Posts Tagged ‘wall prep’

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

Paste Stains on Wallpaper and Woodwork

November 6, 2021
This wallpaper has been up for nearly 30 years. Over time, ” shadows ” of wallpaper paste have begun to show.
The stains are most common at the seams. During installation, it’s typical for paste to ooze out at the seams, and for the installer to wipe the paste off with a damp sponge or cloth. If he doesn’t get it all, then, over time, the paste can manifest, as you see here. There are also darker blotches to the right of the seam.
Paste caught in the lightly textured surface, and probably spread around by the installer’s wiping.
Seam opening up, probably due to humidity and / or improper wall prep.
Stains showing over a window. I don’t believe the room looked like this when the installation was completed years ago. I believe that time and humidity and other factors caused the paste to darken and show itself on the surface. I also have a hunch that clay-based paste was used. I don’t like that stuff, particularly for this reason.
One sad thing is that this room didn’t have to look like this. Note this section “before.”
Here is the same section “after.” All I did was wipe with clean water and a sponge and the stains came off easily.
Here are stains from paste that was not completely wiped off the woodwork.
Here is the same woodwork after I wiped for just a half a minute with a damp cloth.

I hate that the homeowner lived for 30 years with gradually worsening staining like this. I guess that if someone had gotten industrious, he could have taken a bucket of clean water (refreshed frequently) and a rag, and spent an afternoon washing down the walls and woodwork, and a few spots on the ceiling.

Even better would be if the original installer had ” worked clean ” – meaning, working carefully so as not to get any paste on the surface of the paper in the first place. And being more fastidious in removing any paste that did get onto the wallpaper or woodwork.

Mad!

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.