Posts Tagged ‘repair’

Questionable Repair to Stringcloth

November 12, 2019


Some time after the stringcloth wallpaper went up in this powder room, the homeowners installed a new pedestal sink that wasn’t as high as the original one. Or perhaps the stringcloth got stained by water splashing on it.

For whatever was the reason, a portion of the wallpaper had to be replaced.

The installer used some good splicing techniques, and he was working in a very awkward and tight location. However, there were a few things he could have done better.

First and foremost – he should have matched the pattern! He should have made sure the strings lined up correctly.

Second, stringcloth will fray when it’s cut, so this type of splice repair is always going to show a bit of a frayed edge at the cut edges.

A better alternative would have been to strip off and then replace the entire section of wallpaper, from floor to ceiling, and preferably all the way to a corner.

Of course, to do that, you would need enough left over paper.

Patching Gap Around Light Fixture

November 8, 2019

The original light fixture had a rectangular base. The new one had a base that was barely larger than the electrical box. The electrician ended up with a slight gap on the left side of the box.

The wallpaper would most likely bridge that gap and look just fine. But since there was a slight difference in height between the wall and the base of the fixture, I wanted to close the gap to minimize chances of a visible pooch or bubble around the fixture.

I bought some drywall repair kits, and ended up using the one that had a thin aluminum mesh patch. I cut it to fit around the electrical box, using a few scraps to fill in gaps.

I then used drywall joint compound (“mud”) to smooth over the area. It took two of these skim coats, and a lot of time holding my heat gun to get everything to dry. Once sanded, it was nice and smooth.

A coat of Gardz penetrating sealer / primer, and the patched area was ready for wallpaper.

Elapsed time: Two hours.

This saved the homeowner having to hire “a guy” to do the repairs – and most likely, I would have had to “fine tune” whatever he did, anyway.

Wallpaper Repair – Always Save Your Leftovers

May 3, 2018


Here is damage to a wall behind a mirror in the powder room of a home in the Champions Forest neighborhood of northwest Houston.

Explaining this repair in detail would be pretty difficult, mostly due to how the original installer fiddled with the pattern to make it fit an odd space, and to what I had to do to work around that.

But the most important thing is that the homeowner saved all the wallpaper left over from the original installation back in the ’90’s, so I had what I needed to do this repair.

If you look closely, you might see some pattern mis-matches. But these are minimal because of some tricks I played, and because the pattern was forgiving. The mirror will cover everything, so any irregularities will be hidden.

But the bottom 3″ or so running along the backsplash and visible under the mirror are intact, so will look good when the mirror is replaced. This wall will also look good if a different mirror is used in the future.

Grasscloth Repair

March 18, 2018


These homeowners in the Rice Village area of Houston suffered a window leak during Hurricane Harvey. Water stained the seam between two strips of grasscloth. Both strips had to be removed and replaced.

The strip to the left worked it’s way around the window and over the top. To replace this entire strip would have used an 8′ length of paper, and required removing the window valance. I wanted to use shorter scraps left from the original install, and also sure didn’t want to mess with taking down the curtains.

The grass portion pulled off easily, leaving the paper backing on the wall. I used a sponge and bucket of water to wet this backing, which reactivated the paste, and the backing came off easily, with no damage to the wall. (2nd photo)

I cut the grasscloth horizontally just to the left of the window sill. That way, I only had to replace the bottom portion. I pulled off a few of the strands of grass, leaving the black paper backing on the wall. (3rd photo)

Then I cut a new strip and placed it on the wall, and trimmed along the top of one strand of grass, so that it laid over the black paper backing on the wall, and met up with the other grass strands on the upper portion of the wall. (4th photo)

Except for a teeny extra thickness due to the black paper underneath, the join is invisible. (5th photo) At the factory, the grass fibers are held to the backing by sewing them in place with thread. There are a few loose threads where the material was cut, but that’s just going to happen, and it’s barely noticeable.

