Posts Tagged ‘sanded smooth’

Skim-Floating to Smooth a Textured Wall

January 25, 2023
Wallpaper is to go on the top 2/3 of the walls in this large dining room. But the walls are textured, and that texture will show through the new paper. Which looks pretty bad , IMO , especially since most the design is plain white background. So here I am applying a skim-coat by skim-coating / skim-floating the wall to smooth over the texture.
Close up. A lot of people use a wide broad knife or drywall taping tool . But I prefer the control I have using this trowel . There will be ridges and valleys and imperfections . But tomorrow, when the smoothing compound is dry , I will sand everything smooth . I have to say, I’m pretty darned good at smoothing walls . 🙂
I like to use the Plus 3 Joint Compound by the Sheetrock brand. It’s much easier to sand than the standard joint compound . Do NOT use the ” quick set ” version – coatings such as primer , paint , or wallpaper don’t like to adhere to this stuff . It’s made for small patches , not covering entire walls. BTW, for short, we simply call this ” mud .”
Once the walls have been sanded smooth , all the dust vacuumed up, and residual dust wiped off the walls with a damp sponge , then I will apply my favorite primer, Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime , made specifically for use under wallpaper .

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Shimmery Trees

October 20, 2022
Before … Heavy stipple / sand texture on drab sage green semi-gloss paint.
I skim-floated the walls , sanded smooth , primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer and …
Here’s the finished sink area of this hall bathroom .
Before shot of tub and window wall .
So much brighter and livelier!
Close up . It’s hard to see from these photos, but the colors are pewter, silver, and metallic silver.
The paper also has a lightly textured surface .
The pattern is called Hedgerow and the brand name is Super Fresco.
Every other SF I’ve hung has been on a non-woven / paste-the-wall substrate , so I was surprised to discover that this one was a paste-the-paper material , and that the backing is a paper / pulp material , with textured vinyl laminated to the surface.
My issue with this is that, historically, these paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers don’t hold up well in humid areas , such as bathrooms.
Humidity in the air can actually be wicked up through the seams and then settle on the paper backing , which is absorbent and thirsty. Once that paper absorbs moisture, it’s going to expand . Since there is nowhere for it to go, it will push back against the wall , and that can cause the seam to curl up and pull away from the wall.
Oftentimes, the paper backing actually delaminates (comes apart) from the vinyl surface. This is not a “loose seam” and cannot be repaired.
You pretty much have to replace the whole strip. Or, more likely, to replace the entire wall, from one corner to the next.
Proper wall prep , including a primer made for use under wallpaper , goes a long way toward avoiding these sorts of occurrences.
installer houston memorial area

Swirly Leafy Priano Wallpaper in Spring Branch Powder Room

October 7, 2022
Walls were originally a light tan , with a poor texture job , too much caulk along the top of the backsplash , and later it was discovered that someone had painted (several layers ) on top of wallpaper .
Same area after I’ve skim-floated and sanded smooth , then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime made specifically for use under wallpaper . I have Murphy Brothers paint store add a little blue tint so I can see where I’ve rolled it on.
Finished!
Such a happy pattern to look at – swirly , nods to foliage and ferns , crisp . Yet not too busy , due to the 2-tone color palate and the tight, overall design .
Close up. You get the feel of a watercolor artist / painting .
The design matched up perfectly in the last corner . This only happens about once in every 10 years!
In addition, what’s even more astounding is that EACH of the four walls in this powder room was EXACTLY the width of two strips of my Serena & Lily 27″ wide paper + expansion. The strips fell in EACH corner ABSOLUTELY tight and straight. I’ve had perfect kills before, but never had paper fall in the corners with no need to wrap or trim.
I know that’s a little techy for the non-professional reader to grasp. But just know that it was a room and a day full of almost paranormal-grade coincidences , math , and execution .
Pattern is Priano and is made by Serena & Lily , one of my favorite companies.
This is the home of a young family in the Spring Branch area of Houston .

Dark and Moody Bedroom Accent Wall

August 4, 2022
The wall has been skim-floated and sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The homeowner did a great job coordinating the wall and ceiling paint with the colors in the wallpaper.
This is a room that’s made for sleeping!

