Posts Tagged ‘sealed’

Finished Wall Re-Do – See Previous Post

July 26, 2022
Here’s the wall after I stripped, sealed, skim-floated, sanded, and primed it.
Finished. The birds in the pattern balanced nicely with between the ceiling line and the wainscoting.
I had more success with this install than the previous guy, due to proper prep, and also the material used this time was the user-friendly non-woven , rather than the old fashioned pulp type wallpaper the other guy had to wrestle with.
Strawberry Thief is a very popular pattern right now, and comes in many colorways. Do a Search here to see my other installations of this design.
There were some issues at the top of the wainscoting where the painters had used tape to mask off areas, long with caulk, an it left a rather large (1/8″) unpainted area between the wood molding and the wall. I filled this in with joint compound and primed it, and wallpaper would have adhered just fine. But that would have left a white gap between the wallpaper and the green molding.
I rummaged in my truck for the best matching paint I could come up with, and painted over the white edge. This would have left a bit of a thin brown line between the wallpaper and the green molding. It would have looked OK, but I had an idea to get rid of the gap altogether.
If I had used my regular thin straightedge (the red one), it would have let me trim the bottom edge of the wallpaper nice and close to the wall. But that would have left the aforementioned brown line showing.
So I used the metal plate you see at the upper right of the photo as a trim guide. It’s thicker than my red straightedge, and so gives a fat cut that leaves more wallpaper and less of that brown line.
In fact, the left edge, as you can see, is rolled, and that creates an even thicker edge to trim against, leaving even more wallpaper at the bottom of the cut. See the photo just above, to see how the wallpaper now completely covers the brown line.
These metal plates have a lot of other uses. They are made and sold by a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association . She makes a lot of other cool tools, too. If you are interested, send me an email. wallpaperlady@att.net
The wallpaper design is by William Morris , a famed artist of the Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau periods . The brand is Morris & Co.
This label is EXACTLY the same as the pulp material the original installer worked with – save for that one word non-woven . Be sure you get the non-woven version, which is also called paste the wall .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Wall Prep Ahead of Wall Re-Do

July 20, 2022
This wallpaper in a Houston Heights townhome’s breakfast area was hung by “the contractor’s guy ” and he ran into some problems. First, I suspect the wall had not been adequately coated with a primer designed for use under wallpaper . This may be a large part of why the paper has come loose from the wall in places, and shrunk and gaps at the seams.
The wallpaper is an old-fashioned British pulp material , which is quite different from the non-woven material that this company usually prints on. If the installer was not familiar with hanging a pulp, yes, he can have a tough time of it.
There are other issues that the homeowner is unhappy with, such as tears, slices, patches, and, of course, these un-stuck seams. I’ve posted more pics previously, if you can Search to find them.
My task is to get the paper off and then prep the wall for hanging new material.
Most of the paper pulled off the wall easily. But there were areas where the guy had used a stronger adhesive to try to hold the edges down. Those would not come off the wall without causing damage to the wall. So I pulled off the top, inked layer and left the paper backing on the wall.
This stuff is porous and will bubble when coated with a water-borne primer , and with wallpaper wet with paste.
So I sealed these areas – I sealed the entire wall, in fact – with Gardz (by Zinsser ). This stuff is pretty incredible. It’s a thin, watery primer / sealer that soaks into the surface and binds loose components together, then dries hard and solid .
Latex paints and other water-based products (usually) won’t penetrate it, so won’t cause the underlying material to re-wet, expand , and bubble .
Just a note … due to pandemic and other supply chain related shortages , Gardz has become difficult to find. This can was about 1/4 full and I had it sitting behind my trash can, intending for weeks to toss it out. Now I’m glad that I procrastinated!
Once the Gardz sealer was dry, I skim-floated over it with joint compound , a.k.a. ” mud .” In most areas of the wall, my skim coat was as thin as possible, but I did have to make it much thicker over the areas with the paper backing stuck to the wall.
I set up three fans , and also used my heat gun , to get the smoothing compound to dry. I like the Plus 3 version made by the Sheetrock company. It sands easily and doesn’t make too much air-borne dust.
It took a couple of hours to dry. Then I sanded it smooth , vacuumed up the dust with my Shop Vac , used a damp sponge to get residual dust off the wall , and then let the wall dry once again.
Finally I applied a coat of my favorite wallpaper primer, Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman. I used a paint roller to roll it on to the main areas, and an angled trim brush to cut in around the ceiling and moldings.
Here is the wall all smoothed and primed .
Originally I had planned to strip , prep , and hang this half-wall all in one day. But ended up the prep took more time than I anticipated (about 8 hours ) , so we’ll let the primer dry overnight and save the wallpaper installation for another day.
The wallpaper pattern is called Strawberry Thief and is by the famous William Morris designer from the very early 1900’s . I’m sure seeing a surge in interest in his patterns, particularly this one. Do a Search to see other jobs I’ve done with it.

