Posts Tagged ‘plumber’

Slipping Wallpaper Behind a Toilet

June 28, 2022

This toilet was less than an inch away from the wall, yet I was able to slip both the liner and the decorative papers behind it. This saved the homeowner the $$ expense of paying a plumber to come remove the tank, and then come back and replace it.
I could unbook the paper and slide it behind the tank without creasing or damaging the material. But it still needed to be smoothed against the wall. I work a yardstick back there and use it to press the paper gently against the wall. Sometimes it works better to wrap a damp cloth around the yardstick, because that puts more pressure – gentle pressure – on the paper and helps press it against uneven areas of the wall. I often use a shorter length of yardstick, which is handy because many toilets are recessed into areas that are narrower than 36″.

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.

Trick to Make Getting Around Pedestal Sink Easier

February 20, 2022
Hanging wallpaper in powder rooms often means working around a pedestal sink. It’s sooo much easier if the sink is not in the room. But that means the homeowner has to pay a plumber to come remove the sink, and then come back and replace it after the paper is up. This risks damaging the new paper, causes damage to the wall that I will have to repair. And costs several hundreds of dollars. So I usually get the paper up with the sink in place.
That means you have to wrestle a 9′ strip of paper over the sink, then down the narrow space on either side (on the right in this photo), and then underneath it. This opens the possibility of creasing the paper, tearing it, or other damage.
I’ve developed a trick to make it easier.
I’ll cut the paper horizontally a few inches below the top of the sink.
When possible, I cut along design elements, to help disguise the cut.
Here I’ve hung the paper above the sink and down the right side. Now I have to get the paper on the lower wall portion.
But it’s a lot easier because the sink is out of the way. Here I am getting ready to position this bottom section.
All in place. Next I will do the same with the area to the left of the sink. Things don’t always meet up perfectly at the seam, so you may end up with a gap or overlap or a pattern mis-match. But it will be behind the stand / base of the sink, so not noticeable.
This pattern is by Milton & King. It’s a non-wove material, which is a lot stronger and tear-resistant than a paper wallpaper.

Fixing Drywall Damage From Where Vanity Was Removed

January 20, 2022
The powder room in this 1990’s home in the Houston Heights is being updated, and that means replacing the wall-to-wall vanity. Here the vanity has been ripped out. The areas where the backsplash was adhered to the wall have pulled the top surface of the drywall off. In addition, the plumber had to cut out a section of drywall in order to gain access to the pipes, so he can install the new faucet and handles. You can see the connections roughed in.
You can’t hang wallpaper over this mess. First of all, it way too uneven – all those bumps will show under the new wallpaper. And the outline of the ” trapdoor ” will leave a big square ridge under the paper. Thankfully, the plumber secured the panel with drywall screws – most plumbers just leave you with a chunk of drywall floating in space, or even just an empty hole.
Back to patching issues … in addition, the torn areas of drywall will absorb moisture from the wallpaper primer and / or paste and expand, creating bubbles that will show under the new paper.
I needed to fill in dips and gouges, even out high areas, and prevent bubbling drywall.
Gardz by Zinsser to the rescue! This is a penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and then dries hard, binding them together and creating a stable surface, as well as resisting moisture from water-based top coatings.
This picture doesn’t look much different, but here the torn drywall is a little darker, indicating that the Gardz has soaked in and dried. The surface is now ready for a skim-coat.
But first, the trap door needs to be addressed. I covered the cut areas with four strips of self-adhesive mesh drywall tape (no photo).
Then I went over everything (wall to wall) with joint compound (commonly referred to as mud ) (no photo).
Because of the thickness of the high and low areas, this had to be a thick coat of smoothing compound, and would take a long time to dry. So I went to the jobsite two days ahead of our install date, to do these initial repairs.
And – no – you can’t use quick set or hot mud or 5 or 20 minute mud to do these repairs. These products are intended for repairs of small areas. Top coatings like primers, paint, and wallpaper paste do not stick well to them. Don’t let a contractor sweet-talk you into letting him use any of these to smooth a large area of wall.
Here is the wall after my first, heavy, coat of smoothing compound. I use Sheetrock brand’s Plus 3.
The bubbles you see just left of center show that Gardz didn’t 100% do its job of sealing out moisture, as a little expansion and blistering has occurred. Not a biggie. These will disappear when the surface is sanded. There is usually not a problem with these re-appearing.
When I got to work two days later, the smoothing compound had dried. I sanded pretty smooth. Then vacuumed up the dust on the floor, and then used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This is important, because no coating will stick to dust.
The wall still wasn’t perfectly smooth, so I did another skim-coat. This was much thinner, so didn’t need a lot of time to dry. I used a fan and my heat gun to speed things along.
Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, vacuumed and then wiped off all dust. Then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime. I have the paint store (Murphy Brothers in central Houston) add a little blue tint, so I can see it when I apply it to the wall.
What a transformation! Now this wall is ready for wallpaper!

