Posts Tagged ‘seams’

Vinyl Faux Grasscloth in Guest Bathroom

February 3, 2023
Before. Walls primed and ready for wallpaper .
Vanity area done. This blue , brown , and metallic gold material has the warm look and texture of real grasscloth, but is much more water- and stain-resistant and consistent in color . It also has a pattern that can be matched , so the seams are much less visible than with real grass . Note that some of the lines you’re seeing in the photo are cast by the light fixture .
Going around these arched windows took a while!
Toilet wall without lights off.
With lights on, you see the true colors more accurately. Note the light fixture casting vertical stripes on the wall .
Like many thick, textured vinyl products, the edges curl back just a teeny bit, due to how the material is trimmed at the factory. Believe it or not, run your finger over this seam and you’ll feel that it’s perfectly flat. In fact, this look is typical with real grasscloth, because the edges tend to fray up a bit. From two feet away, you don’t notice any of this.
This material mimics the look and texture of real grasscloth .
Another wall, along the shower . One nice thing about grasscloth is that, since you don’t need to match pattern motifs, you don’t have to paper walls in sequence or order. We were a little tight on material on this job, so I hung my full length walls first, then went back and hung the shorter walls. This helped me plan usage – how many strips needed and how many strips I could get out of each roll / bolt of paper .
Made by York , one of my favorite manufacturers.

Artichokes In Master Bathroom

February 1, 2023
This bathroom is part of an addition to a 1940 home on the near east side of Houston. The drywall is new. As I requested, the painters did not apply any coatings . Here you see I’m priming the walls with my primer made specifically for wallpaper – Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
Done. The vanity will be pushed against this wall , and lighted mirrors will be hung over it. Keep fingers crossed that the electrician doesn’t mess up the wallpaper while installing the mirrors .
I think this pattern looks like a tapestry .
This paper went up beautifully . The seams are practically invisible from a foot away.
I love the slight raised ink texture of this surface print wallpaper .
Artichoke is made by Serena & Lily . I really like just about all of their papers .

Gold Geometric on Black Accent Wall in Kitchen Area

January 18, 2023
” Floating ” accent wall between kitchen and dining room . The homeowners originally considered a mural for this area . But with help from the wallpaper sales guy, they landed on this.
Both husband and wife love this. The black color plays beautifully off the black cabinets in the kitchen , butler’s pantry , and mud room . The gold geometric lines keep everything lively .
The specs say this is is a 25″ pattern repeat. But from looking at it, you’d think it was much shorter … the narrow lines match up with the narrow lines, and the fat sections line up with fat sections. Maybe 4″ repeat. But – not. I’ve hung this before, so I was already aware that those lines and sections are not all the same distance apart. It’s essential that you lay your strips next to each other and make sure you’ve got the pattern match correct. Because if not, you could end up with tiny 1/8″ mis-matches across the seams between some of those gold lines .
This is a Jaclyn Smith design by Trend . It’s a paste-the-wall / non-woven material , and is strong and durable , and resistant to stains and tears . Flexible and easy to install . Will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate .
It has a raised ink / lightly textured surface .
The wallpaper was purchased from Calico / Calico Corners on W. Alabama in Houston , with the expert knowledge and interior design assistance of Ron Dillon , whom I’ve known for about 25 years .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

More Peel & Stick Hate

January 17, 2023
so-called peel and stick wallpaper is not nearly what the vendors’ websites make it out to be. It is neither easy to install , nor easy to remove . Nor does it hold up very long. I won’t hang it, neither will most of my colleagues across the country. Even our British counterparts have asked us to not let it slip across the pond!
I won’t work with it, but one of the clients I visited yesterday did attempt to DIY try it on her own, with quite unsatisfactory results. She was kind enough to let me take photos .
Here you can easily see wrinkles next to the door molding .
gap at seam over door, warps along side door.
hard to see, but there are large wrinkles. Plus notice on the right, paper is not adhering to the wall.
seams shrink and gap.
P&S material is not even trying to adhere to the wall.

