Posts Tagged ‘pulp’

Humidity from Shower & Bathtub Loosening Paper

July 5, 2018

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The homeowner said I put this paper up about 20 years ago. It is what we call a British pulp paper – paper, not vinyl and not vinyl coated. In a few areas near the ceiling, the paper has started to pull away from the wall. It was only over the shower and tub areas. What does that tell you? Yes, humidity is the great enemy of wallpaper. Especially when you have teenagers taking steamy, hour-long showers.

This was pretty easily fixed, by repasting the wall behind the loose areas, and then smoothing the paper back into place.

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Counting Shadows On The Wall

June 15, 2018

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Here is a paper that has been in a master bathroom in a home in River Oaks for many years. This wall faces a wall of windows.

The dark areas you see in the photo are where a piece of art was removed from the wall, and, below that, where two towels had hung on towel racks (the rods have been removed and you are looking at the support brackets).

The picture and the towels kept sunlight away from the wallpaper, while the unprotected areas faded due to exposure to sunlight from the window.

Some wallpapers are dubbed “fade-resistant.” This one was not. This particular brand is printed on what we call pulp stock, which is usually a British product, and the inked layer has no coating, so it is not likely to hold up well against light or water or abrading or the likes.

I also think that the previous installer’s methods might have influenced the fading of the paper. The paper was hung directly on Sheetrock, with no primer. The drywall could have leeched into the wallpaper, causing discoloration. A primer would have prevented this.

The installer also used clay-based paste. This stuff is really sticky, but I think it’s icky – it is slimy and hard to wipe off woodwork, and it has a tan color that I have seen work its way through wallpapers, including grasscloth, many, many times.

If paste stains are bleeding through wallpaper, perhaps they are pulled more, or perhaps less, toward a source of light -and it could differ if it’s sunlight or a light bulb, too. And an obstacle such as a framed picture or a towel hanging from a bar a half an inch away from the paper block some of that light, and that could all have an effect, too.

And remember that towels are often damp, and that dampness hanging next to, or even touching, the wall, could cause changes to the paper and the paste and the surface below.

Just musings. When I look at existing wallpaper, or strip off some other installer’s work, I always am fascinated by the surface, the methods, etc.

Noah’s Ark for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

December 24, 2017


Rooms for baby girls don’t have to be all about pink. Here’s a neutral-toned, animal-rich, Noah’s Ark-themed pattern that will grow with the child. This is just one accent wall, a very effective use of pattern, and economical, too.

The mother-to-be commented that the pattern was soft enough that it could go on all four walls of the room. I agreed. But I think it would look better, perhaps, if wainscoting were added at the bottom 1/3 of the wall, or a wooden chair rail and a slightly darker shade of paint at the bottom, and then have the paper on just the top 2/3 of the wall.

This wallpaper is by Andrew Martin, a British company, and was printed on a pulp stock substrate. It has no protective coating, so mom will have to be sure the little one keeps her hands off the paper. The home is in the Rice Village area of Houston.

Stripping Wallpaper

September 14, 2017

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This is a good example of how wallpaper should come off the wall, when it’s been hung properly.  The original installer primed the walls before hanging his paper, which is a very good thing.  A primer protects the walls, facilitates installation, and makes it easier to remove the paper later, with minimal damage to the wall.

The brown is the original wallpaper.  It is a thin layer of inked paper on what we call a pulp substrate (backing).  On the right side of the photo, I have peeled away this layer.  Left behind is a light tan layer of the pulp backing layer.

The darker tan areas are the pulp backing that I have soaked with water.  Once the water has enough time to penetrate the paper, it will reactivate the paste behind it.  Once that adhesive gets soft, you can either scrape off the paper with a stiff putty knife (see photo), or, if you are lucky, the paper will simply peel away from the wall in large pieces.  That’s what you’re seeing in the upper left of the photo.

It took several hours to strip these 12 single rolls of paper off the walls of this powder room – which is reasonable and expected.  Because the original installer took the extra time and expense to coat the walls with a good primer, there was NO damage to the underlying surface.

So the walls are in excellent shape and ready for new wallpaper tomorrow.

Stupid, Unresearched, and Misleading News Article About Wallpaper

June 29, 2017

A spot with this information (click link below) aired on the local news Monday, and since then it has popped up on news and information sites on the Internet. Like many such “news” stories, it is all sensation and no honest information.

