Posts Tagged ‘wall prep’


August 20, 2014

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital ImageOn a job I am doing this week (historic hummingbird wallpaper in a master bedroom), an old home in the Museum District being remodeled, the homeowners wanted to let their contractor do the wall prep in this bedroom. I usually insist on doing my own prep, but sometimes the painters or other contractors have already factored this into their bid. So I’ll give the workmen detailed instruction on how to prep the walls, and hope for the best.

As you can see, as far as priming the walls, it looks like they used a roller only, and did not use a brush to cut in along the woodwork, ceiling, or even the corners of the room (the somewhat dark lines you see along these areas). There is flat paint from the ceiling on the walls, and glossy paint from the woodwork on the walls, and wallpaper will not stick to either flat or gloss.

To rectify this, I spent at least 1 ½ hours cutting in along the woodwork and ceiling and corners with my primer.

The layer of primer was not adequately thick / solid, because there were gaps in it, allowing the bare joint compound to be exposed – which is porous and wallpaper does not want to stick to it.

Also, I’m not sure they used the product I asked them to, because I had instances of delaminating when I needed to pull a strip of paper off the wall and reposition (primer peeled away from the wall). Either that, or they failed to wipe the dust off the walls before priming – and nothing sticks to dust.

And, photo 3, this is how they left some areas – at least three areas, plus a 7’ section between the door and the corner. “Don’t worry – the door is open all the time and will hide it.” NOT!!

My point is, if a contractor is prepping the walls instead of me, they had better do a better job than this. The primer HAS to be cut in WITH A BRUSH along the woodwork and ceiling, and in the corners.

Even more important is that all dust be wiped off the surface of the wall with a damp sponge (not a dry cloth), before applying the primer. Nothing sticks to dust. If they don’t do this, the job will look good for a while. But the potential is for the paper to dry and pull tight, and that means putting tension on the seams, and if the surface below isn’t sound, it can give way and pull away from the wall, resulting in curled seams and gaps at the seams. And these usually cannot be “glued back down.”

Like I usually tell my customers – You can have me prep the walls correctly, which is usually included in my fee for papering the room. Or you can pay your other guy to do it – and then pay me to do it over again.

Knowing When to Bail

April 20, 2010

Please click the links at right to learn about me and my business.

Today I got two calls, both saying the same identical thing: “We need your help! We (or my husband) started wallpapering our bathroom, and got part way through, and realized it wasn’t going the way it should. It was harder than we thought it would be.”

You know, the manufacturers make it sound like a simple DIY project, when, in fact, doing a good wallpaper job takes a lot of know-how and experience.

Just the prep alone is tricky – and one of the most important elements for the job. Both of today’s callers, though, had totally neglected to do any prep at all – No wonder their jobs failed!

And prep is just the start. After that, it’s more than just pasting and applying the paper. There are lots of tricks and knowledge that only come with experience over a period of time – like how much pressure to use when smoothing, how to cut around intricate moldings, which side of the straight edge to place your razor blade, on and on.

I look forward to seeing these two jobs, and hope I can help the homeowners to finish up with a beautiful room.

The Kind of Phone Call I LOVE to Get!!

March 17, 2010

I got a call from a woman yesterday, and I just had to save it on my answering machine.

She said something like, “We want you to come finish wallpapering our entry. My husband and I tried doing it ourselves. After just about all day, we got one strip up, it’s all twisted and shredded at the top, and we looked at it and decided we need to get a professional to come and do it correcty.”

I LOVE clients like that! They have tried it themselves, they know how hard it can be – or at least how much technical knowlege and proper materials are required – and are willing to pay a fair price to have someone make the job look good.

In this case, the wallpaper is grasscloth, and that’s a material that takes special know-how to install correctly. You need special very clear paste, sharp cutting blades, and must take great care not to soil the surface. Oh, and, my big crusade – proper wall prep with an oil-based primer.