Posts Tagged ‘shrink’

Kitchen With Burst Pipe Water Damage Fixed and Finished

December 24, 2021
This kitchen in the Spring area of north Houston suffered severe water damage from burst pipes during the hard freeze in February 2021. Nearly a year later, they are almost finished with repairs, including new drywall on bottom of walls, new cabinets, new plumbing, cabinets, electrical, and more. Here you see the contractor’s repair work on top of some of the original wallpaper, which dates to the early 1980’s! It was a good brand, and the installer did a great job. For various reasons, I opted to leave this wallpaper in place, and so skimmed over uneven areas and then primed on top of it with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.
The homeowner’s new choice is very similar to the previous paper, but with a more springy feel and a lot of upward movement. The area below the chair rail will receive another coat of paint to better define the correct yellow color. Or, the homeowner may switch to a green pulled from the leaves in the pattern.
This wall with the fir-down / soffit was a real bugger, for various reasons, and took me about four hours.
Looks so sharp against the white paint and tile!
The wallpaper was printed on a white substrate, so I ran black chalk along the edges of each strip, to try to prevent white from showing at the seams. Still, some of the strips shrank just a half a tad, and that did allow some white to show. This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which has a high polyester content, and is not supposed to stretch or shrink, so this is disappointing. Pasting the wall and dry-hanging the material would have probably helped. But the material was extremely thick and stiff, and plus the room had way too many turns and bends and angles, so pasting the paper made the most sense. These gaps are very minor, and only visible when viewed from straight on; from an angle you can’t even see them. On some papers, I can pull some tricks out of my bag and camouflage them. But with this non-woven material, don’t even try anything with paint, marker, chalk or anything else – it will surely stain the material.
The walls are smooth. The slight texture you see is the non-woven material. When an edge is torn, you can actually see the polyester fibers – a lot like fiberglass. This material is very strong, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
Manufacturer is Mind The Gap out of Transylvania (!), and the design is called Aquafleur, in the Anthracite color. The material comes as a 3-panel set, which they call one “roll.” The overall width of the A, B, and C panels side-by-side is about 5′, and the height is just under 10′. The height of the wall was less than 5,’ and the strips were nearly 10′ long, so at least 5′ was lost of each strip. Because the pattern was a mural type, rather than a typical repeating wallpaper design, even more paper was lost in working around the configurations of the room – for instance, a full 10′ strip would be needed to paper just one 9″ high strip above the door. So there was an incredible amount of waste – and this is a higher-priced boutique brand. But the lady of the house really loves it, and so she went with her heart.

Three More Walls of the Schumacher Versailles

December 3, 2021
Master bedroom before. White. Boring.
After. Warm, classic, and a touch of French. Much better suited to this 1920 home in the Houston Heights.
Headboard wall.
The pattern fits perfectly in the header space over the doors. The dark area in the upper corner will lighten as the wallpaper dries.
Close-up.
I was very pleased with the seams on this product. They went together nicely, with no gaps or overlaps. And I was doubly happy that the paper did not shrink much as it dried, so no white wall peeping out from gaping seams.
I love the slight texture of this raised ink surface print wallpaper.
I’m not usually a fan of the Schumacher brand, but this product’s install went very well.

A Second Centered Wall In the Same Room – Tricky Feat

December 2, 2021

Re my previous post, about centering the pattern on the fireplace wall … Once a wallpaper pattern has been positioned on the first wall, as subsequent strips are placed around the room, the pattern falls in its proper sequence. Meaning, you have no control over how the design will land on all the other walls.

In this room, I felt it was important for the design to be centered on the fireplace wall (see previous post). But the headboard wall was equally visually prominent, and it would sure look best if the scalloped design could be centered on this wall, too. But the way the wallpaper strips were following each other, the pattern would fall off-center when it hit this wall.

I thought I could make it look better. It took careful engineering, precise measurements, a laser level, some secret tricky techniques, and a whole lot of time (coupla hours). But I got the swoopy design centered behind the bed and between the windows and light fixtures, so the whole area looks perfectly balanced.

To achieve this, I had to ” shrink ” the design above and below the windows. (Do a Search here to see other posts explaining this process.) And I did end up with a pattern mis-match in the corner to the left (sorry, it’s not visible in this photo). But I figured that a mis-match in a corner 17″ from the floor, plus a 4″ high section over a window were a fair trade-off for that beautiful symmetrical headboard wall.

