Posts Tagged ‘repairs’

Saving Paper, Right and Left

August 16, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper , moving from left to right. The wallpaper is 21″ wide . The width between my last strip on the right and the wall is 15″.
That means that I will have to cut off 6″ width of paper – which usually ends up on the trash pile. Here I am using a straightedge to cut that off.
Since that strip of wallpaper is 9′ long, we’re losing 4.5 square feet just in this one small area.
(Another reason to always buy a little extra wallpaper … you can’t use every square foot !)
Note that I’ve actually cut my strip to 15.5″, so I’ll have a little excess for trimming at that right wall.
Back to that 6″ (actually 5.5″) wide strip on the trash pile. I never throw anything away until the job is finished. Because I just might be able to use a piece somewhere. As in this case …
After the right side of the wall was finished, I started moving to the left. When I came to the left corner, my last strip needed to be 1.5″ wide.
Instead of cutting a whole new 9′ long strip off the roll of wallpaper, I reached for that scrap pile and pulled out that narrow 5.5″ piece that had been trimmed off the opposite edge of that strip on the other side of the wall.
This was the correct pattern match to meet up with the strip on the left side of the wall in the photo above.
Here I am trimming a 2″ strip (1.5″ + .5″ for trimming allowance) off the appropriate edge of that scrap piece. Note: Be certain you are trimming from the correct side of that scrap! Or the pattern won’t match and you’ll have to cut a fresh 9′ length after all. 😦
Here the wall is finished. For the two corners, only one strip was used, due to being able to cut both a right and a left piece out of only one strip of wallpaper.
Now I’m going to get into a little more technical stuff, that usually only a paper hanger will understand. The pattern above is what we call a straight match . This means every strip is the same. And that a particular design motif (like the pink flower) hits the top of the wall at the same position on every strip. My right-left trick above only worked because this was a straight pattern match.
But … you can make it work with a drop pattern match, too. A drop match means that every other strip is the same. On a drop match, the pink flower will be at the top of the wall on one strip, but drop down a few inches (half the length of the pattern repeat ) on the second strip. By the third strip, it will be back up at the top of the wall.
This also leads to using A and B strips. Confusing – but we wallpaper installers get it.
Anyway, my trick explained above works for straight matches, with all A strips. But if your right corner of the wall ends in an A strip, and the left corner needs a B strip, your scrap from the A strip won’t match the pattern repeat needed on the left side of the wall. So you’re gonna have to cut a whole new 9′ long strip, just to cover that 1.5″ gap at the left corner.
But – WAIT! – there is a trick to outsmart this. If you plan ahead, and count your strips, and plot the layout, and engineer your project, you can avoid needing that 9′ long strip.
When you’re cutting off from the bolt that last A strip for the right corner, just cut it a little longer. Cut it long enough to include the B pattern match. Do a little math and then do some visual checking to be sure you’ve got it right. Then cut your strip.
When you get to trimming off the 15.5″ wide right edge, it will be a few inches longer than the previous strips. So you’ll throw away a tiny bit more when you trim at the bottom of the wall than if it were a straight match.
Correspondingly, the 5.5″ wide scrap left over, from which you will cut the 2″ wide strip needed for the left corner, will be a few inches longer at the top of the wall than needed.
So by juggling the A & B pattern match / repeat , you’ve saved a whole 9′ long strip. This is good, because you always want a bit left over, in case of need for repairs down the road.
This fun pattern is by Missoni Home , which is made by York . It’s a textured embossed vinyl on a non-woven , paste the wall backing and was a very good paper.
Houston

