Posts Tagged ‘primer’

Soft, Sweet, and Wistful for Children’s Bathroom

February 25, 2021

Before my baby blue primer hit the walls, this hall bathroom was all white – white walls, white tile, white vanity and mirrors and sink. Just a little bit of light grey color, and a simple white line drawing on this wallpaper do wonders to give this room warmth and personality. The design reminds me of a fairy tale. The family is bowled over by the change!

The paper is by Borastapeter, a Scandinavian company. It is a superb product – washable, easy to strip off when it’s time to redecorate, soft and supple enough to make hanging it in tight areas easier, seams are virtually invisible, non-woven material so can be hung via the paste-the-wall method (I pasted the paper instead).

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Freezing Weather and Hanging Wallpaper

February 19, 2021

Here in Houston, we are having unprecedented cold, including ice and snow, broken pipes and hundreds of thousands of homes with out water or electricity. All of that, of course, makes driving dangerous, and of course, you can’t hang wallpaper without lights, warmth, and clean running water.

But another concern is freezing temperatures and my materials. Before all this hit, I made sure to get all my water-based products out of the van and into the garage. Primer, paste, joint compound, and even things like caulk and bottled drinking water and my trusty Gatorade.

At $50 for a gallon of primer or a fiver of paste, that’s a significant investment to protect.

Some of my friends up north haul their buckets in every night. Others use various types of heaters to keep the rear of their vans above freezing.

Going For More Of The Same

February 9, 2021

I hung the original wallpaper in 2014, when the house was first built. The PEX water lines used in the home (flexible hoses instead of PVC pipes) were new at the time. Tragically, after a few years, the lines used in this home failed and caused leaks all over the house. Replacing all the water lines required cutting holes in MANY places throughout the home.

You can see in the photos where the plumbers cut out drywall and then patched it back in. This company actually did a good job of removing the wallpaper in the areas of their repairs.

Unfortunately, with the amount of wallpaper that was left over from 2014, I was not able to do repairs. The entire room had to be repapered.

The homeowner loved the pattern and wanted to keep it. It was still available, so she bought enough to repaper the room.

For various reasons, the original wallpaper was much more difficult to get off the wall than I expected. I could have gotten it off – but it would have taken about two full days.

So I opted to hang over it. It’s important to skim-float over the seam areas. First, because the seams will leave a little ridge that will telegraph through and show under the new paper. But also, because as wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension on the seams. There is always the potential that this tension will cause the the surface below to pull away from the wall, and especially so if there is a weak area such as a seam. So you always want to avoid putting a seam on top of a seam.

So I skim-floated (do a Search here to learn more) over the seams, as well as over the patched areas left by the plumbers. See photos. Then I sealed the walls with Gardz, a product that penetrates and seals porous materials – like drywall joint compound and like this traditional British pulp wallpaper. Because it soaks in and dries hard, it helps to prevent moisture from paint or wallpaper paste from soaking through, and thus prevents bubbling of the underlying surface. That’s why this product is primarily used for sealing torn layers of drywall.

Although a bit glossy for my liking, Gardz is also a good primer to hang wallpaper on.

Interestingly, the expansion rate of the new wallpaper was a bit less than the original, and so the seams fell about 1/4″ to the right of the original seams. This reduced the worry of seams falling on top of seams and causing lifting.

It was a complicated room, and the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work with. Prep took one day, and it took me two additional days to hang the paper (16 single rolls – 8 double roll bolts).

The wallpaper is in the line of Nina Campbell, by Osborne & Little, a British company. While most British papers these days are printed on an agreeable non-woven substrate, this one is a traditional, old-school British pulp … thick, stiff, difficult to fit into turns and angles, easy to tear, easily stained, non-malleable, plus the factory’s trimming roller blades must have been dull or wobbly, because the edges were not cut perfectly straight, which meant the seams had some “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room did look pretty darned good – even if it looks exactly the same as it did in 2014.

But that’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. So all is good and mission accomplished!

Mess Stripping Wallpaper

February 6, 2021

Over the years, this powder room ended up with at least four layers of wallpaper. Some had been stripped down to the backing layer before the next layer went up, sometimes a primer was used, and in other cases, the installer simply plopped the new paper on top of the old.

The homeowners attempted to remove the multiple layers of paper. This mess would have been difficult to begin with, but, to complicate things, unfortunately, they pulled some bad information off the Internet. You can see how the use of a “paper tiger” scoring tool caused damage to the wallpaper as well as to the surface underneath – and didn’t help at all to loosen the old wallpaper.