For the record, I worked it out so that the mis-match in the corner was only about 1.5″ off from the actual match. No one’s gonna notice! So sorry I forgot to photograph this.

I will say that the features of this room, as well as the way the pattern was printed on the wallpaper, plus the pattern itself, helped immensely to achieve this balanced outcome.

The design is called Versailles and is by Schumacher.

Re Yesterday’s Post – Tricks to Stave off Wall Delamination

October 14, 2021
One way to (hopefully) prevent an unstable wall from delaminating to to hang a liner paper. A liner is a special paper that goes on first, and your finish paper goes on top. Usually, liners are hung horizontally rather than vertically. The idea is that the seams of the two papers will not line up, so that eliminates the worry of stress from drying and shrinking wallpaper tugging at the wall surface below. But liners add more materials cost, and also labor cost to hang it, plus time, because it has to dry overnight. This homeowner had already shelled out a lot of money for this Schumacher (high end brand) “Acanthus” pattern. So I devised a method to do a “mini-liner” effect. I took liner paper and cut 2″ strips, and applied them to the wall under where the seams would fall.
Here I am using my laser level to mark where the next seam would fall. Next I rolled paste on the wall, and then I applied the strip of liner paper. The liner will straddle the area where the seam lands, and thus disperse the tension on the wall across its width. Any stress put on the unstable wall will be covered by the liner strip and by the wallpaper, hopefully preventing any chance of delamination (the wall coming apart).
I like the product I used today because it’s “non-woven” material, which has a high polyester content and shouldn’t shrink or tear. But it’s not as thin as I thought … I had hoped the thin strips would be undetectable under the textured grasscloth. But I was disappointed that, in certain lighting, the vertical ridges from this very thin material do show a tiny bit. I was unable to go back and open the seam and remove the strips, because – you guessed it – the surfaces of the wall began to come apart. Tomorrow I will try a different material.
The next day I tried a trick recommended by colleagues on my paperhanger’s Facebook page – to use cash register receipt print-out tape, available at office supply stores. This material is a lot thinner – but it is also not nearly as strong. I hope it holds up to the tension placed on the seams by the wallpaper. It is thin, and much less noticeable under the textured grasscloth … although I did see one area where the vertical ridge was just just barely detectable under the paper.

This is a grasscloth pattern called ” Acanthus ” by Schumacher.

“Shrinking” a Strip of Wallpaper, to Avoid a Bad Seam Placement

August 1, 2021
The strip on the left over the door was going to extend to the right, about 2″ beyond the door frame and wall corner. This was going to result in an awkward seam placement, and make for a difficult install of the next two strips. I could avoid this by moving that next seam to over the right corner of the door. To do this, I had to “shrink” the strip over the door. I cut along the pattern, and pulled out the right half of the strip. Then I hung the full-length strip to the right, making sure to position the motifs so they would line up with the motifs on the left.
Here I am placing that right portion of the strip next to the full-height strip on the right. I am lapping it under the strip to the left. (The blue plastic tape you see at the top is to keep paste off the ceiling paint.)
Trimmed at ceiling and molding, and smoothed into place. Because I sliced the paper vertically along the design of the tree trunk, once the pieces are smoothed back into place, you don’t notice at all that about 1″ of material and pattern are missing.

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

July 8, 2021
Chalk pastels for coloring the edges of the wallpaper. (Do NOT use oil pastels – they stain wallpaper.)
Craft paint from the hobby store used to stripe the wall where the wallpaper seams will fall. Note the red vertical line from my laser level, which serves as a guide. I use a small square of dampened sponge to wipe on the paint. Be sure to let it dry before hanging the paper.

Manufacturers have a bad habit of printing dark wallpapers on white substrates. Since wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then shrinks as it dries, you have the potential for the white edges of the paper showing at the seams. There is also the possibility that the white wall behind the paper will be exposed, too.

To minimize these chances, I use chalk pastels to color the edges of the wallpaper, and diluted craft paint to stripe under where the seams will fall.

Overlapping At The Seams

June 30, 2021

Re my previous post … the strips on this 6-panel mural are intended to be overlapped, by about a full inch.

