Posts Tagged ‘quality’

Disappointing Defects in Schumacher Sisal Wallpaper

May 12, 2022
The homeowners ordered the brown colorway. So why did they send us both brown and blue??
Look closely and you’ll see that both the blue and the black lines are different thicknesses on each of these three bolts.
Close-up showing different widths of ink.
Even before I unrolled any paper, my suspicions were aroused by this … This cut was made by a hand-held scissors, not a factory machine. That tells me that perhaps an installer sliced off a few feet and then returned the paper, for whatever reason. Now I have no idea how many feet are on this bolt, what run number it is, or why the material was returned.
In addition, the five double rolls of sisal ( grasscloth ) material had no labels, no marks, no run numbers, or other typical information.

Feather Bloom is a very popular wallpaper pattern by high-end manufacturer Schumacher. This family paid several thousand dollars just for the material to cover one accent wall in their home office. Such a disappointment that I could not get their room papered today.

Schumacher is not among my favorite brands, and this is a good example of why. LOTS of printing defects, just about every time I work with it.

But this takes it to a whole new level, because obviously there was no quality control at the factory, no oversight to ensure all rolls were from the same run, nor even the same colorway.

Folks, stay away from Schumacher! As I like to say, for every high-end brand making a cool pattern in a material that’s expensive and difficult to work with, there is someone else making a knock-off that is lower priced and better quality.

Innovative Use of Wallpaper Mural in Master Bedroom Closet

April 5, 2022
The mural was to go in one wall, but that wall had several corners and turns.
Don’t be distracted by the mirror on the left, which is reflecting clothing and dropcloths. The focus is the beautiful etched-looking mural!
Before.
I love the way the trees creep along the wall and in between the mirror and door moldings.
Close-up.
Here is a picture of the mural as shown on the company’s website. Both the homeowner and I expected that the trees would reach up higher, and would be visible over the mirror and door. I was disappointed that the company printed it too short for those treetops to be visible over the door, but the homeowner was OK with it.
In the end, it worked out nicely, because the homeowner wanted another area covered that I had not measured for, and the lack of trees above the doors meant that I was able to pull that off. More on that in another post.
The manufacturer is Rebel Walls ( rebelwalls.com ), and I like their material and quality a lot. Their murals are custom-sizeable, too, which is a bonus.
This popular pattern is called Bellewood .
It’s a non-woven material and you can paste the paper or paste the wall to install.
The home is in the Memorial Villages area of Houston.

From 20 Years of Red to Sweet Light Floral

February 5, 2022
Red is a classic dining room color, and painted walls served well since the late ’90’s. This homeowner has classic taste – note the elegant moldings below the chair rail and around the windows.
The update is lighter and brighter and opens up the room, making it feel larger.
Note the wallpaper around the corner on the right.
This is the paper in the adjoining hallway, which has been in place for decades. The new pattern coordinates beautifully in theme and color!
Close-up. Roses and script.
Norwall is a very economical brand (something like $25 per double roll on sale). Not my favorite quality, because the gritty paper backing can absorb humidity and separate from the thick vinyl surface, plus the seams tend to “pouch” a bit and don’t look great. But I’ve discovered that rolling a bit of wallpaper paste onto the wall under the seam areas will help to “suck down” the edges, creating better seams. I also do believe that the manufacturer has improved the substrate.
I was pleased with the way the seams looked on this install. You’re looking at a very close-up picture. Once the paper is dried and from two feet away, these seams will be invisible. In fact, the homeowner kept walking around the room remarking how she couldn’t even find a seam. Note the slightly textured surface.

The home is in the far west area of Houston.

Defects With Schumacher – As Usual

August 25, 2021

Schumacher may have a high-end name and price tag, but I am not impressed with the quality. Some of their materials are very difficult to work with. Another thing is, you can almost always count on printing defects.

In this case, there were a few tiny specs of black here and there. Most were on the back, but at least two appeared on the pink surface of the paper.

I am thinking maybe an oily chalk of some sort. And they were “active.” Meaning, if I tried to wipe them off, either dry or with a dap cloth, or attempted to lift them out of the paper with a razor blade, they smeared. That would not wipe off, so we would be left with a visible smudge on the paper.

Updating A ’90’s Bathroom

September 18, 2020


Resembling a watercolor painting, this wallpaper looks even better in person. The colors are gorgeous, and the pattern is invigorating. The homeowner is in love with this update to her 30 year old guest bathroom in the Katy neighborhood of Houston.

This is the finished look to the room in yesterday’s post. The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, a company that makes very good quality paper. It was purchased from Southwestern Paint (see Where To Buy Wallpaper link on the right).

Farrow & Ball – Disappointing Quality

October 10, 2019


First three photos – Burnish marks from smoothing paint-coated paper to wall. Read below.

Last two photos – Fat seams caused by poor trimming and thick paper and paint. You man need to enlarge the photo to see clearly. Read below.

I’m disappointed in the quality of the Farrow & Ball paper I hung recently. (See my post from September 1st.) For a high-end brand, their quality-control is definitely lacking.

The seams are thick and dark, and many areas had to be repasted because they didn’t hold to the wall. As one of my highly-skilled, decades-long installer buddies put it: “This is a common problem caused by …… incompetence of factory trimming and poor choice of substrate. This substrate is thick and the trimming from F&B often gives us a “rounded” edge, for want of a better word.” Another installer described the seam edges as “scalloped.” You can never get a good, tight seam with thick paper and paint, and improper factory trimming.

