Posts Tagged ‘shifting’

Wrapping Wallpaper Around an Unstable Corner

February 3, 2022
I’m not sure what’s going on in this corner over a shower. But it looks like maybe some foundation movement has caused shifting in the corner, and the painters have used caulk to bridge a gap.
When you hang wallpaper, you don’t wrap a full sheet around an inside corner. You wrap about 1/16″ or 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut the strip in two vertically, and overlap the new cut piece on top of that 1/8″ wrap.
That allows for crooked or un-plumb corners, and lets you plumb up the next strip. It also allows a little “give” if the corner or drywall should move, and prevents the wallpaper from buckling or tearing in the corner.
But I was afraid that 1/8″ wouldn’t be wide enough to withstand movement, and we might end up with a gap in the corner.
So I wrapped the paper a little more, like 3/8″ around the corner. Here I’m placing the next strip so that it overlaps onto this wrapped 3/8″.
BTW, the gooky stuff at the bottom of the picture is the top of the shower tile, grout, and etc. It looks bad, but is actually nice and solid – and way above eye-level.
Done. No worries about gaps opening up.

Dining Room Faux Silk Repair – Foundation Shifting Twisted Drywall

December 14, 2021
Always save the leftovers from your wallpaper install! I hung this textured vinyl faux silk ” Wild Silk ” wallpaper by Thibaut ( # 839 T 344 ) at the beginning of the pandemic, a year and a half ago (April 2020 to see my blog post). Since then, the house had significant shifting of the foundation, which caused damage to the drywall over doorways. Here the homeowners’ ” guy ” has very skillfully cut into the Sheetrock, replaced studs inside the wall, and closed up the hole, leaving everything amazingly smooth, with no damage to the surrounding wallpaper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a contractor do work this well.
I didn’t get pictures of my “during.” But here is the area right after I used left over scraps to replace the missing piece. I used a double cut / splice to to meld the two strips together at the bottom. (sorry, no pic). It was tricky getting the replacement strip of wallpaper in there, because the new strip expanded and twisted differently from the original wallpaper. Too difficult to explain here, but the bottom line is that the new strip was too wide for the space, plus the pattern drifted and so would not line up on the left side of the new strip. All this is evidence, I believe, that, with time and weather, the wall continues to shift and stretch. I did a lot of tweaking and twimming and touching up with pastel. All said and done, it turned out great. The white line you’re seeing is fishing line hung from the ceiling – not the wallpaper. 🙂
Still, there was a bit of a white line at the edge of the original strip on the right side. (not pictured) This was caused by the contractor either abrading from overworking or from smoothing compound infiltrating into the edge of the wallpaper. Either way, it was extremely minor, and unavoidable. Still, it left a pretty noticeable white line along 18″ of seam area. In the photo above, I have used chalk pastels to color the edges and even out color differences. From three feet away, you can hardly see it!
Here are the artist’s pastels I used to disguise the white area. They’re from Texas Art Supply (right around the corner from me!) I also used these chalks successfully on a 2″ circle of wall where someone had either abraded the surface by rubbing, or possibly bleached the area. No pic of that, but I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Old House = Shifting Walls / Uneven Spaces

June 7, 2021

This house has been around since 1939.

Think the walls, doors, ceiling, and floors have shifted around over time? YES!

At first, your eye is caught by the 1″ difference in height between the left and the right of the area over the door.

But look more closely and you will see that the vertical space to the right of the door is uneven, too.

On the left side of the door, where two walls meet in a corner to the left of the door,,, if you look closely enough and can visually keep the two walls separate, notice that the rear wall is wider at the top than at the bottom – just the opposite of the dimensions on the wall to the right of the door.

Other walls in this hallway looked like this, too.

This “Willow Boughs” by William Morris is a good choice for wallpaper in this room. The pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from minor imperfections. And bets are that your eye won’t notice if the ceiling line starts moving up or down

Crazy Unlevel Ceiling Line

January 14, 2021

OK, folks – you can’t keep the wallpaper looking straight as it runs along under the ceiling (meaning, keep the same motif at exactly the same distance from the ceiling), if the ceiling itself isn’t level or even straight.

When a surface is level, and you place a level against it, the bubble will be smack in the middle of the window. As you can see, in today’s room, the bubble wasn’t even trying to be in the center of the window.

Even crazier, these two photos were taken on the same wall, and just a foot apart.

That means that the ceiling line was more like a roller coaster than a nice, flat, level platform. Understandable in a 1935 house built on ever-shifting Houston “gumbo” soil.

How this applies to wallpaper is that, if you are trying to position a particular motif – let’s say it’s a sailboat – just under the ceiling, as subsequent strips of paper get hung, that sailboat motif is going to move up and down under the ceiling line. Sometimes that even means that the top part of the sailboat may get chopped off as the ceiling line moves downward.

Cracks in Drywall Due to Ground/Foundation Shifting

October 12, 2018


Here are pictures of cracks and wrinkles in the drywall, and also in the wallpaper over the drywall. These are caused by the foundation of the home shifting, which is pretty common in Houston, and particularly in this Meyerland neighborhood.

Rain, and the lack of rain, as well as other factors, cause the ground to swell or shrink, and that causes the home’s foundation to move – and that causes cracks like these to appear. As weather conditions (and the conditions within the ground) change, the cracks can close up again.

