Posts Tagged ‘strip’

The 2-Hour Wall

January 9, 2021

Re my previous post, the wall in the photo above took me a full TWO HOURS to get three strips of wallpaper onto.

Part was access – narrow space, difficult to maneuver the ladder, squeezing around the toilet, wall height a little taller than I could reach comfortably,,, for starters.

But the main issue was wrapping wallpaper around this jutting wall with its two outside corners.

You’re not supposed to wrap wallpaper around outside corners, especially with a double corner as pictured here. The reason being that framing, drywall, corner beads, and all sorts of other construction components are never perfectly straight or plumb or level. Thus, attempting to wrap wallpaper around them will usually result in various things – the paper going off-plumb, the paper warping or developing wrinkles, the far edge of the paper twisting and not being straight so the next strip cannot butt against it without gaps and overlaps, stretching the paper to force it to cooperate, which will result in it shrinking when it dries and exposing gaps – among other unfortunate situations.

I did run into some of that in the instance pictured above. This new (and expensive) home had walls that were more “off” than most, with one corner being off by a full 3/4″ over a drop of only 9′. On this particular wall, the paper developed a pretty sizeable wrinkle toward the bottom 1/3 of the wall. I had to find a way to relieve wrinkle by eliminating the excess paper, while still keeping the left edge of the strip intact and straight, so the subsequent strip could butt up against it.

My solution was to cut through the paper vertically along the right edge (along the edge of the wall’s outside corner), about 1/4″ in from the edge, and from the floor to about 3′ up. Then I pulled the strip away from the wall, which enabled me to work out the wrinkle, making sure to maintain the straight edge along the right.

I smoothed the strip back against the wall, again, easing out the wrinkle. The excess from the wrinkle moved to the right, and left a bit of wallpaper hanging over the corner to the right. I used a straightedge and very sharp razor blade to cut off this sliver of excess.

This method did mean that there was a bit of an overlap, and thus a bump / ridge, along the right edge. I was worried that this would show, especially with the somewhat shiny paper, as well as light shining unforgivingly from the fixture to the left (not pictured). But once it was all done, the small overlap was barely noticeable. And definitely better than a large wrinkle.

Because I was able to keep the left edge of the strip straight, the next strip butted against it very nicely, with no gaps or overlaps.

I will mention that it also did help that this particular paper was a bit more flexible and fluid than many non-woven materials. Also, because I pasted the paper instead of the wall, the paper had a chance to relax and become malleable. The primer I used gave it a solid surface to cling to, so there was no shrinking or gapping as it dried.

These three strips on this one wall took me two full hours.

Betcha Can’t Find The Kill Point

December 9, 2020

Usually, when hanging wallpaper, you start in a corner, work your way around the room, and end up on the opposite side of that same corner. This virtually always ends up in a pattern mis-match. So we try to place this in an inconspicuous place, such as in a corner behind a door.

But this powder room didn’t have any hidden corners. All four of the corners were very visible to anyone in the room. I didn’t want an 8′ high corner of half-flowers and mis-matched motifs.

So I decided to put this kill point in the least noticeable space – the 1′ area above the door.

As you can see in the top photo, when the last strip of wallpaper came to meet up with the first strip, the pattern wasn’t going to match.

I didn’t want to have flowers cut abruptly in half vertically. So I decided to do some double cutting – a paperhangers’ term for splicing.

By cutting along the flowers in the design, I knew I could prevent an abruptly cut off flower. I padded behind the strips to protect the wall from being scored. Then I overlapped the new strip onto the first strip.

Then I took a sharp new razor blade and used it to cut along the motifs, pressing hard enough to cut through two layers of paper – but not cut into the padding and definintely not into the wall behind it all.

Once the excess paper was removed and the strips smoothed back into place, the seam is flat and smooth, and you could never tell that the designs is a marriage of two sets of motifs.

Invisible Kill Point

September 2, 2020


When you hang wallpaper around a room, the point where your last strip meets up with your first strip virtually always results in a patter mis-match, because that last strip is going to have to be cut vertically where it meets up with the first strip – and that means that pattern motifs are going to be sliced in half, leaving you with an abrupt break in the design.

This could mean a 9′ or more length of cut-off design elements. Not very cool, but often it is unavoidable.

But … sometimes it is possible to “kill” the pattern in a less noticeable place. The 1′ or so height over a door is a good option. That’s what I did today.

Bringing the strip on the right to meet with the existing strip on the left was going to leave me with an animal getting chopped in half vertically.

Instead, I cut a wavy vertical line following some of the vine foliage in the pattern. Then I overlapped this onto the existing strip. Once it was all smoothed into place, everything just looked like leaves, and no suspicions that the pattern wasn’t how the artist had originally plotted it out.

Two Layers of Wallpaper to Strip Off – and No Primer

August 8, 2020



It’s not good to put wallpaper over wallpaper, especially if the bottom layer is vinyl. And double especially if no prep is done.

In this case, a vinyl wallpaper was hung over another vinyl wallpaper, which had been hung on unprimed drywall, back when the house was built 30 years ago.

All very bad. Vinyl is plastic, and therefore glossy, and that means that new wallpaper placed on top of it won’t stick. Look at the curling paper in the top photo and you will see what I mean. The second photo shows the paper curling away from the baseboard.

Raw drywall is porous in some areas, meaning it sucks the paste off the wallpaper, and thirsty in other places, meaning that it bonds tightly to the wallpaper paste and is often impossible to get off without damaging the drywall.

In the last photo, you can see where I have peeled off the top layer of wallpaper, revealing the paper backing underneath. Under that, you can see where I have removed some of the top layer of the first wallpaper, and the lighter colored backing of that paper is also visible.

So you are looking at two layers of wallpaper backings, installed on the home’s original drywall.

