Posts Tagged ‘thick’

Battling Curled Rolls

January 29, 2023
Wallpaper comes in tight rolls. Often, when you cut a strip off the roll, it wants to remain curled up, as you see here. Some types of non-woven material are really bad about this.
Even with weights on it, it’s hard to keep this stuff flat enough to get paste on the back. And when you do, it’ll often curl up again and get paste on the surface of the wallpaper .
So I’ll take the bolt of paper and carefully roll it backward , securing it with an elastic hairband from the dollar store. This was a several-day job, so I let the rolls sit over night. But often all you need is a few minutes to eliminate what we call ” memory ” – the desire for paper to stay rolled up.
Look at how nice and flat and flexible this example has become.
Note: rolling backward can damage the material, particularly some non-wovens that are what I call “puffy” and thick. Folding these backwards can cause the fibers to crease – which doesn’t look good on the wall! So it’s important to roll the material around a form for support, such as an unopened bolt of wallpaper. And to roll carefully and slowly as you go. Once the paper is completely re-wound and the hairband secured, you can carefully remove the support. Still, with some types of N-W, you may still end up with creases.

Slight Problems With Katie Kime Wallpaper

January 11, 2023
There were eight double roll bolts of this wallpaper , to cover a large powder room in Houston.
Four were rolled so the pattern came off the top of the roll, and four were rolled the opposite way, with the bottom coming off first. This Katie Kime brand is custom-printed , so you can assume that all these rolls are from the same run , or batch . But maybe not - why are some forward and some backward ? Possibly the company substituted some returned goods, or some old stock they had sitting around the warehouse, for half of this order.
I didn't want to risk putting strips of slightly different shades on the same wall. So I had to carefully plot the room so I used the "forward" rolls on some walls, and the "backward" rolls on the others. This does eat up additional paper , so good thing I always have the homeowner purchase a little extra.
Also note the crease in the roll on the right. There were a few other creases in other rolls.

I have no idea what happened to the font in the section above, nor do I know how to get it back to the original. All I know is that I HATE this “New Editor” that WordPress foisted on us a few years ago. Perfectly HORRIBLE. And their Customer Service doesn’t care. Anyway … moving on …
Note the horizontal smudge next to the top of the capitol. Since this Austin Toile pattern has a 25″ pattern repeat, discarding this piece ate up minimum of 2′ of material (x 24″ width = 4 square feet) and potentially more, to get the correct pattern match.
Usually this brand prints on a nice non-woven / paste the wall substrate. But, like other manufacturers, Katie Kime has had supply issues obtaining raw materials . During the height of the Pandemic , they resorted to printing on some positively awful stuff. Extremely heavy , thick , un- pliable , stretched to the extent that the pattern wouldn’t match properly, and more. One was completely un-hangable and had to be sent back. I can’t find all my posts re those challenges, but here is one:
https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/katie-kime-tough-install-today-draft-messed-up-delete/
But they’ve since gone back to printing on their usual stock, and I’ve not had problems lately. So when I first picked up this box of 8 double roll bolts, I was surprised at the weight of it. Also the paper had a shiny surface and was obviously composed of vinyl . I couldn’t tell if the substrate was non-woven or paper . I feared they had gone back to printing on that bad material , or perhaps were using up what they had in the back of the warehouse .
There were no instructions included, nor any information at all – not even a brand name! Although I could find instructions on-line, you can’t be sure these are current and applicable to the rolls in the box. KK has amazingly good customer service , and you can usually get intelligent answers via phone or on-line chat … but my call to them went to voice mail , and then we got disconnected, so I gave up.
After hanging the first few strips, I figured out that this was a flexible vinyl on a non-woven substrate, so that part was good. However, the thickness of the material interfered with getting good, tight, flat seams , as you can see somewhat in the photo. The seams aren’t horrible, but a better non-woven without the vinyl usually produces almost invisible seams.
The surface was shinier than usual. Shiny tends to show every imperfection in the wall underneath. Here the thickness was a bit of a help, as it helped cushion any slight dips or pimples on the wall.
There was also an odd orange discoloration about 1.5″ long on the edge of one strip. Very faint, but I could see it, and sometimes these things end up catching your eye. I also worry that it might be some substance that will bleed into the paper and cause a larger stain over time. Of course, this popped up after I had hung a very difficult piece in a tight spot, and then hung the subsequent strip. In other words – no way was I taking it off the wall and re-doing. I cut out a design motif and pasted it over the area.
Another thing I was unhappy with has happened a number of times with KK paper. The pattern will match perfectly at the top of the wall, but begin to slide up or down, creating a mis-match , as you move down the wall. I think that a lot of it has to do with the vinyl material, because it’s stretchy. The weight of the paste and the vinyl will cause the bottom section of the strip to sag. This simply doesn’t make sense, though, because, if the paper is going to absorb moisture from the paste and expand (which many papers do), each strip should do so at the same rate, right? But not.
I finally deduced, correctly or not, that the pattern gets distorted as it’s wound into a roll. So my theory is that if you take your 10′ strips from the same position in each roll, the pattern should match. In other words, take a 10′ strip from the top of roll #1. Take your next strip from a brand new roll #2. Third strip from roll #3. Obviously, this leaves a whole lot of unused paper. For shorter areas like over doors, where it’s harder to see, and where you can fudge the pattern a bit, I used the paper from the insides of the rolls, again, roll #1 next to roll #2, etc. But this doesn’t work on every instance, so you’re gonna be stuck with many areas where the pattern doesn’t match perfectly across the seams. The solution is to match the pattern at eye-level , and then allow it to go off as it moves toward the ceiling and floor.
There were other issues with this paper that were disappointing to me. But not overwhelmingly awful. Most homeowners would not notice. But I sure hope that this was a one-time issue, and Katie Kime will go back to its former good-quality, non-woven material.

