Posts Tagged ‘wallcovering installers association’

COVID Pandemic – Insight re Wallpaper ‘s Impact On Our Homes and Our Psyche

June 17, 2022

Taken from the current issue of The Installer , the newsletter of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ).

” The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent
shelter-in-place mandates brought home as
never before how crucial interior décor is to our
everyday lives. Surrounded by our own walls,
we learned that bland, dull interiors make for
a boring and dull life, while vibrant interiors
create a sense of energy and liveliness. “

Summer 2022 issue

Another Installer’s Problems With British Pulp Paper

May 31, 2022
Scroll down a few posts to see where I hung this exact same pattern, and coincidentally just a few blocks away. I had absolutely no problems. Yet this poor installer struggled and ended up with many dissatisfactory issues.
In this photo, you see where the wallpaper has shrunk at the seams and left a gap, some tears, and a patch to cover a mishap.
More tears and gaps.
Paper coming lose from the wall. Not taking primer or paint with it. But you can see the adhesive clinging to the back of the paper. I’m suspecting this is clay adhesive. Nothing wrong with clay, but I prefer one of the vinyl-based adhesives.
Not sure what the guy used as a primer (if any).

This is the popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris , usually sold by Morris & Co. I’m believing the problem here is the material on which this pattern was printed.

The site from which this was purchased called it a ” heritage ” paper. It is, indeed, made of what we call a British pulp material. Old-fashioned, it is. These days, most wallpaper coming from the U.K. is printed on non-woven stock. The paper I hung a few days ago was non-woven.

Pulp wallpapers have a nice look. But they have no protective coating, so become soiled easily. They soften when wet with paste and tear easily, and can also shred under the razor blade while trimming. They expand when wet with paste, and then shrink as they dry, which often results in gaps at the seams.

Even skilled installers can have difficulties when working with this stuff. In fact, on the private Facebook page of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ), we have just been discussing this very same topic.

I believe this previous installer had a few shortcomings, such as lack of skill and maybe used the wrong or no wallpaper primer. But I think the real and unsurmountable culprit was the substrate.

Moral: If given the option, choose a non-woven material. They are made with minimum 20% polyester content, and thus are resistant to shrinking, tearing, and tension at the seams. Many other advantages, too. Non-wovens are also referred to as paste the wall .

Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau Wallpaper Books at Sherwin-Williams

April 17, 2022
A lot of my clients are choosing designs that harken back to the turn of the (last) century, particularly by William Morris. A lot of those are made by higher-end companies, and the material can be hard to work with. So I was thrilled when my favorite wallpaper sales person, Dorota, showed me these new books at her Sherwin-Williams store in the Rice Village.
British Heritage is by Wallquest , a brand I like a lot.
Below are room-set photos from those books.
This is the very popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris. I’ve hung it before, and have it coming up again soon in the Heights ( Houston ).
Arts & Crafts designs are very rhythmic and stylized. Some, like this, have a lot of color and impact.
Others, with muted or tone-on-tone color pallets, are more subdued.
Revival is another wallpaper selection book with designs of the same theme. A Street Prints is by Brewster, another great company.
Most A Street Prints are on a non-woven , paste-the-wall substrate, which makes them quite user-friendly and affordable.
CFA Voysey was a designer of the same period. I would say he was far ahead of his time, with some patterns reminiscent of MC Escher, and others bordering on … well, sort of psychedelic. Very progressive for the 1880’s!
He continued to design through the Art Nouveau ( 1920’s ) and Art Deco ( 1930’s ) periods.
I have his Bat & Poppy in my powder room. Search here to see photos.
The fluidity here speaks of the Art Nouveau style. Alphonse Mucha was a European artist known for his elaborate theater and advertising posters in this style.
I was lucky enough to have seen a fabulous exhibit at the Taft Museum when I was in Cincinnati for a Wallcovering Installers Association annual convention.

Not all Sherwin-Williams stores have wallpaper books, so call before you head over. Dorota isat the 2525 University store. This store has more wallpaper books than any other in Houston. Her hours vary, and someone may have checked the books out, so call before you head over. (713) 529-6515

” Shrinking ” a Strip to Make for a Good Corner

February 5, 2022
I’m hanging wallpaper moving from right to left. The wallpaper is 21″ wide. The width between my last strip (over the door) and the corner is 19″ wide. This means that my next strip is going to wrap around the corner by 2″.
This is not good. You never want to wrap wallpaper around an inside corner, especially a tiny amount like 2″. Corners are never straight, and thus the wrapped bit will be warped and un-straight. The next strip will never butt up correctly with it, leaving gaps and overlaps. You will also end up with a new strip that is not hanging plumb.
Also, wrapping around corners doesn’t allow for movement in the corner as the temperature changes in the room, or as the house shifts on its foundation.
The goal is to wrap the corner by about 1/16″ – 1/8″, and then overlap the new strip on top of that narrow wrap.

