Posts Tagged ‘wall’

Banged Edges – Makes Wallpaper Unusable

January 8, 2018



Shame on the UPS / FedEx guy for hurling this carton of wallpaper from one end of the truck down to the ground. (“allegedly” ūüôā ) However it happened, the ends of three of the five bolts of wallpaper were banged up, dented, and damaged.

Often, with paper, these damaged edges will flatten out on the wall once the paste is dried. But this “Woods” pattern by Cole & Son is printed on a thick, spongy non-woven material. It will not flatten out like a paper will. These dents and dings are likely to show on the wall. That’s a dent and a ding every 6″ or so, all the way down the wall – a full 9 1/2 feet.

In this case, a full 10′ strip from each bolt was unusable. The homeowner could have reordered more paper, but that would have caused a delay in getting the room done, a domino-effect with scheduling other contractors, more labor costs, more paper and shipping costs, etc.

I did a lot of plotting and measuring and calculating. In the end, I had to pull a lot of tricks out of my hat, but I was be able to finish the room without any banged edges in any visible areas.

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Curved Walls, Bull Nosed Edges

December 23, 2017


This is a beautiful entry to a new home in Sugarland. But to a wallpaper hanger, it presents many challenges.

First are the bull-nosed, or rounded, corners. When wallpaper ends on one of these corners, it’s very hard to get straight, neat cuts, because, with the paper hanging over the corner, it’s impossible to see where you are cutting. The walls were far from plumb, so I couldn’t use a level or shoot a line with my laser level. I have a tool that helps as a guide, but it slips and is not 100% accurate. And my pencil line on the dark paper was almost impossible to see.

It’s also hard for the wallpaper to grab and hold tight when it has to turn around a round corner. And double so because, while I smoothed the walls, I was unable to smooth them to the exact vertical line along the rounded corners where the wallpaper would end. That means that the wallpaper was left to adhere to 1/8″ or so of fairly heavily textured wall surface. That leaves less area for the paper to stick to, meaning that there may be some visual gaps, and also the worries that the paper may let go and curl back down the road, as well as some bumps showing under the paper.

The rounded walls made for difficulty, too. It’s fairly easy to make flat walls perfectly flat. But even highly skilled drywallers have a hard time making walls perfectly even all the way around. If you paint the walls, it’s no problem, because paint will go anywhere. But wallpaper wants to fall straight, and won’t conform to walls that have bows or bulges or womps or the like. You can end up with wrinkles or areas that won’t lie flat or edges that warp out of shape.

All this was compounded by the height of the walls – 12′. The greater the wall height, the more chance the walls will be bowed or out of plumb or have other issues.

Regular paper can be stretched a little to accommodate these irregularities, but there’s a chance it will pull apart and gap a tad at the seams when it dries. This particular paper was a non-woven material, which is even less pliable. It was supposed to be a paste-the-wall procedure, but I opted to paste the paper, which wet it more and gave it more flexibility. Sill, I did notice a teeny bit of gapping at the seams as it dried. It will take several days to dry completely, so we will have to wait and see how it holds up.

In case of gapping at the seams, to minimize any of the white wall showing, I striped black paint behind where the seams would fall, as you see in the top photo. That’s a good trick, but it is testy, too, because paint is designed to look pretty, and does not have the type of surface that wallpaper is formulated to grab ahold of. So far, though, my paint is sticking to the wall, and the paper is staying down nice and flat.

Another thing with a circular room is – where is the end point? If there are no corners, where do you end the pattern? I was lucky on this one, because I had about 8′ linear of wall that was only 12″ high. And because the paper was dark and the pattern was pretty small and crazy and hard to see. So on that 12″ high area, I just brought the left side of the paper around the room to meet up with the right side, and overlapped the two last strips and spliced them together. The pattern doesn’t match, but there’s no way anyone could ever see – not from 12′ down on the ground.

This wallpaper is by Eijffinger, and is made to order in the Netherlands and takes several weeks to arrive. It was very nice to work with. I hope that next time I encounter this brand, it will be on a nice, flat, predictable wall. 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.

Hidden Trap Doors Covered With Wallpaper

December 2, 2017

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The top photo shows where a cut-out was made in the wall, to allow the plumbers to have access to the bathtub pipes inside the wall. The chunk of drywall they cut out has been replaced, and you can see around that the original wallpaper, which is a green grasscloth. Around that, the grasscloth has been painted tan.

The second photo shows another wall with a hinged door that allows access to some attic space behind. Let’s hope that whatever electrician or A/C guy who needs to crawl through there will be thin and trim!