At first I thought the pattern scale was too small for the large wall. But once I saw it on the wall, I really like the way it fills the space.
To me, this pattern has a sort of calico look.
Close-up shows the light texture on the paper.
This is a non-woven material, so I’m installing via the paste the wall method . Here I’ve cut and arranged all my strips in the order in which they will be hung . This is a drop match pattern , which some folks think of as A and B strips. Meaning, for instance, an orange flower appears at the top of the wall on Strip A . But the next strip, Strip B, has a yellow flower at the top. When you get to the third strip, we are back to an A and an orange flower. Next comes another B strip – and so on.
I’ve rolled the strips backward , with the top of the strip coming off first. This will prevent the printed face of the wallpaper from bumping into the pasted wall during installation .
Wallpaper often shrinks a tad when the paste dries , and this can result in very minute gaps at the seams . With dark wallpapers , it’s pretty important to take steps to prevent white from showing at these gaps. Here I’ve measured out where each seam will fall, and taken diluted black paint to make a dark stripe under each seam . I don’t make the paint full-strength, because wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to paint. I want the wallpaper adhering to the primer I’ve applied. That’s also the reason why you don’t want to roll paint over the whole wall.
Also, I have only striped some of the seam areas, and will wait until some strips are up on the wall before striping more lines. This is because wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, which can make it difficult to plot the exact width of each strip as you move across the wall.

I use acrylic craft paint from the hobby store, applied with a bit of sponge. I keep a small dish of water to dip the sponge into, which dilutes the paint a bit.
You also see a stick of chalk pastel . See next photo.
Besides the wall peeking out from behind the wallpaper seams , it’s also possible / probable that the white edges of the wallpaper backing / substrate will show at the seams. I take a stick of chalk and run it along the edges, making sure to apply from the backside, to avoid getting chalk onto the surface of the wallpaper.
Be sure to use chalk pastels and not oil pastels – oil will bleed and stain wallpaper. Some installers use liquid paint or markers – again, be sure to use water-based or acrylic , and never oil based or permanent markers .
BN Walls is the brand. Altogether, this was a pretty nice product to work with. It was thin and very soft and flexible (many non-wovens are not).
I wasn’t happy with all the seams, though. I believe the paper was cut with dull or wobbly wheels at the factory, because the edges seemed to not be perfectly straight . So I ended up with gaps and overlaps in some areas. Here you can see the wallpaper edges pouching up a bit due to excess paper.
But, as I mentioned, this material was quite flexible, so it was pretty easy to spread these edges apart an use a tool to push them apart and then down to prevent them from pouching up again. Once the paste started to dry, these areas held nice and tight and flat.
This is a townhome in the Rice Military neighborhood of central Houston .

Dwunk Cwitters Wid’ Booze and Hookah in Garden Oaks Powder Room

July 29, 2022
Walls have been skim-floated and sanded smooth, primed, and are ready for wallpaper.
Done. The dark woodwork really accentuates the wallpaper; the room would not be nearly as dramatic and fun without the dark woodwork.
Eeek! Another console sink to squeeze under and behind. Just this area took more than an hour.
Some tricks I’ve learned is that you don’t have to wrestle full-length and -width strips. Here I cut the two strips behind the sink horizontally at the point where the vanity hits the wall. I hung the upper strips. Then, moving to the right, I hung the strips to the right. After I ended in the corner to the right (not pictured), I came back and hung the two short strips under the sink. So I was only wielding strips 2′ high, instead of 9′.
I also sliced one strip vertically at the point where it intersected the drain pipe under the sink. This was much easier than trying to wrangle an 18″ wide strip around the drain, two faucets, and the metal support pipes.
What are these cwitters up to??!
Close-up. The homeowner said that the family has a sense of humor , and wanted something wild and fun .
Detail.
Many House of Hackney wallpapers come as a mural , or 4-roll set. This diagram shows the layout of the four panels. You can take a second set of four panels and place it to the right (or to the left – just keep track of the sequence order of the panels) and the pattern will continue.
Each panel is about 18″ wide, so a 4-panel set gives you about 6′ of width. Panels are about 9.5′ high.
This is called Hackney Empire and is in the Midnight colorway. This is a non-woven material , also called paste the wall . I did paste the material rather than the wall, though, as it makes the paper more supple, and enables me to get paste into difficult-to-access areas – such as under and behind that console sink! Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece without damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate. This HofH material was lovely to work with.

installer, houston, under the stairs

Replacing Countertop Leaves Damage to be Repaired

February 6, 2022
The vanity top was replaced. The new backsplash is a tad shorter than the previous one, so there is a gap above it. In addition, the original caulk is sticking out from the wall. The new wallpaper cannot go over this, because it will not sit tightly to the backsplash or wall.
After stripping off the wallpaper, I used a razor knife to remove the caulk – which is harder than it sounds, because that stuff is sticky! Then I sealed the torn drywall areas with Gardz (do a Search here to learn more about that product). Once that was dry, I used joint compound to fill in the gap between the backsplash and wall. Once that was dry, I sanded smooth and sealed again with Gardz.
Silly me forgot to take an “after” photo.

