Posts Tagged ‘prime’

Wallpaper Coming Off – Delaminating Wall

January 14, 2022

An Unfortunate Situation

This Brooklyn Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper on an accent wall in a nursery went up beautifully. The contractor had added new Sheetrock to one wall, and painted the other, old/original wall. I skim-floated both walls and sanded smooth, primed, and hung the wallpaper. Perfect! (Search here to see my original post.) But within less than a month, the homeowner contacted me and said that the wallpaper was ” coming off the wall .” It was a 1920’s bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. And therein lies the brunt of the problem.
The wallpaper itself is not ” coming off the wall .” What’s happening is that the wall surface itself is coming apart – or, delaminating . This is because multiple layers of paint and other substances on the wall may not be compatible. A probably scenario: In 1920 oil-based paint was used. Later someone rolled on a coat of latex paint. Then the homeowners redecorated and used gloss paint. Then some ” flippers ” who had watched too much HGTV slapped on more paint without bothering to de-gloss or prime first. And somewhere in the mix you’ve got cheap paint and dust and other incompatible materials.
Over time, and especially when stress is put on the wall surface, such as when wet wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks, this stress can tug at the wall and actually pull these layers apart. There are other contributing factors, too, such as humidity, temperature, and location. I find it interesting that the worst parts of the affected seams were toward the top of the wall. This speaks of heat, humidity, and forced air (either hot or cold) coming out of the air vent just to the right of this wall. This photo is of the area over a door, very close to the air vent.
See how thick that is? It’s not just the wallpaper. There are several layers of wall coming apart. Some layers are clinging to the back of the wallpaper, and some are staying stuck to the wall.
Multiple layers, many years of coatings on this wall.
Easy to see the many layers. The paper itself, my blue primer, my layer of smoothing compound, paint, more paint coming off the wall. Then multiple layers of paint and texture still clinging to the wall. This shot is just below the ceiling.
Same thing happening at the baseboard at the floor.
Layers of paint separating from the wall in chunks. Some pulled off easily, and some I had to chop off with my 3″ putty knife.
Most of the paint and unstable surface material clung to the back of the wallpaper. This pile is just three strips – only half the wall. But it’s thick and stiff and heavy because of the paint stuck to the back of the wallpaper. There was so much and it was so heavy and bulky that I had to carry it out to my van in two trips. When I got home, it totally filled my trash bin.
Here’s the wall once all the other layers came off. Brushing my hand over it revealed a layer of dust. No wonder the paint and other coatings wouldn’t stick. Nothing sticks to dust. It’s like flouring a cake pan… The paint or wallpaper will kinda stick – but won’t really stick. Paint on top may be fine. But add a little stress from drying / shrinking wallpaper, and you may end up with layers that pull apart.
Wiping the walls with a damp sponge removed a lot more dust. But the wall still felt chalky. Whatever type of paint this was, it was not holding together.
I had to stabilize this chalky surface. Enter Gardz, a wonderful product – Gardz is a thin, penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and binds substances together. It dries hard and creates an intact surface. The darker area in the picture is where I’ve rolled on a test area. Gardz is thin like water, and it runs and drips and splatters. It’s imperative that you cover floors, countertops, and baseboards, and roll carefully, and roll upward rather than downward, to minimize runs and drips. A microfiber roller holds the liquid well, and reduces drips.
Gardz is made by Zinsser.
No photo of the finished wall, but I was very pleased with the stability of the surface. No more chalk or dust. Now, there still could be unstable or incompatible layers deeper inside the wall. (Latex paint over oil without proper prep.) But for now I feel pretty confident that this wall is solid and will hold up to the next process in preparation for getting the new wallpaper up.

