Posts Tagged ‘straight’

Making the Best of Plumbing Problems

May 22, 2022
OK, so this master bathroom suffered a water leak, and the plumber had to cut through the drywall in the potty room in order to access the shower fixtures.
Here the contractor has replaced the cut-out piece of Sheetrock. He did a really nice job. For the most part. Of course, he didn’t bother to remove the wallpaper before doing his repairs. This is vinyl paper (thick, slick, slippery, backing absorbs moisture) and really should have been removed first.
But I was able to work around the patched-in area.
The prep for this small room was a lot more involved than I anticipated, and required an extra day. Too complicated to get into, but there were two layers of wallpaper, and no primer by either of the previous installers. Original install dates back to the ’80’s. It took me a day and a half just to do the prep on this small commode room.
The room finished. Note the stripes centered nicely on that back wall.
The pattern and material were chosen to coordinate with the green stripes in the main area of the master bathroom.
Kill point (final corner) over the door. I “shrank” some sections in order to get even widths and maintain the pattern repeat and match.
The plumbing problem also damaged an area on this wall outside the water closet. So this area around the door needed to be replaced. The homeowners didn’t have any left over paper, so they chose something similar in color, style, and composition to the green striped paper you see to the right.
Here is that transition door wall finished.

We decided to use the stripe to define the ‘break’ between the two patterns.
The alternative would have been placing the stripe against the door molding … but I felt that would be too repetitive, plus it would have left a cut-off section of flowers running along the side of the green stripe, and same on the opposite side of the door frame.
And, yes, the wall definitely is not straight, square, or plumb.
And here is that opposite side of the door frame, with the stripe running nicely along the shower tile.
Some overlapping was involved in this job. Since the wallpaper is vinyl, and vinyl is slick, you need a special paste to be able to grab ahold of the glossy surface. These days, I sure don’t use often border paste, also sometimes called VOV or Vinyl Over Vinyl . But I was mighty glad to find this 10+ year old container deep in the bowels of my van. Still fresh and sticky, too!
Besides borders not being popular today, these “satin” and “silk” look wallpapers are not very common. But this is exactly what the homeowners were looking for, to coordinate with the existing, 30-year-old paper in their master bath. Saved them having to replace all the wallpaper in both rooms!
This paper is very economical, too. The couple shopped with Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village, and she was able to track down the perfect material, pattern, and color.
Now, aside from all the positive things I just said about this paper in this current application, I do want to make clear that I am not at all fond of this type material. Without getting into a long schpiel here, please click and read the page link to the right “Stay Away From Pre-Pasted Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl …. ”
I will also add that I’ve developed a technique to work with these materials, and so far the installs, including today’s, have been going nicely.
One double roll bolt had some of these blue mark printing defects running through about half of it. Luckily, most of these were on a section of paper that was cut off in order to turn a corner, so was discarded and not put on the wall.
Exclusive Wallcoverings is the manufacturer. Usually I work with their non-woven or traditional paper products, which are quite nice.
The home is in the West University area of Houston.

Hanging House of Hackney 4-Panel Mural

April 23, 2022
Not all wallpapers come as traditional goods with a repeating pattern in a straight or drop match.
Companies like House of Hackney (here) or Milton & King (search to find my previous posts), often package their patterns as 4-panel sets, or A & B rolls.
These take a little more thought and engineering than just pulling strips off a bolt and slapping them on the wall.
You’ve got to keep the 1-2-3-4’s in order, and parlay that into whether you’re moving to the right or the left. In this scenario, I started in the corner, so was moving in both directions. 1, 2, 3, 4. Then 4, 3, 2, 1.
In the photo, I’ve measured, cut, and laid out my strips in the order in which they’ll be applied to the two walls.
Believe me – I checked everything twice – no, thrice! – before pasting and hanging.
Another thing about murals and 4-panel sets,,, you only get one chance to get it right. There are no additional strips sitting around to be called in in case of a goof.
Here is the manufacturer’s instruction sheet.

