Posts Tagged ‘waste’

Wasting a Lot to Get a Little. A Lesson in Pattern Repeat. AKA: Don’t Order Wallpaper Based on Square Feet DRAFT

November 27, 2022
This is the tail end of a roll, and is too short to use on a full-height wall . So I save these pieces for use over doors , under windows , etc. (I never throw scraps away until the job is finished.)
This piece is about 3′ long . I need a piece 8″ high to go over a door . In order to get the right pattern match , I have to cut my 8″ piece from about the center of this 3′ long scrap . As you can see, that leaves us with more than 2′ of length of wallpaper that cannot be used . It’s too short to fit most spaces , plus the pattern repeat is not in the right position.
Let’s see … roughly 2.5′ of length multiplied by the width of the paper (27″ but we’ll call it 2′ for ease of mathematics ) comes out to 5 square feet of wallpaper . That cannot be used anywhere. It just goes on the scrap pile.
This is another example of why you can’t order wallpaper based on square footage . Wallpaper isn’t like paint – you can’t use every square inch. You have to plan for the waste factor . And the waste factor changes, based on the length of pattern repeat juxtaposed against your wall’s height .Most websites that sell wallpaper mention the square footage of a roll / bolt . But they fail to give adequate information on how to factor in for accommodating that waste . Some say to add 1% or even 10%, but that’s not adequate . What to do? Contact the wallpaper hanger / installer before you order your paper!
This cheery pattern is by Rifle Paper , made by York . Rifle is very popular right now. And now wonder – those flowers and visual movement are mighty attractive !

Narrower-ing A Strip For Better Seam Placement

October 11, 2022
Here I am moving from right to left across this wall, fixin’ to put wallpaper over, around, and then under this window .
The distance from the existing strip to the corner is 20.” The width of the wallpaper is 18.” This means that my next wallpaper strip is going to fall 2″ short of reaching that wall to the left. So another strip will be needed to cover that last 2.” That’s two full length, 9′ long strips to cover that small bit of wall space. And there will be a seam down the middle.
I’d like to use less paper and have less waste. And I sure would like to avoid having a seam down the middle. Both because installing it is a PITA and also because it would look better and be more stable without the seam.
If I could just make that next strip over the window narrower, it would pull the full-length strip a bit to the right, eliminating the second strip and the seam.
Each 18″ wide strip has two stripes of flowers running down it. There’s a little gap between these stripes, so it’s possible to split the strip in half vertically between the rows of flowers. Then I’ll have a 9″ wide strip filling the gap over the window, instead of an 18″ wide strip.
So here I’m using a straightedge and razor blade to split the strip. (Normally I do this on my table with my 76″ straightedge , but today I’m working on the floor and with different tools .)
Here is the piece viewed from the front. The pink bit of flower on the right side is going to match up with the corresponding flower on the existing strip over the window . I made sure that the left edge of this 9″ wide strip has no flowers or motifs crossing over the left edge. That way there is no pattern to match across the seam, so I can choose any piece I want for the final strip that will go in between the window and the corner.
Here it is in place. Now I have only 11″ of width to cover with wallpaper , and no seam down the middle .
Same procedure for under the window. Except I’m not trimming this piece to 9.” I’m leaving it about 2″ wider. One reason is because that full-height strip coming down between the window and the corner is likely to twist or stretch a bit, and thus won’t line up absolutely perfectly with the strip under the window. Having this strip under the window be wider will allow the strip coming down the side of the window, when it gets down to under the window, it will overlap the strip under the window by about 2.” So I’m going to double cut / splice these two pieces together.
I’m also not adhering this piece to the wall yet, because I don’t want the paste to start drying, as I will need wet paste and paper that is easy to pull off the wall, in order to do the double cut.
OK, so here we are over the window, getting ready to put in our long 11″ wide strip down alongside the window. Actually, I’m cutting this piece 12″ wide, to allow for trimming along that left edge in the corner. This will also accommodate if the paper twists or shifts over that 9′ drop from ceiling to floor.
I chose a flower to put at the top of the wall that is different from what’s on the existing strip, so there won’t be repetitive motifs. But the right edge of this strip of paper has a design part that is meant to match up with the corresponding flower on the left edge of the previous strip.
But we don’t have that corresponding flower, because I cut that strip down from 18″ wide to 9″ and thus lost the left edge of the paper, along with the corresponding flower.
I don’t want this half-motif to be hanging in the middle of nowhere. Even 9′ up above the window, it might catch your eye.
No problem. I took my straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off 1/2″, which got rid of that design element.
Note that I did this before I trimmed this long strip to 12.” If I had trimmed it off before, then this strip would have ended up 11.5″ wide instead of 12″ and might not have fit the space since wallpaper can twist and shift during that 9′ drop.
Sorry, no photo of that strip butting up to the piece over the window and then dropping down the space between the window and the corner.
So that strip is in place now, and here we are under the window, with that 9″ wide gap to fill.
So I take the strip I had set aside for under the window and position it next to the strip on the right. Remember that I cut this middle strip about 2″ wider, so it overlaps the strip on the left. I need this overlap to do the double cut / splice.
When splicing on the wall, it’s important not to let your blade score into the wall. If the wall surface becomes compromised, the torque created when the paste dries and the wallpaper shrinks a bit can tug at the wall and cause layers of paint or etc. to pull away from the wall, resulting in an open seam.
So I’m padding behind where my cut will be made with this strip of flexible Lexion plastic. It’s thin enough to not make much of a bump under the paper, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade.
If you’re interested in this cool stuff, email me and I’ll hook you up with the guy who sells it. wallpaperlady@att.net
There it is on the wall.
Now I put the two layers of paper over it . Note that this is a paste-the-wall wallcovering, so there is no paste on the strip on the right, so nothing to stain the paper below it. If this were a regular paste-the-paper material, you can use thin plastic strips (like painter’s plastic) to cover up that paste.
Trim guide in place, and I’m getting ready to make the cut with a new single edge razor blade. You have to press hard enough to get through both layers of paper in the first try, but not so hard as to cut into the wall.
I’ve plotted where my splice will go, to not cut through any flower motifs, and to be sure to cut off that little bit of flower you can see shadowing through from the wallpaper piece underneath – just to the left of the large flower.
Once the cut is done, I remove the excess paper on the left.
Then reach underneath and remove the excess paper from the bottom strip.
Another shot of pulling out that excess bottom paper. Next I removed the Lexion strip. I set those in a bucket of water to keep the paste wet until I can wash in the sink.
Bringing the two strips to meet up and then smoothing into place. No paste got on the surface, so no need to wipe the seam.
A double cut / splice makes the absolutely most perfect and invisible seam, because both pieces have been cut together and butt perfectly.
Here it is finished. Technically, due to slicing the strips in half vertically, the floral strip on the far left is about 1/2″ further away from the strip on the right than it “should” be. But – eh – who the heck is going to notice that?!
What’s important is that no flower motifs got cut in half, no identical flowers ended up next to each other, here’s no seam down the middle of that space, and only one 9′ high strip of wallpaper was required (instead of two).
Done. Oh my gosh – now I’ve got to do the same thing on the opposite side of the wall!!
The pattern is called Sweet Pea and is by Serena & Lily .
This went in a nursery in a home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Classic Chinoiserie in Heights Powder Room