Skim-Floating to Smooth a Heavily Textured Wall

November 14, 2021
Texture looks bad under wallpaper, and in interferes with good adhesion. The walls must be smoothed before the paper can go up. Very similar to popcorn texture but not as thick, this sand type finish still sticks out from the wall in some spots as far as 1/4″. That leaves a lot of space between those grains of grit for me to fill in with smoothing compound.
Here I’ve used a putty knife to knock off the tops of those grains of sand. At the top half of the photo I am applying the smoothing compound. I use a trowel to do this. It’s slow and labor-intensive, but it gets my eyes close to my work, and it gives me the best control. This had to be applied so thickly that it will take probably two days to dry. Having the air conditioner or heat running helps pull moisture out of the material. Once it’s dry I will sand it smooth, and then prime it for wallpaper.
I like Sheetrock’s Plus 3 lightweight joint compound for this task. It adheres well and sands easily. The regular version (in the red, white, and green box) is very difficult to sand. Hot mud or quick dry or 20 minute mud should not be used, as primers and pastes don’t stick well to them.

Foliage Update for Guest Bedroom

November 10, 2021
This small floral print was fashionable when it went up, 30+ years ago. But now it’s dated, and also some stains and dirt are showing. Time for an update!
Old paper has been stripped off, the walls have been primed with my favorite Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime, and ready for wallpaper.
Done! An accent of grasscloth was used on one wall. I love the way the greens match, and everything coordinates with the paneling / wainscoting.
Usually I place the pattern so a prominent design motif sits at the ceiling line. But in a room with wainscoting or chair rail, that horizontal mid point in the wall is more visible. So I plotted to have the bottom of the dark green, most visible flower land just above the top of the chair rail. It looks like it’s growing from the wood! The pattern also just happened to land nicely at the ceiling line, with no major design elements getting cut in half.
The material has woven fabric look to it – but that’s just the printing. It’s actually a very flat paper. It was very thin, and reminded me of papers from decades ago. It hugs the wall very tightly. I liked it a lot.
Exclusive Wallcoverings
The grasscloth accent wall. All four strips were reverse-hung, and hung in the sequence they came off the bolt. Yet you see a color difference (called paneling or shading ) between some strips. This is quite typical of natural products like grasscloth and sisal.
Close up. Bad photo … the color is actually an attractive green. The material is more of a thin balsa wood about 1/2″ wide, rather than traditional grass or reeds. I feared it would be difficult to cut through, but it turned out to work very nicely. But it would not have been good in a room with corners or intricate details to trim around.

The home is in League City, a southern suburb of Houston.

Covering Up an Uneven Edge

October 31, 2021
Someone painted over the wallpaper in this powder room. At this point, removing the paper would be a huge, messy undertaking, so I’m going to leave it in place and prime over it. There was a scroll-edged border at the top of the wall and below the crown molding. Here you can see the edge of that border visible under the paint. This will show under the new wallpaper.
To prevent the edge from ” telegraphing ” through the new wallpaper, I have skim-floated over it with joint compound (” mud “). Once it’s dry (I used my heat gun to speed things up!), I will sand it smooth, wipe off the dust, and then prime the entire wall surface. No no one will be able to detect it under the new paper.

‘Iconic’ Woods Pattern by Cole & Son on Heights Entryway Accent Wall

October 20, 2021
Before. Getting ready to prime. Note that I have protected both the floor and the baseboards with dropcloths.
Done! Dramatic!
Detail.
This bolt had been damaged in shipping, and the right edge had dings / dents. With this thick, puffy non-woven material, these could show at the seams when butted against the next strip. So I plotted the placement of my strips so this one would be on the far right end. That last strip was not the full width wide, so 8″ of the right side got cut off where it met the adjoining wall. That eliminated the worry of those dented edges showing.
I used the paste-the-wall method to hang this non-woven wallpaper. With the wall wet with paste, it would be easy to get paste all over the wallpaper if you used the traditional installation booking technique. So I’ve learned to roll the material up with the print side in, and then secure with a hairband (from the dollar store). Then you can easily carry the rolled-up strip up your ladder, remove the elastic tie, and then let the paper fall into place. Only the back side comes into contact with the paste on the wall. Once you get good at this technique, you will never have to wipe paste off a seam, nor off the woodwork or adjoining walls.
Cole & Son says that this “Woods” pattern has roots dating back to 1959. I guess that makes it truly iconic. I can say that it is quite popular – I’ve hung it a bunch of times.

