Posts Tagged ‘seams’

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

Dramatic, Colorful, Surprise, WOW! in Heights Powder Room

June 16, 2022
The homeowner has lived in more than a dozen homes, but has never had wallpaper. Previously this new townhome had boring beige walls. The homeowner wanted to liven things up and fell in love with this bold botanic and bird pattern.
I love the slightly mottled background, and the way the colors pop against the black.
There’s some slight shading / paneling ( difference in color ) between the strips, but it’s minimal.
(It shows up more in this photo than in real life.)
Likewise, the seams are much less visible in person.
Close-up showing the lightly textured material. It looks a lot like an oil painting .
This wallpaper is by BN Walls . It’s a non-woven / paste-the-wall material with a textured vinyl surface.
It’s more durable and washable than most traditional papers, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
houston installer

Strawberry Thief in Spring Branch Powder Room

June 12, 2022
Textured wall before smoothing .
Done!
Shot of a corner, showing more of the pattern. The color is off … see below…
This murky blue is a more accurate depiction of the color. Strawberry Thief comes in many colors.
Striping dark paint on the wall under the seam areas, to prevent the white wall from peeking through, as it’s common for teeny gaps to open at the seams of wallpaper .
I use bottled paint from the craft or art store, diluted with water, and apply with a scrap of sponge, on top of my wallpaper primer. It’s important to not make the paint too thick, as it’s not formulated for wallpaper to grab ahold of.
British Heritage is the brand. William Morris designed Strawberry Thief about the turn of the last century. I’ve noticed a real uptick in interest in Wm. Morris patterns lately. This is my fourth installation of this particular design this season, and have done others recently, too. Do a Search (upper right) to see other jobs I’ve done.
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the paper or pasting the wall. It’s durable stuff, more stain-resistant than many other options, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
wallpaper installer houston

Another Installer’s Problems With British Pulp Paper

May 31, 2022
Scroll down a few posts to see where I hung this exact same pattern, and coincidentally just a few blocks away. I had absolutely no problems. Yet this poor installer struggled and ended up with many dissatisfactory issues.
In this photo, you see where the wallpaper has shrunk at the seams and left a gap, some tears, and a patch to cover a mishap.
More tears and gaps.
Paper coming lose from the wall. Not taking primer or paint with it. But you can see the adhesive clinging to the back of the paper. I’m suspecting this is clay adhesive. Nothing wrong with clay, but I prefer one of the vinyl-based adhesives.
Not sure what the guy used as a primer (if any).

This is the popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris , usually sold by Morris & Co. I’m believing the problem here is the material on which this pattern was printed.

The site from which this was purchased called it a ” heritage ” paper. It is, indeed, made of what we call a British pulp material. Old-fashioned, it is. These days, most wallpaper coming from the U.K. is printed on non-woven stock. The paper I hung a few days ago was non-woven.

Pulp wallpapers have a nice look. But they have no protective coating, so become soiled easily. They soften when wet with paste and tear easily, and can also shred under the razor blade while trimming. They expand when wet with paste, and then shrink as they dry, which often results in gaps at the seams.

Even skilled installers can have difficulties when working with this stuff. In fact, on the private Facebook page of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ), we have just been discussing this very same topic.

I believe this previous installer had a few shortcomings, such as lack of skill and maybe used the wrong or no wallpaper primer. But I think the real and unsurmountable culprit was the substrate.

Moral: If given the option, choose a non-woven material. They are made with minimum 20% polyester content, and thus are resistant to shrinking, tearing, and tension at the seams. Many other advantages, too. Non-wovens are also referred to as paste the wall .

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Powder Room

May 26, 2022

Originally, the whole room was this not-quite-milk-chocolate brown. Dark can look good in a small room like a powder room. But stark dark with no pattern is often claustrophobic.
Since this is a 100-year old bungalow with many layers of paint and potentially incompatible wall coatings, I was worried about unstable conditions inside the wall. Long story short, these conditions can lead to stress on the wall and delaminating layers, which also mean wallpaper seams that don’t stay down. Do a Search here to learn more.
So the homeowners agreed to have the walls lined, as a way to avoid these potential problems. Read previous post for more info.
The photo above shows the walls covered in the white liner.
Finished!
William Morris’s designs, and Strawberry Thief in particular, have been very popular the last two years or so.
His patterns are studies in symmetry and rhythm , and evoke the era of Art Nouveau and even Art Deco .
Last corner magically ended up with virtually no mis-match.

Morris & Co is the manufacturer. This is a nice, supple, non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the wall , although I prefer to paste the paper. It has a vinyl coating and will be fairly washable – good for this family with a toddler. It’s also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
See previous post for a pic of the label of the liner paper.