Fixing Drywall Damage From Where Vanity Was Removed

January 20, 2022
The powder room in this 1990’s home in the Houston Heights is being updated, and that means replacing the wall-to-wall vanity. Here the vanity has been ripped out. The areas where the backsplash was adhered to the wall have pulled the top surface of the drywall off. In addition, the plumber had to cut out a section of drywall in order to gain access to the pipes, so he can install the new faucet and handles. You can see the connections roughed in.
You can’t hang wallpaper over this mess. First of all, it way too uneven – all those bumps will show under the new wallpaper. And the outline of the ” trapdoor ” will leave a big square ridge under the paper. Thankfully, the plumber secured the panel with drywall screws – most plumbers just leave you with a chunk of drywall floating in space, or even just an empty hole.
Back to patching issues … in addition, the torn areas of drywall will absorb moisture from the wallpaper primer and / or paste and expand, creating bubbles that will show under the new paper.
I needed to fill in dips and gouges, even out high areas, and prevent bubbling drywall.
Gardz by Zinsser to the rescue! This is a penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and then dries hard, binding them together and creating a stable surface, as well as resisting moisture from water-based top coatings.
This picture doesn’t look much different, but here the torn drywall is a little darker, indicating that the Gardz has soaked in and dried. The surface is now ready for a skim-coat.
But first, the trap door needs to be addressed. I covered the cut areas with four strips of self-adhesive mesh drywall tape (no photo).
Then I went over everything (wall to wall) with joint compound (commonly referred to as mud ) (no photo).
Because of the thickness of the high and low areas, this had to be a thick coat of smoothing compound, and would take a long time to dry. So I went to the jobsite two days ahead of our install date, to do these initial repairs.
And – no – you can’t use quick set or hot mud or 5 or 20 minute mud to do these repairs. These products are intended for repairs of small areas. Top coatings like primers, paint, and wallpaper paste do not stick well to them. Don’t let a contractor sweet-talk you into letting him use any of these to smooth a large area of wall.
Here is the wall after my first, heavy, coat of smoothing compound. I use Sheetrock brand’s Plus 3.
The bubbles you see just left of center show that Gardz didn’t 100% do its job of sealing out moisture, as a little expansion and blistering has occurred. Not a biggie. These will disappear when the surface is sanded. There is usually not a problem with these re-appearing.
When I got to work two days later, the smoothing compound had dried. I sanded pretty smooth. Then vacuumed up the dust on the floor, and then used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This is important, because no coating will stick to dust.
The wall still wasn’t perfectly smooth, so I did another skim-coat. This was much thinner, so didn’t need a lot of time to dry. I used a fan and my heat gun to speed things along.
Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, vacuumed and then wiped off all dust. Then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime. I have the paint store (Murphy Brothers in central Houston) add a little blue tint, so I can see it when I apply it to the wall.
What a transformation! Now this wall is ready for wallpaper!

“Burst Pipe” Powder Room Repaired and Updated

August 19, 2021
Before – new drywall has ben skim-floated and is clean, but, gee, it’s boring … and lends nothing to the room.
After. Now the room has color, movement, and feels more spacious.
This beautiful, sculpted mirror was found at Ballard Designs new brick & mortar store on W. Gray in the River Oaks Shopping Center. Ballard also has a wallpaper section, and experienced designers to help you. Call first, because they stay pretty booked.
The colors in the wallpaper coordinate beautifully with the granite countertop, and the brushed copper fixtures (faucets, hand towel rings, etc.)
Close-up shows the water color-y appearance of this pattern, as well as the cool shadow effect.
This wallpaper is by York, one of my favorite d brands, and is in the Candice Olson (of HGTV fame) line. It was a joy to work with, and will hold up nicely in this powder room. It is made of the classic paper material, nice and thin, clings tightly to the wall, and easy enough to remove when it’s time to redecorate.

This home experienced severe damage during the February 2021 freeze here in Houston. Just about everything had to be replaced, including floors, walls, cabinets, and tons more. The homeowners took advantage of the tragedy to update as they made repairs.

You couldn’t possibly find a better wallpaper pattern for this room … the colors meld perfectly with the floor, paint, granite countertop, and metal fixtures. The limited pallet keeps the paper from being too busy. The scale covers the walls nicely without feeling crowed or too busy.

Ron Dillon of Calico (a.k.a. Calico Corners) at 1845 W. Alabama in Montrose helped these homeowners pull everything together. Calico has a good selection of wallpaper brands. Ron has been handling wallpaper for decades, so is one of the best in town to help you track down just the right pattern.

This home is in the Old Braeswood / Boulevard Oaks / Medical Center / Rice University neighborhood of Houston.

Damage From The Freeze – Repair Requests Starting To Come In.

March 31, 2021

The record-setting freeze that hit Texas in mid-February 2021 caused a lot of damage over multiple fronts.

In homes, a lot of this was due to water pipes that froze and burst, flooding floors or raining water down from walls and ceilings.

For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been getting calls for repairs to wallpaper.

Some homes “just” have water stains. But many homes have had to have drywall cut out, flooring pulled up, studs and outer wall brick exposed. Today I looked at a home where the entire first floor had been affected – all the kitchen cabinets, appliances, and backsplashes had been yanked out and trashed, all flooring gone, drywall cut out up to 18″ – nothing but studs and a raw concrete floor.

Even though the damage was on the lower 1/3 – 2/3 of the walls, to make the room look right, ALL the wallpaper has to be stripped off and replaced.

The kicker is, I had just hung their wallpaper back in October.

Repairs are hard to do, and hard to make look “as good as new.”

Even harder is that insurance companies always have a vastly different idea of what it costs for materials and labor, compared to actual real life prices, to get these people’s homes back to being livable again.

Fixing Weird Things That Happen To Wallpaper

December 6, 2020

The top photo shows a stain on the wallpaper that is probably related to a rain or hurricane event a few years ago.