A lot of these failures are due to the homeowners’ lack of knowledge and experience with peel & stick , and with wallpaper in general. For instance, the textured walls should have been smoothed / skim-coated / skim-floated before applying the material . Wallpaper wants to adhere to a smooth surface – not to the “highs and lows” of a textured wall .
Next, most P&S instructions call for application on a semi-gloss paint , which needs to cure for 6-8 weeks.
Also, read the fine print, and you’ll learn that P&S is meant as a temporary wallpaper …. you can plan on it starting to fail in less than a year. That’s where you get the failure to stick to the wall , and shrinking at the seams . Of course, here you can see that that happened within a few weeks / days.
In this case, the material will be easily removable from the wall. But in most cases, if you’ve installed it on a smooth , primed wall, well, when stripped off, it will take the paint along with it. Leaving you with a nasty , pock-marked mess to have to repair. Click the link to my page on the right, about why to stay away from P&S.

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

Slight Problems With Katie Kime Wallpaper

January 11, 2023
There were eight double roll bolts of this wallpaper , to cover a large powder room in Houston.
Four were rolled so the pattern came off the top of the roll, and four were rolled the opposite way, with the bottom coming off first. This Katie Kime brand is custom-printed , so you can assume that all these rolls are from the same run , or batch . But maybe not - why are some forward and some backward ? Possibly the company substituted some returned goods, or some old stock they had sitting around the warehouse, for half of this order.
I didn't want to risk putting strips of slightly different shades on the same wall. So I had to carefully plot the room so I used the "forward" rolls on some walls, and the "backward" rolls on the others. This does eat up additional paper , so good thing I always have the homeowner purchase a little extra.
Also note the crease in the roll on the right. There were a few other creases in other rolls.

I have no idea what happened to the font in the section above, nor do I know how to get it back to the original. All I know is that I HATE this “New Editor” that WordPress foisted on us a few years ago. Perfectly HORRIBLE. And their Customer Service doesn’t care. Anyway … moving on …
Note the horizontal smudge next to the top of the capitol. Since this Austin Toile pattern has a 25″ pattern repeat, discarding this piece ate up minimum of 2′ of material (x 24″ width = 4 square feet) and potentially more, to get the correct pattern match.
Usually this brand prints on a nice non-woven / paste the wall substrate. But, like other manufacturers, Katie Kime has had supply issues obtaining raw materials . During the height of the Pandemic , they resorted to printing on some positively awful stuff. Extremely heavy , thick , un- pliable , stretched to the extent that the pattern wouldn’t match properly, and more. One was completely un-hangable and had to be sent back. I can’t find all my posts re those challenges, but here is one:
https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/katie-kime-tough-install-today-draft-messed-up-delete/
But they’ve since gone back to printing on their usual stock, and I’ve not had problems lately. So when I first picked up this box of 8 double roll bolts, I was surprised at the weight of it. Also the paper had a shiny surface and was obviously composed of vinyl . I couldn’t tell if the substrate was non-woven or paper . I feared they had gone back to printing on that bad material , or perhaps were using up what they had in the back of the warehouse .
There were no instructions included, nor any information at all – not even a brand name! Although I could find instructions on-line, you can’t be sure these are current and applicable to the rolls in the box. KK has amazingly good customer service , and you can usually get intelligent answers via phone or on-line chat … but my call to them went to voice mail , and then we got disconnected, so I gave up.
After hanging the first few strips, I figured out that this was a flexible vinyl on a non-woven substrate, so that part was good. However, the thickness of the material interfered with getting good, tight, flat seams , as you can see somewhat in the photo. The seams aren’t horrible, but a better non-woven without the vinyl usually produces almost invisible seams.
The surface was shinier than usual. Shiny tends to show every imperfection in the wall underneath. Here the thickness was a bit of a help, as it helped cushion any slight dips or pimples on the wall.
There was also an odd orange discoloration about 1.5″ long on the edge of one strip. Very faint, but I could see it, and sometimes these things end up catching your eye. I also worry that it might be some substance that will bleed into the paper and cause a larger stain over time. Of course, this popped up after I had hung a very difficult piece in a tight spot, and then hung the subsequent strip. In other words – no way was I taking it off the wall and re-doing. I cut out a design motif and pasted it over the area.
Another thing I was unhappy with has happened a number of times with KK paper. The pattern will match perfectly at the top of the wall, but begin to slide up or down, creating a mis-match , as you move down the wall. I think that a lot of it has to do with the vinyl material, because it’s stretchy. The weight of the paste and the vinyl will cause the bottom section of the strip to sag. This simply doesn’t make sense, though, because, if the paper is going to absorb moisture from the paste and expand (which many papers do), each strip should do so at the same rate, right? But not.
I finally deduced, correctly or not, that the pattern gets distorted as it’s wound into a roll. So my theory is that if you take your 10′ strips from the same position in each roll, the pattern should match. In other words, take a 10′ strip from the top of roll #1. Take your next strip from a brand new roll #2. Third strip from roll #3. Obviously, this leaves a whole lot of unused paper. For shorter areas like over doors, where it’s harder to see, and where you can fudge the pattern a bit, I used the paper from the insides of the rolls, again, roll #1 next to roll #2, etc. But this doesn’t work on every instance, so you’re gonna be stuck with many areas where the pattern doesn’t match perfectly across the seams. The solution is to match the pattern at eye-level , and then allow it to go off as it moves toward the ceiling and floor.
There were other issues with this paper that were disappointing to me. But not overwhelmingly awful. Most homeowners would not notice. But I sure hope that this was a one-time issue, and Katie Kime will go back to its former good-quality, non-woven material.