Somebody Painted Over Old Wallpaper

April 21, 2020

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Instead of removing the wallpaper, a previous homeowner painted right over it. In the first photo, where the mounting bracket of the bar light fixture was removed, you can see a bit of the original floral wallpaper to the right of the uncovered area. The sponge-painted beige paint went on top of that. The bottom 1/3 of the walls were painted in just the beige paint, and a border separated the two patterns, as you see in the second photo. It all looked pretty good, and was right in style in the ’90’s.

The bad thing, though, was painting over the wallpaper. It wouldn’t have taken that much effort or time (3-4 hours) to strip off the paper. Painting over it instead was quicker, but there are drawbacks. The wallpaper seams show, if even just a little bit, through the new paint. Because most wallpapers have a vinyl coating, the paint will not stick really well to it. There is the potential for moisture from the latex paint to penetrate through the wallpaper underneath, causing it to swell and bubble. It adds more layers and thicknesses to the wall. And every one of those layers is a potential to loosen and peel up.

Best bet: Take the time to strip off the old wallpaper, and then properly prime the surface, before painting or re-wallpapering. Also, the mounting bracket should have been removed, so the wallpaper and / or paint could go behind it.

10″ Head Space – I Can Do It!

December 13, 2019


Not only was there only a mere 10″ of clearance between the cabinet and the ceiling, the niche was way deeper than the typical cabinet, because below it was a 36″ deep refrigerator. Even standing on the very top of my ladder (ya know – the step that OSHA says NOT to stand on!), and contorting my whole torso on top of the cabinet, it was difficult to reach the back wall. And even more difficult to maneuver my hands and tools.

I managed to skim-float the area, sand it smooth, and prime it. Today it was time to get paper onto it.

The fewer tasks I had to do, the easier (and safer) it would be to accomplish.

The first thing I did was to trim the paper horizontally at the point where I wanted it to meet the ceiling. This eliminated the need for me to squeeze in a straightedge and trimming blade and try to manipulate them in the deep, narrow space.

Likewise, I wanted to avoid having to trim in the last corner (on the right). So I measured carefully, and pre-trimmed my last piece to fit. It was 3 7/8″ at the top, but widened to 4″ at the bottom.

After the strip got pasted and booked, it expanded a tad, so I had to trim off a teeny bit from the right edge. And also a little more off the upper right, due to the wall being un-straight at that point.

I was able to get my plastic smoother and damp microfiber cloth into the space, to smooth the strips to the wall and wipe off any paste residue.

Stripping Wallpaper

December 26, 2016

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Today I repapered a powder room that I have done at least twice before, over 20 years or so. The existing paper stripped off easily, in part because it was a pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl paper, and also because of the primer I used to seal the walls – oil-based KILZ Original. The primer protected the walls and kept them intact, and there was no damage to the walls whatsoever.

The photo shows all steps of removing this kind of wallpaper. The printed top vinyl / plastic layer is pulled off. With this kind of paper, the top layer usually separates and pulls off easily and in large pieces. This leaves a paper backing still stuck to the wall. This is the light tan area you see in the photo. I use a wet sponge to soak this layer. When it gets good and wet, it turns dark tan, as seen in the photo.

The next step is to remove this backing. Once it’s good and wet, the paste holding it to the wall will reactivate, and the wallpaper will peel away from the wall easily and in large pieces. Sometimes it might be necessary to scrape the paper off the wall, which can be done with a not-too-sharp 3″ stiff putty knife, taking care not to gouge into the wall surface.

A Little Info for the Next Guy

April 5, 2016

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When I remember, I like to sign my name and the date under the wallpaper I am hanging. What a surprise, years down the road, when the paper is stripped off for redecorating!

Today, I got the idea to include some information that could be helpful for the guy who will be installing the next wallpaper. So I wrote how the wall was prepped and which product was used to prime.