This is how I want my strip to land in the left corner.
Bottom line – if I want my next strip to wrap just 1/8″ around the corner on the left, then it’s going to overlap by 2″ onto the existing strip on the right. If that happens, we’ll lose 2″ of the pattern and have some eye-jarring cut-off pattern motifs.
So, somewhere, I need to “lose” 2″ of paper. Looking at the short seam above this window, I see where I can remove some paper without messing up the pattern too much.
I’ve removed the strip and used my straightedge and a razor blade to slice off 3/4″ of paper.
The blue plastic is there to keep paste off my table, and the shiny thing is a protective plastic strip I use to keep from cutting into the wooden table.
3/4″ removed.
Slid back together, you don’t much notice the very minor pattern mis-match created by the absence of the narrow strip.
This could work on a longer strip as well, depending on the pattern motifs.
Now the left corner is how I want it.
But the right edge of the strip is overlapping 1″ or more over the existing strip over the window. You can see there is a pattern mis-match, not to mention a bump where these two pieces overlap. So I’m going to do a double cut and splice these two strips together.
Splicing means you press hard to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Your blade will probably cut a bit deeper and dig into the wall, scoring the surface. This is bad, because an un-intact surface can give way when wallpaper paste dries and the material shrinks, tugging at the surface. This can actually cause layers of the wall to come apart ( delaminate ), which means the wallpaper will come up at the seam. Do a Search here to learn more.
To prevent this, I’m using a Boggess Strip (a clear, thin, flexible strip of polycarbonate Lexon plastic padding ) to put under where the splice will take place, to protect the wall. You can’t cut through this stuff!
The strip in place.
I’ve smoothed the left strip back into place overlapping the existing strip. Next I’ve used a short straightedge and a sharp (important) new (important) single edged razor blade to slice through both layers of wallpaper. Here I’m removing the top strip of excess cut-off paper.
Now I’ve pulled back part of the strip on the left so I can remove the excess wallpaper on the bottom. Note that the cut is a little uneven in areas, to cut around the leaves in the design.
Removing the Boggess Strip. This does put tension on your wall, so you’ve got to have a good wallpaper primer underneath, applied over a sound surface.
The two strips smoothed back together.
The view from below.
I used a pencil to touch up the edges of the leaves, to make them look more rounded and natural.

The polycarbonate strips are named after the inventor, Steve Boggess, a colleague and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association. Get them here: https://www.steveboggesspaperhanging.com/lexanpage.htm

Getting a “Fat Cut” in Corners – Using a Euni Plate

May 7, 2021

You never wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner.

Corners are neither straight nor true-to-plumb. So trying to wrap around a corner will result in a warped edge, and most likely a strip that is wonking off-plumb.

So you cut your strip of paper vertically in the corner, leaving a tiny bit wrapping onto the new wall. See second photo.

Your next strip of paper will overlap on top of this narrow wrap.

Splitting the strip and overlapping means that you will cover up and lose some of the wallpaper design. Hence, the less you wrap around the corner, the less of the design will be lost in the overlap.

The thickness of the rolled edge of this stainless steel plate / tool is just perfect as a trim guide! Trimming against the rolled edge will yield a 1/16″ – 1/8″ wrap around the corner. So, when you overlap your next piece (the strip you split in half vertically), you are only losing a fraction of the wallpaper design.

This tool has other uses as well – some are too complicated to get into here. But the thinner edge can be used as a trim guide for regular wallpaper work. It’s shorter than most trim guides, so it can be used in small areas. The rounded edges can be used to press paper into areas, or to crease paper before trimming – without leaving marks. And the angle has a purpose – again, too complicated for here. Plus, there are other plates with different angles available, each with different uses.

This ingenious gizmo was conceived by Eunice Bockstrom, a Canadian and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). Once or twice a year, she has a metal shop make a run of these metal plates. Eunice has also invented some other very helpful tools, and they also become available when the factory makes a run of them.

We call all of these Euni Tools. 🙂

Patching Minor Cracks

November 29, 2020


Today, under the sink, there were two 18″ vertical cuts in the surface. (sorry, no photo) I couldn’t tell if they were cuts into the drywall, or simply in the paint, but I was afraid that they might show under the wallpaper, or, worse, open up and cause cracks to develop in the wallpaper.

They weren’t major enough to require a full-fledged tape-and-float job. So my quick fix was to grab this thin paper tape and use it to bridge the cuts. The tape is made by a colleague, Steve Boggess, a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). It’s thin and has feathered edges, so it’s unnoticeable under most wallpapers.

It’s pre-pasted on one side, so it can be easily adhered to the wall. But today I chose to embed it in the primer I was using in the room. That’s what you see in the second photo.

Once the primer dried, I was very pleased with the flatness of the strips. Once the paper covered them, you could not detect them at all.

The stuff is called “seam tape,” and has other uses, as well.

Using a Uni Tool

June 9, 2020

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image
I first saw this tool at the 2013 paperhangers’ convention, and it was lust at first sight. Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to buy one. It was designed by a member of the paperhangers’ guild (the Wallcovering Installers Association), and serves a number of purposes. The lady’s name is Eunice, so we call her tool a “Euni (or Uni) Tool.”

