Posts Tagged ‘vinyl over vinyl’

Old Wallpaper Could Not Be Stripped Off

July 12, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


The homeowner is ready for a new look, so the red wallpaper with the “broken coral” pattern has to go. I am pretty darned good at removing wallpaper, but this stuff was not agreeable with the idea.

Normally, you peel off the top, inked layer, and then soak the remaining backing layer with water until the paste loosens, and then you can either lift the paper from the wall, or gently scrape it off.

But this top inked layer came off in tiny pieces – 1/2″ square. Which meant it would take a year and a day to get the whole room stripped off. Then, on my test area, when I tried soaking the paper backing to loosen the paste, it would have non of it.

The backing would not come away from the wall. And in the tiny 1/2″ square area where I finally did get the paper off the wall, there were more problems underneath. Meaning, a gummy, rubbery substance that would not come off the wall, and that left a residue behind that was unsuitable for hanging new wallpaper on top of – it would have necessitated a whole lot of additional skim-floating, sanding, sealing, priming, etc.

I believe that the previous installer either primed the walls with RX-35, or hung the paper with VOV ( Vinyl Over Vinyl), both of which are inappropriate for this type of paper, and both of which are nearly impossible to remove, and both of which leave the gummy, rubbery residue that is so difficult to negate.

I found it preferable to leave the existing paper on the wall. I removed any loose areas (virtually none), and then skim-floated over the seams with joint compound, to remove any vertical lines that could show under the new paper. That’s the white stuff you see in the 2nd photo.

When dry, I sanded that smooth, wiped off the residual dust with a damp sponge, and then primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealing primer. This will yield a smooth, stable surface for the new wallpaper to grab onto.

Repair Job – Paper Not Sticking

April 12, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageThis is a solid vinyl on a woven fabric backing, that had been up in the outer room (sink area – no shower) of a bathroom for 30 or so years. These areas had begun to come loose. Both were spots where the installer had overlapped the paper.

Vinyl wallpaper won’t stick to vinyl wallpaper, because the surface is too slick for it go get a grab onto. Think about Colorforms temporary-stick toy. It will kind of stick, but not for the long haul, and not if there is stress put on the area.

Because there are always areas that will need to be overlapped in a wallpaper job, chemists have come up with special adhesives that will allow wallpaper to stick to a glossy or plastic surface. It’s called “border paste” or “vinyl-over-vinyl.” I think the original installer did use VOV in these spots, but that it simply gave out over time.

The VOV I carry is pretty thin, so I knew it would not be strong enough to overcome the curl in the paper in the corner – first photo. I needed something with more immediate tack. So instead I used clear caulk, one of my secret weapons, making sure to wipe any residue off the surface of the paper.

In the second photo, for some reason, the original paperhanger had overlapped a 1″ wide section above the door. In addition, the pattern was not matched correctly. At first, I thought I would remove the short strip on the left and replace it with a new one – and the homeowner had about 20″ left of paper, with the proper match, so it could have been done that way. But there would have been a noticeable color difference between the new strip and the one that had been on the wall for 30 years. Plus, it would have used up every single inch of paper she had left over.

So instead I did a splice. Since the two papers were already overlapped, it was simply a matter of using a very sharp razor blade to cut through the two layers of paper, being careful not to to score the wall beneath, and then removing the unneeded pieces, pasting the parts that needed paste, and smoothing the whole thing back into place. It worked perfectly.

Except that the pattern did not match. Never fear – I pulled out my trusty graphite pencil and drew on some leaves and stems, to disguise the mismatch. I was prepared to use watercolor to paint on some green leaves, too, but it was unnecessary.

The repair looked great, and the homeowner still has her 20″ of left over paper, in case something else happens that needs a little repair work.

Removing Backing to Make a Patch

January 27, 2013

Digital ImageWhat you are looking at is a scrap of solid vinyl wallpaper with its yellowy paper backing (left), and with the backing removed (right).

Workmen got paint on the walls of this client’s bath. She has convinced herself that replacing the two damaged strips is the best avenue; for several reasons, I would rather not strip off the existing paper and replace them … Color difference between what’s been on the wall for 12 years and what’s been in storage, using virtually all the paper she has left, when there may be a greater need down the road, it’s really tricky to remove one strip without damaging the one next to it, and it’s equally tricky to get a new wet strip to mesh perfectly with an existing dry strip (wallpaper is meant to be hung sequentially all at the same time), not to mention lugging my big work table up three narrow flights of stairs.

