Posts Tagged ‘relief cuts’

Working Around a Thermostat

August 22, 2022
Wallpaper looks better and will have fewer wrinkles and relief cuts , plus there will be fewer cut edges to come loose, when it goes behind objects like switch plates and this thermostat.
Here it was a matter of gently pulling off the glass front of the Nest thermostat, then removing two screws on the mounting bracket. I left it connected to the wires in the wall, but pulled the wires out further from the wall so there was more play to work around.
I was able to place the wallpaper over this area, cut an “X” where the thermostat was, and then pull both the thermostat and the back plate through the wallpaper. Note: I wrapped the thermostat in plastic before starting, to protect it from wallpaper paste / adhesive .
Then put the backplate in place, reattach the thermostat, and then replace the glass front. Smooth the wallpaper into place. All looks perfect!

Smoothing Over A Mess

August 3, 2022
This kind homeowner had the sink / vanity in this powder room removed. This makes it a LOT easier and faster for me to to get the wallpaper up, and with less stress on the paper and fewer relief cuts .
Removing a sink that’s attached to the wall often damages the surface. Here you can see how the workman used spackle compound to cover the torn drywall and other damage.

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Close-up. This isn’t a very smooth surface, and the wallpaper will have a hard time grabbing ahold and adhering. It’s also way too porous and crumbly to support wallpaper.
In the top photo, you see where I have applied smoothing compound on the upper portion of the wall. I’m working my way down.
Once it’s dry, I will sand and prime it, and it will be nice and smooth.
Here’s a shot of the fresh smoothing compound, before sanding.
Some people use a drywall taping knife or a broad knife to apply the plaster-like substance. I prefer the trowel you see in the photo, because it gives me more control and precision.
The 2″ flexible putty knife is for getting into smaller areas. The 3″ stiff ” Hyde ” putty knife is for knocking off high points or bumps on the wall before applying the smoothing compound.
This process is called skim-floating or skim-coating .
I like to use the Plus 3 lightweight joint compound made by Sheetrock . We just refer to it as mud . Find it in the drywall aisle.
The Plus 3 spreads on easily enough, sands easily , and the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up easily – as opposed to getting air-borne and drifting all over the place.
This box, which is approximately one cubic foot , weights 32 pounds . Ugh. Try carrying that across a parking lot and then up to the third floor of a townhome!
I like to transfer the material to a 5-gallon bucket. This is what it looks like in the bottom of the bucket.
Easy to scoop out. When I’m finished, I use a wet hand to smooth down the surface, wipe residue off the sides of the bucket, then place a thick sheet of plastic over the surface to keep air from drying it out. Then, of course, I put the lid onto the bucket.

From Bland White to Captivating Black & Gold Geometric

January 8, 2022
Vanity area before. Note the nice homeowner had the plumber remove the wall-mounted faucet and handle. This made the wallpaper installation so much easier – and eliminated a zillion relief cuts around these objects that might later give entry for splashed water to wick under and loosen the wallpaper.
Done. I centered the pattern on the wall so it hits both corners equally, and it falls perfectly around the faucet (no photo). The light fixture was hung a tad off-center.
Burnished gold accents of the light fixture, faucet (to be installed later), and toilet paper holder, as well as a gold-painted ceiling, compliment the gold lines in the pattern, and really pull this room together.
This non-woven paste-the-wall material is made by Trend, and is in the Jaclyn Smith collection. It has a slightly textured surface, and appears to be vinyl on the surface. This makes is more durable and stain-resistant than most paper wallpapers. It is thin and flexible, and I liked it a lot.
The home is a contemporary new-build in the Lindale Park neighborhood of central Houston.

Rifle Paper Peacock in Heights Powder Room

December 31, 2021
Walls have been skim-floated smooth, primed, and are ready for wallpaper.
Note that the wall-mounted faucet and handles have been removed to make the wallpaper install easier, and to eliminate a lot of relief cuts.
This Peacock pattern is very popular. I’ve hung it a bunch of times.
Rifle Paper is made by York , one of my favorite brands. This product is a non-woven / paste-the-wall material.

Wallpapering Around Wall-Mounted Faucet and Handle

August 29, 2021
Wall-mounted fixtures are popular in some contemporary style homes. They present the problem of splashing water onto the wallpaper . The are tricky to cut around when hanging the paper. If possible and in the budget, it’s best to have a plumber come remove the fixtures.
If the faucet cannot be removed, then I will have to make a lot of “relief cuts” in order to work the paper around the obstacles. Then very careful and precise trimming with a sharp blade around the escutcheons (wall plates) of the fixtures. These cuts do present more openings that splashed water can wick into, which could lead to curled seams.
Done!

Wallpaper on Bull-Nosed Window Arch

February 24, 2021

The bull-nosed edges / rounded corners that have been popular for the last 10 years or more are a snafu for wallpaper. But when you add an arch, it gets much more complicated.

Wallpaper won’t wrap around and then under these arched areas smoothly and seamlessly, because you need to make relief cuts, or cut notches. Then you end up with V-shaped gaps.

