Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

Someone Hung Wallpaper over Textured Walls

June 19, 2018

The texture on this wall is not heavy, but it can still be seen under the wallpaper. In the second photo, I am stripping off the wallpaper, and you can see the wall texture underneath.

I removed the top vinyl layer of the wallpaper, then removed the paper backing. Then I skim-floated and sanded the wall to smooth it (no picture). Follow up with a primer, and the wall was smooth as a baby’s bottom and ready for the new wallpaper.

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Rubbery, Problematic Smoothing Compound

June 15, 2018


I was stripping wallpaper by peeling off the top vinyl layer and then soaking the paper backing to reactivate the paste so the paper could be removed from the wall – and ran into this.

It looks like the previous installer smoothed the wall (which is good), but used a latex spackling compound instead of the more typical joint compound. The latex became wet from the water I was using to soak off the wallpaper, and began to pull away from the wall.

This is all bad, because it leaves a bumpy mess on the wall that will show through the new paper. But worse is that it is an unstable surface for the new paper to try to hold on to. When wallpaper paste dries, the paper shrinks and puts tension on the surface below, particularly the seams. If the surface is not solid, the layers can actually come apart (delaminate) resulting in curled or gapping seams.

This is not “loose paper,” and cannot simply be glued back down. The different layers inside the wall are actually coming apart, and will require a lot of work to make the wall sound again.

Once the paper was off and the wall was good and dry, the layers seemed to adhere to each other better, and the wall felt more solid. The way I treated it was to roll on a coat of Gardz, which is a penetrating sealer that binds things together. It did a good job. Then I skim-floated over that with joint compound, which, when sanded, would leave a nice, smooth surface.

One more coat of Gardz on top of that, and the wall was sound and ready for wallpaper.

Gentle Texture, Soft Color on a Home Office Ceiliing

June 10, 2018


Here is the home office of interior designer Layne Torsch, of Layne Torsch Interiors, in the Highland Village neighborhood of Houston. Her look is serene and simple, but livable for today’s busy families.

The walls and furnishings in this room are plain and clean, but the addition of light texture and color on the ceiling warms things up. The material is called “Bankun Raffia,” and is by Thibaut Designs. It is a scrim (woven fabric) backed solid vinyl product that is embossed with a texture that resembles woven grasscloth. It has a two-toned color.

Read my “Grasscloth Info Pack” to the right, and you will learn that I am not fond of real grasscloth, because of the color variations. But this is one of my favorite faux grasscloth products, because of the uniformity of color and because of the water-resistance and durability of the material.

Sunroom With a Wonderful Faux Grasscloth –

May 18, 2018



This den in a 1948 ranch style home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston has two full walls of glass that look out onto a beautiful, green yard. The room was originally papered in really dark green vinyl faux grasscloth – I think the idea was to coordinate the room color with the verdant foliage outside. It wasn’t working. “We’ve lived with this for 20 years,” said the husband, “and have been trying all that time to figure out what would make it look better.” Indeed, I first looked at this room in 2015. Well, three years later, the homeowners finally found something way better.

The new wallpaper is also a faux grasscloth in a textured vinyl material. I like this product much better than real grasscloth, because it is free of the visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations that are such a disappointment with the real stuff (do a Search here for more posts / info). It is one of the few wallcoverings that are actually water-resistant and stain-resistant, and it will stand up to being banged into now and then – it’s the same commercial-grade material used in hotels and hospitals.

In addition, the scrim (woven fabric) backing, along with the vinyl surface, will provide some “give” – which is good, because this room had stress cracks in the drywall over doors and windows, and showed signs of the house shifting on its foundation, thanks to our contrary Houston gumbo soil.

The mottled color of the paper, along with the woven texture, give the feel of real grasscloth. The tan is a natural color, and it goes nicely with the view outside the window, but doesn’t compete with the scenery like the dark green paper did. The dark furniture in the room is no longer swallowed up by the dark wallpaper, and all of a sudden, the whole space is much brighter.

After 20 years, it’s a big change for the homeowners, but already, they are loving it!

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is by Thibaut Designs. It was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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 Vinyl – Again

April 25, 2018


The original wallpaper put up in the early ’90’s was the then-popular “satin” or “moray” shiny, slightly textured heavy vinyl material, with – to crown it off – boring stripes in a lackluster color. Before the new classic damask pattern can go up, the old paper needs to be removed. Here are some of the steps.