The article purports that “wallpaper can make you sick.” However, what it really should say is that MOLD in the air can make you sick. The article tosses out this scary claim, but makes no explanation of what kind of wallpaper might be involved, what the conditions of the room are, what connection mold has with wallpaper, how common this situation is. I will give them credit for listing a (scant) few other possible causes of mold in a building.

Here are a few true facts that the reporter should have dug up and included in her story. Wallpaper itself does not support the growth of mold. In fact, acrylic-coated papers, pulp papers, non-woven material, and natural fibers (grasscloth) all allow air to pass through them.

Now, it is true that mold can grow behind some solid vinyl wallpapers that are commercial grade (and unlikely to be used in homes), because they don’t breathe. But conditions would have to be right for this to happen – improperly prepped walls, improperly installed wallpaper, humidity or dampness in the building, moisture inside the wall (leak in a pipe or roof), lack of air conditioning / heating, lack of air circulation or ventilation. And usually the mold just sits there. It’s when the wall surface is disturbed (removing old wallpaper) that the mold might be released into the air.

I sure hope that people don’t read the headline or the skimpy story, and fall for its misleading information, and avoid using wallpaper in their homes or offices. The fact is, a good quality wallpaper that is hung properly in a building that is maintained properly will enhance the setting, and give many years of beauty and “clean living.”

Here is the link. http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-workplace/Health-in-the-workplace/your-wallpaper-might-be-making-you-sick-20170626

British Love for a Montrose Powder Room

November 11, 2016
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This couple lived in England for a while, and adopted British taste in decorating. I have papered four rooms for them so far (another is coming up!), and (almost) all have been done in imported British wallpaper, with traditional designs.

This pattern is by Colfax & Fowler (called “Dalancey”), and is on what we call a pulp substrate. It is a beautiful, matt finish, lies very flat to the wall, and will resist curling under humid conditions. It has no protective coating, so can be stained by splashing of water or toiletries or even hands, and painter’s tape will lift the inked layer right off the backing. In other words – beautiful to look at, but handle with care. 🙂

This home is brand new, but presented challenges due to unplumb walls, bowed walls, and crooked corners. I had to do a lot of twisting and finagling, and a little patchin’ in, and some fudging with the pattern match, but the end result looked fantastic. The homeowner said, “I can’t believe how much it changes the room!”

And she said, “Every time you come, you leave our home looking a little more beautiful!”

Soft and Dreamy

July 30, 2016
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The homeowner loves the traditional Carrera marble in her hall powder room. The marble tile creeps 1/3 of the way up the wall, and the floor has an old-fashioned hexagonal pattern made of grey and darker grey marble tiles. She saw this wallpaper pattern about two years ago and fell in love with it.

Next, she found some antiqued-brass light sconces in a formal design, that she wanted to use in the powder room.

But the previous homeowners had installed a sleek-lined dark wood vanity with a contemporary trough sink with chrome waterfall faucet. She worried that these various disparate elements might not look good in the same bathroom.

Well, here you have proof that mixing periods and metals and feels can totally work.

The grey tones in the wallpaper are beautiful against the marble, and they blend well with the chrome faucet. The straight lines of the sink meld nicely with the squares of marble on the walls.

The wall sconces fit right in, and the black shades add just enough spark to punch up the room.

This wallpaper is by House of Hackney, and was printed on the traditional pulp substrate that many British companies are known for.

Beautiful British Birds & Foliage in a Powder Room

March 24, 2016
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I have hung this pattern a couple of times before, and I have to say, it is one of my all-time favorites. The idea of this pattern dates back to the 1800’s, so it is very historic and classic. It is by a British manufacturer, and one of the homeowners is from England, where they pretty well “wallpaper everything” – and generally in flowery prints – so this bird-and-foliage pattern felt like home to her.

She got a good deal on it, too. Bought new, this paper is about $150 a double roll. Well, she stumbled upon an unopened bolt at an art store for a steal, and snatched it up. Once I got to the house and measured, though, it was clear that she would need more paper. Once again, she got lucky, by finding two more bolts on ebay for a price way below retail.

Unfortunately, the run number of the original paper did not match the run number of the new ebay paper, so we had the potential for color variations between strips. Also, the room really should have had four bolts, not the three we had.