I knew I could remove the top layer of vinyl paper (see my page to the right “How to Strip Wallpaper”). But I honestly didn’t think I would be able to get the first layer off the wall.

But this job surprised me. … Turns out, both the top and bottom layers stripped off relatively easily, and with minimal damage to the drywall. Solid vinyl wallpapers are easier in situations like this. Click the link on the right to see the process.

Note: “Relatively easily” does not mean “quickly.” It took me about four hours to remove the paper from this 10 single roll (5 bolt) powder room.

Wildflowers Growing Up The Walls

July 31, 2020


Although I can’t tell if these are wildflowers or weeds, I really like this pattern. The homeowner does, too!

The original wallpaper in this hall bathroom was dark and dated back to the ’90’s. It had held up well, though. But the homeowner was ready for something new and fresh.

The original wallpaper was hung when the house was new, and was placed directly on the drywall with no primer. That bode badly, but – once I went to work on it, it stripped off relatively easily, and with no damage to the wall. It DID take most of a day, though, to strip both the large sink room and the large potty room.

Then I primed with Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime, specifically formulated for wallpaper.

This is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a heavier non-woven material. It can be hung via the paste-the-wall method – but that works better on single accent walls. For this bathroom, with it’s corners and vanity and doors, I chose to paste the paper, which makes it more flexible, and easier to work into tight areas.

This home is in Katy (far west Houston). I hung paper in their entry a few years back, and was tickled when the homeowner called me to do some more rooms (additional posts to follow).

She also used the same gal to help her select and purchase her perfect paper – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby, my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price. (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.

Flaw of the Day – Smudged Smeared Ink

July 30, 2020

Luckily, these streaks of smeared ink ran through only about 5′ of one bolt of wallpaper.

Still, this cost us a full strip.

Another reason to always buy a little extra paper.

Please Don’t Patch On Top Of Old Wallpaper!

July 9, 2020


There was a floor-to-ceiling crack in the drywall. I instructed the painter to strip off the wallpaper around where he was going to repair the wall, and to NOT put patching compound on the paper.

He said that he did strip off the paper. Then why, oh why, did he go and extend his patch on top of the wallpaper he did not strip off??!

In the second photo, you see where I cut around his patch, and then stripped the old green paper off the rest of the wall.

Not shown is where I skim-floated over his patch, to cover the ridge from his patched area and the little bit of paper left on the wall.

Sanded smooth and sealed with Gardz, the wall was then ready for the new wallpaper.

Wallpaper Coverage …. Not What They Lead You To Believe

June 25, 2020

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Photo: Waste from one 2-wall room; all this paper is going into the trash.

For all those folk who think they can figure up how much wallpaper they need without first consulting a professional installer, and they try to calculate based on square footage, along with “calculators” found on vendor websites … Here is a good example of why square footage is NOT an accurate calculator.

Referencing yesterday’s post …. I’m not going to get into a whole lot of math re square footage. Let’s focus on the Strip Count method. Let’s just say that this accent wall required 12.3 strips. Effectively, that is 13 strips.

Due to the 11′ height of the wall and due to the length of the pattern repeat, each 33′ long double roll bolt yielded two strips.

After I used those two strips, I was left with a “tail end” that was about 8′ long. Since my wall height was 11′, here was nothing I could do with a strip 8′ long. So it went to the scrap pile.

The paper was about 2′ wide. 2′ wide x 8′ long = about 16 square feet of waste. Multiply that times the 13 strips it took to cross the wall, and you get 208 square feet of paper that is going right into the trash bin.

That’s roughly equivalent to FOUR DOUBLE ROLL BOLTS of wallpaper. Bought and paid for, but not available to put on your wall.

In real life, measuring is even more complicated than that.

In addition, the photo above shows the waste from today’s install of a 14 single roll breakfast room. The large roll lying on the floor, and the roll behind it, are tightly wound up and are both WAY bigger than the photo makes them appear… A whole lot of paper cut off and thrown away, in order to match the pattern.

So, folks, please let the professional measure, before you order your wallpaper. There are many, many factors to be considered, aside from raw square footage.

More info is available on my page to the right.

Dark, Sparkly, Faux Cork in Spring Branch Powder Room

April 1, 2020


No good pictures of this, folks – you had to see it in person to get the full effect.

But the textured vinyl wallpaper had the appearance of a charcoal-colored cork material – with a few silvery sparkles tossed in here and there.

The homeowner wanted a snug, dark powder room. But not cave-like. This paper did the trick beautifully. It is dark, but with the large mirror and the light grey vanity and cararra marble countertop, there were plenty of light colored accents to offset the dark.

This was a new, open floor plan, contemporary styled home in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. The vinyl material will be resistant to water and stains. The non-woven substrate had a lot of fiberglass content – I could see the strands! – so it will be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In addition, the material does not expand when wet with paste, needs no booking time, and can be hung with the paste-the-wall method. I preferred to paste the paper.

This wallpaper pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, and was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

All the Same Run, Please

February 7, 2020


This homeowner measured her walls and ordered paper before I came by for a consultation. As often happens, she ordered too little paper.

When the additional bolts arrived, unfortunately, they were a different run.

Run number refers to all the bolts that were printed from the same batch or dye lot of ink. The next time the manufacturer prints a run of this wallpaper pattern, the inks will be ever so sightly a different shade.

You cannot place strips of wallpaper from different runs next to one another on the same wall, because you will see the color differences for the entire length of each strip.

You can, however, use different runs on different walls, because your eye won’t notice if the run is “broken” in a corner. This method does require the use of additional paper, though, in order to match the pattern.

In this case, we had enough extra paper. I was able to keep one run on the west and south walls, and then use the other run on the north and east walls.