White Grout Can Be Distracting

June 7, 2022
The mortar along the top of this marble tile baseboard was light colored, and I didn’t think it would look good between the black tile and the mostly-dark wallpaper.
In addition, I hate trimming wallpaper against grout, because the gritty texture makes it hard to get a neat cut. And that sandy grout sure eats up my razor blades!
So I applied a thin layer of joint compound over the grout, sanded it smooth, and then sealed with a penetrating primer called Gardz. This gave me a softer surface to trim against. But I was still left with a white edge. That’s what you see in the top photo.
So next I used an angled artist’s brush and some black craft paint from Texas Art Supply hobby store to change the white line to black.
Here’s what it looks like finished.

Whoops! Someone Painted Over Old Wallpaper

October 31, 2021

Sometimes, even I can’t tell by looking at walls when someone has painted over existing wallpaper. But when you remove the switch plate covers and find this – it’s a sure bet!

Painting over wallpaper is a bad idea for many reasons. Click the link to my page on the right.

It may take some time, but almost always it’s possible to get that paper off the wall.

But sometimes, it’s unavoidable, as in cases where the previous installer hung on top of new drywall and didn’t use a primer to seal off the drywall.

In cases when the paper cannot be removed, if the surface is sealed and prepped correctly, it would be OK to paint or even hang wallpaper on top.

Client Using Salvaged Wood for Flooring in Renovated Heights Bungalow

October 7, 2021

This home in the Heights area of Houston is being enlarged, renovated, and saved from the wrecking ball! The homeowners are using the original features where they can (reworking original windows, for instance), and in other areas are using vintage items salvaged from other area homes.

I love that they have found flooring that will work in this entryway. I don’t know what the plans are … they may have the boards sanded down to bare wood, stained, and sealed. Which would give a mighty nice and formal look to the home.

But I wouldn’t mind one iota if they kept the planks as-is, sealed them, and left this cool, funky, colorful, shabby-chic mosaic on their entry floor.

Candice Olson “Linden Flower” in Home Office

July 1, 2021
Before. Original chalkboard paint sealed off with KILZ Original to block any oil residue from chalk that might bleed through the wallpaper. Then primed with Roman 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer.
Finished. Airy, floral, fun place to work!
First strip goes up, lined up against the red light of my laser level. I measured and plotted the placement so that the center of that dominant black flower would drop along the vertical center line of the wall (about 8″ to the right of the laser line).
Detail. I like the shadows in the background.
Close-up shows pen & ink, and water color look of this design.
Manufacturer is York, one of my preferred brands. http://www.yorkwall.com

Working from home these days, the homeowner wanted an office that was bright and encouraged creativity. The black chalkboard paint scrawled with slogans and proverbs had to go!

Almost exactly a month ago, I prepped the walls and started to hang the paper – only to discover printing and trimming defects. See my post from May 26, 2021. The on-line vendor, Burke Decor, was quick to ship out replacement paper from a different run. The new paper was fine.

The new light sconce plays off the black and gold colors in the wallpaper.

This refreshing yet peaceful abstract floral pattern sets the perfect tone, when your office is in your home.

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Mirror Tar – Bad For Wallpaper

January 24, 2021

Mirrors are commonly attached to walls with mastic – a sort of tar adhesive. When installing this new mirror, the workmen got some of the tar smeared on the wall below.

This is bad. Tar, like many other substances, will bleed through paint and wallpaper.

So this stain will need to be sealed over with a stain blocker. Or, better, cut out of the wall entirely, and then the damaged wall will have to be repaired. Learn more on this by doing a Search in the upper right corner.

Non-Slip Mat Mars Countertop

April 4, 2020


In a bathroom with high ceilings, I needed to set my trusty 5-gallon bucket on the countertop, so I could set a foot on it to maintain my balance while I worked on the wall above it. To prevent it from slipping, I placed a non-slip shelf liner underneath – something I’ve done a zillion times before.

