Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

Super Alternative to Grasscloth – With Texture, Color, Durability

April 18, 2018


I am not fond of grasscloth, for many reasons – Read my blog page on the right.

So here’s an alternative that I love. It’s made of embossed vinyl, so it has a textured surface and a tri-toned color finish, which people are loving right now. The vinyl composition makes it practically impervious to water, fingerprints, toiletries, and little boys with bad aim. 🙂 Being commercial-grade, it is also durable, so it will hold up to dings and bangs. And it has a woven fabric backing, so it will strip off the wall easily when its time to redecorate.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and comes in 30+ colors. It’s made by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

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Glamming Up and Brightening Up a Master Bedroom

April 17, 2018


This young family, in the Tammaron subdivision of Katy in far west Houston, has been in their home for two years, but had never gotten around to decorating their master bedroom. (Look closely, and you’ll see the protective plastic still on the mirrored parts of the headboard.) With a new baby coming next week, whom they plan to have share their bedroom for a while, they wanted to get the room’s décor pulled together so that when the baby comes, she’ll be all they need to focus on.

I am usually booked several months out with work, but I had a schedule change and was able to get this family’s paper up – a mere three days before the baby is due.

Originally, the whole room was painted a deep purple, which you can see to the right in the top photo. It was a pretty color, but it made the large room oppressively dark. In that top picture, the heavily textured wall has been smoothed and primed, and is ready for wallpaper.

The home has pretty contemporary furnishings. The wife’s taste is more glitzy and glamory than the husband’s. So she had to choose something that went with their modern style, but was not so shiny or highbrow that her husband would be uncomfortable.

The second photo shows the finished accent wall. I think she did a super job of choosing a paper with shine and glitz, but that does not overwhelm the room with Hollywood sparkle or femininity. And that one accent wall does much to brighten the dark room.

This wallpaper pattern is a textured, shiny vinyl on a non-woven backing. It was a paste-the-paper procedure, and was very nice to work with. When it’s time to redecorate, the paper is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece.

The paper is by York Wallcoverings, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Innovative Solution for Drywall Cracks

March 16, 2018


I had noted that the walls in this powder room had one horizontal crack in the drywall. I picked up a roll of mesh tape, so I could fix the crack.

But when I got to work, the HO had already applied this. It was recommended by the Sherwin-Williams guy. It’s peel-and-stick, and comes in several widths. It feels like vinyl, and if there is any movement within the crack, it is supposed to expand and contract without opening up another crack.

The instructions say the feathered edges allow you to paint over it invisibly. The wallpaper was thin-ish, and I worried that the patch would show under the paper, so I chose to skim over it, which smoothed away any rides.

I don’t have any history or info on this product, so time will tell how it performs in this application.

A Possible Good Quality Pre-Pasted, Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

March 8, 2018


In previous posts, including one day ago, I have railed against the lower-price-point, pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers. Do a Search here to find out why.

But today, at the end of a 9-day job in Bellaire, where each of the four bathrooms was using the same brand of wallpaper, this final pattern (in a powder room) actually went up beautifully.

The seams laid down nice and flat, there was no bubbling, no curling, no fighting with it. Even I could not find the seams!

I noticed three differences. First, the vinyl on the surface was smooth, instead of the lightly textured faux “satin” look on the other two patterns. Second, the paper backing seemed smoother, as contrasted to the somewhat gritty, porous paper backing on the other patterns. Third, the pre-paste applied by the manufacturer to the back of the paper was smoother and more gel-like, instead of the dry, globby, cantankerous paste on the other papers.

It’s too early to tell how this paper will hold up under humid conditions. But I have much more hope that it will not absorb humidity from the air, and will stay nice and flat to the wall.

The manufacturer is “Exclusive Wallcoverings” and is a British company. I’m not saying I love this paper, but it appears to be better than most of the pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl offerings out there.

From Diagonal to Vertical

March 3, 2018


This home in Bellaire was (Houston) built in the ’90’s, and the original wallpaper (top photo) in this bathroom was outdated and had begun to curl at the seams. I stripped off the old paper and primed the walls with Gardz, a penetrating sealer that is a good base for wallpaper to adhere to. See second photo.

The new tone-on-tone blue striped wallpaper updates the room, and adds a softer look. The homeowner chose cherry red accessories to accent the room. These are toned down by navy blue rugs and towels that are a slightly duskier navy and red.

This paper is a pre-pasted solid vinyl on a paper backing. Despite the economical price-point, I don’t recommend these types of papers, especially in rooms that are prone to humidity, such as bathrooms.

For starters, it’s difficult to install, and the seams never really look good. Second, the paper backing tends to absorb moisture from the air and then expand, and that causes the seams to curl. The vinyl surface layer is known for delaminating (separating from that paper backing). This, again, results in curled seams. This is not something that can be pasted back. So you are either left with curled seams or faced with repapering the entire room.

The best way to (hopefully) avoid this is to properly prep the walls, and to keep humidity to a minimum (avoid steamy showers, keep the A/C / heating vents open, run the exhaust fan, keep the door open).

Better yet, avoid purchasing paper-backed solid vinyl wallcoverings. If you shop at my favorite place (see the page on the right), you will be steered to beautiful papers of a better quality, while still at affordable prices.

Blue Faux Woven Grasscloth In A New Home’s Dining Room

February 20, 2018


This homeowner was originally considering grasscloth for the dining room in her home in a new subdivision in Cypress, in far northwest Houston. I sent her my “info pack” showing the visible seams, color variations, staining, bleeding, and other problems inherent to a natural material like grasscloth (see the grasscloth link on the right side of this page). She quickly realized that she would not be happy with the look of real grasscloth.