There are several approaches to dealing with these. There are issues like ridges caused by overlaps. Paper not wanting to grasp onto and hold tight to a curved edge. irregularities in the curve.

I’ve been impressed with what many of my colleagues have done. But, as for me, well, I’ll be happy when these awkward and impossible rounded edges and curved arches go the way of the dinosaur.

For this particular room, I was lucky because the pattern was wild and non-specific enough that I could get creative.

I wrapped and then trimmed the paper to about 3/4″ around and under the rounded edge.

I could have cut a long skinny piece to fit the underside of the arched area. But that would have resulted in a pattern mis-match where the skinny strip met up with the rolled edge.

I opted for a variation on this theme, and used the branches and tree limbs in the pattern to my advantage.

So I cut a long skinny strip (actually, a number of shorter strips that I would meld into one long strip). But I plotted my cuts so the edge of the strip would run along a tree branch in the design. I had to choose specific branches that didn’t have birds sitting on them, because I didn’t want to chop any birds in half. Leaves, yes. Birds, no. 🙂

The branches also had to have at least 5″ of “open” space next to them, to fill the area between the rounded edge and the window glass without cutting off any birds or important design motifs.

The next photos will show you what I did. I had to do some tweaking. In the end, the finished arch looks pretty darned natural.

Nice Try – But A Miss

October 4, 2020



Top photo: The plumber removed a wall-mounted faucet and handle, to make it easier for me to hang the wallpaper around this area. This would also eliminate a lot of “relief cuts” that I would need to make in order to fit the paper around these obstacles.

The only problem is … He removed a faucet that protrudes 10″ from the wall. And he capped it off with a pipe and nipple that stick out 7″ ! AND … He was unable to remove the handle escutcheon at all.

So … I still had to make multiple relief cuts in order to fit the wallpaper around these objects and flat to the wall. And now the wallpaper sits around the escutcheon, rather than behind it, so there is the worry that splashed water may find its way in behind the wallpaper, and potentially cause it to curl away from the wall.

The second photo shows another job where the plumber removed the faucet and handles all the way down to the stems. So I was able to fit the paper tightly to the pipes. The new fixtures will cover the holes and the wallpaper, eliminating any worries about water causing the paper to come loose.

Workin’ On Ridding A Wrinkle

January 30, 2018


Even though this is a brand-new house, erected by a skilled custom builder, all of the walls, floor, and ceiling were off-plumb / unlevel. That’s not such a big deal when working with a wild abstract pattern or a typical floral. But when a geometric wallpaper pattern like this is applied to out-of-kilter walls, the resulting pattern match is going to be very visible.

In the top photo, the wall to the left is bowed. Trying to get a straight strip of wallpaper to fit into the crooked corner resulted in two very large (24″ high) wrinkles near the floor. That makes it difficult for my next strip of wallpaper to butt into the corner tightly, and to match the pattern, and still maintain its straight edge on the right side. This edge has to stay straight, because subsequent strips of wallpaper will be butted up against it.

My solution was to make some vertical “relief cuts,” following along the design motifs (top photo), from the baseboard up to the point where the wallpaper begins to torque out of shape. Because the wrinkles were so big, I had to make two vertical cuts, instead of just one, to ease the resulting pattern mis-match out over several inches, so it would be less noticeable.

When smoothed back into place, you could not see any pattern mismatch at all. (second photo)

Wall-Mounted Faucets & Wallpaper

January 11, 2017

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Trimming wallpaper around plumbing fixtures can be tricky, and with fancy-dancy wall-mounted faucets and handles, it can be a real trial. The builder of this new home understand that. Plus he wanted the wallpaper to be as seamless as possible, without a lot of relief cuts (cuts made in the paper to allow the installer to work it into difficult positions).

So he let me put up the paper before the faucet and handles were installed. It was much easier for me, and it gave him an intact wallpaper surface, so no worries about visible cuts or about water finding its way into seams and causing curling.

Sorry the 2nd photo is so dark. There are some visible relief cuts in the paper, but they are small and close to the pipes, and will be covered by the plumbing fixtures.

Trimming Grasscloth Inside a Curved Arch / Working Clean

December 19, 2016

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here is how I trimmed the stiff, rectangular grasscloth to fit the arched top of the bookcase back. You see slits in the excess paper, which we call “relief cuts,” that allow enough ease that the paper can be tucked against the wall, and then trimmed with my razor knife.

The blue stuff is a trick I used to keep paste off the painted areas around the bookcase. This is nice because it saves having to wipe the paste off. It is also important, because with grasscloth, you can’t get any paste or water on the surface of the paper, because it will leave a stain. So even wiping paste off the woodwork with a damp cloth, which is commonly done with most wallpapers, could cause water from the cloth to get onto the grasscloth and stain the natural material.

The blue stuff is a special 2″ wide thin plastic tape, invented and sold by a colleague who is also a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). The tape has other uses, like to keep paste off the flat paint on ceilings, and when overlapping and splicing (double cutting) strips of wallpaper.