Posts Tagged ‘ridge’

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here https://www.facebook.com/customwallpapertools or here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/?fbclid=IwAR2NFrG2gWSzNClNMB0gHDiQHbnkhyNhthaOFQaK8MCaU7rBYVQhYQkO0nc
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

Woeful Walls

October 6, 2022
The walls in this powder room have a sort of sad and even hopeless feel about them.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why.
The bottom edge where the wall meets the baseboard looks uneven and unstable, with and odd lip running along the top of the baseboard.
And a lot of it has to do with the dull color, and the thick layer of gummy latex paint. The gloss finish adds to the tacky look.
It also doesn’t help that there is a lot of lint and other stuff stuck in the paint, creating a gritty and uneven wall surface.
Oh, and the texture that was rolled on is irregular and icky.
There was a lot of globby stuff – caulk and some loose edges – along the edge of this vanity. I took a razor and putty knife and dug out what I could.
And note the ridge along the top of the baseboard. Can’t expect wallpaper to grab ahold and adhere to that.
Likewise there was a lot of caulk along the top of the vanity backsplash. I dug out what I could of that, too.
And finally I figured out what was causing a large part of the problem … The room had been wallpapered previously. So when it was decided to paint the room, instead of stripping off the paper as they should have, they just painted over it. To me, it looks like there are several layers of thick latex paint on top of the wallpaper.
Yep. Sure enough! Along the electrical outlet you can clearly see the old wallpaper under all this mess.
As you can see, the latex paint is not adhering tightly to the old wallpaper. The wallpaper looks like it could be vinyl … and not much sticks well to vinyl. Think Colorforms.
Stripping off all this paint and the wallpaper under it would make a HUGE mess. So, short of re-drywalling the whole room (and the rest of the house, which has the same treatment), there’s not much that can be done to ensure that the layers inside this wall are stable.
I dug out caulk and pulled off any loose areas. Then I skim-floated the whole room to create a new, smooth layer on top. I’ll post more when that process is finished and the new wallpaper is up.

Sneaky Snaky Dining Room Accent Wall

August 6, 2022
Beautiful symmetry …
But look closer – those intertwining lines aren’t fronds of vegetation – they’re snakes !
The wall before. It’s a mid-century home, but the drywall here is new. Per my request, the contractor left it taped and floated , but not painted or covered with any coating .
I had planned to simply prime this wall. But after examining it more closely, the surface was a little grittier than I like. So I ended up applying a very light skim-coat and sanding it smooth .
Here the smoothed wall has been primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
I’m plotted out the center of the wall and am using my laser level to ensure that the design in my first strip falls right along the center, and also is nice and plumb .
My work table with two strips of wallpaper . Spoonflower packages its wallpaper differently from other companies. It comes in widths of 24″ and lengths of your choice of 3,’ 6,’ 9,’ or 12.’
Get their Pre-Pasted Removable Smooth option, which is water-activated , and is wonderful stuff.
Do NOT get the Peel & Stick , nor the Traditional Pebble . The P&S and the Traditional are both very difficult to work with, and can lead to bubbles and creases on your walls , plus cause damage when the wallpaper is stripped off later.
Back to the photo – the blue cube thing in front is my laser level , shooting its red line at the wall.
Close-up
I’m using this blue plastic tape on the edge of this strip of wallpaper. This will prevent paste from getting onto the wall or ceiling.
The accent wall stops in this left hand corner, so I need to trim off the excess. But I don’t want to get paste onto the un-papered wall. Paste can cause the wall paint to crackle and flake off.
So here you see how the blue tape is keeping paste off the wall. Once I finish trimming, I’ll check the back to make sure all of the blue tape has been removed. Any areas where the blue tape might be still on the back of the wallpaper , the paper won’t adhere to the wall .
This tape is available to paperhangers / installers . If you’re interested, shoot me an email wallpaperlady@att.net
Another thing about Spoonflower , the seams are meant to be overlapped, by 3/4″ . Note that this does create a ridge that runs vertically the length of each seam. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t very noticeable.
Actually, there are advantages to overlapping seams in this manner. No worries about white substrates showing at the seams, nor the paper shrinking and leaving gaps at the seams.
Also, in case of unstable walls that might come apart ( delaminate ) under the tension of the drying / shrinking wallpaper, overlapping disperses the tension and helps prevent wall failure.
This pattern is called Serpents and Apples and is by Spoonflower . Spoonflower has a lot of cute designs , and also a good number of fun avant garde patterns like this one.
The homeowners have some other non-typical décor that will meld perfectly with this wallpaper. Think life-sized skeletons .
… Notice how that light fixture hanging in the center of the wall kinda looks like a skull ? …
The home is in the Oak Forest area of northwest Houston .

