Posts Tagged ‘texture’

Washing Texture Off of Walls

March 5, 2020


The owners of this new-build home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston knew that they wanted wallpaper in the dining room and powder room. So they instructed the builder to not texture the walls.

Well, as often happens, the drywall/paint guys didn’t get the message, so while they were spraying texture on the other walls in the home, they also textured the dining and powder rooms (sorry, no picture).

But – they got stopped before they primed or painted. This is good.

The textured surface had to be smoothed before wallpaper could go up. I’m quite good at skim-floating, and I quoted the homeowners a price for me to float and sand the walls smooth.

But the homeowner is also pretty handy. He opted to smooth the walls himself.

Since no primer or paint had been applied, the texture on the walls was raw mud (drywall joint compound). With no coating on it, this stuff is water-soluble. That means that the homeowner could simply wipe the walls with a wet sponge to remove the texture.

Well, it’s actually a bit more than that. You have to wet the walls well, and keep on scrubbing, to the point where the joint compound / texture softens up and can be scraped off the wall with a stiff putty knife, or scrubbed off the wall with a drywall sponge.

And that’s what the homeowner did. He did such a good job that he cleaned the walls all the way down to the bare drywall. That’s what you see in the first two photos. This guy was way more thorough and meticulous than any “professional” I’ve seen out there.

The best primer for bare drywall is Gardz (third photo). It penetrates and seals both the paper face of the drywall, as well as the joint compound “mud” that is troweled over the joints and tape (see white areas in photos).

So my task for today was not to work on smoothing the walls, because the homeonwer had done such a great job of that. OK, well, I did do a little tweaking in a few areas. But primarily, what I did today was roll on (and cut into the corners and edges) a good coat of Gardz.

Besides sealing drywall, Gardz is a good primer for wallpaper. So once the primer was applied and then dried (about an hour), the room was ready for wallpaper.

Grasscloth in Cypress Powder Room

February 18, 2020


The walls and ceiling in this large powder room in a newish home in the Bridgeland Creek neighborhood of Cypress (northwest Houston) were originally a dark gold. I like dark rooms, but this one felt oppressive. It needed to be a little lighter, and to have a bit more interest on the walls.

The walls had a heavy texture, typical of new homes in the suburbs of Houston. I skim-floated the walls, then let dry overnight. The next day, I sanded the walls smooth, wiped off the dust, primed – and then was ready to hang wallpaper.

The pictures don’t adequately show the color of the new grasscloth, but we have natural brown grass color overlaid onto a really deep blue paper backing. The designer had the ceiling painted a dark, sort of murky blue, which coordinates really nicely with the blue in the grasscloth.

Lighting is funny … While I was working in the room, I had two 100 watt light bulbs; one suspended from the ceiling and one attached to where the light fixture belongs. The grasscloth just looked “normal.”

But once the room’s decorative light fixture went back up, it cast light on the textured surface in such a way that the “nubs” and knots really showed up! (see photo) The homeowner loved it!

As a note … With grasscloth, there is no pattern match, and you can also plan on seeing color differences between strips. So it’s important to plot where your seams will fall.

The electrical box, the light fixture, and the faucet were all in different vertical positions on the wall. Because the mirror would take up most of the wall behind the faucet and block the seam, I chose to center the seam on the light fixture, because it would be visible above the mirror. Well – sort of visible … as you can see, light rays from the fixture are so strong that no one can see where the seam is, anyway. 😦

The room had a “floating” sink. One of the photos shows the area under the sink. This area is open to view, and, because there are so many obstacles, it is difficult and time-consuming to wrap the paper underneath and trim around all those pipes and brackets.

The grasscloth wallpaper is by York. I was pretty pleased with the consistency of the material. Although some of the strips did present “paneling” and “shading” – color variances between strips – even strips that came off the same bolt and that were reverse-hung. One strip even had a rather abrupt color change mid-way from top to bottom. (no photo)

But that’s par for the course with grasscloth, and it’s considered to be “the natural beauty of this natural material.”

The interior designer for this project is Neal LeBouef, of L Design Group.

Smoothing a Heavily Textured Wall

February 9, 2020


The first photo shows the typical heavy texture that is put on many tract homes in the suburbs around Houston. You can’t hang wallpaper on these walls – it will look bad, and it will not adhere well.

The second photo shows how I have used a trowel to apply smoothing compound (drywall joint compound – I use the lightweight version, because it sands more easily).

Because the texture was so very thick, this had to dry overnight.

In the third photo, I have sanded the walls smooth, and applied a penetrating primer called Gardz.

