Posts Tagged ‘Sheetrock’

No Primer Under Wallpaper = Torn Drywall

July 24, 2017

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Today I stripped wallpaper off a kitchen where the previous installer had not bothered to prime the walls first, but hung his paper right on top of new Sheetrock.

This is very bad for many reasons.

` The walls will not have stick, so the new wallpaper will not have a proper surface to cling to – and this can cause curling seams, loose areas, and other problems.

` The walls will not have slip, which will make it much harder to install the new paper.

` With nothing separating the new wallpaper from the drywall, the paper will bond to the drywall, making it darned near impossible to get it off later.

This is what happened today. After I removed the top inked layer, and after I soaked the remaining paper backing for a while, the old wallpaper came away from the sections of the wall that were coated with joint compound or paint or wood stain.

But in areas of the wall that were just uncovered Sheetrock, the wallpaper grabbed tightly and could not be pulled off or scraped off. In stripping the wallpaper off these areas, some of the drywall came away, too, leaving areas that were torn and damaged.

These uneven, torn areas are problematic, because they leave bumps and ridges showing under the new wallpaper, and because, since they have no protective coating, they absorb moisture – from water, wallpaper paste, wallpaper primer, or other, and then they expand and then they bubble. Ridges and bubbles look like Hell under wallpaper.

The first photo is a wall to the right of the kitchen counter, where differing layers of drywall have been pulled off the wall. The dark brown area is the deepest.

The third photo is a newish product that is wonderful for sealing and “repairing” torn drywall. Gardz (by Zinsser) is a penetrating primer / sealer that soaks into the surface, binding things together. It dries quickly. When it is dry, it is impervious to moisture – which means that you can apply a water-borne primer over it, or you can skim-float it with joint compound, and not worry about bubbles appearing.

I applied Gardz to these areas of torn Sheetrock, let it dry, then skim-floated over it with joint compound, and then sanded it all smooth. Then I applied a second coat of Gardz.

In addition to making the surface very stable, Gardz serves as a good primer for wallpaper, because it’s molecular structure on its dry surface is such that the molecules of paste, attached to the new wallpaper, will grab on and hold tight.

In this case, because I like a white pigmented primer, and because I like hanging on it, I went over the walls with a coat of Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977, a primer made specifically for wallpaper. The last photo shows the wall after all that work. Finally ready for wallpaper!

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Spring Time in a Powder Room

July 7, 2017

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I forgot my camera yesterday, the day I stripped off the old paper and prepped the walls, so I cannot show you the 15 year-old wallpaper with its curling seams, due to 1.) being an inexpensive paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper (my least favorite kind – do a Search here), and 2.) the previous installer did not prime the walls but instead hung the wallpaper directly on the new home’s bare Sheetrock, and 3.) age, heat, and humidity. The pattern, however, was not too dissimilar to this one, being a sort of “impressionistic painting” design in the same blue, pink, yellow, and green color scheme.

Anyway, the new powder room looks fantastic. The colors are similar to what the homeowner had before, but this wallpaper should hold up much better. The material is paper (not vinyl), and will hug the wall tightly. I removed every scrap of old paper and sealed the walls with a penetrating sealer named Gardz, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer called Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977.

On top of this good foundation, the new wallpaper is a pre-pasted, raised-ink paper by Thibaut, and is one of my favorite products to work with, and I also love it’s dependable performance down the road. The pattern is #6936, and is very similar to their “Augustine” hummingbird design (Do a Search here). I love the barely-discernible texture of these raised-ink papers. A unique printing process results in this effect.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Electrical Box Placement Throwing A Wrench in Wallpaper Job

January 25, 2017
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Here is a double-sink vanity in a master bathroom (Photo 1). For this post, we are focusing on the right sink and light fixture. In Photo 2, the original light fixture has been removed. It was a “bar” type fixture, meaning that it had a backplate and front cover that were rectangular (bar) shaped, and you can see the outline of that by the different paint color in the Photo 2.

In Photo 2, you also see the electrical box in the wall that supplies power to this light fixture. It is not centered over the sink. That was OK, because the original light fixture was centered over the vanity, not over the individual sink. The electrical box was not centered over the sink. This could be because there is a stud in the way, or because it was centered over a previous, pre-remodel sink that was situated differently, or because the electrician was lazy.