Creating Wallpaper To Cover An Area That Was Not Planned For

April 6, 2022
When I first consulted with this family about wallpapering one wall in the master bedroom closet, the homeowner didn’t tell me that she also wanted an 11″ wide outside corner (sort of like a column) papered. No pic of that, sorry.
The mural to be used, shown above, was custom-sized to fit the main wall, so there wasn’t enough to cover this 11″ wide column.
But because the door and mirror covered up so much of mural, I figured I could use these unused areas to cover that column.
Here I’ve taken a scrap of the white sky area and applied it to the top of the column.
Now I’ve taken a section of the tree area that I liked the pattern of, and hung it on the lower 2/3 of the column.
Since I was making do with salvaged scraps, I had to take what was available. The top portion of this scrap is cut off, because it was used in the mirror / door area of the room. The straight cut doesn’t look so great.
So I used a scissors to cut along the design, creating a more natural edge of tree tops.
Overlaying this on top of the straight cut white sky area would result in a horizontal ridge under the paper. It would hardly be noticeable, but I could disguise it better. I used a pencil to mark the outline of the edges of the tree tops and then cut around it with a scissors. I made sure to leave about 1/2″ so the bottom printed tree paper would overlap on top of the sky area.
Here it is put back in place. Now the ridge follows the contours of the top edge, and is less noticeable.

Bright and Fun Retro Look in Powder Room

March 12, 2022
No boring beige or all-white walls in this home of a growing and active family in the Cypress / Jersey Village area of Houston.
Throughout the home, the mom has added touches of blue, green, yellow, and pink, along with a heavy dose of mid-century modern furnishings and accessories.
Time to pull the powder room into the mix!
Originally, this room was wallpapered in a typical ’80’s pattern, complete with a border running below the ceiling. Did I say ’80’s ?!
That wallpaper had been removed, and the walls were painted a dark tan. The room was very boring and boxy and uninspiring.
But … add a little wallpaper and – nothing boring here!
And the look definitely invokes the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s – can you say Flower Power ?
Spoonflower sells several types of wallpaper. Definitely do NOT get their peel & stick (see my page to the right), and I’m not fond of their vinyl material. I do like their pre-pasted smooth , which is what my client chose.
Spoonflower doesn’t come in standard dimension rolls. It comes in 24″ wide ” rolls ” of 1′, 3′, 9′, or 12′ lengths. So measuring and calculating is a little more complicated than for traditional wallpapers.
(The mermaid kitchen towel on the right is also by Spoonflower – and they have wallpaper to match!)
Strips of this material are designed to be overlapped at the seams. This is good, because it prevents gapping at the seams as the paste dries, and it also eliminates stress on the wall that could cause underlying surfaces to delaminate and come apart. Do a Search here to learn more.
The downside is that this overlapped area does leave a ridge running the length of the seam. Most people don’t mind the look, especially with a busy pattern like this one.
Pattern # 4330883 is called Party Posies.
This material is custom-printed. The homeowner ordered 11 rolls, and here you can see how the manufacturer has numbered each of the rolls in sequence (5th roll of 11 total).

Overlapping At The Seams

June 30, 2021

Re my previous post … the strips on this 6-panel mural are intended to be overlapped, by about a full inch.

There are advantages to this. Since wallpaper shrinks as it dries, it an result in gaps at the seams. Overlapping the seams prevents that.