Another disappointment was a sheen on the paper. F&B is proud of their paint, and, instead of using ink (like other successful manufacturers do), they coat their wallpaper with their paint. To get wallpaper stuck to the wall, to eliminate bubbles, and to set seams, you need to use tools, notably a smoothing brush (“sweep”) and/or a plastic smoothing tool.

No matter how gently I swiped with the brush, the paint burnished (left a sheen). Using the plastic smoother to try to coax the cantankerous seams to stay down left worse sheen along the length of each seam. I tried covering the smoother with soft T-shirt cloth, but that didn’t help. This sheen is caused by sensitivity of the paints. I hung three different F&B patterns, and had the same problem with each.
I worked as cleanly as possible, because trying to wipe even a small speck of paste off the surface left another shiny spot. The sheen was more noticeable when the paper was viewed from the side, with light hitting it at an angle.

If other manufacturers use inks that are designed to bond to paper, and that will withstand the light brushing and occasional wiping during the installation process, why does Farrow & Ball persist in using paint on their wallpaper??! Matt-finish paint is designed to be looked at, not rubbed or wiped or washed. And why use a thick, poor-performing substrate, when so many other companies have found wonderful papers to print on??

One solution for the sheen might be to coat the paper with a matt-finish varnish or other product that will even hide the shininess. As for the fat, noticeable seams, there is no solution. For now, we’re leaving everything as it is, because the client doesn’t see what I see, and she is delighted with her new wallpaper.

Test Strips

October 10, 2019


Yesterday, I hung Farrow & Ball wallpaper in another room in this home, and was not pleased with its quality and performance.

The seams were very obvious, due to the thick and stiff nature of the substrate, and to faulty trimming at the factory that left rounded and scalloped edges on the paper. In addition, the paper – which is coated with paint instead of the traditional ink – developed a sheen wherever my brush, smoother, or damp cloth rubbed against it.

So before I started in the powder room today, I did a “test run” by hanging a few short strips cut from scrap paper.

This way I could gauge what I could expect in the way of seams and sheen on this new pattern.

The consensus was that:
~ the seams were again wider / thicker than desirable
~ the seams again did not want to adhere to the wall properly in all areas
~ the ground (background color) developed shiny streaks where my smoothing brush or damp cloth came in contact with it. This was not as obvious as on yesterday’s “Feather Grass” pattern, because the textured raised ink on this “Hornbeam” pattern helped disguise it.

These test strips helped me plan what techniques to employ for today’s installation.

Farrow & Ball “Hornbeam” in a Country Home Powder Room

August 24, 2019


Farrow & Ball’s “Hornbeam” pattern is reminiscent of hedgerows in rural England.

I hung this in a powder room of a home outside Chappell Hill. I’ve worked for the homeowners previously in their Houston home.

While the pattern is lovely and suits the scale of the room and coordinates perfectly with the color of the marble contertop (and the color scheme of the rest of the house), I am not crazy about the quality of the wallpaper.

I will be posting more on this as I have time. Do a Search on the brand name to read these posts.

Clean and Serene – A Small Geometric in a Powder Room

September 20, 2018


The color of this new wallpaper isn’t much different from the color it was painted originally. But the little bit of tone-on-tone pattern sure adds a lot of dimension and interest, while still maintaining a calm and serene feel.

The homeowner wanted paper on the ceiling, too. I usually don’t like pattern on the ceiling, but this one is so muted, I think it looks great.

The home is located in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston. The paper is in the SureStrip line by York, in the Waverly design collection. It was nice to work with, and is thin and will hug the wall and stay nice and tight for years to come.

The paper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Run Numbers Running Wild – Not Acceptable

April 4, 2018


For this job, the vendor sent FOUR different run numbers, plus two bolts that had no run numbers at all. It all had to be sent back and exchanged for new paper – all in the same run, please!

Run numbers are very important. When wallpaper is printed, each batch is marked with a run number. The next time the manufacturer makes a batch of wallpaper, a new vat of ink will be mixed up, and it will be an ever-so-slightly different shade from that which was used before. So that new batch of wallpaper will be given a new run number.

These color differences are minor – but if they are placed next to each other on a wall, you will have a very noticeable color change from one strip to the next. In the second photo, you can probably see the difference in color between the red flowers, and maybe even the green and brown foliage.

In the third photo, a smaller rectangle of the wallpaper pattern has been placed on top of a larger rectangle. All around the perimeter, you can see a slight color difference between the reds, greens, nad browns.

But it’s important to realize that the background will also be of a slightly different shade.

When two strips of two different runs are placed next to one another on a wall, the shade difference will be obvious in the form of a floor-to-ceiling slight-but-noticeable color difference. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/two-runs-are-not-fun/

It’s possible to work with this, by “breaking” the runs in a corner. But this uses up a lot more paper, and it’s too complicated to explain here.

This wallpaper was bought from an on-line mass-marketer. I like the quality of their products. But they seem to have no clue of how wallpaper works, and the customer service person had no grasp of what a run number was or why it mattered. From a vendor like this, you can pretty much expect that they have a bunch of stock shoved into shelves in the warehouse, and when someone buys some, a worker just goes out and pulls any old rolls from the stack, willy-nilly, with no regard to run number, damaged goods, and may not even check to ensure they are all the same product number – A coupla months ago, I got the same pattern but in two different colorways.

The bottom line is, buy your paper from a reputable source that specializes in wallpaper, check the run numbers when the paper arrives, and, if necessary, keep separate runs on separate walls.