Either way, it didn’t matter, because an extra length of electrical wire was added, and the bar fixture was long enough that it could be moved horizontally to the desired position over the sink, and it was perfectly centered and looked wonderful.

The problem came when my clients, new owners of this ’50’s era, mid century modern ranch style home, wanted to install an updated, sleeker light fixture Photo 3). This new fixture has a canopy (front plate) that is plenty large enough to cover the electrical box. But it is NOT large enough to cover a trip horizontally across the wall to a point centered over the sink.

Which is another way of saying that if this new light fixture is positioned over the sink, as the homeowners want, it will not cover the electrical box, and the electrical box will show. And plus, the connections will not meet safety codes.

This leaves the owners in the hapless position of either living with the new light fixture slightly off-center over their sink. OR they can have the electrical box moved to exactly centered over the sink.

This is sometimes more easily said than done. There may be a wall stud in the way that prevents repositioning the electrical box. If the box can’t be moved, and the electrician elects to run a wire along or through the wall, there will be cut-up Sheetrock, and patches and possibly humps in the wall. Lots more complications that electricians and Sheetrockers know that I don’t.

And it caused the homeowner to have a delay in the installation of their dream wallpaper. I can’t hang wallpaper until the box is moved and the wall is repaired. And more cost top to pay the electrician – on top of the new wallpaper, new towel bars and light fixtures, and labor to install all of this.

Probably the worst part is having the wallpaper install scheduled, then not being able to move forward, and then having to scramble to find a qualified guy who can get the lights positioned correctly, and all with a quick turn-around, so the wallpaper install can happen within a reasonable time of the original install date.

Moral of the Story: If you are going to change light fixtures (or any fixtues), it’s a good idea to do this before the new wallpaper goes up.

Removing Pedestal Sink Tears Sheetrock

December 4, 2016

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These homeowners wanted the new wallpaper to fall seamlessly behind their powder room sink, so there would be no cut edge that could wick up splashed water, which could cause curling. So they had a plumber remove the sink. This also makes it immensely easier for me to hang the paper, because I don’t have to cut around the sink or pipes.

But since the sink was caulked to the wall, when it was pulled away from the wall, some of the drywall also pulled away, leaving torn areas. These torn areas are bad because they cause uneven areas under the wallpaper, and also because the moisture from the wallpaper paste will cause the compromised areas in the drywall to bubble.

So I sealed the torn areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer by Zinsser, which is formulated to soak into porous surfaces, then dries hard, sealing them and preventing moisture from passing through, and thereby preventing bubbling.

The next step was to skim-float over the torn areas, let dry, and then sand smooth, to even out the surface. A final coat of Gardz sealed the patched area.

Wallpaper Repairs

November 26, 2016
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Some people get upset when there is a fair amount of wallpaper left over after the room is finished. This Clear Lake (Houston) couple felt the same, 15 years ago when I papered their kitchen and powder room. Well, come 2016, and the 40-year-old pipes in their ’70’s era home began to fail. Bottom line – they had to have the whole house completely re-piped. And to do that, the plumbers had to cut holes here and there in the drywall. When the drywall gets messed up, so does the wallpaper. Good thing they had extra wallpaper on hand!

The plumbers did a good job of patching the Sheetrock and then floating over the joints where the new patched-in drywall met the old. But there were still some areas that I needed to refloat and / or sand smooth, and then prime, before the wallpaper could be replaced.

The 2nd and 3rd photos show the soffit or fur down over the kitchen cabinets, first with the plumbers’ patch, and then with my new wallpaper repair.

The powder room had a swirly pattern, and had four walls that needed wallpaper repairs. In this room, as shown in the 5th photo, I appliquéd the new paper over the existing paper. Cutting along the design helps disguise the patch by eliminating visual breaks.

There is even a little paper still left over, in case another calamity strikes and more wallpaper repairs are needed. 🙂

Meticulous Craftsmanship vs. Who Gives a Flip?

November 6, 2016
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Last Saturday (see my Glass Beads post), I worked in a new construction home in the Houston Heights built by Ridgewater Homes. I was struck by the high quality of workmanship in every area of the home. I was equally impressed by the time and attention the workers put into prepping sites before beginning any work. As an example, in the powder room where I was hanging wallpaper, every inch of baseboard, the whole vanity top, and even the entire light sconces had been protected by plastic and blue painter’s tape. See first photo.