There are advantages to this. Since wallpaper shrinks as it dries, it an result in gaps at the seams. Overlapping the seams prevents that.

Wallpaper that is drying and shrinking is also tugging at the wall behind it, which puts stress on the surface. If that surface is unstable, this tension could cause the layers inside the wall to give way and pull apart, resulting in open seams and a delaminated sub-surface. Overlapping the paper redistributes and minimizes the tension, and it also eliminates an open area where the two sides of the seam could pull away from the wall.

A disadvantage of the overlap method is that you can see the cut edge of the paper (see photo), and you also end up with a 1″ wide ridge running under the paper the full length of each seam. In this case, with such a busy pattern, you are not going to see that ridge.

Helping To Hide Seams

January 23, 2021

Like most wallpapers, this Sure Strip by York can be expected to expand a bit when it becomes wet with the paste. Once it’s on the wall, it will dry and give up moisture – and that results in a tad of shrinkage. That usually means you might see just a teeny bit of a gap at the seams.

Not usually a big deal. But when you have a dark or bold color such as this on a light background and also printed on a white backing, if the paper shrinks and gaps, you can end up with a hairline’s breadth of the underlying wall surface and / or of the white wallpaper substrate showing through.

Layman’s terms: You might have a slight white line showing at the seams.

To help ward this off, I did two things. One was that I used red chalk to lightly color the edges of the wallpaper. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, but you can Search here to see previous jobs where I employed that method.

The other thing was to stripe red paint under where the seams would fall.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Because wallpaper will stretch when it gets wet with paste, making it difficult to guestimate exactly where the seam will fall, and thus where to run your red stripe.

Once you plot that out, you need a level to guide you by creating a plumb line at the appropriate point. And then mix your paint with water and use a brush or small sponge to run along that plumb line, straddling it widely enough to catch the seam wherever the gap might end up actually falling.

Also, the red paint needs to be good and dry before you put wallpaper on top of it. So this means you run the red stripe down the wall, and then get fans or a heat gun, or employ some other method to get the paint to dry quickly.

Oh, and … wallpaper works best when it’s hung on a wallpaper primer. Primers specific to wallpaper are designed to resist the tension created when wet wallpaper dries and shrinks a tad, putting stress on the seam area.

By running paint on the wall along the seam line, now you’ve covered up the wallpaper primer. There is no way to know if that perfectly pigmented craft store paint will hold up over the long run and keep the wallpaper seams tight to the wall.

That’s one reason I used a fairly light mix of the paint. A full-strength concentration of red paint might not allow the wallpaper paste to grip onto it. And definitely do not use a glossy paint. Nothing sticks to gloss.

As you can guess, this process adds a significant amount of time to your install. But it’s worth it, because, in the red room I hung pictured in previous posts, the seams were virtually invisible. I know that if I had not colored the edges of the paper as well as the wall, white would have shown just a teensy bit at the seams.

Mecca Mural – Re Previous Post

December 1, 2020

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


Here are some “finished” pics of the mural mentioned in my previous post.

This is one of the old-school (I hung this in 2013!) paper photo-murals that comes in eight panels, which are placed four across the top and then four across the bottom of the wall. See third photo, where three panels have been positioned on the wall.

The panels are overlapped about 1/2 inch at each seam. This eliminates gaps at the seams as the thin material dries and shrinks a tad. You are left with ridges along each of these overlapped seams. Not really very noticeable.

This type of material requires special powdered paste, which the manufacturer has supplied in the packet you see in the fourth photo. I use a kitchen hand-held submersion blender to mix it with water in a 1-gallon bucket. It has to sit for a half hour before using.

The material is more delicate and requires some special handling, compared to the newer non-woven material that most manufacturers are printing on these days.

This is a prayer room for a Muslim family in a suburb of Houston.

Dark Wallpaper Printed on Dark Backing

October 25, 2020

Usually, wallpaper is printed on a white substrate. But, because wallpaper tends to shrink a little when it dries, often you end up with hair’s width gaps between strips, which can show thin lines of the white backing, and also sometimes the wall itself.

This manufacturer went the extra mile and printed on a darker substrate. This greatly reduces the chances of white peeking out at the seams.