Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

Prepping for a Repair Job Today

May 10, 2017

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This 1930 home just south of Houston’s Medical Center was being rewired, and the electricians drilled pilot holes into the wall in the room behind this room – and straight through the wall into this bathroom. Two smallish holes, but they totally ruined the wallpaper in this area. Top photo.

Luckily, this strip was next to a corner, so only this one strip had to be replaced. Which is a lot less complicated than dealing with multiple strips.

Also lucky is that the homeowners had saved the left over paper from when I hung it several years ago.

When I started stripping the wallpaper from the wall, it took chunks of the primer along with it. This surprised me, because that type of paper usually strips off relatively easily, and the primer I used usually holds nice and tight to the wall I think this is due to whatever paint or other treatment the contractors put on the wall before I got there. At any rate, the wall was left with jagged and uneven areas. Second photo.

Because the paper was heavily textured, it would probably have been possible to seal the damaged wall and hang the replacement paper over it with none of the uneven areas telegraphing through.

But I just couldn’t let myself do that.  I wanted the surface to be smooth and sound.  So I did a very light skim-float over the wall to smooth it. This added a lot more time, because I had to wait for the compound to dry, and then for the penetrating sealer / primer (Gardz) I applied to dry, also. But I felt better about the surface once these steps were done.

The last photo shows the finished wall – along with a few of my measurements and figures. Note that they are carefully written in pencil, because it’s about the only writing material that will not bleed through wallpaper.

Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished wall. But it turned out great.

This wallpaper is a textured vinyl product that is a wonderful alternative to real grasscloth, because it has none of the shading, paneling, color variations or staining problems of the real stuff.  This product is by Warner, but it is the exact same product as one I have done many times, called Bankin Raffia, by Thibaut.  This one did appear to have a slightly different backing than the Thibaut product, however.  I prefer the Thibaut.  You can Search here to see other jobs I have done with this very fine product.

“Scrim” Backing on Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

March 22, 2017

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This thick vinyl wallpaper has a deeply-embossed surface. To support that, the material has been fused to a “scrim” backing – a loosely-woven fabric that is sort of like fine, strong cheesecloth.

While I don’t like solid vinyl wallpapers with a paper backing (because the seams tend to curl up in humid environments), those made with this woven scrim backing are a whole ‘nother ball game … They are tough and durable, resistant to water, resistant to humidity, can be washed, can be banged into, etc., all without worries of damage.

The manufacturer is York Wallcoverings, and the paper was bought through Dorota 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.

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.

Wallpaper on Bookshelves Brightens a Dark Room

March 11, 2017

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This living room in a home in the Bunker Hill Village area has lots of windows, yet gets little natural light, and has skimpy interior lighting. In addition, the dark wood of the built-in bookcases seems to suck up what little light there is.

Interior designer Layne Ogden used this light tan faux grasscloth to both add textural interest to the back of the bookshelves, as well as lighten them up. Just this little touch brings a lot of lightness into the room.

The wallpaper is a vinyl product by Thibaut, with a textured surface that look like real woven grasscloth. Because it’s man-made, there is none of the visible seams or color variations between strips, nor the staining problems that are inherent to real grasscloth, plus it’s washable. It’s a little thick and tricky to trim or turn corners, but I like this product a whole lot and try to steer people toward it when they are considering grasscloth. It is called Bankun Raffia.

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.

Stripping Wallpaper

December 26, 2016

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Today I repapered a powder room that I have done at least twice before, over 20 years or so. The existing paper stripped off easily, in part because it was a pre-pasted paper-backed solid-vinyl paper, and also because of the primer I used to seal the walls – oil-based KILZ Original. The primer protected the walls and kept them intact, and there was no damage to the walls whatsoever.

The photo shows all steps of removing this kind of wallpaper. The printed top vinyl / plastic layer is pulled off. With this kind of paper, the top layer usually separates and pulls off easily and in large pieces. This leaves a paper backing still stuck to the wall. This is the light tan area you see in the photo. I use a wet sponge to soak this layer. When it gets good and wet, it turns dark tan, as seen in the photo.

The next step is to remove this backing. Once it’s good and wet, the paste holding it to the wall will reactivate, and the wallpaper will peel away from the wall easily and in large pieces. Sometimes it might be necessary to scrape the paper off the wall, which can be done with a not-too-sharp 3″ stiff putty knife, taking care not to gouge into the wall surface.

Usurped – My Landing Place for Shoes & Tools

December 7, 2016

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I like to leave this scrap of sturdy vinyl wallpaper at the front door, to set my shoes on, and other equipment, to protect the homeowners’ floors.

Today I was working in a new-construction home. I turned around and found that the other workers in the home had followed suit, and that little patch of vinyl was covered with shoes and tools!

By the time I grabbed my camera, here’s what was there…

More Durable Alternative to Grasscloth

December 1, 2016
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This couple wanted a textured paper, rather than a busy pattern, for their powder room in a newish home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. After spending several months looking at options, and also seeking my input, they decided on this. The design is meant to look like grasscloth, but to me, it has much more of a sleek, modern look, all of which is enhanced by the slivery grey color.

What is extra nice about this selection is that it is a scrim (fabric) backed vinyl material, and will hold up to water splashes and dings quite nicely; real grasscloth, and even paper wallpaper products, cannot say the same. Because it is meant to mimic grasscloth, there is no pattern to be matched, and so the seams are more visible than with other patterns. But this product did not have the paneling and shading problems that plague real grasscloth, so the seams really are barely noticeable.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, from the Texture Resource line, pattern # 5834, and was bought at a 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.

Circles, Spots, and Dots

November 30, 2016
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These owners of a newish townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted an accent wall covered with something to bring personality to their third floor TV room, without adding too much distracting color or pattern, and without overwhelming the large flat screen TV. After looking at maybe a zillion choices, they came back to one of their first loves, this fun ball design.

The builder had not textured the wall, so all the only prep that was needed was a primer. I centered the balls in the middle of the wall so they would look even around the TV set. I used plastic strips to keep paste off the ceiling and the walls that were not being papered.

This wallpaper I by Wallquest, and is in their Ecochic line. It is a thin paper (not a vinyl) and will hold up nicely.

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.