Posts Tagged ‘water damage’

’90’s Check to Magnolia Buffalo Check

February 2, 2019


The differences in the before and after photos are subtle, so look carefully!

This laundry room in a far-north neighborhood of Houston (Louetta & I-45 area) happily sported it’s black & white checkered pattern for many years. The wallpaper dated to the ’90’s, but still looked fresh, and the homeowner loved it.

But an unfortunate water leak caused damage to the window wall, and a poor repair job left a very visible pattern mis-match over the window. Then another water leak required new drywall to be patched in behind the washer and dryer (see top photo). So once the repairs were made, the homeowner wanted to redo the room, and do a little updating along the way.

I stripped the old wallpaper, performed necessary patching and prep, primed the walls with Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 wallcovering primer, and came back the next day to hang the new paper.

The new pattern is also a black & white checkered design, but it’s larger-scaled, and is just large enough to be called a “buffalo check.”

It’s also a freer design – meaning that the wavy edges of the vertical and horizontal pattern, along with the watercolor features of the ink, afforded me some breathing room while dealing with walls and ceiling that were not perfectly plumb and level.

This pattern is in the Magnolia Home collection (Joanna Gaines) by York Wall. It was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

Mildew, Bleach, KILZ

June 7, 2018


Whooah! I stripped off wallpaper from this wall around a window in a home that had some water damage from Hurricane Harvey, to find this black powdery stuff – mildew. You don’t want to put wallpaper over a wall that has mildew, because the black stuff will continue to grow. And because it’s chalky / powdery, it the wallpaper will not stick to it. And it will also work its way through the wallpaper and create a stain on the surface.

I use bleach to kill the mildew and remove it from the wall. Once dry, I use KILZ Original oil-based stain blocker to seal the surface. In this case, I also skim-coated the wall, to make it nice and smooth. I will follow that with a coat of Gardz, a penetrating sealer that is also a good product to hang wallpaper on.

A Small Repair Today – Plumbing Issue

March 15, 2018


This couple had water damage from Hurricane Harvey, and I repapered their powder room a month or two ago. Well, recently a pipe burst, and, long story short, they had to replumb the whole house. To run the new pipes, the plumbers had to cut holes in the drywall.

The top photo shows where the plumber patched a hole with a scrap of drywall. He left some irregular areas and rough edges that would show under the wallpaper. So I skim-floated over these areas and then sanded smooth, as you see in the second photo.

There was precious little paper left, so a patch was called for (rather than replacing the whole wall). From leftover paper that matched the pattern around the drywall patch, I cut along the pattern design (third photo). This would be less visible than if I cut a square patch with straight edges.

Once I put the patch into place, lining it up with the pattern on the wall, the repair was invisible. (The gap at the bottom will be caulked.)

Wallpaper Stained by Water Leak – Repair

February 25, 2017
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This wallpaper over kitchen cabinets had been stained by a water leak. Water ran down from the ceiling (see vertical stains in the first photo), and then pooled on the bottom edge, wicking up into the bottom few inches of the wallpaper (see second photo).

The original plan was to replace the whole section, but the left over wallpaper had been stored in the hot Houston attic for 35 years, and was way to brittle and fragile to be worked with. So I got out the artist’s brushes and the craft paints.

These are the little bottles of matt finish acrylic paint that can be bought at Michael’s. I mixed various amount of three different colors together, until I got a mix that matched the background pretty well. This was tricky, because paint looks a lot lighter when it’s wet, and it was had to predict how dark it would be when it dried.

But I got a pretty good match. See the last photo. I didn’t cover just the stain, but the entire area from stalk to stalk, to make the color as even as possible.

I covered the stains at the bottom of the wall, and a few of the horizontal stains near the crown molding. The homeowner said she could live with the vertical stains, and this is good, because painting in larger sections in more prominent areas would have caught the eye much more.

From even a short distance, you can’t even tell that there ever were any stains.

Have I Mentioned That I HATE Paper-Backed Solid Vinyl Wallpaper?

December 23, 2015
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Here are pictures of curling seams in a bathroom in a 1963 ranch style home in Meyerland (Houston). These older homes have low ceilings, poor air circulation, non-existent exhaust fans, and outdated air conditioning / heating systems. Which equals HUMIDITY. Humidity is the Great Enemy of wallpaper.

And these paper-backed solid vinyl wallcoverings are particularly problematic. In my opinion, the paper backing absorbs moisture (humidity) and swells, while the plastic top layer cannot, so the paper curls at the seams. The material also delaminates – which means that the plastic top layer will actually detach itself from the paper backing. The curling that follows cannot be “reglued.”

But this home has other issues going on. Besides the humidity and the delaminating, it looks as though the original installer did not properly prime the walls. It’s possible that his paste was not formulated to stand up against humidity.

But more important, over the years, many things have been done to this room. And so we have layers of original oil-based paint covered with latex paint, and on top of that patches of joint compound, and more layers of various products … and at some point, these disparate materials cannot keep holding on to one another, and may pull apart – resulting in curling wallpaper seams.

This room has also experienced water damage from a leaky window, and toilet, and roof. Water from those leaks got into the Sheetrock and deteriorated the internal structure, which became weak and then pulled apart. And when those internal layers pulled apart, the torque (stress) put on the walls by the drying wallpaper was enough to pull the layers of wall apart, and that can cause the wallpaper seams to curl.

Curled seams are not always just about the subsurface, though. When pasted, many of these papers will have their paper backing swell, and when the front plastic layer does not swell, then you have seams that curl backwards even before you get to the wall. And once on the wall, the product can continue to curl. Sometimes these seams will dry flat. But many times, the seams don’t look as good as they should, plus are ripe for swelling / curling more, once a little humidity is introduced into the room.

In my opinion, PAPER or the newer NON-WOVEN wallpapers, are better options.

Discolored Patch

February 8, 2012

I wrote previously about a job where I replaced one short piece over a door, which had been damaged by a water leak. The original wallpaper was a white grasscloth, that had been discolored – either by time, exposure to light, paste, or other.

Either way, the left over paper in the box that I was to use to replace the damaged strip was white, while the paper on the rest of the walls was tan. I discussed the color difference with the homeowner, and explained that there would be a very noticeable difference in color between the new patch and the existing paper. She was eager to get damaged piece replaced, and felt it would look better than the water stained piece hanging away from the wall. So I did the repair.

I removed the stained piece of grasscloth, scraped out loose Sheetrock damaged by the water leak, refloated the wall, sanded, and primed.

Replacing one piece in the middle of a wall is tricky, but it’s trickier even still when it’s a thick product like grasscloth, and one that can’t be wet or touched like you would a normal paper.
I was very pleased that I was able to get the new patch to fit the space perfectly. The repair looked great.

Except for the very noticeable color difference. It showed up even more, with the fresh new strip on the wall instead of in the box.

The homeowner noticed it, too, but still felt it looked better than when the damaged water stained strip was in place.

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