February 10, 2022
Before. The previous installer did a beautiful job with this earthy grasscloth. But it didn’t suit the homeowner’s taste, nor did it fit with the feel of this 1939 cottage in the historic Norhill section of the Houston heights.
Done! The dark towel and mirror really set off the pattern and colors.
Wall behind the toilet. This Asian-influenced design, with its pagodas and minstrels, is referred to as a Chinoiserie . These designs have been popular for centuries.
Close-up. The green and blue tones coordinate beautifully with adjoining rooms in the house.
I rolled the wallpaper out on the floor, so I could see the full-size design. This one has a 46″ pattern repeat, which is awfully long, and means there can be a lot of waste. This design had a straight pattern match, and came packaged in a 24″ x 33′ bolt, like traditional wallpaper. It did not come as an A-B set, as many M&K products do.
I couldn’t find a full-size room-set photo on-line, so I availed myself of the Milton & King ‘s ” chat ” feature … I was connected with a live and knowledgeable representative in mere seconds, and he very quickly sent me a link to a picture of this pattern in a room.
In the photo, I’m using my yardstick to determine a centerline of the design motifs.
As are most of Milton & King ‘s wallpapers, this one was on a non-woven substrate. Rather than paste the wall, I chose to paste the paper, which works best in a bathroom with things to cut around and tuck paper behind. mi
The pattern is called Mulberry . Milton & King’s bolts come packed individually in protective boxes – no worries about banged edges with this outfit!

