Posts Tagged ‘wallpaper installer’

Paperhanger Dumps Client with One Day’s Notice

March 3, 2013

I just got a call from a gal desperately seeking a wallpaper installer. She said the guy she had scheduled to come do the job tomorrow had just cancelled on her. Ouch!

Well, I can’t judge the guy because I don’t know the sitution. He could have a medical or family emergency, wrecked his work truck, realized the job was too difficult – who knows? It’s a bad way to leave a client, though.

I have only done that one time, that I can remember, and that was because another client deviously manipulated me into doing more rooms for her than originally scheduled. Sorry, I know you’re not supposed to bad-mouth clients on a blog, but she REALLY pulled some tricky stuff, and REALLY made me angry. Not to mention screwed up my work schedule, which affected my other clients.

Anyway, if a workman ever finds himself in this situation, it’s really best to not just dump the client, but to offer some alternatives. For instance, offer a new date when he can do the work, or have the names of other reliable installers who might be able to come sooner.

In the instance of the lady who called this morning, I am booked up and not able to help her, but I did refer her to three installers who might be available, and told her that I can recommend others if she needs them.

Hopefully, she’ll find someone who can get her bathroom done, and she will have her decorating project finished on time.

Saving Paper When Covering a Narrow Area

February 7, 2013

Digital ImageWhen I strip wallpaper, I like to observe how the previous guy did his job. Often I can learn things – good and bad. In this large master bathroom in the West University neighborhood of Houston, the previous guy did a pretty darned good job. This photograph shows a clever trick he used to save paper and to make his job easier.

This area is about 4″ wide, and lies above a door (you can see the molding on the right) and between that door and the shower on the left. I have begun stripping paper from the bottom and am moving upwards.

Usually wallpaper tears off in jagged pieces. But here you see that at the top, the strip of paper ends at a clean curved cut along a green stem of one of the vines. What the guy did is to splice in a strip of scrap wallpaper.

Why? To save paper. (And to have an easier time working in this area.) This brand of wallpaper is 27″ wide, but the space to be covered is only 4″ wide. If the installer had used a full 27″ wide strip 10′ long, he would have wasted 23″ of paper from the floor to the top of the door frame. That’s about 14 square feet of unuseable paper!

Instead, he cut his strips long enough to cover the area from the ceiling to just below the tops of the door frame. Then he took a piece of paper left over from some other part of the room, probably a long strip cut away when trimming alongside another door.

He used this narrow piece to cover the 4″ wide space between the shower and the door. In this case, he matched the pattern where the new, narrow piece joined the piece above. However, with this viney pattern, it would be possible to take a piece that does not perfectly match the pattern and position it so it fits in visually. No one will notice that there’s a blue flower where there’s supposed to be a red flower, and you get much more useability out of your leftover scaps of paper, too. In a pinch, you could even use several short pieces of left over paper, taking care to disguise any mismatch of the pattern.

This guy used a splice to join the two pieces – it’s what we paperhangers call a “double cut.” I would have done exactly what this previous installer did, except I would have avoided doing the double cut. A double cut is good because it splices two pieces together perfectly, with no bumps or overlaps, which can sometimes be visible. However, it’s extremely tricky to do a double cut on the wall, because you have to cut through two layers of paper, but NOT score into the wall itself. Slicing the wall can cause a weakness that can pull open later, as the paper dries and becomes taught and tight and puts stress on the seam/cut edge. In addition, there is the possibility of shrinking and gapping at the newly-created seam.

So, when I can get away with it without leaving a visible ridge, I prefer to overlap the two pieces. It can be minimized by cutting along a design element (such as a branch or flower, as in the photo, instead of making a straight across horizontal overlap), and then overlapping only a tiny area, such as the thickness of the vine’s stem (as opposed to a straight across horizontal overlap). This leaves the wall intact, and eliminates the worry of the two strips of paper shrinking and exposing a small gap.

Trends in Wallpaper – A School Project

October 23, 2012

I received an odd-and-somewhat-frustrating phone call today.  I answered the call, and a teenaged gal-sounding voice asked what sounded like, “Is this Joan?”  I said, “No, sorry, no Joan here.”  But I sensed that this was a call about wallpaper, rather than a wrong number, so I ventured, “Are you calling about wallpaper?”  She said yes, and then asked, “What are the three top best sellers you have?”

To which I repied, “Well, I’m an installer, not a seller, so….”  and before I could get out any more, or offer to help her, she said, “OK, then.  I’ll call Lowe’s.”  (It first had sounded like “Joan,” but she had said “Lowe’s.”)

Gee whiz!  I managed to stop her before she hung up.  I pretty well guessed what she was wanting to know, and why, but I thought she could have gone about it a little better.  Still, being so young, she just didn’t have a lot of experience in dealing with people, stores, projects, that sort of thing.  I guess I could have just hung up and gone about my day, but I wanted to help this gal.  So I asked, “Are you working on school project, or an art class, or something like that?”

She said yes, and then I finally began to draw a little more information out of her.   But first I couldn’t help but start off with a little lecture – a gentle lecture.  “You know, you would do better to start off by introducing yourself, and then explaining quickly what you are wanting to know and why.  I don’t sell wallpaper, but I can help you if you want to know about trends and styles.  And I can guarantee that if you call Lowe’s and simply ask, “What are your three top selling wallpapers?” that the operator won’t have a clue what you’re talking about, and even if you get to the wallpaper department, which also sells window blinds and floor tiles, it’s not likely that there would be anyone there who could answer such a question.   I wanted the young lady to know that an introduction and a brief explanation of her project would be a better way to get the information she seeks.

So I got her to talk about her project a little bit, some sort of art or design class (she’s interested in design types, not types of material used in constructing,  wallpaper), and then I was able to answer her question, and she hung up happy.

So, what ARE the top three types of wallpaper people want these days?  The first two were easy:

– Big Bold Graphics

– Grasscloth

For No. 3, I thought a little, then said       – Retro Patterns, such as the 1960’s & ’70’s.