A Small Repair Today – Plumbing Issue

March 15, 2018


This couple had water damage from Hurricane Harvey, and I repapered their powder room a month or two ago. Well, recently a pipe burst, and, long story short, they had to replumb the whole house. To run the new pipes, the plumbers had to cut holes in the drywall.

The top photo shows where the plumber patched a hole with a scrap of drywall. He left some irregular areas and rough edges that would show under the wallpaper. So I skim-floated over these areas and then sanded smooth, as you see in the second photo.

There was precious little paper left, so a patch was called for (rather than replacing the whole wall). From leftover paper that matched the pattern around the drywall patch, I cut along the pattern design (third photo). This would be less visible than if I cut a square patch with straight edges.

Once I put the patch into place, lining it up with the pattern on the wall, the repair was invisible. (The gap at the bottom will be caulked.)

Prepping for a Repair Job Today

May 10, 2017

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This 1930 home just south of Houston’s Medical Center was being rewired, and the electricians drilled pilot holes into the wall in the room behind this room – and straight through the wall into this bathroom. Two smallish holes, but they totally ruined the wallpaper in this area. Top photo.

Luckily, this strip was next to a corner, so only this one strip had to be replaced. Which is a lot less complicated than dealing with multiple strips.

Also lucky is that the homeowners had saved the left over paper from when I hung it several years ago.

When I started stripping the wallpaper from the wall, it took chunks of the primer along with it. This surprised me, because that type of paper usually strips off relatively easily, and the primer I used usually holds nice and tight to the wall I think this is due to whatever paint or other treatment the contractors put on the wall before I got there. At any rate, the wall was left with jagged and uneven areas. Second photo.

Because the paper was heavily textured, it would probably have been possible to seal the damaged wall and hang the replacement paper over it with none of the uneven areas telegraphing through.

But I just couldn’t let myself do that.  I wanted the surface to be smooth and sound.  So I did a very light skim-float over the wall to smooth it. This added a lot more time, because I had to wait for the compound to dry, and then for the penetrating sealer / primer (Gardz) I applied to dry, also. But I felt better about the surface once these steps were done.

The last photo shows the finished wall – along with a few of my measurements and figures. Note that they are carefully written in pencil, because it’s about the only writing material that will not bleed through wallpaper.

Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished wall. But it turned out great.

This wallpaper is a textured vinyl product that is a wonderful alternative to real grasscloth, because it has none of the shading, paneling, color variations or staining problems of the real stuff.  This product is by Warner, but it is the exact same product as one I have done many times, called Bankin Raffia, by Thibaut.  This one did appear to have a slightly different backing than the Thibaut product, however.  I prefer the Thibaut.  You can Search here to see other jobs I have done with this very fine product.

Patch Job Today

January 16, 2016
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This is on the landing on a staircase, which someone fell down after a little too much holiday cheer 😉 , and put a sizeable hole in the wall. The homeowners had a guy come replace the damaged Sheetrock and tape and float. He supposedly used 20-minute mud, which is supposed to dry quickly. But when I showed up the next day, the patch was still very wet, as you can see in the top photo. The grey color means it’s still wet – there are also shadows from the banister in the photo.

For some reason, this patch took a long time to dry – several days. I went back about a month later, and it was ready to go. In the second photo, you can see that the compound he used is not quite smooth. His 20-minute mud is harder to sand than the regular mud I use (it’s really called joint compound). So I skim-floated a very thin layer over the top, dried it quickly with a heat gun, sanded smooth, primed with Gardz, dried that with the heat gun, and then did the wallpaper patch.

It would have been less noticeable to redo the whole strip, from floor to ceiling, but there was not enough left over wallpaper. So I trimmed the top of the paper at a 90* angle / horizontal, and trimmed off the 1/4″ narrow strip of white along one side, then appliquéd the piece over the patched area.

One issue is that wallpaper absorbs moisture from the paste and expands, and my patch expanded less than the original piece. That means that the stripes did not line up perfectly. Lining the tan stripe up on the left with the tan stripe on the paper below caused the stripes to the right to be just a tad off, but it was noticeable. So we decided to line up the center stripes, which meant that the stripes on either side were still off, but the difference was divided between the right and left sides, so it was less noticeable.