Tools For Double-Cutting / Splicing

December 24, 2022
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that double-cutting was needed for that vinyl mural installation. This type of trimming is often used in commercial vinyl jobs (hotels, hospitals). Above are some tools that help make it go more smoothly.
~The clear plastic tape on the right is made of polystyrene plastic. It’s flexible, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade. It’s used to ” pad ” the wall under where your cut will be, so it goes from ceiling to floor. It’s wide enough that you can straddle where your seam will be, and have 2″ or so in which to make your cut. This stuff is really important, because you never want to score into the wall surface, nor even into the primer . If the wall surface becomes un-intact , then when the wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks a bit, it puts stress on the seams. If the wall is not intact under those seams, the wall surface may give way and you end up with a ” popped ” seam. It’s not the paper coming loose – it’s the wall itself coming apart, and is difficult to repair.
~The roll of thin blue tape is used to keep paste off the wallpaper. You put it on the under side / pasted side of your second strip where it’s going to overlap onto the strip that is already on the wall , which is the area where your splice cut will be made. This blue tape can be used for other purposes, too, when you want to keep paste off the ceiling , for instance, or your last corner where the last strip meets up with the first strip.
~That metal tool is a 20″ long trim guide. It has a non-slip strip under the left edge, and a point at the top to get right up against the ceiling. The handle makes is super easy to hold and manipulate . This comes in both shorter and longer lengths.
~All of the above were invented and are sold by members of the Wallcovering Installers Association . Contact me if you are interested in purchasing.
~And, of course – razor blades. When I D/C, I usually hold a single edge blade in my fingers. But some installers use a snap-off blade in a holder. Whatever works best for you!
~Once your trim cut is made, of course, you need to remove the two tapes, the cut-off strips, and then smooth the two pieces back into place.
~For more information and photos on how this whole process works, click and read here https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/stinky-ink-curling-seams/

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
nursery installer houston sienna