Kitchen With Burst Pipe Water Damage Fixed and Finished

December 24, 2021
This kitchen in the Spring area of north Houston suffered severe water damage from burst pipes during the hard freeze in February 2021. Nearly a year later, they are almost finished with repairs, including new drywall on bottom of walls, new cabinets, new plumbing, cabinets, electrical, and more. Here you see the contractor’s repair work on top of some of the original wallpaper, which dates to the early 1980’s! It was a good brand, and the installer did a great job. For various reasons, I opted to leave this wallpaper in place, and so skimmed over uneven areas and then primed on top of it with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime.
The homeowner’s new choice is very similar to the previous paper, but with a more springy feel and a lot of upward movement. The area below the chair rail will receive another coat of paint to better define the correct yellow color. Or, the homeowner may switch to a green pulled from the leaves in the pattern.
This wall with the fir-down / soffit was a real bugger, for various reasons, and took me about four hours.
Looks so sharp against the white paint and tile!
The wallpaper was printed on a white substrate, so I ran black chalk along the edges of each strip, to try to prevent white from showing at the seams. Still, some of the strips shrank just a half a tad, and that did allow some white to show. This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which has a high polyester content, and is not supposed to stretch or shrink, so this is disappointing. Pasting the wall and dry-hanging the material would have probably helped. But the material was extremely thick and stiff, and plus the room had way too many turns and bends and angles, so pasting the paper made the most sense. These gaps are very minor, and only visible when viewed from straight on; from an angle you can’t even see them. On some papers, I can pull some tricks out of my bag and camouflage them. But with this non-woven material, don’t even try anything with paint, marker, chalk or anything else – it will surely stain the material.
The walls are smooth. The slight texture you see is the non-woven material. When an edge is torn, you can actually see the polyester fibers – a lot like fiberglass. This material is very strong, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
Manufacturer is Mind The Gap out of Transylvania (!), and the design is called Aquafleur, in the Anthracite color. The material comes as a 3-panel set, which they call one “roll.” The overall width of the A, B, and C panels side-by-side is about 5′, and the height is just under 10′. The height of the wall was less than 5,’ and the strips were nearly 10′ long, so at least 5′ was lost of each strip. Because the pattern was a mural type, rather than a typical repeating wallpaper design, even more paper was lost in working around the configurations of the room – for instance, a full 10′ strip would be needed to paper just one 9″ high strip above the door. So there was an incredible amount of waste – and this is a higher-priced boutique brand. But the lady of the house really loves it, and so she went with her heart.

Always Buy A Little Extra Wallpaper

September 5, 2021

My pencil is pointing at a chunk of paper that was stuck to the label and got torn off when the package of wallpaper was opened.

To get past this unusable paper, I had to roll off and discard a full pattern repeat – in this case, 24″ – that’s two linear feet. And, multiplied by the width of the wallpaper, that’s more that four and a half square feet of paper lost!

This is a good reminder to not calculate wallpaper rollage by square feet. And to always buy extra – just in case.

Even better – do not order your paper until the paperhanger has measured the space. It’s has to do with more than just square feet.

Another Example of Why to Purchase Extra Wallpaper – Don’t Trust On-Line Calculators!

August 26, 2021

See that 3 1/2″ wide stripe of bare wall to the left of the strip of wallpaper? In order to cover this with wallpaper, I will need to take a full 9′ high strip of 27″ wide paper – that’s more than 20 square feet – and cut off just 4″ from the one side. The rest of that 9′ long strip of wallpaper will most likely go into the trash bin.

This is a good example of why you can’t calculate how many rolls you need to paper a room by figuring up square footage. You simply are not able to use every square foot of paper on that bolt!

On-line calculators don’t take into account the waste factor from matching the pattern, and the pattern repeat, nor trimming at floor and ceiling, or around objects (windows, doors, cabinets). Or situations like in the photo above, where most of the strip will go to waste.

Again – always best to have the wallpaper hanger measure first and calculate how much paper you need before you buy.

1″ X 5′ = 9 sq ft of Lost Paper

July 18, 2021

For all the prospective clients who think they can pull out their calculator and slide rule and then meticulously calculate that they can cover their walls with 186.7 sq ft of wallpaper – WRONG!

Here is a good example of waste, and why you can’t purchase wallpaper based on square feet alone.

Here we are working with a non-woven material that is packaged in 21″ wide x 33′ long.

In the photo, that narrow 1″ wide strip of wall on the left needs to be covered with wallpaper.

That’s 1″ wide x 5′ tall. That comes out to .41 square feet of wallpaper.

Sounds negligible, doesn’t it? But in real life, a whole lot more wallpaper will be called into play – and tossed into the trash – in order to cover this miniscule space.

Although I stockpile all scraps, there is nothing in my remnant pile that is long enough, nor the correct pattern match, to cover this space.

So I must cut a new length from a bolt of wallpaper.

The pattern has a 25″ repeat, so I had to cut off almost this much in order to come up with the correct pattern match. That’s 25″ long x 21″ wide … so already, we are nearly 4 square feet cut off and thrown onto the trash pile.

