Posts Tagged ‘substrate’

Milton & King Travelers Palm in Heights ( Houston ) Entry / Foyer

May 20, 2022
It’s hard to get a shot of this room, but here we are, looking from the family area through the entry vestibule toward the front door.
The sliding barn door on the right leads to the husband’s home office.
Here the walls are primed with my favorite Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman, and ready for wallpaper.
Paper’s up! Lighting and shadows are playing across the walls in some areas.

Opposite wall, west wall, primed and ready for wallpaper.
Done!
An interesting focal point in this room is this set of 100+ year old doors, reclaimed from a building in Arizona. The homeowner tells me that the door has been preserved from rot by the dry / arid climate in that state.
The dealer stripped the doors of years of paint and stain, and shipped them in their most “raw” state.
The doors were then fitted onto a track and hung to slide back and forth over the opening to the home office.
I love the way the weathered wood coordinates in color and texture with the wallpaper pattern.
It took a lot of measuring, trimming, engineering, and plotting to get the pattern so it aligned inside these two wall panels as if the pattern were continuing from the area outside the panels.
Close-up of the wallpaper design.
This material by Milton & King comes as a 2-roll set, consisting of one “A” roll and one “B” roll.
This entryway took four of the 2-roll sets.
Due to logistics, more strips from the “A” bolt were used than from the “B” roll.
Another reminder to always buy a little extra paper.

Milton & King makes some mighty fun wallpaper patterns. Visit their website!
The material is a washable vinyl on a soft and flexible non-woven substrate.
The material goes up on the wall like a dream, flexible and manipulable (is that a real word??!) and with seams that are invisible. When it’s time to redecorate, this non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with minimal / no damage to the wall.

Dark Wallpaper – Preventing White Gaps Showing at Seams

February 24, 2022
Dark papers are popular right now. But since wallpaper shrinks a tad when it dries, and since it’s usually printed on a white substrate, it’s possible that hairs’-breadth gaps of white wall may show at the seams. One way to prevent that is to stripe the wall under where the seams will fall with a color similar to the background of the wallpaper. Be careful to not get it too dark, as too much pigment may interfere with the wallpaper primer’s ability to perform optimally.
I measured the width of the strips, and then used a laser level to guide my stripes.
I use craft paint from the hobby store, and daub it on with a scrap of sponge (right) and dip into a bit of water, which I keep in a Gatorade bottlecap (left).
To get rid of the white edges of the substrate, I use a bit of chalk (some folks use paint – but make sure it’s water-based …. NEVER use oil-based paint, markers, or chalks, as they will bleed onto the surface of the wallpaper). I run the chalk along the edge of the wallpaper strip, making sure to work from the back side, to prevent the chalk from working its way onto the surface of the wallpaper. Use a light touch, but cover all of the white edge.
Finished wall. Don’t see no stinkin’ white gaps! 🙂
The mural pictured is by RebelWalls.com

From 20 Years of Red to Sweet Light Floral

February 5, 2022
Red is a classic dining room color, and painted walls served well since the late ’90’s. This homeowner has classic taste – note the elegant moldings below the chair rail and around the windows.
The update is lighter and brighter and opens up the room, making it feel larger.
Note the wallpaper around the corner on the right.
This is the paper in the adjoining hallway, which has been in place for decades. The new pattern coordinates beautifully in theme and color!
Close-up. Roses and script.
Norwall is a very economical brand (something like $25 per double roll on sale). Not my favorite quality, because the gritty paper backing can absorb humidity and separate from the thick vinyl surface, plus the seams tend to “pouch” a bit and don’t look great. But I’ve discovered that rolling a bit of wallpaper paste onto the wall under the seam areas will help to “suck down” the edges, creating better seams. I also do believe that the manufacturer has improved the substrate.
I was pleased with the way the seams looked on this install. You’re looking at a very close-up picture. Once the paper is dried and from two feet away, these seams will be invisible. In fact, the homeowner kept walking around the room remarking how she couldn’t even find a seam. Note the slightly textured surface.

The home is in the far west area of Houston.

