Posts Tagged ‘vinyl coated’

Water Stains on Wallpaper

March 21, 2017

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This wallpaper has been up for 10, and possibly as long as 20 years.

It is an uncoated paper wallpaper, probably the type that we call a British pulp. It is in a bathroom, and, over time, water splashing onto the backsplash (or possibly the housekeeper’s cleaning solution) has been wicked up by the paper, and caused the water stains you see here.

A paper with a thin vinyl coating, like most American papers have, might have held up a little better. Also, a thin bead of clear caulk along the top of the backsplash might have prevented water from getting into the cut edge of the paper and discoloring it.

There are good things to be seen here, too. Thin papers like this one (as opposed to paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers), stay nice and tight to the wall, even in humid rooms like bathrooms, and even when water is splashed on them. Over all the years this wallpaper has been up, all of the seams are perfectly intact. And even though there is staining where water has gotten into the paper, the paper has stayed nice and tight against the wall and the backsplash. A paper-backed solid vinyl would have curled away from the wall, and would have looked much worse, and been impossible to repair.

Another reason to buy paper, and stay away from paper-backed solid vinyl.

Don’t Buy Paper-Backed Vinyl Wallpapers – Bad Seams

February 4, 2017

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Today’s wallpaper was a pre-pasted solid-vinyl material with a somewhat gritty manila paper type backing. These papers are usually in the lower price spectrum. These papers are also my least favorite type of wallcovering.

In the upper right of the photo is a seam that is what I call pooched. Puckered just a little. Other parts of the seam gapped a little. There were many areas that curled and would not lie down flat against the wall. I tried three pasting methods with the paper, but none of them left really good looking seams.

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers? The problem is that the paper backing absorbs moisture from the wet paste and expands. That expansion pushes the vinyl surface backwards and creates the little bit of curl at the seams. Often, this will lie back down once the paper is good and dry (which can take a while, because it’s plastic and there is nowhere for the moisture to go because it can’t pass through the plastic). But not always.

Now, if the seams curl when they are wet with wallpaper paste, how do you think they will perform when your teenager takes 40-minute showers and steams up the room, or on those days when you turn off the A/C and open the windows to enjoy the fresh air – a.k.a. Houston Humidity?

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers?

This paper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings and was made in England.

Better options would be a vinyl coated paper (similar terminology, but a big difference in material content), or one of the newer non-woven substrates, preferably the thinner ones (like the Sure Strip line), rather than the thick, spongy, or stiff ones.

Don’t Use Vinyl In Rooms That Have Drippy Water Or High Humidity

November 9, 2016
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I am getting ready to strip off this paper, which I hung more than a decade ago. (I also hung the previous paper, about 20 years ago, so this will be my third time to paper this powder room!)

The first photo is a seam that happened to fall just where the hand towel hung. Over the years, as people reached for the towel, water dripped from their hand and onto the wallpaper, and then was wicked into the seam. The paper backing would become wet, and swell. Over time, the top vinyl layer delaminated from the paper backing, curling backwards.

The same thing has happened in the two other photos, which show the baseboard around the sink, where, presumably, water also got dripped onto. (This is a home with active children.)

The other walls that were away from the wet areas were perfectly intact, from crown molding to baseboard.

The moral is, solid vinyl wallpaper with a paper backing is not a good choice in areas that will be exposed to water or humidity. Manufacturers try to market vinyl as “bathroom” wallpaper, because it is more washable than paper wallpapers, and because water will roll off its surface. But water will also get sucked into the seams, and cause the delaminating and curling that you see here.

Not surprisingly, these paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers tend to be at the lower end of the price range.

Much better choices are wallpaper made with a paper surface, or a vinyl-coated surface on a paper backing, or even the newer non-woven materials, especially the thinner ones.

Note that solid vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing is a whole ‘nother animal, and will hold up quite nicely in a splash-prone area.

In all cases, I like to run a bead of clear caulk around the top of the sink, to prevent splashed water from being wicked up under the wallpaper.

Sweet Mini-Print in a Vintage Bathroom

September 17, 2014

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Digital ImageThe guest bathroom in this early 1950’s ranch-style house near Highland Village in Houston still has its original yellow wall tile, with the funky green accent tile around the top. I love this old retro stuff, and so does the homeowner. She wanted a wallpaper that would work with the tile, but still look up-to-date.

