Posts Tagged ‘wall’

Watercolor Flowers for Baby Girl’s Nursery Accent Wall

September 18, 2021
Textured wall has been smoothed and primed.
This wallpaper pattern goes beautifully with the yellow adjacent walls, and is a nice change from the pink chosen for many girls’ nurseries.
The pattern looks like an artist’s study.
I love the drips and runs – it looks like a real watercolor painting.
Wallquest is a good paper. Their EcoChic line is environmentally friendly.

The baby’s crib will be centered on this wall.

This home is in the Braes Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Today’s Helper – Itsy Bitsy Spider …

September 16, 2021

Not the cute, furry pups, nor the inquisitive cats like some jobs. Today’s host was an itsy bitsy scurrying arachnid.

For some reason, it’s really common for me to encounter tiny spiders while I’m prepping walls. They’re almost always at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling, and almost always very, very small.

‘spiders eat bugs, so I see them as a good thing. So I try to shoo them away. But sometimes they insist on hanging around their territory – and then get stuck in the wallpaper primer.

What’s Going On With The Pattern Match?!

July 25, 2021

Turning this corner and moving from right to left, the pattern matched perfectly at the top of the wall (not shown). But as we get to the lower foot and a half, the pattern match goes askew. Wassup?

What’s up is a combination of un-plumb walls and bowed walls. All of the corners in this powder room were off-plumb by at least 1/2″ falling from ceiling to floor.

First, know that you don’t wrap a full sheet of wallpaper around a corner. You wrap about 1/8″ around the corner, and then use a separate strip to start as you move out of the corner; in this case, moving right to left.

If corners are simply off-plumb, I can usually make the pattern match near-perfectly … although that will cause the pattern to track up or down along the ceiling line. It’s a trade-off, depending on which is more visually important; ceiling or corners / horizontals or verticals.

But in this case, the walls were not only off-plumb, but bowed as well. You can’t hang a straight strip of wallpaper against a bowed wall …. Something’s gonna either gap or overlap. Some patterns will let me futz around and pull some tricks, but this one was not forgiving.

My only option was to let a little bit of the pattern repeat itself at the bottom of this corner.

Luckily this is between the toilet and the wall, and not very noticeable. The busy pattern further disguises the minor mis-match.

Rectifying a Mistake

July 2, 2021
Whoops! This wallpaper strip ended up too short. I suspect I forgot to add the 3″ extra for trimming at ceiling and floor. Sure would like to avoid replacing this whole strip.
I could have spliced a piece in horizontally. But that would have left a (slightly) visible horizontal seam, as well as put stress on the wall if the razor blade scored the surface. So I opted to patch in a piece. To disguise the patch, I cut along the design, and discarded the bottom piece.
Then I used scrap paper and cut along the same part of the design, making sure to leave a thin part of the design that would be overlapped (don’t want any gaps showing).
This patch was placed under the piece on the wall, with the top piece overlapping from above (less noticeable when viewed from above … the direction of lighting also affects this). Once all pieces were smoothed into place, it’s intact and homogeneous, and, best of all – undetectable.

Overlapping At The Seams

June 30, 2021

Re my previous post … the strips on this 6-panel mural are intended to be overlapped, by about a full inch.

There are advantages to this. Since wallpaper shrinks as it dries, it an result in gaps at the seams. Overlapping the seams prevents that.

Wallpaper that is drying and shrinking is also tugging at the wall behind it, which puts stress on the surface. If that surface is unstable, this tension could cause the layers inside the wall to give way and pull apart, resulting in open seams and a delaminated sub-surface. Overlapping the paper redistributes and minimizes the tension, and it also eliminates an open area where the two sides of the seam could pull away from the wall.

A disadvantage of the overlap method is that you can see the cut edge of the paper (see photo), and you also end up with a 1″ wide ridge running under the paper the full length of each seam. In this case, with such a busy pattern, you are not going to see that ridge.

Crumbly / Unstable Wall Issues

June 2, 2021
Starting to strip wallpaper. You see the top, inked layer, the tan backing layer, and the white skim-floated wall beneath.
Wall surfaces delaminating at seams
Gardz, a penetrating sealer that binds surfaces together and dries hard.
My first idea was to just Gardz the lifted areas. The sealer is newly applied and still wet in this photo.
Gardz’ing the whole wall created a more stable surface. This doesn’t look much different from the photo above. But in actuality, the the Gardz has sealed and “locked down” the surface, as well as soaked into the material and sealed the inner layers as well.
Applying a skim-coat to even out the surface levels.
Once this skim-coat is dry, it will be sanded smooth.

The installer of the original paper did a good job of skim-floating the wall and creating a smooth surface. But he didn’t apply a sealer or primer. Thus, when I used water to strip off the old wallpaper, the moisture soaked into his skim-coat (drywall joint compound, a plaster-like substance, which we also refer to as “mud”). Some of the skim-coat came away from the wall,,, particularly in areas of stress, such as where the wallpaper seams had lain.

In fact, long (years) before I began stripping the wallpaper, many of the seams had started to pull away from the wall, taking inner layers of the wall along with them. This is because wallpaper shrinks as it dries, and that creates tension on the wall. If the wall surface is unstable, these layers can delaminate (come apart), and the result is an open seam with chunks of wall material stuck to it.

This can also happen over time, as temperature and humidity changes can cause the wallpaper and / or wall surface to absorb and then let go of moisture. All this puts stress on those wallpaper seams and on the layers inside the wall.

Besides these seam areas that let go, I had one wall where the entire surface came apart in a mottled effect.

Another factor is that the original skim-coat had been applied over a glossy paint. It’s hard for anything to stick to gloss. The guy probably should have rolled on a “bonding primer” before applying his skim-coat.