More Work on Yesterday’s Delaminating Wall

January 15, 2022
Re yesterday’s post … after I got the wall stabilized, I skim-floated the surface to smooth it. That dried overnight, and today I sanded it smooth, vacuumed up the dust and then wiped residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then primed with good old Gardz. I feel pretty confident that that wall is secure enough to withstand the tension of drying wallpaper. But, just to be sure, I applied a liner. A liner is a special paper that goes on the wall under the decorative wallpaper. In this case, the purpose is to distribute tension so that no stress is placed directly on the wall. So it’s important that the seams of the liner and the decorative wallpaper do not line up or fall on top of each other. This way any tension is dispersed and distributed, and any inner surface that wants to delaminate will be held in place by the layers of paper over it. In this photo, the section to the left has the new white liner, and I am moving toward the right to finish this wall.
t’s important that the liner be flat and that the seams lie down tightly, so no bumps or ridges show under the new wallpaper. I was really pleased with how these seams just melted away.
There are all kinds of liner papers out there. This one is a stiff, somewhat thin non-woven option made in Germany.
Using a liner does add to the cost of the installation, for both material and labor to hang it.

December 30, 2021

Bridging A Gap

These are the plumbing stems for wall-mounted handles and faucet in a powder room in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner had the fixtures removed to make the wallpaper installation easier and with fewer ” relief cuts ” in the paper. This helps to eliminate chances of splashed water hitting open edges of the paper and wicking up inside, which can cause curling at the seams.
But the holes were a tad too big for the escutcheons (decorative back plates) to cover. The hole around the left handle gaps about a half an inch outside the plate (not pictured).

I wanted to close that gap a little bit, and also to provide a firm surface for the wallpaper to stick to. I cut ” collars ” out of scrap non-woven material. This material is very strong, and won’t stretch or warp out of shape. Non-woven makes a fine substrate for today’s wallpapers. In the photo, I have placed them around the plumbing stems.
I impregnated the “collars” with Gardz, which is a penetrating primer which soaks in and binds surfaces together, and then dries hard – a lot like varnish or shellac.
Then I skim-floated the area with drywall joint compound (” mud “), let dry, sanded smooth, wiped off dust with a damp sponge, and then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime, my favorite wallpaper primer. So this photo shows the finished task. When the plumber comes to re-install the faucet, etc., if the holes are too small, he can simply cut some away.
Now that the opening is smaller, the escutcheon easily covers it.

Fairytale Wonderland for Young Boy’s West U Bedroom

May 9, 2019


This young family in the West University Place neighborhood of Houston started out with another installation company that was not a good fit. They also started out with a wallpaper selection from a company that I find to be of poor quality (Hygge & West). I was honored that they let me take on the wallpaper install. AND that they listened to my suggestion to explore other manufactuers … the paper they chose is superior in quality, and is a far more charming and fitting design for their young son.

The walls originally had a light texture that I skim-floated over, then sanded smooth, and then primed with Gardz.

The new wallpaper is very similar in color to their original choice of palm leaves, so they could keep the trim and wainscot paint that had already been applied.

Whereas paper from the original manufacturer is known for curling and disappointing “pouches” at the seams, their final selection from Boras Tapeter (a Scandinavian company) is some of the most cooperative and best performing paper I have every worked with.

The seams are invisible, the material doesn’t expand (no pattern distortion or screwed up measurements) and it doesn’t shrink (no gaps at the seams). There is no booking time, so each strip can be pasted and then hung immediately. It can also be hung via the paste-the-wall method. It hugs the wall tightly and turns corners nicely. It doesn’t crease easily, as many thicker non-wovens do. When it’s time to redecorate, this non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall. And the surface is more washable than most, making it well suited to a young child’s room.

And best of all, the “Wonderland” design, with frolicking animals and whimsical foliage, is much better suited to a child’s room than the original palm leaf option.

This wallpaper pattern is by Boras Tapeter, and 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.