Posts Tagged ‘skim-floated’

Removing Mirror Rips Drywall

September 19, 2017

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This powder room in the Medical Center area of Houston had a mirror glued to the wall.  The homeowners want a different mirror, so had the original one removed.  The mirror was attached to the wall with a tar-like substance called mastic.  The glass guys use suction cups to clamp onto the mirror, then they pull it away from the wall.  Some globs of mastic will be left on the wall, and this is a problem, because these tar-like substance will bleed through the new wallpaper.

So, to prevent any mastic / tar residue from bleeding through the wallpaper, the handyman took a Stanley knife / box cutter and cut out the top paper layer of drywall that had any mastic on it.

To smooth over the uneven edges, the handyman skim-floated the area with joint compound.  The moisture in the joint compound caused the exposed paper inside the drywall to swell.

So what you are seeing in the top photo is a wrinkled section of drywall caused by moisture.  This will show under wallpaper.

So I took a Stanley knife and cut out the handyman’s patch, to remove the wrinkled drywall paper layer.  I sealed it with a penetrating primer called Gardz, which soaks in, binds surfaces together, and dries hard.

Once that was dry, I skim-floated over it (and the entire area), to get a smooth finish.  Once my skim-float layer was dry, I sanded it smooth, and then primed again with Gardz.

The Gardz did its job, and did not allow moisture to penetrate into the exposed drywall, so no more wrinkles developed.  See the second photo.  Now the wall is nicely prepared and ready for wallpaper.

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Who Thought A Black Bathroom Was A Good Idea? Here’s Better …

August 27, 2017

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This large powder room in a brand new townhome in between Montrose and the Heights (Houst0n) was originally painted black.  It was just too intense.  The interior designer knew that, while still keeping the dark color scheme the homeowners wanted, a little pattern would make the room less foreboding and more inviting.

I skim-floated the walls to smooth them (2nd photo), primed, then hung the paper.  OK, the 3rd photo is dark (not much light in the room + crummy camera), but if you look closely, you can see the pattern.  The other photos show the design nicely.  It’s large in scale, and that’s good, because the walls are nearly 10′ high, so the pattern fills the space nicely.

The interior designer for the job is Pamela O’Brien assisted by Danna Smith, of Pamela Hope Designs.  Their interiors are lovely, clean-lined, yet still warm and liveable.  The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was a delight to work with.

Shiny Geometric Wallpaper Pattern Brings Life to a Dark, Dull Powder Room

July 6, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has a 15-year-old home that is, along with their furnishings, pretty traditional. They wanted to update with wallpaper, but didn’t want the new look to clash with the rest of their house. Going a little wild in the powder room is a great way to do this, because you only see the contemporary look when you are in the powder room – the rest of the time, the door is closed.

But now that the new paper is up, they will surely want to keep the door open!

This powder room was originally painted a deep, murky aqua/teal. Despite the high ceilings and large footprint, the matt finish and dark color made the room look small, and it definitely was lacking in personality.

The first day, I skim-floated the textured walls to smooth them (see first photo). The second day, the paper went up. The new wallpaper sports a fluid, interlocking geometric pattern that is in the same color family as the original paint, but much lighter, and the shiny surface adds a lot of light and dazzle.

Interestingly, I hung this same pattern, but in a darker color, just last week. It is lovely to work with. The walls in this room were pretty off-plumb, and also bowed, which can be Hell with a rigid geometric design. But I used some tricks to make the pattern look like it’s hanging straight and plumb. The homeowners were very happy with the finished room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Designer Series, 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.

I’m Scared Of This Blue Dot

June 8, 2017

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I am going to hang grasscloth in this large master bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston. To smooth the textured walls, I skim-floated the walls with “mud” (joint compound). As I was sanding the compound smooth, I discovered this small blue spot. It might be ink. Or maybe some cleaning solution, or a cosmetic or perfume, or some other agent. SOMEthing was on the wall before I applied the smoothing compound, and bled through.

Whatever it is, it worked its way through the smoothing compound and up onto the wall surface. If a substance works its way through the wall surfaces, you can be sure that it will also work its way through the new wallpaper.

To prevent this, there are a couple of options. One is to cover the area with a stain-blocking sealer. I love oil-based KILZ Original. Another product is BIN by Zinsser, or 123 also by Zinsser.

But in this case, since it is just a tiny dot, I decided to use a Stanley knife to dig out the stain. Gone. Done. No worries about anything bleeding through the wallpaper.

If the new wallpaper had a smooth surface, I would patch over the hole and sand the area smooth, and spot-prime. But since the new wallpaper is a rough-textured grasscloth, this 1/4″ dent in the wall will not be noticeable, so I’m going to leave it as it is. Tomorrow, before hanging paper, I will double check to be sure no additional blue stain has worked its way out from hiding.

Fixing a “Hot Mess”

April 18, 2017

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The homeowners of this house in Fleetwood (west Houston) tried to remove the wallpaper from their powder room on their own. They did a reasonably good job at the start, but soon realized that they were in over their heads.

In the top photo, they have removed the top layer of wallpaper from the wall on the left. The problem came when trying to take off the white backing layer. Their efforts resulted in torn drywall (second photo). Torn drywall is very bad, because it will leave uneven areas under the new wallpaper / paint. Worse, it will bubble when the moisture from the wallpaper paste or latex paint touches it, and that will leave bubbles under the new wallpaper / paint.

These homeowners were smart enough to stop before more damage was done, and called in the pros (me).

