Posts Tagged ‘stiff’

Cool Trick Going Around Door

December 18, 2022

I’ve finished putting short strips of wallpaper over this wide entry way . My next strip will be a 9.5′ piece going down the left side of the door molding .
The piece above the door ended 1/4″ from the left edge of the door molding. Normally, I would butt my next strip up against the existing piece. Then, as I move down the wall smoothing the paper into place against the wall, there will be a 1/4″ bit of it that laps over against the full length of the molding. I would need to use a straightedge and blade to trim this off. And then use my damp microfiber rag to wipe paste off the molding.
This non-woven wallpaper is thick and stiff , and hard to press tightly against the molding, so a bit tricky to get a sharp , tight trim cut . And also difficult to ensure that exactly 1/4″ is being trimmed off . So it’s easy for the paper to go off-kilter , and for the pattern to not line up perfectly against the molding . Not a big deal on a busy floral pattern , but with a rigid geometric, it might be noticeable .
So I decided to try this. I wanted to pre-trim the strip to take away that 1/4″ . This would save me from having to do any pressing or trimming. And also ensure that the pattern would fall perfectly straight against the doorway molding.
I measured down 16″ (the height of the ” header ” over the doorway , plus a couple of inches for trimming at ceiling and then at the top of the door molding ) .
Then I used my straightedge , razor blade , and fine ruler (from Texas Art Supply ) to measure over 1/4″ and trim it off .
Don’t think this is a simple task … It’s hard to measure exactly the width of the bit above the molding that should be trimmed off. 1/4″? 3/8″? 5/16″?
Also take into consideration that most wallpapers expand when they get wet with paste . So that 1/4″ I cut off could extend to 5/16″ or even more. That would mean a gap along the door molding.
Next, if the strip above the door is not perfectly plumb , or if the door molding below it is not perfectly straight and plumb , the wallpaper won’t butt up properly against it, and may start to show a gap or an overlap.
Sometimes you can manipulate the strip of wallpaper so that it does butt up against the door frame. But that can result in warps and wrinkles , or a pattern mis-match of the next piece . Also, like I said, this particular non-woven product is thick and stiff, and not happy about being asked to twist into another shape. Pasting the paper – instead of pasting the wall – does help to make it more pliable , so you have a better chance of manipulating the paper as you want.
Here is the strip going into place. So far, it’s butting up nicely against the molding. And no need to trim anything or wipe paste off the woodwork – except for that little bit at the top, which was my ” extra ” allowed for trimming .
FYI, that dark stripe you see along the woodwork is a shadow.
Here is the wallpaper as it falls along the side of the molding. The pattern is lining up nice and straight and precise .
To be honest, at the lower 1/3 of the wall, the paper did start to torque out of shape , and wanted to leave a gap at the molding, which was trying to grow from 1/16″ to maybe 1/4.” Not a lot – but it sure would look bad to have a 1/4″ gap between the wallpaper and the woodwork.
Trying to “mush” it to the right to butt up against the woodwork was causing warps and wrinkles .
I was a little surprised, but the paste had caused the stiff material to become softened and pliable – just enough that I was able to gently work out all those warps and wrinkles , so the wallpaper laid nice and flat against the wall. AND the left edge didn’t become distorted, but fell nice and straight enough that the next strip was easily able to butt up against it nice and tightly.
This trellis / Moroccan lantern / onion dome / geometric pattern is by Designer Wallpapers .

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Unfurling Stiff Non-Woven Wallpaper

December 6, 2022
These new(ish) non-woven / paste the wall wallpapers have a lot of advantages , and most of us installers like working with them. But a lot of brands can be very stiff, and can be difficult to get to lie flat on your table, for both measuring and pasting.
I’ve found that rolling the paper backwards , either by the strip of the entire roll , will help get rid of that ” memory .” Some materials can be damaged / creased when you do this, so it’s important to work gently, and even better to use an unopened roll or other tubular object to start rolling around. Then I use elastic hairbands from the dollar store to hold the paper in place.
It doesn’t take long. Just 15 minutes will usually do it. Here is a roll that has been rolled backwards, now released and relaxed and lying perfectly flat on my work table.