Gardz works nicely as a wallpaper primer, too, so, once it is dry, I will be ready to hang wallpaper.

Textured, Woven, Faux Grasscloth in Cypress Master Bedroom

February 2, 2020


Even with high (13′) vaulted ceilings, the original medium-toned purple paint in this master bedroom in a new home in the Town Lake neighborhood of Cypress (northwest Houston) made the room look a little closed-in. And the purple didn’t coordinate with anything the young homeowners own.

So they broke out the extension ladder and painted three walls a creamy white. Then they had me install a textured vinyl wallpaper with a woven grasscloth look on the wall behind the bed.

The job too two days. One day was to apply smoothing compound to the heavyish texture which is typical of new homes in the suburbs. The next day I sanded it smooth, wiped off the dust, primed, and then hung the paper.

Daylight was fading fast, so I had to take the “after” photo when only three strips were up. But you get the idea.

In the top photo, you see I have laid my rolled-up strips against the wall in the order they came off the bolt, and in the order in which they will be hung. This helps minimize color differences

As with most solid color and textured patterns, I used the “reverse hang” procedure to minimize shading – you hang one strip right side up, and the next strip you hang upside down. This way, the same side of each strip is placed next to each other. That way, if, for example, the left side of a bolt of wallpaper is slightly darker than the right side, you won’t notice an abrupt color change between your two strips, because the two darker sides are placed next to each other. I know that sounds complicated, but it’s a common practice when hanging wallpaper, and it does reduce color variations between strips.

One strip did end up a tad darker than the one next to it. They are all from the same run, so who knows what’s going on there. It’s a minor color difference, and not nearly as bad as if they had chosen real grasscloth instead. (Real grasscloth has tons of disappointing color variances between and even within strips.)

The close-up shows the beautiful texture of this embossed vinyl material. I have no idea why it came out grey – the paper is actually navy blue.

The vinyl wallcovering has a woven fabric (scrim) back, and is way more durable and stain-resistant than real grasscloth, or any other wallpaper, for that matter.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Bankun Raffia” by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Grasscloth in Heights Master Bedroom

January 17, 2020


This is the 1st floor master bedroom of a nicely-remodeled-but-still-retains-many-original-details-and-all-its-original-charm 1920 bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The textured walls started out dark green. I skim-floated and sanded them smooth. The new wallpaper is a brown grasscloth with a faint greenish tinge, and it has a nubby texture with a lot of knots (more pics tomorrow!)

The homeowner ordered her paper before I measured the room, and I told her to get two additional double roll bolts. In the 4th photo, I am checking labels to be sure we have all the same run / dye batch; we lucked out and the new bolts were the same run as the original lot.

In the 5th photo, I have cut strips for a wall, and have them lined up and ready to paste and trim. In the background, you can see how I place bolts against each wall, as a way of keeping track of how many strips I need and which bolts I will take them from.

Because there are shading / paneling issues with grasscloth (do a Search here on those terms), it’s important to not mix strips from different bolts. That way, if there are slight color differences between bolts (as there usually are) these differences will be minimized. Still, as you see in the third photo, the three strips on the right came from one bolt, and the strips on the left came from another bolt – and there is a noticeable difference in shade. This is not a defect – it’s simply the nature of grasscloth – a product made from natural materials.

This one long wall used seven strips from three bolts, so a color difference could be expected. On the other, narrower, walls, all the strips came from the same bolt, so the color differences were minimized. When I had to use different bolts on the same wall, I was able to place the “break” over a door or window, with only 1′ of color difference. That’s a lot less noticeable than the 8′ you see on the long wall in the photo.

This wallpaper was bought through Sherwin Williams. There is no brand name on the label.

More photos tomorrow!

Smoothing Knock-Down Textured Wall

December 20, 2019


This newish home in Kingwood (northeast Houston) had a typical suburban tract home knock-down texture. This would look horrible under the new wallpaper, as well as interfere with complete adhesion.

So I skim-floated the wall by troweling on joint compound (like plaster), and then sanded smooth. After wiping sanding dust off the wall with a damp sponge, I primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealer / primer by Zinsser. Sorry, no “during” photos. 😦

The last photo shows the smoothed surface, primed and ready for wallpaper. (The dark spots are where the original texture was thick and therefore peeking out from under the smoothing compound.)

Thibaut’s Taos Pattern in Heights Powder Room

November 28, 2019


Here’s a pattern that settles nicely into the background, while embracing the room with warmth and texture and a little humor.

Humor? Well, I think the little lines look something like the crinkles that people get around their eyes when they smile.