Stripping Wallpaper

February 3, 2022
Wallpaper is comprised of two layers – the top, decorative layer, and the bottom substrate layer. The first step in stripping the paper is to remove the top layer. In this case, the material is a solid vinyl. These solid vinyls usually separate easily from their backing and come off in one large strip.
The next step is to soak the backing with water. I use a bucket of warm water and a sponge. You will need to wet and re-wet the backing several times. This water will reactivate the paste. Once it’s wet enough, the paste will let go, and, if you’re lucky, the backing will pull away from the wall easily and in large pieces.
Sometimes you have to work a little harder, and use a stiff putty knife to gently scrape the paper off the wall. A good primer underneath will facilitate this process, as well as protect the wall. I hung this original paper 30+ years ago, and once it was all off, the walls were in perfect condition, and I was able to hang the new paper with no additional prep. This is the sink room.
In the tub room, the paper was the same brand, but the backing was different. This is a gritty, thicker, manilla type paper backing. This stuff usually absorbs the water nicely and lets go from the wall easily. Not so in this case. First, the top vinyl layer wouldn’t pull off, but had I had to get under it with the putty knife, and then it came off in small pieces, maybe 5″ square.
The backing also didn’t let go easily. Even when very saturated with water, it held tight, and I had to use the putty knife to gently scrape it off the wall – mostly in small chunks. Talk about eating up time!
All you need to remove wallpaper is a bucket of plain water, a sponge, and a stiff, 3″ putty knife. I know some folks are fond of their additives. But I don’t think they speed the process at all. Plus, I don’t want any residual chemicals left on the wall.
Oh, and don’t forget the dropcloths!

Pulp Wallpapers – Difficult to Handle

January 30, 2022

I mentioned in my post of January 27, 2022 that this wallpaper is what we call a classic or traditional British pulp material. All wood pulp and a little ink. No synthetic fibers, no protective coating.

When dry, the stuff is quite stiff and brittle, and when wet it can turn to mush. It dries fast, so sometimes can ” freeze ” and stick together when you unbook it – which can actually tear the paper apart.

This makes it difficult to work with it when going around intricate moldings, or into corners, or any time you need to bend or unfold it.

It’s also tricky to cut. It dulls blades quickly. And even a brand new razor blade can get bogged down or snagged. This can easily tear the paper. Another thing that happens is that you get these little ” buggers ” where the top part of the paper trims off, but little bits of the substrate stay behind.

The photo above shows this happening at a trim cut along a baseboard. You have to gently pull the strip away from the wall, being careful not to crease it or tear it. Then use your scissors to snip off these little bits. It’s a real PITA.

“Priming” Wall With Paste to Keep Seams Down Tight

August 3, 2021
Hard to see, but the slightly darker, shiny section of wall to the left of the wallpaper is a bit of paste that I have rolled onto the wall along where a seam will lie.
The paste has pulled the edges of the paper nice and tight to the wall. Never mind the slight pattern mis-match … this is a hand screen print, and it’s pretty common for these to be slightly off in printing and/or trimming. The pattern matched better above the door, then drifted off as the paper neared the bottom of the strip. You can also see that some of the edges are somewhat jagged and saw-dusty, due to trimming at the factory.

Some manufacturers use inks that fight with their substrates. The substrate absorbs moisture from the paste and expands, but the inked layer does not, so you end up with the bottom layer stretching and forcing the top layer to curl back, resulting in edges that curl and don’t stay tight to the wall.

Any time you smell ink that calls to mind mothballs, you can expect to deal with this issue. It’s pretty common with screen printed wallpapers.

One trick is to lightly sponge the surface with water before pasting the back. Another, which I have discussed here previously, is to paste the paper, fold and book it, and then dip the rolled-up edges into 1/4″ of clean water. Then place the rolled up strip into a plastic trash bag for the booking period. This helps to keep the edges from drying out while the paper books.

On many papers, I’ve found that it also helps to roll a light coat of paste onto the wall, just under where the seams will fall. This works amazingly well to grab the edges and hold them tightly against the wall.

Coloring Edges of Wallpaper to Prevent White Backing from Showing

July 22, 2021

When hanging a dark wallpaper, sometimes the white edges of the substrate will show at the seams. Other times, the paper may shrink a tad when the paste dries, and teeny gaps may appear, again, showing white at the seams.