Water stains (and also other substances, like rust, blood, ink, oil, tobacco, tar, cosmetics, and more) will bleed through wallpaper. So, before patching the area, it is imperative to use a stain blocker to seal the problem. My favorite is KILZ Original oil-based.

KILZ will seal off the stain all right. But wallpaper won’t stick to it. So, in the third photo, you see where I have primed over the KILZ with a wallpaper primer (tinted light blue, for visibility). It’s not necessary to prime the entire wall area to be patched, because this type of wallpaper will stick to itself with just plain old adhesive.

The striped pattern made for an easy repair. I took a straightedge and sharp razor blade and trimmed along the striped design, creating a long skinny patch. See fourth photo. You can also see the strip pasted and booked (folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side).

Once that sat and relaxed for a few minutes, I took it to the wall and appliquéd it over the damaged area, going the full height.

There was a very slight color difference between the paper that had been on the wall for 20 years and the paper that had been in a dark closet. Had I placed the white area of the patch next to the white area on the existing paper on the wall, the color difference would have been noticeable. But trimming along the blue stripe gave the eye a logical stopping point, and so the color difference is not detectable.

In the finished photo, you would never guess there had been anything amiss with this wall.

I used this same technique to patch over the bug-bite holes in yesterday’s post.

And another good reminder that it’s always best to order a little extra wallpaper, in case of the need for repairs later. Store the paper in a climate-controlled space … not the garage or attic.

The wallpaper is by Schumacher, and appeared to be an old-school pulp paper material.

Same Run – But Color Difference

June 8, 2018


One of the first things the installer does before starting a wallpaper job is to check the run numbers, to be sure it is the same for all the bolts of paper. This means they were all printed at the same time with the same batch of ink, so they will all be uniform in color.

Both these bolts are from the same run. But look closely, and you will see that the blue lines on the strip to the right are darker and thicker than those on the left. If these two strips of paper were placed next to each other on the wall, the difference would be very visible.

I am glad I noticed this before I started cutting any strips. I set aside the errant bolt, and hopefully won’t have to use it (I always have my clients buy a little extra, for repairs later and in case of instances like this). If I do need to cut into this bolt, the bathroom has a lot of choppy areas that are on separate walls where the color difference won’t be noticeable.

Wallpaper Repairs

November 26, 2016

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Some people get upset when there is a fair amount of wallpaper left over after the room is finished. This Clear Lake (Houston) couple felt the same, 15 years ago when I papered their kitchen and powder room. Well, come 2016, and the 40-year-old pipes in their ’70’s era home began to fail. Bottom line – they had to have the whole house completely re-piped. And to do that, the plumbers had to cut holes here and there in the drywall. When the drywall gets messed up, so does the wallpaper. Good thing they had extra wallpaper on hand!

The plumbers did a good job of patching the Sheetrock and then floating over the joints where the new patched-in drywall met the old. But there were still some areas that I needed to refloat and / or sand smooth, and then prime, before the wallpaper could be replaced.

The 2nd and 3rd photos show the soffit or fur down over the kitchen cabinets, first with the plumbers’ patch, and then with my new wallpaper repair.

The powder room had a swirly pattern, and had four walls that needed wallpaper repairs. In this room, as shown in the 5th photo, I appliquéd the new paper over the existing paper. Cutting along the design helps disguise the patch by eliminating visual breaks.

There is even a little paper still left over, in case another calamity strikes and more wallpaper repairs are needed. 🙂

Barely Squeaked By Today

January 5, 2016

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For some reason, the amount of wallpaper I asked the client to buy was not the amount that was on-site when I showed up for work today. We were short a lot. I won’t go into details, but through careful planning, the fact that the rolls were a little longer than normal, and a number of tricks I pulled out of my hat, I was able to get all the walls covered.

Usually, there are several feet left on each bolt of paper, which is good in case of need for repairs down the road. But today, all that was left was a mere 18″ of paper.

But we got ‘er done. Whew!

“Do You Do Wallpaper Repairs?” – YES!

June 20, 2013

And my, all of a sudden, I’m getting lots and lots of calls for repairs. Here is what I’ve dealt with just this week:

-air conditioning leak
-pipe leak
-other water leak
-painters got paint on the wallpaper
-changed towel / grab bar
-seams coming loose

Save Those Leftovers!

April 26, 2011

When I finish a job, there is always a some wallpaper left over. People often ask if they should keep this extra paper, or just toss it in the trash.

I strongly urge them to keep the paper! You never know when you may have to make a repair.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of repairs. Cats clawing grasscloth. Stains from water leaks. Break in pipes inside the walls so the plumber has to cut into the wall. Foundation shifts causing cracks.

Often repairs can be successful and even unnoticeable. But in virtually every case, new paper will be needed, because it’s usually impossible to use the damaged paper on the wall.

So, find a cool, dry place, and stash that leftover paper in storage – just in case.