Disappointments in York Wallpaper Pt II

December 16, 2022

OK, because this CRAPPY “New Editor” that Word Press FORCED on us a couple of years ago – which is EXTREMELY difficult to use, BTW, and the Big Wigs at Word Press don’t give a flip, despite my many comments to them … Anyway, it decided to eat / delete the post I just spent 30 minutes typing up, so I’m going to have to write it all over again and try to remember all the points I had made. PISSES ME OFF, this DAMNED WORDPRESS NEW EDITOR.
End of rant. But STILL FARKIN’ ANGRY!!!
Anyway, you’re looking at images of the same pattern motif , from the same Run number (do a Search here to learn more about runs ), but two different rolls / bolts . Look at where my pencil is pointing in the top example – at the green leaf to the left of the blue flower . You’ll see the light green color shadowing , or following the dark green .
Now look at the same motif on the example below it. Here both green colors are together . Why? What’s happened is that the printing presses at the factory have gotten out of register .
The machines print each color separately , layering them on top of each other . For example, brown first, then light green, then dark green, then blue, etc. Each turn of the printing rollers has to be perfectly synced with the previous, so that the colors and motifs line up correctly .
Here, obviously, something got out of whack .
Looking at this, the mis-alignment is not a big deal. It’s a loose , cheerful pattern , and it doesn’t really matter if the colors aren’t lined up perfectly. In fact, I think it makes the pattern more fun.
The problem comes when trying to match strips from one roll up to another, because the design won’t match perfectly at the seams . That does matter IMO . See my other post tonight .
The pattern is called Wildwood and is by Rifle Paper , which is made by York .

1/2 Inch Width = A Full Strip

December 15, 2022

I’m fixin’n to hang faux grasscloth on this accent / headboard wall in a master bedroom in the Spring Branch area of Houston. The textured wall has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The material is 20.75″ (20 and 3/4″) wide . So here I’m measuring off how many strips of wallpaper I’ll need.
I’ve counted out seven strips across the wall, and have come to my last (8th) strip. Look at my pencil mark – it’s at 21.” Remember that the paper is 20 3/4″ wide. This means that, to cover that last, scant 1/4″ width , I’ll have to use a ninth strip. Which will be a whole 9′ high strip that’s 20.75″ wide.
Useing a 1/4″ wide strip off a 9′ long length leaves us with a whole lot of waste – paper / square footage just going into the trash.
This is, again, why you should not purchase wallpaper based on square footage. It’s more a matter of determining how many strips you will need – factoring in the pattern repeat, etc.
Even better , have the wallpaper installer make a site – visit and calculate for you.
Going a step further … Since this is a (faux) grasscloth and has not pattern match , the seams will all be visible . So we try to balance the panels on the wall. Meaning, the wall will look better with panels of equal-widths, instead of, for instance, eight panels at 21″ wide and one at 1/2″.
For the record, it also looks better to not have a seam fall at dead-center on the wall. Better to have that center panel straddle the mid-point.
With this particular install, that’s what I chose to do. I took the first (let’s just call it 21″ wide for ease) … I took the first 21″ wide panel and used my laser level to line it up so 10 1/2″ fell on either side of the center line on the wall. So, this first panel was straddling the center line.
From there, I used full-width (21″) panels one either side.
Until I got to the last panel on the left, and the last one on the right. These two ended up each being about 15″ wide. So I had seven panels that were 21″ wide, and then two flanking on either side that were 15″ wide. This gave the wall a nice, balanced, uniform look.
Yes, I could have hand-trimmed each strip to 19″ wide or whatever the math would have worked out to. But my option was simpler, faster, maintained uniformity between the majority of the panels, as well as uniform width on the two outer panels, eliminated the worry of gaps at the seams due to unevenly trimmed rigid vinyl goods, and the 6″ width difference wasn’t very noticeable. And, also, since this was a faux grasscloth and color variations were minimized, you could hardly see the seams, nor the width of the panels, anyway.
From 5′ away, this wall looked perfectly homogeneous .