In contrast, today I worked in a new construction home – by a builder who will not be identified – in Timber Grove, just west of the Heights. They painted without bothering to cover anything with tape or plastic, so, as you see in the second photo, the beautiful stained woodwork and floors are covered with paint splatter.

The third photo is dark, but to the left of the light switch you can see a 3/4″ gap in the wall, and above the switch is a 1/4″ gap. Another photo shows torn and bulging drywall around a light switch, and another shows Sheetrock screws (just two of many) protruding from the wall.

Here you see the difference between a custom home builder, and a custom home craftsman. I would much prefer to live in the home by Ridgewater.

New Countertops, Patches on Sheetrock = New Wallpaper

October 6, 2016
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Today I had the pleasure of working for personal friends of mine, and also in a powder room that I had papered twice before, over 20 or so years. The existing paper was a stone-wall-with-ivy effect, that the homeowner loved after having taken a trip to Italy and touring its wine country. But it was pretty 90’s looking, and didn’t go well with the new blue-with-sparkles countertop on the vanity. Plus, they had chunks cut out of the wall due to repiping the waterlines in the house (the white patch you see in the first photo), that ruined the wallpaper.

The existing wallpaper stripped off easily, thanks to my wonderful primer oil-based KILZ Original. The walls were left in perfect condition. Except for the lower 1/4 of the walls … Five years or so ago, these poor homeowners had had a toilet leak, with ensuing flood, that resulted in workers having to cut out and replace the bottom foot or so of Sheetrock. Naturally, the workmen put their patches on top of the wallpaper, which made it impossible for me to strip off the paper. So I had to skim-float the area to try to even out the transition from the thicker wall surface at the bottom of the wall, to the level of the wall above that area.

My floated area had to dry, and then had to be sanded smooth, and then sealed – I used Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Then I was able to hang the new wallpaper. The new pattern is a little “quieter,” and it goes from floor to ceiling, so the look is different from the previous 2-pattern look.

The new wallpaper was pre-pasted, and is in the Easy Walls line by Chesapeake, which is made by Brewster. It was bought at a discounted price from 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.

Bad Walls – Water Damage, Mildew

April 9, 2016
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This is what happens when a window leaks and allows water to run into the wall – for years. The Sheetrock has disintegrated, mildew is growing, the surface has become uneven, and there is the potential for stains from water and mildew and rust, plus the potential for delamination of surfaces, because nothing will stick to that powdery mildew.

Stuffing It

April 4, 2016

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The homeowners of this ranch style home in the Shepherd Park Plaza neighborhood of Houston have been doing updates, including new baseboards and crown molding. I was installing wallpaper before the moldings were painted and caulked.

That means that there was a small gap between the moldings and the wall. So, rather than trimming the paper against the moldings as I normally do, it was the perfect opportunity for me to slip a half inch or so of paper behind the molding.

This saves me the trouble of trimming with a razor knife, it eliminates potential cuts into the Sheetrock (which could cause the paper to peel), and holds paper tight, preventing it from peeling up at these areas.

A Scratchy, Blurry Geometric Trellis On A Dining Room Accent Wall

March 30, 2016
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The homeowners are fairly new to this house in the Shepherd Park Plaza neighborhood of Houston, and are doing lots of updates. In this dining room, they removed the built-in cabinet that was smack in the middle of this wall, as well as the chair rail molding around the middle. In the top photo, you see new Sheetrock that has been taped and floated in areas that were damaged by removing the cabinet.

To make a perfect surface, I skim-floated the wall. This eliminates hairs and grit from the drywall, and smoothed over the patched areas. I then sanded, wiped free of dust, and primed with a penetrating sealer called Gardz. The finished wall is shown in the second photo.

The homeowners found a paper that matched the colors on their walls and in their Oriental rug, and the scratchy, vague design is visible, but not at all overwhelming. I love the way that the trellis pattern mimics the carved design on the ceiling.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpaper, and was a non-woven, paste-the-wall product. It was bought from Sherwin-Williams. I made sure to center the pattern on the wall, so when they place furniture against it, the pattern will be balanced on either side.