Posts Tagged ‘primer’

Mirror “Tar” Will Bleed Through Wallpaper – Prevention

May 17, 2017

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Originally, this powder room in a newish townhome in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston had a mirror that was glued to the wall. Removing it left globs of mastic (tar-like adhesive) stuck to the wall. See Photo 1.

Mastic is petroleum-based, and it, like other similar substances such as grease, oil, and crayon, as well as other compounds like blood, rust, water, tobacco tar, and others, will work their way from behind the wallpaper up through it and then onto the surface, causing an unsightly stain.

KILZ Original oil-based primer and stain blocker is a superb product for sealing these substances. However, I feel more confident if the suspect material is removed entirely.

The best way to do this is to take a Stanley knife (utility knife / box cutter) and cut around the stain and into the wall. Then you can use a stiff 3″ putty knife to peel up the top layer of drywall, taking the staining material with it.

This leaves a patch of Sheetrock without its protective top layer. See Photo 3. These layers of torn Sheetrock will absorb moisture from anything you put on top (paint, primer, joint compound, etc.), and will swell, creating ugly bubbles that will mar the finished job.

So I brushed on Gardz, a penetrating sealer / primer by Zinsser. This is cool stuff, because it soaks into the surface and then dries hard, binding everything together.

In Photo 4, I have skim-floated over the areas where I have cut out the mastic. To skim-float, I trowel on a smoothing material called joint compound. Once that is dry, I will go back and sand it smooth, creating a perfectly smooth surface ready to accept the new wallpaper.

Wallpaper Primers

April 20, 2017

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There are lots of “wallpaper hangers” out there who slap paper up on the wall without a thought to prep. To do the job right, and to help ensure that the paper will stay on the wall for years to come, one of the basic steps is to apply a good primer.

There are different primers that will work under wallpaper. Here are a few that I use, depending on what the situation is in the room.

Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 is a white-pigmented wallpaper-specific product, and it is my primer of choice.

But when I have skim-floated walls to smooth them, the new surface needs to be sealed, and Gardz is a wonderful product for that. It also seals and binds torn drywall. And it is also a good primer for wallpaper.

KILZ Original (oil-based) is called in when there are stains (water, rust, smoke, grease, etc.) or other problems that might bleed through the new wallpaper. For decades, KILZ was my go-to primer for wallpaper, too. But in recent years, to keep up with regulations from the EPA, the formula has changed. This primer may be more compatible with the environment, but the chemical make-up has changed, and wallpaper paste no longer wants to stick to it. So it’s used to seal stains, and then another wallpaper primer is applied on top of it.

Using 20-Minute “Mud” to Repair Sheetrock Damage

March 31, 2017

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When the homeowners had their powder room vanity top replaced, the shorter new backsplash left a 1″ area of torn drywall around the top of the new backsplash. There was a height difference between the drywall and the wall (which was covered with at least two layers of old wallpaper). This needed to be evened out before the new wallpaper could go up.

Because torn drywall will bubble when it gets wet, I used a penetrating sealer called Gardz to prevent this by sealing the raw area. Once that was dry, I used 20-minute joint compound to “float” over the damaged areas.

The bag says “5” (see photo), but that is misleading. What they mean is that you have five minutes to mix the powdered material with water, stir smooth, and then work with the stuff, before it gets stiff and hard. The actual drying time is more like 10-20 minutes, and sometimes longer.

Once it’s dry, it can be sanded smooth. Wipe off the dust with damp sponge, let dry again. Then it can be sealed with a primer, and I like the penetrating sealer Gardz, once again, to seal this porous joint compound material.

Wet Stripping and Dry Stripping Old Wallpaper

February 19, 2017
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I hung these papers 15-20 years ago. Still in perfect shape, too, I might add. 🙂

The homeowners are moving, and are trying to make the house as neutral as possible before it goes on the market. So the child-friendly lime green wallpaper had to go.

In the top photo, I am stripping a paper-backed solid vinyl paper. It is considered a peelable paper. These are pretty easy to get off, if you are patient. You peel off the top plastic printed layer, which usually comes off in large pieces. That leaves the tan paper backing stuck to the wall, which you can see as a “V” in the upper center of the photo. To the left of that area, I have wet the paper with a sponge and hot water, so it has turned darker tan. Once the water reactivates the adhesive, this backing will peel away from the wall easily; or it may need to be gently scraped off with a stiff 3″ putty knife. This process is pretty easy on the wall, and leaves little damage.