I finished stripping off the old wallpaper, using methods that caused less damage to the drywall. There was one patch of original wallpaper, a foil-type that dated back to the build date of 1976, that would not come off without a lot of damage to the wall. I left that section on the wall.

Once all the paper was off that would come off, I sealed the torn drywall and other unstable surface areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Once that was dry, I skim-floated the entire room with “mud,” (joint compound). When that was dry, I sanded the surface smooth. Then I vacuumed up the dust, then wiped any residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge.

Lastly, I rolled on another coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz. It will dry hard and tight, preventing the torn drywall from bubbling, and holding all the loose or unstable areas together. It is also a good primer for wallpaper, so tomorrow the walls will be prepped and ready for their new décor! See last photo.

Overscaled Flocked Damask Wallpaper Pattern in a Living Room

April 1, 2017

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Originally, this living room accent wall in a home in the Museum District of Houston was painted a deep gold/brown, and was covered with a large number of framed art pieces. The first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it to smooth away the texture.

The wife wanted something updated and fun. She chose this taupe-on-silver extra large damask pattern with a flocked (raised velvet-like) surface. To top it all off, there are flecks of silver in the flocked material.

The new wallpaper really jazzed up the room. The family is very into the arts, and the wife was eager to put her paintings and photographs back up on the wall. But once the paper went up and sent waves of impact throughout the room, she hesitated.

I, personally, would rather see something large, like a huge mirror, framed in an almost-ridiculously carved and filigreed gold frame.

The paper is by Graham & Brown, and was a durable non-woven material, and entailed a paste-the-wall process; it was nice enough to work with. Seen from head-on, the wallpaper was dazzling. However, if you stood at an angle to the wall, you could see color differences between every strip.

I don’t think these are actually color differences, but rather differences in the nap of the flocked material. The look didn’t seem to bother the homeowners at all. They love the pattern, the texture, and the sassiness of the whole look.

Me, I am busy cleaning up little specks of silver dust from all my tools, drop cloths, work table – everything is permeated with them.

Preventing Stains by Sealing Ink with KILZ

December 8, 2016

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See that red vertical line just to the right of the paint can? The previous wallpaper installer had used a red Magic Marker to color the edges of his vinyl wallpaper. This is a good way to cover the white edges so the seams don’t show, especially with a dark paper. But it’s better to use chalk or colored pencils, because oil or ink can bleed through and will stain the new wallpaper or paint.

In this photo, the previous dark red wallpaper has been stripped off, but the red ink that was used to color the seam’s edges has soaked into the wall. The wall has been skim-floated with a light coat joint compound and then primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Yet the red ink has bled through. If wallpaper is hung over this red line, it is quite likely that, over time, the ink will work its way through the various layers and up to the surface.

The best way to prevent that is to use a stain-blocker. KILZ Original oil-based sealer and stain blocker is about the best product on the market for this. Brush it on, it dries quickly, and then you are safe to apply wallpaper, paint, or other materials.

KILZ will also block stains from oil, smoke, rust, water, ink, crayon, tobacco, and more.

Stripping Wallpaper Today

October 28, 2016

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This poor homeowner has been waiting TWO YEARS to get her powder room redone. Every couple of months, some facet of the project gets completed. About two years ago, someone ripped off the red vinyl layer of the existing wallpaper – so they have been living with gritty tan manila paper walls since then. Most recently, the pretty new countertop you see went in. The faucet still needs to be installed. But the room is ready for wallpaper, so here I am …

The red vinyl layer has already been stripped from the wall, so what you are looking at is its tan paper backing that has remained on the wall. This usually comes off pretty easily (depending on the underlying surface) simply by soaking with plain water. The dark tan areas are where I have wet the paper, using the sponge and bucket of warm water in the foreground.

Once that tan paper backing came off, lo and behold – the previous installer hung his red wallpaper over the original floral wallpaper. It’s usually best to remove wallpaper, and not hang over it, but sometimes there are reasons why you can’t, and it looks like this guy did a good job of prepping the surface to accept new wallpaper. The cloudy white you see is his primer, which is a good thing.

I didn’t try to remove that original floral layer, either, knowing that it might well open a whole can of worms that would require a lot of work to repair. It was all adhering tightly to the wall, so I skim-floated over it, sanded smooth, and primed it with the penetrating sealer Gardz, by Zinsser.

By tomorrow, everything will be nice and smooth and sealed, and ready for the new wallpaper. Keep posted!

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.

From Country Child’s Room to Cozy Guest Room

September 12, 2016
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With it’s bold brown color, contrasting horizontal band, and stenciled pattern, the original treatment of this room had taken a lot of planning and careful execution. To me, it had a country look, but I am told that the room sported a “cars & trucks” theme, and was used by a little boy. See first photo.

The new homeowners plan to use the room as a guest bedroom, though, and wanted something more grown up and more soothing. This neutral-toned Chinoiserie (Oriental-themed) toile (two-color pen-and-ink type drawing of daily life scenics) perfectly transformed the room.

The walls had a fairly heavy texture, which I skim-floated the first day, then sanded smooth and primed the second day. I love the second photo, with the new paper juxtaposed against the freshly-prepped walls.

The second-to-last photo shows my kill point, where the last strip meets up to the first strip, which virtually always ends in a mis-match. I pulled a few tricks out of my hat, and I think I disguised this mis-matched corner nicely.

This wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate, and is by Brewster. It was more pliable than many non-wovens, and was pretty nice to work with. The seams were practically invisible, and even going around corners and windows, the paper performed well. It was bought below retail price from Sherwin-Williams, at the Durham & Washington store, in Houston.