“Sweet Pea” Wallpaper for Sweet Baby Girl

October 9, 2022
Nursery window / crib accent wall before, primed and ready for wallpaper .
Done. Pattern is nicely centered on the wall .
The pattern is called Sweet Pea .
Has the look of hand-painted watercolor .
Made by Serena & Lily .
I usually love their papers, and I usually love non-woven / paste the wall materials . But not this stuff. For starters, it’s practically transparent . This means you can’t make marks on the wall – like my measurements or strip placement . Also any color irregularities on the wall will show through. A pigmented wallpaper primer is a must .
Here you can see the flower from underneath showing through the paper on top.
In addition, the paper was VERY stiff and difficult to work with. Creased easily fitting it into the areas around the window molding and where the paper met up with the corner. I had these same issues the last time I hung a S&L non-woven (most of their wallcoverings are paper). There are so many good quality N-W substrates out there, makes you wonder why they don’t switch to something better.
The label said this was a drop match . But the pattern match turned out to be a multiple drop .
On a straight match , you’ll find the same tulip, for example, at the top of the wall on every strip. On a drop match , that tulip will be at the top of the first strip, then on the second strip it will drop down half the length of the pattern repeat . On the third strip, it will be back at the top of the wall . On the fourth strip, it will drop down again. And so on.
But on a multiple drop pattern match , also called a quarter drop , that tulip drops down bit by bit over a span of four strips , before it appears again at the top of the wall. Actually, with some multiple drops, the motif can traverse more strips before it’s back at the top.
These patterns are extremely tricky to figure out , and to calculate rollage for. I’m really glad that I rolled the paper out on the floor of this empty nursery , before cutting anything. If you assume that what you have in your hands is a typical pattern match and go and cut all your strips ahead of time, you will have a whole bunch of strips that won’t match up, and will have ruined all that paper.
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston . installer

Sweet Toile Trellis For Baby Girl

October 5, 2022
Baby’s coming, so the nondescript tan walls in this this home office are about to make way for a nursery.
I love how one wall done contrasted against the plain painted wall shows how much more life and brightness wallpaper adds to the space.
Sweet, but not overly gooey , this pattern and simple two-tone colorway will grow with the child and be appropriate from infant to teen years.
Opposite corner.
Window wall.
Toile is a French word that describes a sort of pen & ink line drawing of one color on a simple background . Classic toiles are cherubs floating and shepherdesses playing flutes while lambs frolic in the meadow. But these days there are lots of themes, from seaside villages to Winnie the Pooh to the Cities series by Katie Kime (do a Search here to see more of that ).
This is a non-woven substrate with a lightly textured raised ink surface. It can be hung via the paste-the-wall method. But I usually prefer to paste the material , which worked nicely this time because the wallpaper was thick and stiff, and moisture from the paste softened it and made it much more pliable and workable .
This pattern is Rosalind Floral and it’s by McGee and Co. But I highly suspect that the actual manufacturer is York , one of my favorite brands.
This is a nicely renovated 1920’s home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .
wallpaper installer

Jungle Wild Cats for Toddler’s Room

September 22, 2022
Two walls in this bedroom to be wallpapered. Primed and ready!
The colors in the wallpaper work so well with the color of the other two walls and the woodwork.
This little girl sleeps with a lot of stuffed animals, so more jungle critters on the walls just makes sense!
Cheetahs, tigers, jaguars, wildcats ,,, you name it!
Majvillan brand from Sweden, Black Panther pattern name.
This non-woven material was stiff and somewhat difficult to work with. Pasting the paper rather than pasting the wall helped tame the beast, as did rolling the paper backward and securing with an elastic hairband for an hour to get rid of the curl .

Using Heat To Bend Vinyl

September 3, 2022
I will be wrapping a stiff , thick , embossed textured vinyl wallpaper around the inside of this window return . This 90* angle is called an outside corner . This is tricky enough.
But the real feat will be wrapping the material around that bend , and getting it to adhere to that little lip on the bottom next to the wainscoting – which is only about 1/4″ deep . That doesn’t give much for the paper to grab hold of, especially since it is stiff and will want to retain it’s flat position .
Heat gun to the rescue! Heat will cause the vinyl to soften and allow it to bend . This is my test piece. I’m experimenting with how much heat is needed and the delicate balance between bending and melting or burning .
Also how much time is required for the vinyl to cool and how well it will retain its new shape , and how firmly it will adhere to that little narrow 1/4″ lip .
Because I can’t safely put my hands in front of the heat gun, and my plastic smoother tool would not hold up, I use this ” Euni Plate ” of stainless steel , which was invented and manufactured and sold by a colleague of mine in the Wallcovering Installers Association WIA .
Here’s another view. The plate has angles and rolled edges for various uses. The damp cloth is to quickly cool the vinyl, in hopes to keep it in the bent shape .
Another trick is to use a straightedge and razor blade to gently and lightly score the vinyl along the outside of the corner fold , to break the surface a little and allow it to bend . You’ve got to be careful, because cut too deeply and you’ll end up with a sliced edge that’s unattractive and also may delaminate ( come apart ).
Finished – with nice tightly wrapped edges that are staying in place .
wallcovering installer houston installation