Making A Corner Look Straight When It’s Not

March 25, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper from right to left, working around this corner. I’ve wrapped the paper 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut a new piece that will overlap that 1/8″ and continue to move to the left. (Search here to learn more about turning inside corners.)
This is a 100 year old house, and this corner is way off-plumb – on both the right side and the left side. The chair rail, however, is perfectly level.
Here, the pattern matches nicely at the bottom of the wall. But as it moves up, the crooked corner takes over, and the pattern becomes mis-aligned.
By hanging the paper crooked, I can match the wallpaper pattern perfectly in the corner. But that will skew the left edge of this new strip off-plumb by slanting it to the right. That means that every subsequent strip will track off-plumb … and the motif at the top of the chair rail will start to climb uphill.
Since the chair rail is so prominently visible, I think it’s more important for the pattern motif to be straight along the chair rail, than to be perfectly matched in the corner.
But I didn’t like the way the pattern was getting un-matched at the upper part of the wall. I thought I could make it look better.
This design gave me something to fiddle with.
One option was to cut the paper vertically between the two rows of “swoops.” Then I could match the pattern in the corner, and pull the excess paper to the left, overlapping one strip on top of the other about 1/4″ at the top and tapering down to nothing at the chair rail. It’s a thin paper in a room with not-great lighting, so this overlapped lip would not be very noticeable. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I could make the overlap invisible by trimming the paper along the design. Here I’ve removed that corner piece.
On the left is the strip I’ve cut off.
Here I’m putting the strip into place, and making sure that the pattern matches nicely in the corner. This pushes the upper part of this cut strip further to the left, so it overlaps the other strip of paper just a little
Now, instead of a visible straight overlap the full height of the strip, the overlap comes along the rounded edges of the design. That black line disguises the overlap beautifully!
Here it is nicely matched in the corner, with invisible overlap along the curved black line.
The excess still needs to be trimmed off at the ceiling and chair rail.
Mission accomplished! The design matches nicely in the corner, the paper moving to the left is hung perfectly plumb, and the motifs are all at their proper heights along the chair rail and ceiling.
This fun retro mid-century modern pattern is by Designer Wallpapers.

Unplumb Walls and Geometric Wallpaper Patterns

March 9, 2022
You usually don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner. You wrap 1/8″ around, slit the strip in two vertically, and then apply a new strip overlapping that 1/8″. The trick is getting the pattern of that new strip to match up with that on the original wall.
And it helps if the walls are straight and plumb.
Here I’ve done a great job of matching the pattern in the corner. This is the top 2/3 of the wall.
But, as you move down the wall, it becomes quite evident the wall isn’t plumb. In fact, this wall had an actual bow in it, so it wasn’t flat or straight, either. So it’s impossible to avoid a pattern mis-match like this.
The standard practice is to match the pattern at eye level. Then, as it moves up and down the wall, you’ve gotta accept any mis-matches that result.
In this case, we’re lucky that the new vanity will block most of this.
This is called Hick’s Hexagon and is by Cole & Son.

Hand Trimming Lindsay Cowels Wallpaper

February 16, 2022
Like many high-end designer wallpapers, this one comes with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can be hung. Usually the manufacturer prints trim guide marks to aid you. But these guys didn’t, so I am having to use my eye to match the pattern and also carefully measuring. Here I’m using my new straight edge and a razor blade to trim off the selvedge along with 1/8″ of the printed area.
I’m excited to be using this straightedge, as it’s brand new to me. AND it appears to actually be true ( straight ). I own three – THREE – other straightedges, and not a one of them is truly straight. So far, Big Blue is delivering on his promise.
I think that high handle has a lot to do with keeping the thing straight. It’s awkward and a pain to work around it, but if it means that I will get straight cuts, I’ll happily work with it.
In addition, the aluminum material is lightweight, and there is a non-slip pad on the underside.
Purchase one, along with a lot of other cool wallpaper tools, here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/straight-edges/page/2

Classic Chinoiserie in Heights Powder Room

February 10, 2022
Before. The previous installer did a beautiful job with this earthy grasscloth. But it didn’t suit the homeowner’s taste, nor did it fit with the feel of this 1939 cottage in the historic Norhill section of the Houston heights.
Done! The dark towel and mirror really set off the pattern and colors.
Wall behind the toilet. This Asian-influenced design, with its pagodas and minstrels, is referred to as a Chinoiserie . These designs have been popular for centuries.
Close-up. The green and blue tones coordinate beautifully with adjoining rooms in the house.
I rolled the wallpaper out on the floor, so I could see the full-size design. This one has a 46″ pattern repeat, which is awfully long, and means there can be a lot of waste. This design had a straight pattern match, and came packaged in a 24″ x 33′ bolt, like traditional wallpaper. It did not come as an A-B set, as many M&K products do.
I couldn’t find a full-size room-set photo on-line, so I availed myself of the Milton & King ‘s ” chat ” feature … I was connected with a live and knowledgeable representative in mere seconds, and he very quickly sent me a link to a picture of this pattern in a room.
In the photo, I’m using my yardstick to determine a centerline of the design motifs.
As are most of Milton & King ‘s wallpapers, this one was on a non-woven substrate. Rather than paste the wall, I chose to paste the paper, which works best in a bathroom with things to cut around and tuck paper behind. mi
The pattern is called Mulberry . Milton & King’s bolts come packed individually in protective boxes – no worries about banged edges with this outfit!