My solution was to peel off the top layer of vinyl paper – the brownish striped faux finished pattern in the upper left of the photo. Then I used a sponge and lots of water to soak the tan backing until the paste reactivated and the paper could be scraped off the wall.

I would have preferred to also take off the layers of paper that remained underneath. But time was a consideration, and also the likelihood of damage to the wall surface. And I wasn’t sure if there was drywall or plaster under there.

So I used the product Gardz to seal off the revealed wallpaper. (Do a Search here on the word ‘Gardz” to learn more about this ingenious product.) Once that was dry, I skim-floated over the entire surface, to create a new, plaster-like layer. That was allowed to dry overnight.

The next day, I sanded this skim-float layer smooth. Because the smoothing compound had to be applied thickly, this resulted in a massive amount of dust. Luckily, it was all contained in the powder room, and was easily vacuumed up.

Then I used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This was followed by another coat of Gardz – a product that soaks in, dries hard, and effectively seals the surface. It’s a good sealer for new skim-coat, and it also works nicely as a primer under wallpaper.

With fans blowing on it, it dries quickly, and I was able to start hanging paper in an hour or so.

Helping To Hide Seams

January 23, 2021

Like most wallpapers, this Sure Strip by York can be expected to expand a bit when it becomes wet with the paste. Once it’s on the wall, it will dry and give up moisture – and that results in a tad of shrinkage. That usually means you might see just a teeny bit of a gap at the seams.

Not usually a big deal. But when you have a dark or bold color such as this on a light background and also printed on a white backing, if the paper shrinks and gaps, you can end up with a hairline’s breadth of the underlying wall surface and / or of the white wallpaper substrate showing through.

Layman’s terms: You might have a slight white line showing at the seams.

To help ward this off, I did two things. One was that I used red chalk to lightly color the edges of the wallpaper. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, but you can Search here to see previous jobs where I employed that method.

The other thing was to stripe red paint under where the seams would fall.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Because wallpaper will stretch when it gets wet with paste, making it difficult to guestimate exactly where the seam will fall, and thus where to run your red stripe.

Once you plot that out, you need a level to guide you by creating a plumb line at the appropriate point. And then mix your paint with water and use a brush or small sponge to run along that plumb line, straddling it widely enough to catch the seam wherever the gap might end up actually falling.

Also, the red paint needs to be good and dry before you put wallpaper on top of it. So this means you run the red stripe down the wall, and then get fans or a heat gun, or employ some other method to get the paint to dry quickly.

Oh, and … wallpaper works best when it’s hung on a wallpaper primer. Primers specific to wallpaper are designed to resist the tension created when wet wallpaper dries and shrinks a tad, putting stress on the seam area.

By running paint on the wall along the seam line, now you’ve covered up the wallpaper primer. There is no way to know if that perfectly pigmented craft store paint will hold up over the long run and keep the wallpaper seams tight to the wall.

That’s one reason I used a fairly light mix of the paint. A full-strength concentration of red paint might not allow the wallpaper paste to grip onto it. And definitely do not use a glossy paint. Nothing sticks to gloss.

As you can guess, this process adds a significant amount of time to your install. But it’s worth it, because, in the red room I hung pictured in previous posts, the seams were virtually invisible. I know that if I had not colored the edges of the paper as well as the wall, white would have shown just a teensy bit at the seams.

New Label Material Allows Drips

December 26, 2020

Here is my favorite wallpaper primer – Ultra Prime Pro 977 by Romans.

It appears the composition of their paper label has changed. Previously, the label was absorbent, so any drips that formed would soak into the paper.

But now, even though the label looks the same, it’s made of a new material that allows drips to run all the way down the side of the can. Even if I wipe them away, they reform and continue to slide down the can.

This means there is great potential for these drips to reach my dropcloths (see photo). The dropcloths will protect the floor, no problem. But once they get a certain amount of drips and splotches, even though they may still be serviceable, they don’t look good in a client’s home, so have to be discarded.

Besides ruining the dropcloths, there is also the chance that an errant drip of primer might find its way to the homeowner’s floor, carpet, countertop, or furniture.

I have written to the Romans company, and I hope they listen to my feedback and go back to their former type of label on their cans.

UPDATE: I chatted with the company rep today, and she confirms that they have, indeed, changed to a new manufacturer, and that company does use a plasticized coating on the label. That explains why the primer slides rather than soaks in.

Fixing Weird Things That Happen To Wallpaper

December 6, 2020

The top photo shows a stain on the wallpaper that is probably related to a rain or hurricane event a few years ago.

Water stains (and also other substances, like rust, blood, ink, oil, tobacco, tar, cosmetics, and more) will bleed through wallpaper. So, before patching the area, it is imperative to use a stain blocker to seal the problem. My favorite is KILZ Original oil-based.