Smoothing Over A Mess

August 3, 2022
This kind homeowner had the sink / vanity in this powder room removed. This makes it a LOT easier and faster for me to to get the wallpaper up, and with less stress on the paper and fewer relief cuts .
Removing a sink that’s attached to the wall often damages the surface. Here you can see how the workman used spackle compound to cover the torn drywall and other damage.

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Close-up. This isn’t a very smooth surface, and the wallpaper will have a hard time grabbing ahold and adhering. It’s also way too porous and crumbly to support wallpaper.
In the top photo, you see where I have applied smoothing compound on the upper portion of the wall. I’m working my way down.
Once it’s dry, I will sand and prime it, and it will be nice and smooth.
Here’s a shot of the fresh smoothing compound, before sanding.
Some people use a drywall taping knife or a broad knife to apply the plaster-like substance. I prefer the trowel you see in the photo, because it gives me more control and precision.
The 2″ flexible putty knife is for getting into smaller areas. The 3″ stiff ” Hyde ” putty knife is for knocking off high points or bumps on the wall before applying the smoothing compound.
This process is called skim-floating or skim-coating .
I like to use the Plus 3 lightweight joint compound made by Sheetrock . We just refer to it as mud . Find it in the drywall aisle.
The Plus 3 spreads on easily enough, sands easily , and the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up easily – as opposed to getting air-borne and drifting all over the place.
This box, which is approximately one cubic foot , weights 32 pounds . Ugh. Try carrying that across a parking lot and then up to the third floor of a townhome!
I like to transfer the material to a 5-gallon bucket. This is what it looks like in the bottom of the bucket.
Easy to scoop out. When I’m finished, I use a wet hand to smooth down the surface, wipe residue off the sides of the bucket, then place a thick sheet of plastic over the surface to keep air from drying it out. Then, of course, I put the lid onto the bucket.

Resplendent Transformation for Pre-Teen Girl’s Bathroom Vanity Area

June 3, 2022
The vanity and marble countertop have been removed. This makes it easier for me to work, and also allows the paper to go down behind the countertop, rather than being cut along the top of the backsplash. So no worries about splashed water wicking up under the wallpaper and causing curling.
What a beautiful room for a 10 year old girl!
Peacocks and posies .
This is a non-woven or paste-the-wall material. It was pretty thick and stiff. N-Ws contain minimum 20% polyester. There are many advantages to using them as wallpaper, including easy removal when it’s time to redecorate, because the strong material is supposed to stay in one piece and strip easily off the wall.
One of my colleagues says it’s made of fiberglass. In this close-up shot, you can see the fibers and plastic-like sheen. I have a hunch my friend is correct!
Manufacturer is Graham & Brown , pattern name is Resplendence , color is Blush ( dusty pink ).

Bright Colorful Wildness On Bedroom Accent Wall

May 29, 2022
Textured wall has been skim-floated, sanded smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Done!
Here’s how we got there …. First, this is a non-woven , paste-the-wall material. It’s nice paper, but very stiff and wants to remain curled up. So to get it to cooperate, after cutting my strips, I roll them backward, backing side facing out, and secure with an elastic hairband.
This helps get rid of the curl, and also ensures that when I’m on my ladder at the wall and unroll the strip, the face will not bump into the pasted wall.
After finding the mid point of the wall, and the center of the wallpaper pattern (beware – it’s usually not perfectly in the center or at the edge of the paper), I draw a plumb line (or use my laser level) and hang the first strip against it.
It’s important to start in the middle, first to get the pattern centered.
Next, because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, the pattern can start to go off-track as it moves across the wall. Meaning, the motif I placed at the tip of the wall may start drifting up or down.
By starting in the middle and working outward, any drifting is lessened because it’s split between the right and left sides of the wall.
Close up.
Called Amazon , this is by Clarke & Clarke, in their Animalia line. I hung some very colorful zebras from this same company just a few weeks ago – go Search and find the photos!
Matching pattern on the throw pillow, and a bolster pillow in the same colors against the white bedding really pulls the room together, and gives the colors more impact. The homeowner dabbles in interior design , and has really put together a Wow Factor guest bedroom !
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston . installer