But I measured the walls carefully, counted how many strips would be needed, figured where I would be able to fudge on the pattern, and then rolled out the paper to see how we would do. It turned out that this homeowner was, once again, lucky, because the baseboard and crown molding in the room reduced the wall height from 8′ to 7′ – and that was just enough to allow me to get four strips of paper from each bolt, instead of the usual three.

There was just enough paper to do the room, and I was able to keep the different runs on separate walls, so there were no eye-jarring color variations between strips. We ended up with, literally, about 2′ of paper left over. Whew!

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is printed on a traditional pulp substrate, different from the non-woven material that they are using these days for much of their paper. Pulp papers do not have a protective coatings so they will look wet if they get splashed by water. They also will not stand up to stains or spills of any kind, and you have to be careful not to touch the paper when reaching for a light switch, or the paper may discolor from oils in your hands.

That said, I love the pulps, because the colors and inks and matt finish are unique and beautiful. They lie flat on your wall and don’t have issues with curling at the seams or delaminating like vinyl papers sometimes do.

I hung this in the powder room of a 1930’s home in Riverside (near downtown Houston).  Most everything in the home (floors, tile, sinks, faucets, windows, doors, doorknobs, stairway’s iron railing, telephone nook, stained glass windows, Art Deco features, on and on) are original to the home, and are in perfect condition.  The home even has plaster walls!   These elements are reveared and will be preserved by the homeowners.    It was a real honor to work there.

Bold Wall of Poppies in a Home Office

March 5, 2016
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Wow, this was a fun install today… Just look at the fabulous pattern and colors!

The young homeowners of this nicely updated bungalow in the Heights have an “industrial modern” décor, and this bold poppy pattern in army mud brown with bright fuchsia accents was the perfect choice to wake up one wall in the wife’s home office.

The homeowners ordered their paper before I measured, and at first I thought they didn’t have enough, because their 10′ high ceilings eat up a lot of paper. But the pattern repeat and drop match worked perfectly with the wall height, so I was able to get an extra strip out of each bolt of paper, leaving plenty of paper to complete the wall.

This pattern is called “Arizona” #W5801 by Osborn & Little, a British company, and was printed on the traditional pulp stock (rather than the non-woven material they are using more and more these days). It was nice to work with, but has no protective coating, so will not hold up to touching, washing – or painter’s tape.

The color of the paper works beautifully with the color of the door, but it was immediately evident that the blue-grey on the other three walls was “off,” so they’ll need to repaint with a complimentary color. I had to give them my lecture about not letting the painters put tape on the wallpaper – because when the tape is removed, it will take the inked layer right off the backing. Solution? Hire CAREFUL painters. 🙂

Out of the ’90’s, and Into the …. ’90’s ….

December 30, 2015
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The owners of this newish home in Garden Oaks were updating their powder room, including a new console style vanity, a point-of-use tankless water heater, and new wallpaper. They wanted it all done before the Super Bowl game…. I am generally booked with work several weeks out, but had an unexpected opening, so was able to squeeze them in today, between Christmas and New Year’s. They were happy to let me come this holiday week!

I have hung a ton of that chintz style floral (top photo) in the ’90’s. It’s a pleasing pattern, but has become dated. Really, the homeowners’ new choice isn’t much different, but it’s an updated version, plus the red color has a lot of impact, and that helps the walls stand out against the white woodwork.

One good thing about a pattern like this is that it won’t really ever go out of style.

The paper was printed on what we call a pulp substrate. I usually like pulps, but this one was thick and stiff and brittle and it abraded easily. I had to color the edges with oil pastel, to keep the white backing from peeking out at the seams. Pasting it was a wrestling match, because it kept wanting to curl back into a roll. It didn’t want to turn corners, it bubbled, and it abraded if it was rubbed too much, especially at the seams. It will stay nice and flat to the wall over time, but has no coating, so cannot be washed, and will stain if water splashes onto it. In other words, don’t buy this brand. 🙂

All that said, the room looked great when I was finished, and the homeowners loved it. The plumber is coming tomorrow, to install the sink, and they will be all ready for Super Bowl Sunday!

This wallpaper was bought from the Sherwin-Williams on N. Shepherd in Garden Oaks. I believe it was made in England, and the brand appears to be English Florals.