Finished Pearland Floral Master Bath

April 14, 2022
Before, with walls skim-floated smooth and primed .
So fun! So much personality and energy!
The door on the left opens to the water closet / potty room, which was papered in a coordinating plain gold, textured material. See previous post for photos.
Long wall behind his & hers vessel sinks.
Tub area, with shower area behind. Wallpapering all these little nooks and crannies took a lot of time!
The opposite side of the tub area.
This non-woven wallpaper is made by York and was purchased from the Ballard Designs showroom in Montrose / River Oaks ( Houston ).
It was nice to work with, the seams are nearly invisible, and it will hold up for many years to come.

Water Closet in Textured Gold Wallpaper

April 10, 2022
Potty room prepped and ready for wallpaper.
Finished. This textured vinyl product had no pattern repeat or match. I used the reverse-hang method, which is where you hang one strip right side up, and the next strip upside down. That way the same edge is being placed next to itself – hard to explain. But the purpose is to reduce the chance of color variations at the seams.
Here you see the true color and texture of the material.
York is the manufacturer. I like just about everything they make.
Just for fun, here is the coordinating paper that’s going in the adjoining master bathroom.
Fine Wallpapers is also by York. Both these papers were purchased from Ballard Designs, their new brick-and-mortar store on W. Gray in Houston.

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

Activating Adhesive on Pre-Pasted Mural Wallpaper

March 20, 2022
Mural panels standing on edge are cut, sequenced, staged, and ready to be pasted.
The panel lying on the floor will be my last strip, and will need to be measured and trimmed narrower before it’s ready to be pasted or hung.
I use several different methods to paste pre-pasted wallpaper, and you can do a Search here to read more.
But for today, I’m using the tried-and-true historic method of running the strip quickly through a water tray .
At the top of the photo, several strips have already been submerged and pulled through the water, then folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side. This is called booking .
Booking allows the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper to absorb the water and become activated. And it allows the wallpaper substrate to absorb moisture, expand, and then contract a little.
This method can sometimes get the material a little too wet, which can lead to over-expansion and then bubbles on the wall. That’s why I’ve placed the booked strips at a slant and over the bucket – so excess water can drain off.
Usually I paste and book one strip and then paste and book the next strip. While I’m hanging one, the second one is booking and waiting its turn to be hung. But with this water tray method and certain brands of pre-pasted material, such as Anewall , York , or Sure Strip , the paper sometimes gets so wet that it needs more time to dry before attempting to hang. So I’m pasting more strips at a time, so they can be drying out a bit while I hang the first strips.
There’s a bit of a risk to this, which is the potential for the paper to over-expand as it sits wet waiting to be hung. Then once it’s on the wall and starts to dry, it can shrink. All wallpaper shrinks when it dries. But if it has expanded too much, then when it dries and shrinks, you can be left with small gaps at the seams. Again, gaps are common with all wallpapers (most all), but can be exaggerated when dealing with over-saturated pre-pasted material as it shrinks.
Back to the method … You see the water tray, filled 3/4 full with clean water. I’ve set it on towels, which are in turn set on top of a thick plastic clear shower curtain. And that’s on top of my usual dropcloths, which are absorbent on the top (blue) side and water-proof on the underside. All this keeps any splashed water from getting onto the clients’ floors.
I also sometimes set the water tray in a bathtub, with towels set over the edge of the tub and on the floor.

Pretty Floral Mural for 1-Year Old’s Nursery Accent Wall

March 19, 2022
In anticipation of this accent wall mural, the parents had the three other walls painted a soft salmon-y pink.
Finished! I love the way the pattern ” crescendos ” toward the center and top…. perfect for cradling the crib.
The blotchy look will disappear as the wallpaper dries, and the background will become more bright white.
The mural came a set size, of 12.5′ W x 9′ H. The width fit the wall with just a few inches extra, which was perfect. But the wall was less than 8′ high and the mural was 9′, so we lost about 12″ of the mural. I brought the design as close to the ceiling as I could, while still preserving that light blue flower at the center top. This meant that most of the pattern lost was from the bottom, which has more stems and flowers – but not as pretty as the elements toward the top. And most of the bottom is going to be hidden by the crib and other furnishings, anyway.
Also note that the right side of the mural pattern does not match up with the pattern on the left. Meaning, the mural does not continue from one mural to the next. This means that, if you have a really wide wall, for instance, or a powder room more than 12′ wide, you cannot place two or more murals next to each other and have the pattern continue uninterrupted.
This is pretty standard for Anewall murals. But there are tons of other mural manufacturers who do make products that will accommodate wider spaces. And that are also custom-sized to your rooms’ specific dimensions.
Close-up looks like a translucent watercolor painting.
The pattern is called Wildflower .
Cute hidden creatures like this snail.
On her own, the mom originally purchased a peel & stick mural. Once she contacted me, I set her straight on how … err … awful that stuff is. (Click the link on the right to read my page about this material.)
The company allowed her to send the P&S back and exchange it for this better quality pre-pasted option, which I like a lot. (I’m not fond of their traditional which is vinyl and requires special install techniques).
Still, we had some issues which I’ve come to expect from Anewall, such as gaps and overlaps at the seams, and some minor pattern mis-matches at the seams .
This is a newish home in the League City area of Houston.