The other thing is that, because the patch was appliquéd over the top of the original paper, there is a slight difference in height, and you can see the top edge of the patch (last photo). This will minimize a little as the paper dries and shrinks.

It’s good that the homeowners saved their left over wallpaper, so this unexpected accident could be repaired. Much more economical than replacing all the wallpaper in the entry and hall, upstairs and down.

Yes, Virginia, Run Number Matters

September 15, 2014

Digital ImageI was called to do a repair (dog ate the wallpaper) on a dining room I hung about a year ago. There wasn’t enough left over paper to replace the strip, so the homeowner had to order new paper. Since time had gone by, it was not possible to get the same run number.

A run, or batch, number refers to all the bolts of wallpaper that were printed at the same time. The next time they mix up a batch of ink and print wallpaper, it’s likely the color won’t be exactly the same. So it’s important to buy paper that is all the same run number. If not, there will be noticeable color differences between strips on your walls. Not good.

Look at the photo. The darker element on the paper at the top is an aqua color. On the strip below, the color is more of a sage green.

If you can’t get enough paper all in the same run to do the whole room, it’s OK to “break” the run in a corner, because your eye won’t notice the slight color difference, because lights hits each wall differently and changes the color a little. But know that you will also have to buy extra paper, when working with two different runs.

Wallpaper Repair Today

September 14, 2014

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Digital ImageI hung this popular David Hicks hexagon pattern not quite a year ago. The other day, the homeowner e-mailed and told me their dog had chewed up a corner of the wallpaper. Boy, did he! … and he clawed a gouge in the Sheetrock, and ripped off another strip of paper in another room.

Once I got the wall damage repaired, the wallpaper was a fairly easy fix. I stripped off the lower 2′ of paper, making sure to cut around the zig-zaggy black geometric figures. I then cut a new piece of wallpaper to the right length, and trimmed the top around the design, so that the new piece would overlap the existing piece just along the “WWWW” in the design. This way, the overlap was only a 1/4″ wide horizontal zig-zag, instead of a vertical overlap along the entire length of the new piece.

Before applying the new piece, I used a black marker to color the thin top edge of the paper, along the black motifs, so the eye would not be caught by the white edge of the paper.

As you can see, it turned out pretty darned well!

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Repairing Grasscloth

July 27, 2014

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Digital ImagePets can be Hell on grasscloth. I hung this paper in an entry just a few months ago, and then this week got the call that it had been damaged. While grasscloth is different from more typical wallpapers, it can be repaired without having to replace the entire wall. Here’s what I did:

The damage was only a foot or so off the floor, so I only replaced the lower 12″ of the strip. I cut a horizontal line the width of the strip, and removed everything below that line. To do that, the woven grass layer had to be pulled off, then the brown colored layer had to come off, because water won’t penetrate through it.

Once that layer was off, a wet sponge was used to soak the remaining backing (the tan layer). The water reactivated the paste, and once all that was good and wet, it was easy to scrape, or even simply pull it off the wall. Note that my primer underneath (the white layer) is key to being able to remove wallpaper (and lots of other reasons why a primer should always be used).

Then I removed a few of the grass fibers, leaving a thin horizontal strip of the brown colored paper on the wall. This gives me a thin layer to place the new paper on – putting the new paper over the coarse grass fibers would result in a thick, very visible line / ridge at the point of overlap. Leaving the brown paper on the wall eliminates the possibility of the white wall peeping through.

I cut my new piece of grasscloth, but instead of cutting it straight across at the top, I followed the curvy line of the grass fibers. This is one of the secretes that make the patch invisible.

The new piece was pasted, booked (let to rest and expand), then placed on the wall, with the curvy cut edge overlapping the horizontal brown strip of paper. In this case, a little extra adhesive was needed to get the edge to adhere tightly.

If it’s not possible to get a good looking splice because of uneven grass fibers, it’s possible to take a few strands and glue them in void spaces, to the woven fiber look is uniform.

In the last photo – Pet damage? What pet damage?! 🙂