From Bland White to Captivating Black & Gold Geometric

January 8, 2022
Vanity area before. Note the nice homeowner had the plumber remove the wall-mounted faucet and handle. This made the wallpaper installation so much easier – and eliminated a zillion relief cuts around these objects that might later give entry for splashed water to wick under and loosen the wallpaper.
Done. I centered the pattern on the wall so it hits both corners equally, and it falls perfectly around the faucet (no photo). The light fixture was hung a tad off-center.
Burnished gold accents of the light fixture, faucet (to be installed later), and toilet paper holder, as well as a gold-painted ceiling, compliment the gold lines in the pattern, and really pull this room together.
This non-woven paste-the-wall material is made by Trend, and is in the Jaclyn Smith collection. It has a slightly textured surface, and appears to be vinyl on the surface. This makes is more durable and stain-resistant than most paper wallpapers. It is thin and flexible, and I liked it a lot.
The home is a contemporary new-build in the Lindale Park neighborhood of central 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) !

Wall-Mounted Faucet And Handles Job, Pt. II

December 5, 2021
Wrestling a full strip of wallpaper around the whole wall, around the mirror, and then around those faucets would have been extremely cumbersome, would have slopped paste all over the mirror, and would have risked tearing or creasing the paper. So I decided to trim the paper down so I could place it just under and above the mirror. I placed the strips on the wall, making sure that the orange stripes were equidistant from the left and the right walls, and making sure that they were perfectly plumb. To get around that faucet, I sliced the paper vertically at the mid point. I used a scissors to cut half-circles around the faucet, and to cut holes for the handles. I had to leave enough room for the plumber to work, but not make the holes too large. As it was, the faucet escutcheon (gold ring back plate) just barely covered the hole I cut in the wallpaper. The striped pattern made this easier, but you could do the same thing with another type of design; you’d have to choose where to make your slices.
Done. Waiting for the plumber to reattach the handles and back plates.
Finished. (In the mirror you’re seeing a reflection of the linen cabinet on the opposite wall.) I used a similar technique to get around the drain pipe under the sink. I also had to make sure the stripes were centered on the wall, and lined up with the stripes above the vanity. This area was a bit easier because I didn’t have to work around a mirror. Still, this one wall took me about two and a half hours. !!

Wallpapering Around Wall-Mounted Faucet and Handle

August 29, 2021
Wall-mounted fixtures are popular in some contemporary style homes. They present the problem of splashing water onto the wallpaper . The are tricky to cut around when hanging the paper. If possible and in the budget, it’s best to have a plumber come remove the fixtures.
If the faucet cannot be removed, then I will have to make a lot of “relief cuts” in order to work the paper around the obstacles. Then very careful and precise trimming with a sharp blade around the escutcheons (wall plates) of the fixtures. These cuts do present more openings that splashed water can wick into, which could lead to curled seams.
Done!

Blessed Help From The Plumber Makes For A Better Wallpaper Outcome

October 29, 2020


This powder room in a contemporary-styled home has wall-mounted handles and faucet that protruded from the wall several inches.

When I first visited the home for an initial consultation, I explained that making “relief cuts” in the wallpaper in order to work around these fixtures would result in lots of slits in the wallpaper … which could be visible, and which also would potentially provide openings that could allow splashed water to wick in behind the wallpaper and cause it to come away from the wall.

The homeowners arranged to have a plumber come in and remove the fixtures.

This allowed me to hang the paper much more easily, and saved me about an hour. But most important, it eliminated all the cuts and slits, and the potential problems mentioned above.

I kept the holes as tight to the plumbing stems as possible, to eliminate any gaps between the wallpaper and the fixtures. When the plumber comes back to reinstall the handles and faucet, if need be, he can easily take a scissors or blade and enlarge the holes a bit.

Nice Try – But A Miss

October 4, 2020



Top photo: The plumber removed a wall-mounted faucet and handle, to make it easier for me to hang the wallpaper around this area. This would also eliminate a lot of “relief cuts” that I would need to make in order to fit the paper around these obstacles.

The only problem is … He removed a faucet that protrudes 10″ from the wall. And he capped it off with a pipe and nipple that stick out 7″ ! AND … He was unable to remove the handle escutcheon at all.

So … I still had to make multiple relief cuts in order to fit the wallpaper around these objects and flat to the wall. And now the wallpaper sits around the escutcheon, rather than behind it, so there is the worry that splashed water may find its way in behind the wallpaper, and potentially cause it to curl away from the wall.

The second photo shows another job where the plumber removed the faucet and handles all the way down to the stems. So I was able to fit the paper tightly to the pipes. The new fixtures will cover the holes and the wallpaper, eliminating any worries about water causing the paper to come loose.