Instead, she chose this faux product made of embossed vinyl. This ‘woven look’ pattern has the texture that people love, and the different shades of blue add depth. This paper has become quite popular, and is available in about 30 colors. The homeowner was able to find this beautiful cloudy blue, which coordinated beautifully with furnishings and accents in her home.

One option for this dining room was to paper just the top 2/3 of the walls, and then leave the part below the chair rail painted. As you can see in the second photo, this look was a little lifeless. Once paper was added to the bottom area below the chair rail, the room began to feel snug and inviting.

This wallpaper is called Bankun Raffia, and is one of my favorite alternatives to real grasscloth. The seams are invisible. There is no shading or color variation between strips. It’s extremely durable, and is also water- and stain-resistant. It’s one of the few wallpapers that is a good choice for bathrooms or areas where it might be splashed by water or touched by grimy hands.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Stripping Off Old Wallpaper

February 14, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 ranch-style home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was damaged by a roof leak during Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s guys did a good job replacing drywall and painting the woodwork, but they fell short when it came to wallpaper. See first photo.

But this just gave the homeowner a chance to choose something that coordinated better with the decades-old tile that she loves (and that I love, too), and to pick a paper with more color and flair, that is more suited to her taste. See tomorrow’s post for that.

My first task was to remove the existing wallpaper. It turned out that there were two layers of paper, and, in some places, THREE layers.

In the second photo, I have removed most of the top (new) paper, which is the aqua trellis by Thibaut. I took it off by simply tearing it off the wall. Below it, you see the green savoy (small, tight, squiggly) by Waverly. Interestingly enough, I have hung this a bunch of times – in the ’90’s. 🙂

This paper was attached more tightly to the wall. To remove it, I had to first separate the top inked layer from it’s paper backing. You can see this in the second photo. Once the top layer, with it’s water-resistant acrylic surface was removed, it left behind a white paper backing. I used a sponge and bucket of hot water to soak the backing. It didn’t take long before the underlying paste reactivated, and then it was ready to let go of the wallpaper. You can see clean wall revealed in the photo, where the layers of wallpaper have come away.

In one area of the room, I got a surprise. There was a third layer of paper under the others. The top vinyl layer had been stripped of eons ago, but the tan, gritty paper backing was left on the wall. You can see this in the third photo dry (light tan) and soaked with water (dark tan). Once that tan paper backing got soaked enough with several spongings with hot water, the paste reactivated and the paper was happy to come away from the wall.

I was uncommonly lucky today, because whoever hung the original wallpaper had taken the time to prep the walls correctly. First, he skim-coated the textured walls to yield a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to. Second, he applied good quality penetrating sealer. This sealer might have been Gardz, a product that I use now, or another similar sealer, perhaps even a solvent-based (as opposed to water-based) sealer. His sealer provided a hard surface for the new paper to stick to, and also gave a surface that was resistant to all the water I was using to strip off the old wallpaper.

Check out the fourth picture to see the huge pile of wallpaper I pulled off this one small hall bathroom.

Once all the paper was off, the walls were in very good condition. There were no delaminated areas, no lifted areas, nothing that needed patching – just an amazingly intact surface.

I did a few little touch-ups to a few little areas (I wanted to clean up 60 years of grime collected along the top of the tile), and then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer, by Roman’s, their Pro 977 / Ultra Prime. It’s a white pigmented primer, and is a wonderful surface to hang wallpaper on.

A Folded Instruction Sheet Damages The Wallpaper

February 10, 2018


When I unrolled this wallpaper, I immediately noticed the deep creases on the back side. (In the photo, look to the right and left of the label.) The creases were visible on the front, too.

The creases were caused by an instruction sheet that had been tucked inside the bolt of wallpaper. That is pretty common. But the problem this time is that the paper had gotten wrinkled, and when it was pressed inside the roll of paper, the uneven surface pressed against the vinyl wallpaper caused creases.

These creases may or may not have flattened out once that paper was pasted and stuck to the wall. But, why chance it? I cut off an discarded the first 22″ or so from the bolt. The remaining paper was all in good condition.

A Beautiful Faux Grasscloth Sets Off a Fireplace Wall

February 9, 2018


This homeowner wanted something to set off the beautiful stone in her fireplace mantel, and to accent colors she has used elsewhere in the home. She was originally thinking of grasscloth, but I told her of the many problems with visible seams, staining, bleeding, and color variations (see the Grasscloth Info Pack link on the right side of this page), and she opted to go with this faux vinyl grass product instead. What a wonderful choice!

This embossed vinyl product has the look and texture of a woven grasscloth product, but it has a uniform color, and the seams are invisible. It is water and stain resistant, and durable to the point of being nearly indestructible.

It looks mighty nice on her fireplace wall, too.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is made by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Out of the ’70’s and Into a Bright Splash of Color and Fun!

July 21, 2017

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The top photo shows the entry of this ’70’s ranch style home in far west Houston in it’s ’90’s era shiny, striped, vinyl wallpaper. Once I stripped that off, below it was revealed the original wild orange and gold ’70’s era paper, which you see in the second photo.

That orange paper would not come off without damaging the Sheetrock (because the previous installer had not primed the walls), so I prepped the seams, sealed the paper, primed it, and then hung the new paper over it. The third photo shows the new paper going up. I love the picture, because it shows the dramatic transformation.

What a wild punch of color, and a cherry, fun pattern – and a little wildlife, too!

The new wallpaper is by York, in their Sure Strip line, which is a pre-pasted, non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall, when it’s time to redecorate. I love their products. This pattern is in their Williamsburg collection. It was bought at below retail price from 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.