But this time, a little while after all the apparatus was removed, this circular spot appeared.

I believe the countertop is made of soapstone.

We are still researching why this happened. I do know that the soapstone had not been sealed when it was installed, nor had it been maintained with regular applications of oil as is recommended.

It could be that oil or other substances from the shelf liner leached into the soapstone. Or that the liner somehow wicked some substance from within the soapstone up to the surface.

I am hoping that, in time, the stain will dissipate, much as a drop of oil will gradually absorb into a leather jacket.

Other ideas are that, because soapstone is an impervious material, the stain is simply sitting on top, and so talcum powder or cornstarch sprinkled on top may absorb it.

Another suggestion is to apply mineral oil, as the conditioner that should have been applied regularly all along, and it may soak in and minimize and / or disperse the ring.

Peel & Stick = Piece of Sh!t

September 24, 2019


We’re seeing more and more of this peel-and-stick, supposedly “removable” and “repositionable” plastic wallcovering. Unfortunately, many homeowners read the lofty claims by the manufacturers and think it will be a perfect alternative to traditional wallpaper. It is not.

The stuff is awful – I won’t hang it, and most of my friends won’t either.

First of all, you don’t NEED an alternative to traditional wallpaper – you just need quality paper and someone who will properly prep the walls and then properly install the paper.

Getting back to P&S, the stuff is virtually impossible to hang. Imagine a 9’x2′ strip of Contact Paper, trying to position that on a wall without it wrinkling or sticking to itself, and then trying to butt another strip up next to it. Not gonna happen. It also does not “remove easily” … well, it does, but it will tear your wall apart in the process.

These homeowners had some guys doing other work in the nursery, and they said they could hang the wallpaper, too. They weren’t experienced paperhangers, and they weren’t up to the battle against this P&S. Virtually no one is.

First, they should have smoothed out the textured wall. Second, most P&S products spec that the wall should be sealed with a semi-gloss paint, which needs to dry and cure for two weeks. As you can see, this adds time and labor charges to the job.

I’m not sure why there are gaps at the seams (top two photos), but better prep would surely have helped prevent this. The large wrinkles are due to the inflexiblity of the material and its unwillingness to twist or stretch into position. With the baby on the way, the homeowner dad got desperate and used nails to try to tack down the curling paper.

The baby girl arrived, the parents lived with this wall for a while, and, when life settled down, they contacted me. I counseled them to forget the P&S and to choose a traditional wallpaper.

They zoomed in on this butterfly pattern by SuperFresco. This material is one of the newish non-woven materials, which contain a component of fiberglass and thus don’t expand or shrink, and won’t tug at the wall, so fewer worries of seems popping loose. These qualities also make it possible to dry-hang the paper, by pasting the wall instead of pasting the paper. I usually paste the paper, but on a single accent wall such as this (no toilets or sinks or fancy moldings to work around), pasting the wall works beautifully. It also saved me lugging my heavy, bulky work table up to this townhome’s third floor. 🙂

Removing the P&S paper was easy – it is strong and held together while I tugged it off the wall … I could do it all from the floor, without even climbing the ladder. Unfortunately, it took much of the paint along with it. So much for the “removable” claim.

It was still as sticky as the day it was born – so I rolled it all up and stuck it to itself and tossed the whole mess into the trash. Done and gone!

I skim-floated the wall to smooth it, sanded smooth, vacuumed, wiped residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then rolled on Gardz, a penetrating primer-sealer, that also is a great undercoat for wallpaper.

All that (especially waiting for the smoothing compound to dry) took several hours. I think it was about 6:00 before I started hanging wallpaper!

Thin non-wovens generally go up with pleasingly invisible seams, and this one did, too. I was surprised to discover more than a few large wrinkles and bubbles. This could have been because the paper got twisted during installation, because the wall was smooth but not flat, because of some uneven reaction between the substrate and the paste which caused off-gassing (burps!), or some other reason. But it meant that I had to go over the wall several times, checking to be sure all areas were firmly secured to the wall.

The finished accent wall looks great! It’s a gentler pattern and a quieter color, and doesn’t hit you in the face as the original floral pattern did. There’s a little bit of fun shimmer in the scattered pearlized butterflies, and the blue-grey wings coordinate nicely with the three grey walls in the rest of the room.

Finally, Baby Girl is ready to move into her own room!