Posts Tagged ‘prep’

A Word to the Wise – Measuring, Ordering, Prepping Walls

May 15, 2016

People! Please do NOT let your painter or handyman or Uncle Billy “prep the walls for paper.” They may be good at painting or at general home repairs, but they do not know the intricacies of wallpaper, or what constitutes a properly smooth and sound and sealed surface, nor are they familiar with or know where to purchase wallpaper-specific primers. Trust me – I am much better at wall prep than they are.

As I tell my clients, “You can pay your painter to prep the walls, but you will have to pay me to do it over again.”

And, People! Please do NOT pull out your ruler and calculator and try to measure the room yourself, and do NOT go by any “guides” posted on-line, nor by the calculations of someone who works in a paint store and has a few wallpaper books on display.

Figuring up how much wallpaper to buy is multi-faceted, and can be tricky. Many concepts need to be factored in – type of paper, manufacturer, pattern repeat, width of paper, length of roll, height of wall, on and on.

And, People! Do NOT order your paper until the walls have been properly measured by a professional. A professional PAPERHANGER, that is, not a professional painter or Sheetrocker.

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Peeling Paint – What Is Going On?

May 8, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


I was “undressing” a bathroom today, to get all the fixtures off the wall so I could put up the new wallpaper. When I removed the hand towel ring, paint from the wall stuck to it, and pulled away from the wall. Latex paint peeling away from the wall like the skin of a balloon.

Why did this happen? Probably because whoever applied the paint used a cheap brand and put it over some other cheap paint. The paints were not able to bond together for a tight hold.

Another possibility is that the room had undergone renovations, which left dust on the walls, and when paint was applied over the dust, a tenuous bond resulted, which gave way the first time it was tested (by me pulling off the towel ring).

Moral: Properly prepare the wall, by removing all dust (with a damp sponge, rinsed frequently), using the right primer, and then following up with a good quality paint, properly applied. Waiting for the paint to dry and cure before attaching towel bars will also help keep these fixtures from getting stuck in the paint.

Taking Your Lumps – Pt II

March 4, 2011

Coincidental to my previous post, I bid a job this weekend in a room that had an extremely nasty texture on the walls. The homeowner had gotten a quote from (Large Wallpaper Retailer) that included the wallpaper and installation, and it sounded pretty reasonable.

The only thing is, just like the other Large Chain Wallpaper Retailer, this company did not include a price for prep. Now, how can you price a job without knowing what type of prep is involved?!

What these guys typically do is, give a price that sounds wonderful, then show up to do the work and either don’t do any prep at all, which could result in a bad looking job, or one that looks good initially but doesn’t stay on the wall for long, OR they arrive at the home and suddenly inform the homeowner that more work is going to be involved and, by the way, it’s going to be ($XXX) more. In one story that I heard, the price jumped from a very reasonable $300 to $1800 !!

To me, that’s leading the customer on, misleading her, and pulling the old Bait And Switch.

That’s another reason why I always insist on seeing the job ahead of time, and why I spend time talking to the homeowner to explain what I plan to do to get a good look and a lasting installation. Hopefully, with this explanation, the client will understand why there may be a cost difference, and value the extra work required to ensure a good job.

Knowing When to Bail

April 20, 2010

Please click the links at right to learn about me and my business.

Today I got two calls, both saying the same identical thing: “We need your help! We (or my husband) started wallpapering our bathroom, and got part way through, and realized it wasn’t going the way it should. It was harder than we thought it would be.”

You know, the manufacturers make it sound like a simple DIY project, when, in fact, doing a good wallpaper job takes a lot of know-how and experience.

Just the prep alone is tricky – and one of the most important elements for the job. Both of today’s callers, though, had totally neglected to do any prep at all – No wonder their jobs failed!

And prep is just the start. After that, it’s more than just pasting and applying the paper. There are lots of tricks and knowledge that only come with experience over a period of time – like how much pressure to use when smoothing, how to cut around intricate moldings, which side of the straight edge to place your razor blade, on and on.

I look forward to seeing these two jobs, and hope I can help the homeowners to finish up with a beautiful room.

I Lost a Job Today

March 19, 2010

Wallpaper Installation in Houston

I lost a job today, due to price. Yes, it happens from time to time. But it puzzles me a little, and it concerns me, when people choose an installer seemingly based on price ONLY.

This job was for a room in a very nice home – valued at nearly a million dollars; with furnishings and accessories, the value is easily over a million.

You could safely assume that money was not an issue with this family. You would also logically assume that, in a home of this caliber, quality and perfection would be an expectation.

When I visited the home, measured, and presented my estimate for the job, as always, I took care to explain exactly how I would prepare the walls, why prep is important, the types of materials I use, and the care and attention to detail I employ when installing wallcoverings. I spent quite a bit of time at the home, consulting on colors and selections for several rooms, in addition to the wallpaper selection for the children’s bathroom.

Yet the client chose to use another installer, who supposedly said he would do the job for half my price.

Now, you have to wonder, HOW can he do the SAME job, for half the price? The answer is, he most likely is NOT providing the same work.

I’ll bet you that this other installer is not going to prep the walls as carefully as I would. In fact, I’ll bet you that he will not do ANY prep at all – and simply install the new paper right over the existing paper. This is a combination leading to disaster.

The thing is, usually such jobs LOOK good, at least, as I like to say, until the guy cashes her check. At some point down the road, and probably not too far, problems with improperly installed wallpaper will pop up.

Or, another scenerio, he may simply do a sloppy job, rushing through, or not bothering to remove paste from the surface of the paper, not using sharp razor blades – who knows what short cuts of sloppy techniques he might employ?

Well, chances are, I will never know, because it’s unlikely I will ever hear feedback as to how the job turned out. But I am left wondering – why, when money obviously is not in short supply, does a client make her decision based solely on price?