Wallpaper that is drying and shrinking is also tugging at the wall behind it, which puts stress on the surface. If that surface is unstable, this tension could cause the layers inside the wall to give way and pull apart, resulting in open seams and a delaminated sub-surface. Overlapping the paper redistributes and minimizes the tension, and it also eliminates an open area where the two sides of the seam could pull away from the wall.

A disadvantage of the overlap method is that you can see the cut edge of the paper (see photo), and you also end up with a 1″ wide ridge running under the paper the full length of each seam. In this case, with such a busy pattern, you are not going to see that ridge.

Repairing Damage from Remodeling

March 5, 2021

I hung this paper in a little boy’s bedroom about two years ago. Now a new baby is coming, so Son #1 is moving from the nursery to his “Big Boy’s Room” next door. In the process of the shuffle, the parents had the connecting Hollywood bathroom updated, and this involved moving a door – which meant messing up the wallpaper.

As you can see in the top photo, instead of taking the time and effort to remove the wallpaper, the workmen put their patching compound right on top of it. I don’t like hanging paper on top of paper, for many reasons. There are adhesion issues. And also, for one thing, it’s not good to have seams fall on top of seams. For another, because the new paper is somewhat thick, you would have a visible ridge from top to bottom along the edge of the new strip.

So I took a razor knife and cut roughly around the workmens’ patch. Then I stripped off the paper around it, up to the edge of the adjoining strip. I did this on both sides of the corner.

This wallpaper is of a non-woven material, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. I was pretty disappointed that that turned out to not be the case.

On the other hand, I was happy that it didn’t. Stripping paper that way puts a lot of stress on the wall surface, and you can end up with delamination (coming apart) of various layers under the paper (primer, skim-float, paint, drywall).

So I used a more labor-intensive, but lower-impact method. Click my page to the right for more info on the process. I first stripped off the top, inked layer of paper. That left the white backing still adhering to the wall. I used a sponge to apply plenty of water to this backing. The idea is to reactivate the paste that is holding it to the wall. Once that paste was wet enough, the backing pulled off the all cleanly and easily.

I was really pleased that my primer from the original install held up perfectly under all this soaking and tugging. I had worried that it might “rewet” and pull away from the wall, which had been my experience with it before. I had used Gardz, a penetrating product designed to seal torn drywall. It’s also good at sealing new skim-coated walls. And wallpaper sticks to it nicely, so all the better!

One photo shows you the stripped off area next to the edge of the remaining strip. You can see the thickness of this existing strip. The new wallpaper will butt up against this, and there will be no ridge because the thicknesses of both strips are the same.

Another photo shows my stripped-off area next to the contractor’s patched area. There is a difference in height between the newly revealed wall and the patched area – and that will show as a ridge or bump under the new wallpaper.

To eliminate that difference in height, I skim-floated over the area. In one photo, you can see the wet (grey) smoothing compound. I set up a strong floor fan to assist in drying. My heat gun also came in handy.

Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth. Now you don’t see any transition between the newly exposed wall and slightly higher patched area. I applied Gardz to the all the newly patched areas. Set up the fan again. And once it was dry, I put up the replacement paper.

It’s a good thing the family had paper left over from the original install. If they had had to purchase new paper, it could have come from a new Run (slight difference in color shade), and that would have meant stripping off and replacing three walls.

We had barely enough paper. The corner was out of plumb by as much as 1/2″ from floor to wainscoting, on each side of the corner. That adds up to an inch out of whack. That one inch meant we needed a whole new strip of wallpaper, to get the paper on the wall to the left to match up with that on the wall to the right.

Long story short, the whole thing turned out great. There is a bit of a mis-match in that corner, but it’s not very noticeable at all.

The wallpaper is by the Scandinavian company Boras Tapeter.

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

Strengthening a Tenuous Seam

December 13, 2020

Most people don’t use phone or cable connections in the wall anymore, so it’s common for me to remove the cover plates, stuff the wires into the box, and cover the hole with the wallpaper.