Manufacturer Can’t Print Straight

January 8, 2022

Some bolts / rolls of this Jaclyn Smith by Trend wallpaper came with a 1/8″ bit of pattern on the right edge.
But other bolts had differing amounts. This one had barely anything.
So what’s the problem? Butting one strip up against another on the wall might result in a slight pattern mis-match. The spacing between the vertical stripes might be off, which could catch the eye. But also the gold diagonal stripes might not match up – and that would most definitely be visible.

Keeping the Pattern Straight Going Around a Wide Window

November 17, 2021
Hanging wallpaper around windows is tricky. You’ve got to keep the pattern straight along the top and the bottom, and coming down the far side, and hope that the pattern will match up when those last pieces meet. That’s harder than it sounds, because ceiling lines and window frames and floors are never perfectly level, nor are walls perfectly plumb. And wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and twists out of shape, and does other contortions. The wider the window is, the more likely it is that things will get off kilter. And this window was 8′ wide! For the strips along the top, it was fairly easy to keep the pattern straight across the top of the window, as I used a ruler and made sure that a certain design motif was 3/4″ from the top of the window. Keeping this uniformity looks good to the eye. But just because it was the same height across the top of the window, it doesn’t mean it was level, or keeping equidistant from the design below the window. Like I said, patterns and walls and windows go off track. Still, it’s the best shot we’ve got.

Below the window, instead of using a ruler, I tried another trick. I measured the distance from the window molding that a certain design motif was to hit the wall, and drew a pencil line horizontally right at that measurement. Then I made sure that each strip I hung, the motif synced up with this line. In order to do this, I had to pull the design up or down a bit in some places, which meant some minor pattern mis-matches here and there.

I didn’t get pictures of my final strip coming around the right top side of the window, and how it met up with the pattern below the window. The pattern match was off a little, but not much. I was able to tweak one strip and fudge the pattern a bit. In another area I cut a strip in two vertically, following the contours of the design, and did a bit of overlapping.

All this disguised the minor pattern mis-match, while also keeping the right edge of the wallpaper nice and straight – which is important because the next strip of paper would need to butt up against it.

It did help that this material was a non-woven, which has a content of polyester / synthetic, and so is dimensionally stable – which is a fancy way of saying that it’s not supposed to expand (much) when it gets wet with paste.

IAll that sounds confusing, and it is. But I hope it has helped a bit to explain how this can be done.

Turning an Inside Corner With Wallpaper

August 15, 2021

When bringing wallpaper around an inside corner in a room, you virtually never should wrap a full sheet around the corner.

That’s because corners are never absolutely straight, walls are never perfectly plumb, wet wallpaper stretches and twists… Coming out of the corner, the outer edge of the paper will never be straight, so the next strip won’t butt up properly. And the strip could be thrown off-plumb, meaning that the design will start tracking up or down the wall. Oh, and you will probably get wrinkles and warps, too.

To prevent all this, you split the strip in two vertically, and allow just 1/16″ or 1/8″ to wrap around the corner. See top photo. This tiny bit of wrap is important, because, if you cut exactly into the corner, you would end up with a visible cut edge, plus gaps in the corner.

Your next strip is then overlapped on top of this narrow wrapped edge, as shown in the second photo.

Note that when you do this, you will cover up and lose some of the design.

To minimize this, I have my clients buy a little extra paper. Then I can use a fresh sheet to split vertically, while matching the pattern as perfectly as possible. Yes, it uses more paper and costs a bit more … but for a visually seamless transition from one wall to the next, that you will be enjoying for the next many years, it is a good pay-off.

This new strip that gets overlapped and hung coming out of the corner … It is important that it be hung plumb. Because if it’s not, then all subsequent strips will fall more and more off-track.

In the last photo, I am using the red line of my laser level to ensure that the right edge of this new wallpaper strip is perfectly level.

Often, this means you have to “adjust” the strip in the corner … and that often means that you will have to trim off some, in order to get it to lie nice and tight in the corner. And, yes, that means losing a bit more of the design.

This is inside corners, pretty much in a nutshell. Of course, there are a lot more details and nuances not covered here.

wrap

overlap

lose pattern

laser level to plumb up

Colorful Backdrop to an Eastside Powder Room

July 24, 2020


The homeowner owns some treasured artwork (one painted by her grandfather!) that will really pop when placed against this cute, tight, small-scale geometric print in bright orange.

The wallpaper is by York, one of my favorite companies, in their SureStrip line, which is also a favorite of mine.

This paper comes pre-pasted, so you only need to activate the paste on the back with water. And it is designed to strip off the wall easily and cleanly, when it’s time to redecorate.

As with most rooms, the walls were not straight or plumb, so it was more than a bit of a challenge to make the pattern look straight, while also matching the design when turning corners.

In the end, the room looked great.

Central Houston