She had found a paper with square dots in a color that worked well with the tile. But it was one of the uncoated (stains easily) pulp papers by a British company (pricey). Dorota (read below) was able to find her some better-suited options, and she settled on this one. She asked my opinion before buying, and I said YES! It’s vinyl-coated so it’s a little washable, it’s less expensive, and I like the lively foliage pattern much better than plain old rectangular dots all over the paper.

The first photo is the room after I’ve smoothed and primed the walls. The second photo is a finished shot, and the third is an (admittedly grainy) close up of the pattern. Click to enlarge and see a better view. The black line is an extension cord going to supplemental lighting I rigged in the room.

The homeowner was out of town while I did the work today, and will come home to a very happy surprise in her soon-to-be-children’s bathroom.

This wallpaper pattern is by WallQuest, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Please AVOID Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallcoverings!

August 2, 2014

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Digital ImageThis curling at the seams, which is not repasteable or repairable (at least not if you want it to look right) is not uncommon when economically-priced paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper has been used, particularly in humid rooms like bathrooms.

My theory is that the science is that moisture from humid air (teenagers taking 45-minute steamy showers!),works its way into the seams of the wallpaper, and is absorbed by the porous, gritty paper backing typically used on these types of wallpapers. The paper expands, and that causes the material to curl at the seams. These “curls” are usually hard and stiff, and really don’t respond to attempts to get them to reattach to the wall.

A liner under the wallcovering would probably benefit, because liners help to absorb moisture, while they also “lock down” the seams. However, liners add additional cost for merchandise and labor, and add at least a day to the job.

Much better, in my opinion, to steer away from “solid vinyl” materials, and buy “paper” or “vinyl-coated” or even the new “non-woven” wallcoverings.

My wallpaper seller gal can help guide you (see link at right, “Where to Buy Wallpaper in Houston.”

Stay Away from Solid Vinyl in Humid Bathrooms

September 20, 2012

OK, this isn’t a blanket statement, but in general, I advise people to avoid “solid vinyl” wallcoverings, especially in rooms with a lot of humidity, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

The reason is that these papers have a porous backing that seems to absorb moisture from the air. When moisture is absorbed, the backing of the wallpaper expands, forcing the paper to curl away from the wall and toward the front, as you see in the photo.

This is not loose paper, and cannot be repasted or stuck back down. It is hard curled edges of paper that want to stay just where they are.

“Vinyl-coated” or “uncoated” papers are a better choice for humid areas.

Be aware that solid vinyls are fairly washable, while vinyl-coated and uncoated papers are not. Hopefully, you won’t have people putting their hands on your walls or squirting hair spray willy-nilly, so washability shouldn’t be a concern. However, having paper that stays stuck to your wall for years to come¬†should be a concern.

So please steer away from solid vinyls, and go with other types of paper.

Smart Comments My Clients Have Made

August 30, 2011

Not too long ago, a gal phoned me to ask, “I was about to go look at wallpaper, and it occurred to me that before I picked out something, I ought to find out what types of paper YOU think are good.”

My, what a smart gal! As a matter of fact, I DO have a very strong opinion of different types of paper. I am sure I will blog on this at some point, and probably more than once. But the main thing I like to tell people is to steer away from thick plasticy “solid vinyl” papers, and to look for thinner “vinyl coated” varieties. I know that sounds confusing – just read the label and info in the books.

Another¬†lady called me and asked, “I was wondering … Is it better for me to measure my room and figure how much paper to buy, or should you come out first and do the measuring?”

Another very smart question, and another topic for a future blog (or rant, as it likely will be). Measuring a space can be tricky, and involves all sorts of factors, like the various spaces in the room, the pattern repeat, drop, width of roll, and all sorts of othe factors. The main thing I want to stress is that you canNOT assume that every square foot of paper that is on the roll will be available to place on your wall. You MUST allow for sufficient waste. Figuring the amount of paper required to do a job is a task for a professional.

The third comment was from a home owner who was thumbing through books hoping to choose a paper for her bathroom. One of the books bragged, “Goes up easily, comes off easily.” Well, this gal read that second part, and said, “I am not sure that I like the sound of that.”

BINGO! Since getting old wallpaper off walls (especially improperly prepared walls) can be a real bugger bear, these days, manufacturers are trying to appeal to DIYers by developing papers that will strip off the wall easily.

But this begs the question … “If it comes off so easily when I’m ready to take it down, how wall is it going to stay up on the wall when I want it to stay on?”

I praise these three home owners for getting information before they began hunting for wallpaper.

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