In this case, the seam was going to fall where there really wasn’t going to be enough wall for the wallpaper to be able to grab ahold of (see top photo). I was worried about the seam coming loose and gaping open.

My solution was to tear a bit of backing from a piece of scrap paper and use it to bridge the area over the hole where the seam would fall. This way, the wallpaper would be able to grab hold of the paper, and the seam would not pop open.

I had to separate the non-woven backing from the textured vinyl surface of the wallpaper. This gave me a thin piece that was not likely to cause ridge under the new wallpaper. It also got rid of the vinyl surface – wallpaper adhesives don’t like to stick to vinyl or other slick surfaces.

I tore the strip because the edges were then slightly feathered, which makes any slight bump under the wallpaper less noticeable.

I put plenty of paste on both sides of the patch strip, so it would stick to both the wall behind it and to the new wallpaper going on top of it.

No photo of the finished area, but it worked perfectly, with the paper and the seam stuck tightly and invisibly to the wall.

Treatment for Warped Outside Corner

November 15, 2020

The wall to the left is behind the toilet.  You can’t see it, but there is a wall to the right of the toilet that then wraps around that outside corner you see in the center of the picture.

Wallpaper, especially a stiff non-woven material like this, does not like to wrap around corners.  Most corners are not absolutely plumb, so wrapping around them throws the paper off-plumb, or even causes wrinkles and warps.  The next strip of paper will not butt up perfectly with a warped edge.  

This corner was way worse than the typical corner, because it actually had a bow in it, so it was nowhere near straight.  There was no way that wallpaper would wrap around the corner without warping and going off-plumb

My solution was to split the paper vertically and wrap just 1″ of the paper around the corner.  Then I would cut a new strip of paper, split it vertically, making sure to match the pattern at the corner’s edge, and overlap it on top of the wrapped 1″ piece.

The only problem is that the 1″ wrapped piece had a thickness, so it would leave a visible ridge under the new strip, the entire length of the wall.

So I took some joint compound (like plaster or putty) and used a 1 1/2″ flexible putty knife to run it along the cut edge and wall, evening out that little difference in height.

Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth and primed it with Gardz.  

The ridge is gone, no bump will show, and I am ready to proceed with hanging the new strip to moving to the right.  

Good Catch After a Mistake

November 19, 2019

Whoops! Somebody (me 😦 ) cut a wallpaper strip to 6’24” instead of 6’34”.

This William Morris wallpaper is expensive, and I didn’t want to just throw away the too-short piece. So I figured a way to use scraps to save it.

At the bottom of the too-short strip, I trimmed horizontally along an element of the design. From the scrap pile, I found a piece with a corresponding pattern, made sure it was the right length to reach the baseboard, and then trimmed the top horizontally to match up with the design on the piece already on the wall.

The reason I trimmed along the swoopy line of the design is that I wanted to eliminate a straight horizontal ridge showing under the two strips once they were overlapped on the wall. The eye might notice a wide, non-conforming, horizontal ridge, but it won’t notice a narrow overlap that follows the contours of the pattern.

I put the short strip in place, and the pattern matched perfectly.

But there was a slight sheen from above, glinting off of the cut edge of the wallpaper in just a few spots. You can just barely see this in the second-to-last photo.

So I pulled the two strips of wallpaper apart and put them back together, but reversed the sequence, overlapping the top strip onto the lower strip. Now there was no cut edge for light to catch or bounce off of, and now the overlap / ridge is completely invisible.

Note that the surface of this wallpaper was a vinyl (plastic) material. Wallpaper paste won’t stick to plastic very well (it’s too slick). There is a special adhesive called VOV – for Vinyl Over Vinyl – formulated to make this bond. But I don’t always trust it.

So I often use clear caulk, which I call Super Glue for Wallpaper. Under the right conditions, it’s a wonderful solution.

Note: There is a technique called a double-cut, which is a method of splicing two strips of wallpaper together. A double-cut eliminates the possibly-visible ridge that you get when you overlap strips of wallpaper. For various reasons too complicated to get into here, in this case, and especially down low and behind the toilet, I preferred to use the overlap-and-super-glue technique.