Stripping wallpaper is a matter of separating the layers, soaking the backing, and removing the backing from the wall. In the top photo, you can see that some of the colored / striped white vinyl layer has been pulled off the wall. It leaves behind a gritty-textured, yellow manila paper backing, still stuck to the wall.

Don’t let anyone smart-talk you into believing that it’s OK to leave this paper backing on the wall. The truth is, if you put new paper on top of it, the moisture from the paste will soak into the substrate left on the all, and will most likely cause bubbling of both layers.

Back to the top photo. Once that vinyl layer was stripped off the wall, I used a large sponge and a bucket of hot water to soak the backing left on the wall from each strip. This process is drippy, so I protected the baseboards and chair rail with absorbent, water-proof strips. In the photo, you can see the color change of this paper backing, as it becomes saturated with water it darkens and the paste behind it begins to soften.

In the second photo, the paper backing is entirely wet, the paste has reactivated and loosened, and the paper is easily peeling away from the wall, in one tidy intact piece. The section of wall to the right still has paper stuck to the wall. The section to the left has been stripped, and then scrubbed to remove paste residue.

The section in the middle is coming away to reveal a light colored clay-based paste still adhering to the wall. I will soak this, scrub it with a coarse sponge, and then wipe it with a softer sponge, to remove as much paste residue as possible.

Once the paste is washed off the wall and the wall has dried, I will apply a primer / sealer.

Note that this strip job was fairly easy and left no damage to the walls, due to a couple of important factors.

First, I think the original installer used a primer or sealer on the walls before hanging paper.

Second, the solid vinyl paper with its paper backing is generally easier than others to strip off. (However, I dislike this type of material, and find it poor quality, especially in rooms with humidity, such as bathrooms. The seams often show from the beginning, but also, as time goes by, especially in humid rooms, the seams often begin to curl, and cannot be glued back.)

On to the Third,,, the clay-based paste used by the original installer (and I’ve gotta wonder why he pasted the paper in the first place, since it was a pre-pasted paper – I follow the manufacturer’s instructions to run the paper through a water tray, which allows it to absorb moisture and expand as it’s supposed to, and also to become more malleable). But I also augment that by rolling on a thin layer of paste onto the wall. ).

Anyway, the clay-based pastes seem to rehydrate more readily than other pastes, and to separate from the paper more easily. They do leave a gooey, tan-colored mess on the wall, though. Which will need a bucket of hot water, a scrubby, and a lot of elbow grease to remove.

Lower-End Vinyl Wallpaper is Bad Stuff

April 24, 2018


Pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallcoverings are economical, and they are often touted as “kitchen and bath papers,” because the vinyl surface is resistant to water and because it can be washed better than paper papers.

But these products often perform poorly, especially in rooms with humid conditions or where they may be splashed with water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. It’s very common for the seams to curl, as you see in the photo. In some cases, the seams never look good, even when the paper is newly hung.

The curling seams are caused, in my opinion, because the paper backing absorbs moisture from the air, or if water is splashed onto a backsplash and can be wicked up into the paper backing of the wallpaper. The paper expands, the vinyl doesn’t, causing it to curl back. Then the vinyl actually delaminates from the paper backing. This is not a “loose seam” and cannot be simply glued back down. The two layers of the product are coming apart, and cannot be repaired.

My advice – avoid these papers. Instead go for a paper paper, or one of the new non-woven papers. More info on choosing a quality paper in the “Beginning – General Info Pack” page to the right.

Stripping Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

April 21, 2018


This pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpaper is one of my least favorite types due to its poor performance in humid areas. However, when it comes to stripping it off the wall, it’s one of my favorites. 🙂

Getting this paper off the wall is a matter of peeling off the top, printed, vinyl layer. This usually comes off in large pieces. The paper substrate layer will be left on the wall. That’s the light tan you see in the photo.

That layer gets soaked with a wet sponge and warm water. The backing will turn darker tan when it’s good and wet, as shown in the photo. It usually takes several applications of water, over a period of time, to reactivate the adhesive enough that the paper can be removed.

Sometimes that backing will simply and cooperatively come away from the wall. Other times you will need to use a stiff 3″ putty knife to gently scrape it off the wall, taking care to not gouge the wall or tear the drywall.

If the previous installer primed the walls, all this should go fairly easily and with minimal damage to the walls. But if no primer was used, it may take more care, time, and a little repair work to fix any damage to the walls.

See the page to the right on “How to Strip Wallpaper” for more information.

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.

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.