The homeowners had to live with this access door in the middle of their new baby’s nursery wall. The wall was to be wallpapered, and they wanted the door to disappear as much as possible. When I got there, there was about a quarter-inch gap all around the trap door. Instead of trimming the wallpaper to the wall and to the door, which would have left a dark 1/4″ gap showing all around, I trimmed close to the trap door, and left just that little 1/4″ bit of wallpaper “flapping loose.”

You can still see the door, but it’s fairly well camouflaged, and looks much better than before.

Wall “Floats” Above Baseboard in Contemporary Home

September 17, 2017

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Some new, contemporary-style homes have this design element, where there is a 1/2″ gap between the wall and the baseboard.¬† It makes it look as if the wall is floating.

As long as that gap is deep enough, it’s relatively easy to trim the wallpaper at the bottom, and it should stick tightly.

This geometric wallpaper pattern is by Hemisphere, 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.

 

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry – Fast

August 23, 2017

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Many homes here in Houston have textured walls.  The texture will show through wallpaper and look bad, and it also prevents good adherence to the wall (because the paper wants to stick to a smooth, flat surface, not to the tops of bumps on the wall).  So I smooth the wall by troweling on a smoothing compound (drywall joint compound), which is similar to plaster.

Once it’s dry, it can be sanded smooth, then sealed and primed, and then it’s ready for wallpaper.

The trick is getting the compound to dry as quickly as possible.  Here I have three fans blowing full force on the wall.  These really speed things up.

Helpful, too, is having a ceiling fan.¬† And very important is having the air conditioning cranked down cold, and the house fan set from “Auto” to “On,” meaning that it will be constantly circulating that dry, air-conditioned air through the room.¬† It’s pulling moisture out of the wall and pulling humidity out of the air, and helping the wall to dry.

Stubborn spots can be hit with the heat gun.

Modern Style of Baseboard

March 6, 2016

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You are looking at the bottom of a wall papered with a peacock pattern by Cole & Son, where it meets the baseboard, which is painted bright turquoise. The wall is designed to look like it is “floating” above the baseboard, and they achieve this by leaving a 1/4″ gap between them. You find this in homes going for a sleek, crisp, modern look.

This requires a slightly different trimming technique when I get to the bottom of the wall.

Smoothing Textured Walls Means There Will Be Dust

February 21, 2016

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Wallpaper looks best, and adheres best, when it is hung on a smooth wall. To smooth a textured wall, joint compound (similar to plaster) is troweled onto the wall, allowed to dry, sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, and then primed. Then it’s ready for wallpaper.

The sanding process, though, does make dust. And it’s a fine, white, powdery dust, that sifts and drifts. My ShopVac does a good job of getting it up, and then I wipe up any reside with a damp cloth.

Trimming Grasscloth at the Ceiling

February 17, 2016

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Have you ever wondered how wallpaper gets trimmed?

Here I am, using my trim guild to hold a strip of grasscloth tight against the joint between the wall and ceiling, and using a razor knife to trim off the excess.

Keeping the Waves at the Top

December 18, 2015
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I hung this wallpaper in a nursery in Montrose, Houston. The crown molding on the left half of the wall was level. But as I moved to the right, the molding went off-level, and that meant that the pattern design started to be chopped off at the top of the wall.

Lowering the design on the next strip to keep it from being chopped off would mean that the pattern would not match the pattern on the previous strip. So I matched the pattern along the full height of the wall, except for the very top row. For this row, I cut horizontally across the width of the strip, roughly following the outline of the design. I could have cut a straight line, but I thought that following the design would do a better job of disguising the cut.

Then I lowered the pattern until it fell below the crown molding just where I wanted it to. The result was a little bit of an overlap onto the rest of the strip below it. I simply added a little extra paste, smoothed everything out, and Рvoilà!

Once the paper dries, it will shrink and the overlap will be minimal. Plus, at 10′ up, it would be hard to detect even if you were looking directly at it.

The wallpaper pattern is by Waverly, for York Wall.

Bamboo-Look Grasscloth Warms a Master Bedroom

June 11, 2015
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It does not take a dramatic change to make a dramatic change … In the first photo, the bedroom was painted a darkish tan, and it looked good. But, as you can see, once the one accent wall of grasscloth went up, the room had personality and warmth and character.

This grasscloth pattern is different from most, because it incorporates wide reeds, which look much like bamboo. Real bamboo is hard to cut, and hard to get to fit into corners and to cut around detailed areas like decorative moldings. So this thinner look-alike version was a good option.

In the top photo, the white area is where I have applied smoothing compound, to smooth the textured wall.  I also included photos of the seams, so viewers understand that grasscloth is a natural product, and is not expected to match across the seams.  This particular product, in fact, was very homogeneous in color (many are not), and I was very happy with the way it turned out.

I hung this on an accent / feature wall in a master bedroom in Pearland, outside Houston, Texas.