This wallpaper pattern is called ‘Taos’ and is by Thibaut Designs.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She does fresh, clean, livable, family-oriented whole-house remodels or new builds, primarily in the Heights and Garden Oaks areas of Houston.

3-D “Rivet” Squares on Grasscloth in a Home Office

October 25, 2019


Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets” pattern is popular and trendy. The wallpaper I hung today is Thibaut’s response to it.

Thibaut’s version offers the same texture and appeal of real natural fiber grasscloth, as well as three-dimensional squares that unite to form larger squares.

Thibaut’s version Union Square is better because:

1.) Less expensive

2.) Better color consistency (fewer paneling and shading issues)

3.) Squares form a more muted secondary pattern, so it’s much easier to live with (the pattern doesn’t hit you in the eye every time you look at a wall)

4.) Squares are positioned on the strips so the installer can easily manipulate the pattern to accommodate un-plumb walls and un-level ceilings.

5.) For similar reasons, the installer can “tweak” the design a bit to ensure favorable placement of the squares (to eliminate having to cut through any of the squares, or bend them around a corner). Read below.

6.) When it’s unavoidable to have to cut through the squares, the Thibaut 3-D material is much easier to get through with a blade or scissors than the PJ or the Schumacher products.

7.) The bolts are marked in the order they came off the printing press (see photo), so you can hang strips sequentially, to minimize shading and paneling (do a search here on those terms).

8.) Thibaut provides clear tips on how to work with natural materials and what to expect with the finished outcome.

9.) Thibaut offers to replace material lost to working around defects, and they will also reimburse an installer for (part) of his labor, if a product is defective.

10.) Other points which are escaping me right now. But suffice it to say, despite its grand reputation, Phillip Jeffries products are often extremely difficult to install, and disappointing in appearance, and customer service is basically, “We never had this problem before – it must be the installer’s fault.”

Thibaut, on the other hand, researches what it takes to make a good product, does test hangs, and, if there is a problem, Thibaut actually listens to feedback from us installers.

In the window photo, I did some tweaking to get the rivets to line up exactly over the middle of the window. It took some further tweaking to position the squares so they would march down either side of the window at the same distance from the edge.

How did I accomplish that? After much measuring and plotting and a few practice strips, I widened the distance between two sets of squares over the center of the window – by a full inch. 4.5″ instead of 3.5″ is a big difference, yet it is barely noticeable. What is more important is that the squares going down either side of the window are all 3/4″ from the edge.

This home is in the Briar Park neighborhood of Houston – interestingly enough, right next door to another home I papered a year or so ago, and a block away from another home I where I hung paper in the powder room and have more bathrooms to paper coming up … In fact, I have put wallpaper in a whole lot of homes in this one tiny neighborhood. Near Beltway 8 / Sam Houston Tollway and Briar Forest.

The interior designer is Layne Ogden of Layne Torsch Interiors.

Textured Woven Grasscloth in Home Bar Area

October 23, 2019


This new home in the Briarpark neighborhood of west Houston is spacious and light, with floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls and neutral-colored floors and furnishings.

Like many young families, the homeowners were looking for texture, rather than pattern, to warm up their home bar area. Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors, found them this 2-tone, basket-weave sort of grasscloth pattern by Thibaut.

Seams are a little less noticeable on this woven grasscloth, but buyers should still be aware that ANY “natural” product presents the possibility of mis-matched seams, shading and paneling, as well as being easily stained, or even targeted by cats or dogs who want something to dig into.

To help reduce the instances of paneling, Thibaut has labeled their bolts in the order they came off the manufacturing line. The idea is that if you place strips that were dyed at the same time next to one another, it will minimize any possible color differences as you move through the printing batch numbers.

The only weird thing for today’s project is … how did it happen that there are TWO bolts numbered #12? ?? AND … what’s up with that one bolt that has no label or wrapper of its own?

The two bolts of #12 I can deal with. But the unwrapped bolt I am afraid to work with. It is undoubtedly a return from gawd-knows-whom-or-when, and it’s impossible to know what run or batch it’s in.

So I’m ahopin’ that I will be able to pull enough tricks out of my hat to paper the room without having to use this bolt.

Knock-Down Texture on a Wall

October 3, 2019


Here is a new sheet of drywall, installed to repair damage from flooding during Hurricane Harvey. The drywall is grey.

The splats of white stuff you see on top is joint compound that has been sprayed on, and then “knocked down” to about a 1/8″ height by a worker with a wide taping knife.

This creates a texture on the wall that is pretty common in newer suburban homes.

The surface should be primed, and then a coat of paint can be applied.

In the case of wallpaper, the wall would have to be “skim floated” and sanded smooth, to get rid of the texture.