So I want to try patching over the paint stains. On a paper with a pattern, depending on the pattern, you can cut around a vine, for instance, and simply paste it over the corresponding pattern on the wall. This paper has no pattern, so it’s a little more difficult to make the patch disappear. Additionally, since the paper is a paper-backed solid vinyl, there is the issue of the patch being thick and showing by sticking up above the existing paper. Besides the thickness, there is the white color of the paper backing being visible around the circumference of the patch.

So I took some scraps home and played. This type of wallpaper is a strong sheet of vinyl bonded to a somewhat fuzzy manilla paper type of backing, something like thin construction paper. I thought that if I could get the vinyl to seperate from the backing, I would have thin enough piece to use as a patch. When you strip this type of paper from a wall, usually the vinyl coating comes off in largish pieces, and leaves the backing on the wall (which then needs to be soaked off). That encouraged me to think I could seperate the vinyl from the backing.

I soaked the scraps for two days, to get the backing really saturated and loose. I was able to peel some bits of paper away, but there was still most of it left bonded to the vinyl. Then I used various scrubbies to remove the paper. The green scrubby attached to a kitchen sponge got too gummed up, but I had success with a good old fashioned kitchen pot scrubber – the kind that looks like enlarged nylon net.

It took a lot of gentle scrubbing, but I was able to get virtually all the fuzzy paper off. Now the remaining vinyl is thin, and should make a nice flat, invisible patch. With the paper backing gone, I am left with a sheet of vinyl, which doesn’t stick to ordinary wallpaper paste (too slick). So, I will have to use “vinyl-over-vinyl” paste, made to stick to both the exposed vinyl backing of the patch as well as the vinyl coating of the paper on the wall.

I have great hopes for this, and am sure it will work well and look better than removing and replacing two 9′ strips. I hope the client likes it, too… as I mentioned, she is pretty set on having the two strips replaced. In her mind, what she sees is nice, clean wallpaper replacing the damaged strips. In my mind, I see a seam that quite possibly won’t be flat and perfect, if I am forced to remove the stained strips and put new wet paper next to the existing dry paper.

Let’s hope the patch looks super, and changes her mind.

To be continued…..

Bradbury & Bradbury Job – Paste

December 14, 2011

When dealing with a high-end wallpaper such as Bradbury & Bradbury, it’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer to see their recommendations for paste, primer, and other necessities. I’m glad I called B&B to ask about paste.

When I’ve done their papers in the past, it was always recommended to use powdered wheat paste, mixed on-site, or a similar product which is cellulose-based. I haven’t done B&B in a year or two, however, and their specifications have changed.

Now they suggest using clay-based paste – quite different product from the wheat or cellulose based pastes.

And – YUCK! I don’t like clay paste and don’t use it – have not touched it for nearly two decades, and I know other paperhangers who feel the same. It’s slimy, colored, stains, hard to wipe from surfaces, and just a mess to deal with putting up and then later when taking down a wallpaper.

However, it’s a “low moisture” paste and a very strong paste, so it does have its uses. Commercial installers working with very heavy goods usually use clay-based paste. And that’s what B&B recommended.

So, for the first time ever, I ordered a 5-gallon bucket.

And then told the homeowners that I sure hoped the big strong husband was home when I got there – regular pre-mixed vinyl wallpaper paste is pretty darned heavy in a 5-gallon bucket (40lbs or so) but this clay stuff had to be close to 60lbs!!

Anyway, the reason B&B recommends this earthy product for their paper is that they found it works best with their paper stock and inks. They said that the clay in the paste does not react with their inks as other paste formulas might, and won’t cause the ink to flake off and won’t stain the paper.

I did find that the clay paste did dry faster than my usual vinyl type, which meant a shorter “open” time – which is not a good thing when hand-trimming paper. It also was harder to remove from woodwork and from the suface of the paper, nor does it have the “slip” I am used to, so sliding paper into place and positioning as needed was more difficult.

On the positive side, it does hold well, which is important when doing those hand-trimmed seams. And it sticks well enough to the B&B paper that no VOV (vinyl over vinyl) paste is needed when doing overlaps such as in corners or when applying borders.

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