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

Preparing To Work With Black Wallpaper

November 12, 2022
Black wallpaper’s gonna go on this wall . Because wallpaper sometimes shrinks a tad as it dries , and because manufacturers can’t always guarantee a perfectly straight cut edge , it’s possible that some of the wall will peek out from behind the seams .
One way to prevent this is to stripe dark paint on the wall under where the seams will fall. This wallpaper is made of non-woven and won’t expand as it gets wet with paste . Each strip is 27″ wide . This makes it easy to measure and plot where each seam will fall.
The center of the pattern is not placed in the middle of the wallpaper strip, but 10″ in from the left edge . I used that information to calculate where the seams would fall .
The paint I use is just craft paint from Michael’s or Texas Art Supply . I thin it with water (in the orange Gatorade cap) and swipe it on the wall with that scrap of sponge . It’s important not to make the paint too thick , because you want the wallpaper to be adhering to the wallpaper primer , and too heavy a coat of craft paint will prevent that primer from doing its job.
After laying out where each seam will fall, I use this laser level to shoot a vertical red line onto the wall, as a guide for where to swipe on the black paint .
Because this wallpaper is printed on a white substrate, it’s possible that that backing will show at the seams. So I use black chalk – again from the art supply store – to run down the edges of the wallpaper .
There’s been an uptick in interest in dark colors in wallpaper these days.
This wallpaper is by Rifle Paper .

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

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

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 ).

It’s A Misconception That A Liner Will Smooth A Textured Wall

May 25, 2022

A theory has been circulating for decades that a liner disguise texture or imperfections in a wall. A liner is a special paper applied to the walls before the actual decorative wallpaper goes up. It has its purpose – but smoothing walls is not one of them. At least, not in my opinion.

Here you see an area where a pedestal sink has been removed. In so doing, part of the drywall was torn away (the reddish brown area) and the wall surface is left uneven.

I’m using liner in this room for another reason. Here it has been applied over the damaged area. As you can see, the uneven texture of the wall shows right through (we say that it telegraphs ). Once the liner is good and dry, it will shrink and pull even tighter to the wall, and the ridges underneath will be even more visible.
And once the wallpaper goes up, all this will telegraph through the new wallpaper, as well.
Here’s the liner paper I used today. It’s a fairly thick, stiff, non-woven material, so has more ” bridging ” power than other types of liner paper. Still, as you see above, it’s not enough to smooth textured or uneven wall surfaces.
The only way to properly and thoroughly smooth a textured wall, IMO , is to skim-float it and then sand it smooth, and then apply a wallpaper primer. Please do a Search here (upper right corner) to find previous posts on this process.

A Soft POW! Factor

February 16, 2022
This home in the Energy Corridor / Memorial area of west Houston is dressed in soft tones of white, grey, pale wood tones. The homeowner wanted something dramatic in their exercise room bath, but also wanted to stick with the muted color scheme.
Looks like she got what she was hunting for!
Although this is actually a digital print, close-up it looks like brush strokes.
The wallpaper designer and manufacturer is Lindsay Cowles. The material is a stiff, thick, heavy non-woven like what we call a bridging liner. And to be honest, I’m not enjoying working with it. Hard to manipulate into corners and intricate moldings, and creases easily, among other misbehaviors. I’d much rather they would print on a more standard weight non-woven substrate.
This is a high-end brand, and the goods are sold by the yard and come packed in one huge, very heavy bolt, rather than several standard-sized rolls.