Now that I have the pattern matched correctly, I need 5 running feet of it to cover the length of wall in the photo. That’s 60″ long x the 21″ wide width of the wallpaper. That calculates to 8.75 square feet of paper.

Of those 8.75 square feet, remember that I need only a 1″ wide strip. As previously mentioned, that comes to .41 square feet.

So, 8.75 sq ft – .41 sq ft = 8.33 sq ft of paper that can’t be used anywhere else, and will be tossed onto the discard pile.

That’s 8.33 sq ft of waste. Considering that the average single roll of wallpaper contains 28 square feet (but in reality, only 22 square feet of useable paper), this leaves you with only 19.75 square feet of useable paper.

In double roll speak, this means a bolt with 56 square feet, which is better calculated at 44 useable square feet, after hanging this one puny 1″ wide strip, you are left with 47.7 sq ft of useable paper – nearly 10 sq ft lost for just one 1″ wide strip!

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even gotten into pattern repeats, trimming at ceiling and floor, going around windows, vaulted ceilings, stairs, multiple drops, expansion when wet with paste, and all sorts of other factors.

Bottom Line: We paperhangers know the ins and outs of this stuff.

And homeowners don’t. Nor do contractors, painters, handymen, nor even engineers. Most of all, NOT engineers. (I love ’em all,,,, but they tend to get bogged down in details, and overlook the grand scale.)

Bottom, Bottom Line: Let the paperhanger measure the space and calculate how much wallpaper to order.

20″ of Waste x 2 x 4 Double Rolls

May 9, 2021

“Calculating how much wallpaper you need is not just about square feet. It is much more about how many strips you need to cover the walls, and how many strips you will get out of each double roll bolt. Do a Search here to learn more.

In this example, the wallpaper has a 24″ pattern repeat. That means that as much as 24″ of the wallpaper can be lost while matching the pattern from one strip to the next. Today, the amount I cut off and threw away between each strip of paper was about 20.”

Usually, that “waste” goes into the trash. But today, since the 20″ was long enough that something could be done with it, I saved it for the homeowners and suggested they use it for drawer liner or to cover a trash can or lamp shade, or as a mat in a picture frame.

This is another reason to keep in mind to let the PAPERHANGER measure your space and determine how many rolls to purchase.

The homeowner originally thought that four rolls (two double-roll bolts) would be sufficient for this accent wall. In actuality, they needed eight rolls (four double-roll bolts).

Waste from One Day’s Job

July 7, 2020


People often don’t realize that you can’t use every square foot of paper that the label claims to include. Much paper is lost to ‘waste.’

Today, I hung a 14-single roll breakfast room with three large windows.

This is a picture of all the wallpaper that was cut off and thrown into the trash, in order to match the pattern, turn corners, and etc.

The large roll on the floor, and the one behind it, are both rolled tightly and are larger than they appear in the photo. LOTS of paper that ends up being unusable.

Always consult the paperhanger for accurate measurements, before ordering your paper.

Wallpaper Coverage …. Not What They Lead You To Believe

June 25, 2020

IMG_20200701_204652
Photo: Waste from one 2-wall room; all this paper is going into the trash.

For all those folk who think they can figure up how much wallpaper they need without first consulting a professional installer, and they try to calculate based on square footage, along with “calculators” found on vendor websites … Here is a good example of why square footage is NOT an accurate calculator.

Referencing yesterday’s post …. I’m not going to get into a whole lot of math re square footage. Let’s focus on the Strip Count method. Let’s just say that this accent wall required 12.3 strips. Effectively, that is 13 strips.

Due to the 11′ height of the wall and due to the length of the pattern repeat, each 33′ long double roll bolt yielded two strips.

After I used those two strips, I was left with a “tail end” that was about 8′ long. Since my wall height was 11′, here was nothing I could do with a strip 8′ long. So it went to the scrap pile.

The paper was about 2′ wide. 2′ wide x 8′ long = about 16 square feet of waste. Multiply that times the 13 strips it took to cross the wall, and you get 208 square feet of paper that is going right into the trash bin.

That’s roughly equivalent to FOUR DOUBLE ROLL BOLTS of wallpaper. Bought and paid for, but not available to put on your wall.

In real life, measuring is even more complicated than that.

In addition, the photo above shows the waste from today’s install of a 14 single roll breakfast room. The large roll lying on the floor, and the roll behind it, are tightly wound up and are both WAY bigger than the photo makes them appear… A whole lot of paper cut off and thrown away, in order to match the pattern.

So, folks, please let the professional measure, before you order your wallpaper. There are many, many factors to be considered, aside from raw square footage.

More info is available on my page to the right.