KILZ will seal off the stain all right. But wallpaper won’t stick to it. So, in the third photo, you see where I have primed over the KILZ with a wallpaper primer (tinted light blue, for visibility). It’s not necessary to prime the entire wall area to be patched, because this type of wallpaper will stick to itself with just plain old adhesive.

The striped pattern made for an easy repair. I took a straightedge and sharp razor blade and trimmed along the striped design, creating a long skinny patch. See fourth photo. You can also see the strip pasted and booked (folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side).

Once that sat and relaxed for a few minutes, I took it to the wall and appliquéd it over the damaged area, going the full height.

There was a very slight color difference between the paper that had been on the wall for 20 years and the paper that had been in a dark closet. Had I placed the white area of the patch next to the white area on the existing paper on the wall, the color difference would have been noticeable. But trimming along the blue stripe gave the eye a logical stopping point, and so the color difference is not detectable.

In the finished photo, you would never guess there had been anything amiss with this wall.

I used this same technique to patch over the bug-bite holes in yesterday’s post.

And another good reminder that it’s always best to order a little extra wallpaper, in case of the need for repairs later. Store the paper in a climate-controlled space … not the garage or attic.

The wallpaper is by Schumacher, and appeared to be an old-school pulp paper material.

Patching Minor Cracks

November 29, 2020


Today, under the sink, there were two 18″ vertical cuts in the surface. (sorry, no photo) I couldn’t tell if they were cuts into the drywall, or simply in the paint, but I was afraid that they might show under the wallpaper, or, worse, open up and cause cracks to develop in the wallpaper.

They weren’t major enough to require a full-fledged tape-and-float job. So my quick fix was to grab this thin paper tape and use it to bridge the cuts. The tape is made by a colleague, Steve Boggess, a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). It’s thin and has feathered edges, so it’s unnoticeable under most wallpapers.

It’s pre-pasted on one side, so it can be easily adhered to the wall. But today I chose to embed it in the primer I was using in the room. That’s what you see in the second photo.

Once the primer dried, I was very pleased with the flatness of the strips. Once the paper covered them, you could not detect them at all.

The stuff is called “seam tape,” and has other uses, as well.

Updating from Decorative Paint to Beautiful Wallpaper

November 18, 2020

The walls in this small entry in a pretty original condition 1935 home in the Montrose / Upper Kirby neighborhood of Houston had been painted by an artist with a wide stripe pattern in deep orange and gold, with a darker wash over the surface. It was probably done in the ’90’s, and was a good look then.

But the new homeowner never loved it. As for me, I think the look is too modern to suit the era and style of the home, and also the colors have a sort of dirty cast to them. After living there several years and focusing on career and raising kids, the homeowners were finally ready to bring a new concept to the entry.

The first photo shows the existing wall finish. The white stuff is my smoothing compound, which I have started to apply over the lightly-but-irregularly textured walls.

The next photo shows the walls sanded smooth, vacuumed and then wiped free of dust, primed with a wallpaper primer, and ready for wallpaper.

In the “after” photos, note that the dark or blotchy areas are simply wet with paste or water, and will disappear as the paper dries.

This is a particularly pretty pattern that suits the room well. There is a slight Chinoiserie / Asian feel to the design. And the grey is a good colorway for this home’s décor. I love the arched moldings that frame the passageways to both the living room and the dining room. Typical adorable 1930’s architecture!

The wallpaper is by Anderson Prints. It was pretty nice to work with, but did tend to dry out even before the booking time was up, so presented a bit of a challenge in that respect.

In the distant shot, you can make out a sort of hourglass figure in the branches and vines. I plotted the placement so a full “swoop” would display over the doors.

And also so the “hourglass” would play out down the center of the main wall, as shown in the photo. This will look nice as the vines and flowers gently surround the chest of drawers and oval mirror when they are placed back into the room.

Why Are These Seams Pouching Up?

November 4, 2020

There are a couple of issues going on in this master bathroom, causing the wallpaper to curl at the seams and the layers to delaminate.

For starters, the previous installer did not bother to remove the original wallpaper, but hung on top of it. He did prime over the original wallpaper, which is good,,,, but that primer felt too slick to provide a good surface for the new wallpaper to stick to. I have a feeling it was not formulated for wallpaper.

Second, there has been a lot of steam and humidity in this room over about 15 years. This particular type of paper does allow moisture to find its way into the seams, causing curling and delaminating.

These pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers are among my very least favorites.

Read more about this material by clicking the link below.

https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/stay-away-from-pre-pasted-paper-backed-solid-vinyl-wallpapers/