Posts Tagged ‘stains’

Wallpaper on a Window Valance

June 12, 2018


I hung a beautiful grasscloth in the West U. living room of this empty-nester couple a month ago. They were putting the room back together, including hanging the curtains. This window valance had been covered with padded fabric which matched the drapes. Since the drapes are being changed, the valance no longer worked. The couple thought that the valance would look better covered in the same material as the walls.

So … I brought the valance home, along with some left over wallpaper scraps, and covered it.

The photo is deceptive – the thing is about 7′-8′ long. At first I thought I could take it to work with me and do it while I was waiting for primer to dry, for instance. But it’s way too big and loppy to haul into someone else’s home and, would, of course, take more time than anticipated.

So it sat in my garage for a couple of weeks, until I finally found a spare moment (three hours, actually) to pull out my tools, set up my table, get out the measuring tape, and slap some paste on that puppy.

The homeowner had removed the upholstery and the padding, and hammered the staples down as flat as possible. Then I sealed the wood with oil-based KILZ Original stain blocker, to prevent any wood sap from bleeding through the wallpaper. Since wallpaper paste won’t stick to most oil-based products I followed that with a coat of wallpaper primer (Ultra Prime, Pro 977 by Roman’s). On the driveway under the June Houston sun, that didn’t take long to dry. 🙂

Then some careful measuring to get panels of equal width, pasting, and applying the grasscloth to the wooden frame. I used a special “super glue for wallpaper” (clear silicone caulk 🙂 ) for the edges, to be sure the grasscloth would be able to grip on to the uneven and rough wooden surfaces.

I was pleased with the way it turned out. And I know the homeowners will be happy to get the valance up on the wall, their curtains up, and their room put back together and ready to enjoy.

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Aerosol Products Can Stain Wallpaper

March 28, 2018


See these tiny drops on the wall of this bathroom? I believe these are caused by people using aerosol toiletries, such as hair spray, air freshener, and other such products.

Even if MOST of the material hits its target, SOME of it will remain air-borne, and then will eventually find its way onto the paint or wallpaper.

Most people don’t notice tiny stains like these. But sometimes they’re very visible, and that’s why I recommend that people stay away from air-borne products. For air fresheners, there are solid or wick-type diffusers, and with glass cleaners, it’s preferable to spray the cleaner onto a rag, than to spray it onto the mirror or window.

Mirror Removed – Ready for Wallpaper? NOT!

March 20, 2018


A mirror had been glued to this wall with mastic adhesive (a tar-like substance). When the mirror was pulled off the wall, the adhesive pulled some of the drywall along with it, and in other places it left some of the tar on the wall. Then someone skimmed over the surface with joint compound.

The wet joint compound caused the torn areas of the drywall to absorb moisture and ripple, and the tar worked its way through the joint compound.

Both torn drywall and tar are problems under wallpaper. The ripples from the torn drywall will show under the new wallpaper. And moisture from the wallpaper paste is likely to make the bubbles larger. The black mastic (tar) will bleed through the wallpaper, creating black spots.

If I had been there when they removed the mirror, I would have taken a utility knife and cut the globs of mastic completely out of the wall. Removing it is preferable to trying to cover it up. Yes, this would have torn the drywall, opening it up to wrinkling when it gets wet with primer or paste.

But the penetrating sealer “Gardz” is designed to fix torn drywall. It dries hard and impermeable, so moisture cannot get through. No worries about bubbles or wrinkles! The cut areas could then be skim-floated over and then sanded smooth.

But since I didn’t get to prep from the beginning, I inherited this wall in the top photo, with torn, wrinkly areas, and with tar bleeding through the joint compound.

To prevent additional bubbling, I coated the wall with Gardz. Once that was dry, wanting to both smooth the wall and create an additional barrier to contain the mastic stains, I skim-floated the entire wall, let dry, sanded smooth, and sealed again with Gardz.

Gardz doesn’t protect against stains, though. So, to keep the mastic from bleeding through, I coated the wall with KILZ Original oil-based stain killer and blocker. This worked better having the joint compound under it, because when I’ve put KILZ directly on mastic adhesive, the two petroleum-based products simply melded into one another, and left us with the very real potential for bleeding through wallpaper (or paint, BTW).

So the KILZ should have effectively blocked any stains from the mastic. But the new problem is that wallpaper paste will not stick to modern, EPA-approved, oil-based products. Plus, I was worried that a little of the black tar might still find a way through.

So I skim-floated the wall again, creating yet another layer that would bury those tar stains. After that was sanded smooth and wiped free of dust, I applied another heavy coat of Gardz.

All this took a long time, but it’s good assurance that bubbles will not be seen under the new wallpaper, and that no black spots will grow on its surface.

Oil Spot Damages Wallpaper

November 25, 2017

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Before putting up a mural, I like to spread the strips out on the floor, to get an idea of the pattern, the layout, dimensions, etc., and to be sure the sequence is correct.

Little did I know that the homeowner had recently oiled her furniture, and drops of oil had gotten onto the floor. The oil got onto the wallpaper and created several permanent stains. Whoops!

Luckily, only one strip was effected. It was the end piece (far right of the mural) and was not needed. Whew!

Rusted Drywall Corner Bead – Bad News for Wallpaper

March 28, 2017

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I have just stripped wallpaper off this wall. The outside corner of the drywall shows a lot of rust along the metal corner bead. This is fairly common in humid bathrooms, but in this case, the room is a kitchen.