So I will often run a stick of chalk along the edges of the strip of wallpaper – applying from the back, to avoid getting color onto the surface.

It’s important that you use chalk, and never oil pastels. Oil products may bleed into the wallpaper, and cause visible staining on the surface.

Bold Pattern Toned Down a Bit, Mural in Nursery

June 30, 2021
Before. Smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
After. It’s more of a “dusty salmon” than a true “pink.” The parents are leaning toward a light sage green for the remaining three walls.
Close up.
Mock-up. While this is a typical repeating pattern, the manufacturer chose to package it as a mural, rather than standard rolled goods. This format works well with digital printing, and allows murals to be custom-sized to fit any wall. (Note: This mural is only offered in a standard size, 12′ wide x 9′ high.)
Rolling panels out on the floor to check measurements, plot placement
Manufacturer is Koko Art, a family-owned business in Florida.

With its black outlines and over-scaled flowers, this pattern is a bit bolder than you see in most nurseries. But the muted tans and salmons keep the look soft and sweet.

The remaining walls will be painted, but Mom wanted to see the mural up on the wall and in the room’s lighting before she chooses a paint color.

This product was packaged as a 6-panel mural. While many murals these days are custom-sized to the customer’s wall, this one came in a set size – 12′ W x 9′ H. It’s important that the mural be 4″ wider and also 4″ higher than your wall, to accommodate trimming at floor, ceiling, and corners, and to accommodate wonky walls and unlevel ceilings.

Koko Art Shop offers three substrate options. Two were peel & stick, so I nixed that sorrowful stuff. Instead, the family chose this lovely pre-pasted option. It went up very nicely.

The home is in an established community in Cypress, far northwest Houston.

Oh, and – the baby girl was born early this morning. It was an honor to help get the room decorated and ready for her arrival home!

Weird Red & Blue Dots on Wallpaper Substrate

April 29, 2021
Red dot on back of wallpaper substrate.
Red dot shows through to front of wallpaper.
There were a few blue dots, too.
Being tucked among the foliage helps hide the dots.

This is the second time in recent weeks that I’ve had strange red and blue dots show up on the back of my strips of wallpaper. These are not flecks of wood fiber or string that can be picked out of the material.

They are either inherent to the material the substrate is made of. Or they could have come from substances splashing onto the wallpaper during manufacturing.

What’s upsetting is that they are capable of – and have – bled through to show up on the surface of the wallpaper.

Another fear is that ink bleeds and stains … do a Search here on my blog for more posts. In today’s case, I worry that these tiny dots will bleed and leech over time, and grow to larger stains on the surface of the paper.

This wallpaper is by Katie Kime. Their website says that they use “eco-friendly” inks. I hope this is true. Because water-based inks have less chance of bleeding through than do oil- or solvent-based substances.

II hung two test strips today. We’ll see tomorrow if any of these small dots have enlarged.

Minor Bubbles, Waffling, Quilting on Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpaper manufacturers use heavy inks (a.k.a. stinky ink). When wet paste is rolled on to the back of the wallpaper, these inks commonly compete with the substrate for moisture. The substrate absorbs more moisture and more quickly than the inked areas.

The result is wrinkles, blisters, bubbles, warps, quilting, waffling – whatever you want to name it, you’ve got a bumpy surface that doesn’t want to lie flat on the wall.

One way to tame this beast is to LIGHTLY sponge water onto the surface of the paper, before pasting. This allows the front to absorb moisture at the same time that the backing is soaking up moisture from the paste. The result is a more even “quilting” of the material.

Another thing to keep in mind is that small blisters like seen in the photo will usually flatten out and disappear as the wallpaper paste dries. A good wallpaper-specific primer underneath is a big help.

Also, a liner paper is often a good choice. The liner is a special, unprinted paper that goes under the decorative wallpaper. The liner absorbs moisture quickly and helps “lock down” bubbles and seams.

A liner also ups the installation price. Because you have to add the cost of the material, plus the labor of at least an additional day to hang the liner, and then let it dry at overnight or longer.