I’ll spare you the technical details and just focus on what I use it for mostly, which is a straight edge guide for double cutting wallpaper (splicing two pieces). There is a non-slip pad under the left edge, the pointy end allows you to get right up to the ceiling, and then you use the right edge as a guide when cutting. Today I used it when cutting through two layers of wallpaper, and also used it to cut through one layer, by butting it up against the next strip and then resting my blade against the edge of the trimmer.

In the bottom photo, you can see what a nice, tight seam this made.

Trimming Along Bull-Nosed Edged Walls

March 10, 2020


A whole lot of new homes these days have rounded bull-nosed edges on their walls’ outside corners. These might be up to date and pleasing to the eye, but they are bugger-bears to trim wallpaper on.

For one thing, the paper is hanging over the edge, so you can’t see what you are doing or where you are trimming. Next, it’s impossible to get a correctly-positioned or straight cut – especially since you can’t see where you are cutting.

A solution to that is to use a laser level to draw a straight line that you can trim against. The problem with that is that it’s highly unlikely that the wall edge will be perfectly plumb. So if you follow a plumb laser line placed against a wall edge that is slightly off-plumb … Well, you see where we are heading.

Wallcovering Installers Association to the rescue … one of my colleagues in a distant city invented this ingenious device. It is made from the very same “bead” molding that drywall guys use when installing these walls.

I cut one to a size that’s comfortable to fit my hand. Then I cut out notches at various places. Once the gizmo is placed straddling the rounded corner, I choose the notch that corresponds to the position that I want my cut to hit.

The inventor puts a trimming knife in the notch, and then trims along the edge of the wallpaper. But I find that maneuver to be awkward. And I fear that either the gizmo or my blade will slip, resulting in a crooked cut.

So I stick a pencil point into the notch and use that to draw a line along where the cut should be made. Then I remove the guide tool and then use a straightege and razor blade to trim along my pencil line. I have the flexibility to tweak things if anything should get off-kilter.

Wallpaper Convention in Cincinnati – Art Deco Hotel

September 19, 2019


I just got back from a week upping my skill-set at the Wallcovering Installers Association’s annual convention, this year held in Cincinnati. We stayed downtown at the Hilton Netherland hotel.

The hotel opened in 1931, and was built in the Art Deco style. This place is an amazing testament to the glory of that fantastic, fanciful design style! … And everything is intact (not torn down, like they do in Houston to any building over 30 years old).

Enjoy the photos!

The last photo is not Art Deco – it’s a picture of the roof of the building, showing large tubs of potted flowers, surrounded by beehives. The large outbuilding on the right bears a painted sign, something like “Bee House.”

The hotel uses the honey in its restaurant.

Art Deco Wallpaper in Magazine

July 6, 2019


The July 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine has this page, highlighting a return to the Art Deco style in decorating. They show four different patterns that reflect this, and list the manufacturers.

A few words of aviso … Just because you see it in a magazine or read it on-line, doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.

The first paper on the left is by Chasing Paper. This company makes the deceptively-described “removable wallpaper,” a new trend that is unfortunately luring many homeowners down the wish-I-had-never-heard-of-it path.

This “peel and stick” material is extremely difficult to work with. I mean, it’s hard enough to get Contact Paper smoothly onto your kitchen cabinet shelves … Imagine trying to wrestle a strip 2′ wide by 9′ long onto a wall, around a window, behind a toilet, and trim it around a pedestal sink. It is also not “removable.” … Oh, it will come off, all right. But it will take chunks of your paint and maybe drywall along with it.

One of my colleagues recently posted on our private Wallcovering Installers Association Facebook page of his experience with this particular brand, and he was very unhappy. I won’t hang peel & stick, and most of my friends won’t, either.

On to the next pattern above, the blue and white half-circle blocks. This is by Hygge & West. H & W has adorable patterns. But, bless their hearts, they have not put research into substrates, inks, compatibility, etc. My experience with their papers is that the ink swells when it gets wet with paste and then curls back, resulting in a tiny “pouch” in every spot where the ink crosses a seam. Do a search here to see my previous posts on that brand and their seams.

So many companies make lovely paper. I wish that H & W would network with them and find a better paper and ink combination for their products.

The last pattern in the photo is by Tempaper. Another company making peel & stick stuff … Enough said.

Back to the photo … the purple fan design in the middle of the page. Finally a hit! This is made by Bradbury & Bradbury, a company that specializes in vintage designs, especially Victorian and Art Nouveau. They have a wide variety of other styles, too, and are branching out even more in recent years, to include ’20’s, Atomic Age, and other eras.

Bradbury makes lovely paper. It’s a higher-end brand, and it requires some special trimming and pasting techniques. So it may not be DIY friendly – but it sure is beautiful. In fact, I have some hanging in my own master bathroom. 🙂 https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/new-wallpaper-in-the-wallpaper-ladys-bathroom/