Of course, all that increases the time and materials needed, and ups the cost to the homeowner.

Gardz is a wonderful product that is designed to soak into surfaces and “bind them together.” It dries hard and is pretty water-resistant. It was originally intended to “lock down” torn drywall. But workmen quickly discovered that it would fix a whole lot of other surfaces – such as my delaminating skim-coated walls.

At first I thought I would just Gardz (we use it as a noun and as a verb!) the areas that were lifting. Once it dried, I intended to skim-float over these areas, sand smooth, and then prime the entire room with my usual wallpaper primer – Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

But I realized that, even after I wiped down the walls with a damp sponge, they were still covered with powder or grit. This was powder from the layer of skim-coat, as well as residue from wallpaper paste. Neither my primer not wallpaper will stick securely to powder.

So I decided to roll Gardz on to all the walls, ceiling to floor.

Fifth photo – I was really pleased with the way the Gardz soaked in and drew all those layers together. There was no more power on the surface, and the inner layers of the walls were all pulled together.

To even over these vacant areas, and to create a pristine new surface, I skim-floated over the entire wall surface – all walls, floor to ceiling. See last photo.

Once that is dry, tomorrow morning, I will sand everything smooth. Next I’ll apply my 977 primer.

Then walls will be stable, and the surface will be ready to take on the new wallpaper.

Textured Wall Now Nice and Smooth

May 11, 2021
“Orange peel” texture on wall
Same wall smoothed and primed and ready for paper

You don’t want to hang wallpaper on a textured wall. The bumps will show through and look bad. Plus they impede good adhesion.

I’m pretty darned good at smoothing textured walls, through the skim-floating or skim-coating procedure. You can do a Search here to read more.

Note: The slight texture in the second photos is from the roller that applied the primer. The photo is magnified many times. In real life, this wall is nice and smooth and ready for wallpaper.

Sophisticated “Bloom” Pattern for Newborn Baby Girl

May 4, 2021
Wall is primed and read to hang.
Baby’s finished wall!
Close-Up … Watercolor-y look and feel on “non-woven” substrate that mimics real gasscloth’s substrate.
Rolling panels out on the floor, to verify sequence and pattern placement before hanging.
Panels laid out in sequence. Panels rolled backward and secured with dollar store hair bands, to reduce “curl” and “memory”, and, most important – to prevent the surface of the paper from coming into contact with / being contaminated by the paste on the wall.
Hanging a small test strip, to see how material will perform. This was important, because both the specs printed on the label , as well as the insert instructions, AND on-line instructions, turned out to be incorrect. Testing helped me know which installation process to follow.
Manufacturer and pattern information.
Layout diagram showing pattern orientation. Note that this design can be hung with the “flowers” coming up from the floor (as the new mother requested here) or hanging down from the ceiling, as depicted on the mock-up they sent.

Please read captions under the photos above, for synopsis information.

zUsed to brighten and personalize the accent wall behind a crib for a new baby girl (the new parents are waiting on a name!) this design by Emma Hayes is entitled Bloom.

Contrary to the information on the manufacturer’s website, the product label, and the instruction insert, this product did not need expensive materials or physical gymnastics to get onto the wall. It ended up being quite nice to work with.

I was made of a non-woven material, which is all synthetic, which means it is dimentionaly-stable and won’t shrink when it dries (or put undue tension on your walls).

another good thing about this paper is that it can be custom-sized to fit any wall. Here, it is important to have the paperhanger measure first and determine how many bolts to buy before you order. It’s not about total square feet. It’s more about how many strips are required to cover your wall.

And it’s imperative that you add 2″ to EACH dimension (top, bottom, and either side), to allow for matching the pattern, wonky walls, un-level ceiling, etc. The extra 1%-2% that some companies add simply is not enough. No matter what the guy on the website’s “Help” line says – they simply do not understand wallpaper, nor do they really know how much you need to buy.

This design is sort of a knock-off of other, more expensive designer brand names – but at a lower price-point, as well as printed on an install-friendly substrate (as opposed to brands that like to “waffle” and “quilt” and curl at the seams and other mis-behaving stuff …

“Les Touches” Dots for 5-Year Old Girl’s Bedroom

March 19, 2021
Primed and ready
Pattern nicely centered on this focal wall
Close up

“Les Touches” (touch/dots/blots) is a decades-loved pattern by Brunschwig & Fils, a French company.

It has movement, but, having only two soft colors, is subdued. Thus it works nicely on one accent wall. Or, as in this young girl’s bedroom, on all the walls.

I hung this wallpaper in the Tanglewood / Galleria neighborhood of Houston.

Note that the hour-glass striped pattern is hard to see if you are only looking at a strip of wallpaper on your table. Before hanging, it is important to look up the pattern on-line or in a selection book, to see what the overall design and secondary pattern will look like when played out across a wide wall.

Van Gogh Collection on Living Room Accent / Feature Wall

March 4, 2021

Man, the homeowner nailed it when she chose this Van Gogh-inspired trees-and-blossoms pattern in bold tones for a super-long accent wall in their nicely updated older home in the Eastwood subdivision of Houston.

There is a slight raised texture, so it looks like a real oil painting!

I love the way it works with the sliding barn door.

This wallpaper is super nice to work with, as it is soft and bendable, and it clings nice and flat to the wall. The seams are virtually invisible. (I did use chalk to color the edges of the paper, to prevent the white substrate from peeping out between the seams. In addition, there is a slight raised texture, so it looks like a real oil painting!

On a non-woven backing, the paper could be hung via the paste-the-wall method. This material will not expand, so there is no booking or waiting period before hanging.

In addition, non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.