The second photo shows a thin paper wallpaper coming off by simply pulling on it. This is what is called a strippable paper. Interestingly enough, this paper was most strippable up high, where humidity from showering would have collected. Even strippable papers don’t always come off in one piece, and when they do, the process can put too much stress on the wall, so you might get pieces of the primer or underlying surfaces pulling off, too. To minimize damage to the wall, these papers can also be removed in the 2-step process outlined above. Since they are thinner, it’s a little harder to get the top inked layer off. But if you wet the surface first, which seems to make it stronger so it comes off in larger pieces, and then use that stiff 3″ putty knife to gently get under the top layer, and proceed as above.

Of course, what is under the paper has to do with it, too. In this case, my wonderful primer oil-based KILZ Original has provided a strong and water-resistant surface that sticks tightly to the underlying wall, and that let go of the wallpaper with no damage to the walls.

Keeping Splatters Off Baseboards

December 6, 2016

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While I am priming the walls, a dropcloth (blue) protects the floors from splatters or drips. But I like to make sure that no drips or speckles get onto the baseboards, either. So I use use push pins to tack paper dropcloths (white) along the top of the baseboards to catch any splatters that might fall.

Circles, Spots, and Dots

November 30, 2016
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These owners of a newish townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted an accent wall covered with something to bring personality to their third floor TV room, without adding too much distracting color or pattern, and without overwhelming the large flat screen TV. After looking at maybe a zillion choices, they came back to one of their first loves, this fun ball design.

The builder had not textured the wall, so all the only prep that was needed was a primer. I centered the balls in the middle of the wall so they would look even around the TV set. I used plastic strips to keep paste off the ceiling and the walls that were not being papered.

This wallpaper I by Wallquest, and is in their Ecochic line. It is a thin paper (not a vinyl) and will hold up nicely.

From Pimply to Smooth

November 2, 2016
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Today I prepped two accent walls, to be ready for wallpaper tomorrow. The first step was getting rid of this fairly heavy stipple texture.

To do that, I take a putty knife and knock off the highest bumps, then trowel on joint compound, which is something like plaster. Once it’s dry, I sand it smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then apply a penetrating primer to seal it and prepare the wall to accept wallpaper.

The second photo shows how nice and smooth the wall is. And, not to toot my own horn, but I am much better at it than most painters or handymen, so no need to hire one of them to smooth the walls – I will most likely have to redo at least part of it anyway. 🙂

Why do the walls need to be smoothed? First of all, the bumps showing under the paper just look bad. Slipshod and uncaring. Second of all, if the wall is textured, then the wallpaper can only adhere to the tops of the bumps, which is not very secure at all. When the wall is nice and smooth, and properly primed, there is a sound surface for the paper to come in contact with and hold tightly.

Stripping Wallpaper – Easy Peasy !

June 24, 2016
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Hello everyone!

The wallpaper to be removed (the dark stripe) is a solid vinyl, prepasted material that was hung over newly smoothed walls. This kind of wallpaper usually strips off easily, and double so if the smoothing compound was not sealed or primed. Today went quickly.

On the right you see the original vinyl wallpaper. In the middle is the paper backing that is left on the wall after the vinyl layer has been pulled off.

And on the left you see where I have used a sponge to soak this backing with warm water. It doesn’t take long for the paste to reactivate and to release from the wall.

The last photo is of the wall clean of old paper, newly primed, and ready for the new wallpaper.

Paper-Backed Vinyl Is Not Good In A Bath

April 24, 2016
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Oh, boy. I sure don’t like vinyl papers that are bonded to a paper backing. Here is a very visual reason why – Under humid conditions, they delaminate (surfaces separate) and curl.

This particular type of paper is about my absolute most detested, because of it’s propensity to curl. The material is typical of what was hung back in the ’70’s. Other issues factor in, like the type of primer used (or not used 😦 ), the paste used, type of paper backing, type of vinyl surface, age of home, ventilation in the room, and just how much steam is generated when the shower is used.

To be fair, this wallpaper had been up and looked good for a long, long time (possibly back to those ’70’s!). So maybe Father Time is just taking its toll.

And maybe Father Time has an ulterior motive … I mean, look at that paper! Isn’t it about time for a little update?!!

Prime the Wall Before Hanging Paper

February 28, 2016

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Ultra Prime Pro 977 is a quick-drying, pigmented wallpaper-specific primer that is about my favorite for hanging on when the conditions are right for it. It is rolled on and cut in at the edges with brush, just like paint.