This is a big problem, because rust will bleed through wallpaper (and paint, too), creating a stain on the surface of the new finish. Other materials can cause staining, too, such as grease, ink, smoke, water, wood sap (knot holes), crayon, lipstick, etc.

But it’s easy to fix. A good sealer / stain blocker will seal off the rust (or other staining agent) so it will not leach through the new decorating material.

I like oil-based KILZ Original (not latex). But it’s noxious stuff, and will make you high if you breath the fumes. I wear a chemical respirator when I apply it, and ventilate the room well.

There are other water-born products that are made to block stains that are not as likely to kill brain cells. 🙂 If you are interested in trying one of these, ask your paint store professional (meaning, a true paint store with knowledgeable staff, NOT a box store with rotating employees) for recommendations.

Wallpaper Too Old & Brittle to Work With

February 28, 2017
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This kitchen wallpaper was stained by a water leak. There was enough left over paper to replace the damaged section. BUT – the paper had been stored in a hot Houston attic since the ’70’s – that’s 35 years! It was far too brittle and fragile to work with.

I found that lightly wetting the back with a damp sponge allowed it to relax enough that I could unroll it. I tried my usual wallpaper paste, but once the sample piece dried, there were stains caused by the paste. See third photo.

Then I tried powdered wheat paste, which is for more delicate materials. This did not stain the paper, but it did cause it to become too wet, crack, split, tear, and created crevices where staining would be likely to occur. See last photo.

I am glad I tested methods and products before I ripped off the old wallpaper. We ended up leaving the old paper on the wall, and I used craft paint to cover the worst of the stains. See previous post. This turned out to be the best solution.

Wallpaper Stained by Water Leak – Repair

February 25, 2017
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This wallpaper over kitchen cabinets had been stained by a water leak. Water ran down from the ceiling (see vertical stains in the first photo), and then pooled on the bottom edge, wicking up into the bottom few inches of the wallpaper (see second photo).

The original plan was to replace the whole section, but the left over wallpaper had been stored in the hot Houston attic for 35 years, and was way to brittle and fragile to be worked with. So I got out the artist’s brushes and the craft paints.

These are the little bottles of matt finish acrylic paint that can be bought at Michael’s. I mixed various amount of three different colors together, until I got a mix that matched the background pretty well. This was tricky, because paint looks a lot lighter when it’s wet, and it was had to predict how dark it would be when it dried.

But I got a pretty good match. See the last photo. I didn’t cover just the stain, but the entire area from stalk to stalk, to make the color as even as possible.

I covered the stains at the bottom of the wall, and a few of the horizontal stains near the crown molding. The homeowner said she could live with the vertical stains, and this is good, because painting in larger sections in more prominent areas would have caught the eye much more.

From even a short distance, you can’t even tell that there ever were any stains.

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.

Home Office Make Over For A Man

June 30, 2016

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The cheery bird-and-butterfly pattern is a pricey designer wallpaper, and looked super in this sun room off the living room of a 1940’s home near the Rice Village (Houston). But the thing is, the new homeowners are using this room as a home office for the husband. Needless to say, he was not thrilled with the frilly wallpaper!

The couple was considering grasscloth, but I explained about the highly visible seams, the color differences between strips, potential for staining by young children with sticky hands and being ripped up by their dog. They took my suggestion and went with this faux grasscloth, with a woven texture and subtle two-toned color. The charcoal color looks sharp against the white woodwork and desk, and the feel is crisp and tailored – just perfect for a man’s space.

I love this particular product! Because it is a thick vinyl on a woven fabric (scrim) backing, it will wear like steel, and will be resistant to water and stains, too. The color is very uniform, and you cannot see a seam. It’s nice to work with, too – although the thickness makes it a little difficult to cut through when trimming at ceiling and floor and door moldings.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, from their Texture Resource Volume 4 book, and has become so popular that it is available in about 30 colors! This one is called Bankun Raffia, #839 T-14146. 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.

Faux Grass Lends a Sleek, Mid-Century Air to this Dining Room

June 17, 2016
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I love it when my clients listen to me. This couple near the Highland Village (Houston) was considering grasscloth for their dining room. I discouraged that choice, because of the color variations between strips, and even within strips (called paneling or shading) of natural products like grasscloth. Also, because grasscloth stains easily, it’s not a great choice for an active family with young children and a puppy.

I was happy when they went with this textured vinyl product instead. It has the texture and depth of color that people like these days, but none of the color difference problems, plus it is quite washable and stain-resistant. I think this looks something like a man’s tweed suit – in fact, it is called “Flanders.” The look is sleek and crisp and calming, and will look super with the family’s Mid-Century Modern dining table, buffet, and chandelier.

This is a thick, woven-fabric (scrim) backed vinyl product, and was a little difficult to fit tightly against the moldings; my angled steel plate tool (not pictured) helped greatly with this. I hung every other strip upside down, which minimized color variations by placing the same side of each subsequent strip next to itself.

The wall was lightly textured to begin with, so I skim-floated the walls to smooth the surface, to prevent bumps from showing under the paper and to provide a smooth surface for the wallpaper to grab on to. I also smoothed the wall area below the chair rail, which the family is going to coat with a semi-gloss paint, so it will look like wooden paneling. I primed both areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, #T-14164, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.