I used a Stanley knife to cut out the bulged areas, and then placed mesh drywall tape over the cracks, followed by joint compound, which I sanded smooth and primed, before hanging the wallpaper. The mesh tape is supposed to flex a little, and will hopefully absorb some of the strain the next time the house shifts, so, with a little luck, the cracks will not reappear.

Sunroom With a Wonderful Faux Grasscloth –

May 18, 2018



This den in a 1948 ranch style home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston has two full walls of glass that look out onto a beautiful, green yard. The room was originally papered in really dark green vinyl faux grasscloth – I think the idea was to coordinate the room color with the verdant foliage outside. It wasn’t working. “We’ve lived with this for 20 years,” said the husband, “and have been trying all that time to figure out what would make it look better.” Indeed, I first looked at this room in 2015. Well, three years later, the homeowners finally found something way better.

The new wallpaper is also a faux grasscloth in a textured vinyl material. I like this product much better than real grasscloth, because it is free of the visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations that are such a disappointment with the real stuff (do a Search here for more posts / info). It is one of the few wallcoverings that are actually water-resistant and stain-resistant, and it will stand up to being banged into now and then – it’s the same commercial-grade material used in hotels and hospitals.

In addition, the scrim (woven fabric) backing, along with the vinyl surface, will provide some “give” – which is good, because this room had stress cracks in the drywall over doors and windows, and showed signs of the house shifting on its foundation, thanks to our contrary Houston gumbo soil.

The mottled color of the paper, along with the woven texture, give the feel of real grasscloth. The tan is a natural color, and it goes nicely with the view outside the window, but doesn’t compete with the scenery like the dark green paper did. The dark furniture in the room is no longer swallowed up by the dark wallpaper, and all of a sudden, the whole space is much brighter.

After 20 years, it’s a big change for the homeowners, but already, they are loving it!

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is by Thibaut Designs. It 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.

Bad Crack in Sheetrock

December 23, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


This 1963 ranch-style home in Meyerland (Houston), has seen a lot of structural damage due to the foundation shifting. Part of that is the “gumbo” soil we have here in Houston, and part is due to the major flooding that has plagued this neighborhood for decades.

Cracks in the drywall are a common result of this shifting. This crack is wider than most, and it’s pretty long, too. The surfaces surrounding these cracks are level, which is good, but it’s unusual, because often the surfaces pull apart in two directions, leaving both a gap and uneven surfaces.

Wallpaper will cover the gap, but bumps and ridges might show under the paper. Also, if the foundation continues to shift (which, in Houston, is pretty expected), the wallpaper can tear and gap, too. So it’s a good idea to bridge the gap first, with something that can withstand shifting, or that will continue to bridge the gap and allow the wallpaper to “float” over it without tearing.

The common repair for this is drywall tape and joint compound. But this process takes a long time to dry, and it leaves a noticeable bump on the wall, from the layers of tape and compound.

So today I tried something different. I took paper drywall tape and soaked it in Gardz, a watery, penetrating surface sealer, and used the tape to cover the gap in the Sheetrock. It spanned the gap nicely, stuck tight, it dried nice and flat, with no bubbling, and was very thin.

Because it was so thin, I only needed a light skim float coat of joint compound, to smooth away ridges that might show under the new wallpaper. Once that was dry, I sanded, and then applied another coat of Gardz.

I was very pleased with how this turned out, and will keep it in my stash of tricks, in case another need arises.

Repairs I Made This Past Week

April 29, 2011

In my last post, I mentioned that people should save leftover paper in the event that they may need to have wallpaper repaired down the road.

This past week, I did just that – and did a darned good job of it, too, if I do say so myself!

The homeowners had had foundation work done, and this caused the usual diagonal cracks above doorways, and twisting / shifting of the paper in corners.

This was a heavy, woven fabric-backed, solid vinyl paper that had been up for quite a few years. For some reason, only very small scraps were left over from the original installation. Nonetheless, “some” is better than “none,” and, with careful plotting and patience, I was able to make the repairs.

Two diagonal rips above the doors were easy to fix, by peeling back and repasting the paper, or by removing damaged pieces and patching in small replacements.

The corners were another story, though. The damaged areas needed to be removed, then retaped and floated with Sheetrock tape and mud, sanded, primed, and repapered.

The kicker was that the length of the repair was 8 feet – the height of the wall. But the scraps of wallpaper that were left from the original installation were less than a foot tall. Once the pattern was matched and the excess discarded, the scraps were even smaller.

So, to repair the 8 foot tall area and match the pattern correctly, I needed to use 13 short pieces of replacement paper. THIRTEEN!

It turned out looking great.

So great, in fact, that the homeowners began looking around the room to find other corners I could fix.

Whoah, I said. We only talked about fixing these two places above the doors, and this one really bad corner. Besides, I have used all the scraps, and there is no paper left over for more repairs.

But they were so delighted with the repair, and so desireous of having one other (less noticeable) corner in the room fixed, that they began digging through all the closets to find if surely there weren’t just a tad more paper somewhere.

And there was! The wife finally uncovered more miniscual scraps… this time, instead of being short scraps the full width of the roll of paper, they were long scraps only about 2″ – 4″ wide. Not much to work with!

But, intrigued by this new challenge, I set about plotting, measuring, matching, splicing, and scheming, and – Voilà! – There just happened to be two pieces with just the right pattern match, that could be spliced together in the corner to make an almost indetectable repair.

The homeowners loved it! And I have to say, even though the bathroom and entry I papered in the home turned out lovely, I am almost more proud of those repairs.