallpaper paste dries and the material shrinks, tugging at the surface. This can actually cause layers of the wall to come apart ( delaminate ), which means the wallpaper will come up at the seam. Do a Search here to learn more.
To prevent this, I’m using a Boggess Strip (a clear, thin, flexible strip of polycarbonate Lexon plastic padding ) to put under where the splice will take place, to protect the wall. You can’t cut through this stuff!
The strip in place.
I’ve smoothed the left strip back into place overlapping the existing strip. Next I’ve used a short straightedge and a sharp (important) new (important) single edged razor blade to slice through both layers of wallpaper. Here I’m removing the top strip of excess cut-off paper.
Now I’ve pulled back part of the strip on the left so I can remove the excess wallpaper on the bottom. Note that the cut is a little uneven in areas, to cut around the leaves in the design.
Removing the Boggess Strip. This does put tension on your wall, so you’ve got to have a good wallpaper primer underneath, applied over a sound surface.
The two strips smoothed back together.
The view from below.
I used a pencil to touch up the edges of the leaves, to make them look more rounded and natural.

The polycarbonate strips are named after the inventor, Steve Boggess, a colleague and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association. Get them here: https://www.steveboggesspaperhanging.com/lexanpage.htm

Wrapping Wallpaper Around an Unstable Corner

February 3, 2022
I’m not sure what’s going on in this corner over a shower. But it looks like maybe some foundation movement has caused shifting in the corner, and the painters have used caulk to bridge a gap.
When you hang wallpaper, you don’t wrap a full sheet around an inside corner. You wrap about 1/16″ or 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut the strip in two vertically, and overlap the new cut piece on top of that 1/8″ wrap.
That allows for crooked or un-plumb corners, and lets you plumb up the next strip. It also allows a little “give” if the corner or drywall should move, and prevents the wallpaper from buckling or tearing in the corner.
But I was afraid that 1/8″ wouldn’t be wide enough to withstand movement, and we might end up with a gap in the corner.
So I wrapped the paper a little more, like 3/8″ around the corner. Here I’m placing the next strip so that it overlaps onto this wrapped 3/8″.
BTW, the gooky stuff at the bottom of the picture is the top of the shower tile, grout, and etc. It looks bad, but is actually nice and solid – and way above eye-level.
Done. No worries about gaps opening up.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Hallway Wallpaper Repair – Thibaut Honshu

December 11, 2021
This couple in the West University neighborhood of Houston loves color and avant garde – unexpected and fun! I hung this Honshu wallpaper by Thibaut in their small hallway at the beginning of the pandemic – April 2020. Since then, they decided to change the faucets and showerhead in the bathroom on the other side of this wall. To access the pipes, the plumber had to cut a hole in the drywall. The ‘guy’ that this couple uses did a fantastic job of cutting the drywall, preserving the wallpaper, and then patching the hole. You can even see that his cuts are perfectly level and plumb!
Slapping wallpaper patches over the two holes would have probably sufficed. But I wanted to make it better, so I stripped off and replaced the old wallpaper. This meant patching the guy’s drywall repairs. I didn’t get a photo, but I used drywall tape and joint compound to even out the areas. A heavy duty floor fan plus a heat gun helped get the smoothing compound to dry in a few hours. I sanded smooth and applied wallpaper primer, and ended up with what you see in the photo.
To conserve paper, instead of replacing the entire two strips from ceiling to floor, which could have caused some problems with matching the pattern on the left side, I patched in about one foot down from the ceiling line. To disguise the appliqued area, I used a scissors and trimmed around the wallpaper design, as you see here. This is less visible than a straight horizontal cut.
In this photo, the two strips have been put into place. You could never tell there was a hole (or two) !

Soft Look in Heights Powder Room

December 10, 2021
Before
Finished. I love the soft colors against the putty-colored woodwork and wainscoting.
The red beam from my laser level helps get that first strip centered and plumb.
Perfect!
From a distance.
Close up, you can see a very slight raised ink texture to this wallpaper.
The last corner ( kill point ) matched almost perfectly. This rarely happens, so it’s always a thrill when it looks this good all by itself.
The pattern is called Khotan and is by Zak & Fox. It’s a non-woven, paste-the-wall product. It was a bit thick and stiff to work with, and creased easily. But it went up nicely, and the seams were invisible. And, when it’s time to redecorate, this non-woven material will strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with minimal damage to the wall.

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Keeping the Pattern Straight Going Around a Wide Window

November 17, 2021
Hanging wallpaper around windows is tricky. You’ve got to keep the pattern straight along the top and the bottom, and coming down the far side, and hope that the pattern will match up when those last pieces meet. That’s harder than it sounds, because ceiling lines and window frames and floors are never perfectly level, nor are walls perfectly plumb. And wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and twists out of shape, and does other contortions. The wider the window is, the more likely it is that things will get off kilter. And this window was 8′ wide! For the strips along the top, it was fairly easy to keep the pattern straight across the top of the window, as I used a ruler and made sure that a certain design motif was 3/4″ from the top of the window. Keeping this uniformity looks good to the eye. But just because it was the same height across the top of the window, it doesn’t mean it was level, or keeping equidistant from the design below the window. Like I said, patterns and walls and windows go off track. Still, it’s the best shot we’ve got.

Below the window, instead of using a ruler, I tried another trick. I measured the distance from the window molding that a certain design motif was to hit the wall, and drew a pencil line horizontally right at that measurement. Then I made sure that each strip I hung, the motif synced up with this line. In order to do this, I had to pull the design up or down a bit in some places, which meant some minor pattern mis-matches here and there.

I didn’t get pictures of my final strip coming around the right top side of the window, and how it met up with the pattern below the window. The pattern match was off a little, but not much. I was able to tweak one strip and fudge the pattern a bit. In another area I cut a strip in two vertically, following the contours of the design, and did a bit of overlapping.

All this disguised the minor pattern mis-match, while also keeping the right edge of the wallpaper nice and straight – which is important because the next strip of paper would need to butt up against it.

It did help that this material was a non-woven, which has a content of polyester / synthetic, and so is dimensionally stable – which is a fancy way of saying that it’s not supposed to expand (much) when it gets wet with paste.

IAll that sounds confusing, and it is. But I hope it has helped a bit to explain how this can be done.