Posts Tagged ‘water’

Trick for Keeping Paste on Edges Wet and Workable

December 22, 2022

After you paste a strip of traditional wallpaper , it needs to be folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side and then set aside for a few minutes, so the paper can absorb the paste , expand , relax , etc. Preferable to place it in a black trash bag while this is going on, to help prevent it from drying out during this booking time .
But sometimes papers still dry out , particularly at the edges . The composition of the substrate , as well as the type of adhesive will come into play here.
And some papers just want to curl at the seams when they get wet with paste .
One trick to help curtail this is to paste the paper, book as usual, roll up gently, and then dip just the bottom 1/8″ of the edge into a bucket of clean water. This bit of water helps keep that paste damp and workable , and also encourages the wallpaper edges to curl toward the wall rather than away from it.
In today’s instance, because I was working with delicate paper and a contrary clay -based paste , I chose to dip the edges in water before pasting. This was my first time to try this method, and it worked great .
You do have to ensure that the water doesn’t wash the paste off the paper, or dilute it. Because you need that paste there to hold the paper against the wall!
Note: Do not do this with non-woven papers , which are also called paste the wall . Excessive moisture can cause staining .

Cozy, Slightly Rustic, Textured Paperweave for Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

October 30, 2022
Breakfast nook “before” is bright and airy – but washed out and uninspiring. The vertical tan lines are paint I’ve striped under where the seams will fall, to prevent the light colored primer from peeking through.
“After” has warmth, life, and a cheery feel. With a little color contrast, now you can see the detailed woodwork and window molding. The paper has a bit of a tropical, thatched roof, Ernest Hemmingway, sort of feel.
Note I’ve balanced / centered the pattern so it falls evenly and equally on either side of the window . Note how perfectly the motifs fill the space above the windows, as well as below the windows. It’s a minor thing that you don’t consciously notice, but it gives the room a grounded , balanced feeling .
Another angle . The chandelier is a major feature in the room. I love the way the chunky beads repeat the color and theme of the white pattern in the wallpaper.
Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls of standard sizes , this material comes in continuous yardage on one huge (and HEAVY ) bolt .
The height of the motifs perfectly fits the space between the window and the crown molding . No flower tops got chopped off in this room !
There are five windows. This is the area between two of them, including an obtuse angle . It took a LONG time to get the paper around all five windows, keeping the pattern intact .
Close-up showing the texture . This is a paperweave , which is similar to a grasscloth , as both are natural fibers and materials . Because this paper weave is woven, instead of having stiff, straight strands of grass crossing the wallpaper , it was a lot more flexible and workable than regular grasscloth .
The space over the door molding was just 4 1/16″ high. The flower motif fit in here perfectly .
You can see along the seam in the center of the photo , that some of the fibers may try to come off the backing , especially at seams and areas where you’ve cut into the material , such as trimming around window moldings and other obstacles . This is pretty minor .
Overall, the seams are virtually invisible .
One other thing I didn’t like about this paper is that, after the wallpaper was made, the color was applied to the front, like paint . This made the color subject to abrading or flaking off under even light rubbing . It would have been better IMO to have dyed the fibers and then sewn / glued them on to the paper backing . Then the color would go all the way through. Not a biggie – you just have to work slowly and carefully and gently.
Oh, and you can’t get paste or water or fingerprints on the surface, either – because they can’t be washed off and can stain .
The pattern is called Papavero and is by Casa Branca .
The material has an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and razor blade . Takes a lot of extra time , and even more so because you have to press harder to get through the thick fibers than with a traditional wallpaper .
A picture of my straightedge and razor blade . I’m trimming something else here (that will be blogged about later), but you get the idea .
A really bad photo of a really perfect chandelier . It’s chunky , white , and the shape of the ‘beads’ repeat the flower motifs in the wallpaper. The windows will have Roman shades made of a somewhat coarse white linen type fabric , which will coordinate beautifully with the texture of the wallpaper .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Resplendent Transformation for Pre-Teen Girl’s Bathroom Vanity Area

June 3, 2022
The vanity and marble countertop have been removed. This makes it easier for me to work, and also allows the paper to go down behind the countertop, rather than being cut along the top of the backsplash. So no worries about splashed water wicking up under the wallpaper and causing curling.
What a beautiful room for a 10 year old girl!
Peacocks and posies .
This is a non-woven or paste-the-wall material. It was pretty thick and stiff. N-Ws contain minimum 20% polyester. There are many advantages to using them as wallpaper, including easy removal when it’s time to redecorate, because the strong material is supposed to stay in one piece and strip easily off the wall.
One of my colleagues says it’s made of fiberglass. In this close-up shot, you can see the fibers and plastic-like sheen. I have a hunch my friend is correct!
Manufacturer is Graham & Brown , pattern name is Resplendence , color is Blush ( dusty pink ).

Stripping Wallpaper

February 3, 2022
Wallpaper is comprised of two layers – the top, decorative layer, and the bottom substrate layer. The first step in stripping the paper is to remove the top layer. In this case, the material is a solid vinyl. These solid vinyls usually separate easily from their backing and come off in one large strip.
The next step is to soak the backing with water. I use a bucket of warm water and a sponge. You will need to wet and re-wet the backing several times. This water will reactivate the paste. Once it’s wet enough, the paste will let go, and, if you’re lucky, the backing will pull away from the wall easily and in large pieces.
Sometimes you have to work a little harder, and use a stiff putty knife to gently scrape the paper off the wall. A good primer underneath will facilitate this process, as well as protect the wall. I hung this original paper 30+ years ago, and once it was all off, the walls were in perfect condition, and I was able to hang the new paper with no additional prep. This is the sink room.
In the tub room, the paper was the same brand, but the backing was different. This is a gritty, thicker, manilla type paper backing. This stuff usually absorbs the water nicely and lets go from the wall easily. Not so in this case. First, the top vinyl layer wouldn’t pull off, but had I had to get under it with the putty knife, and then it came off in small pieces, maybe 5″ square.
The backing also didn’t let go easily. Even when very saturated with water, it held tight, and I had to use the putty knife to gently scrape it off the wall – mostly in small chunks. Talk about eating up time!
All you need to remove wallpaper is a bucket of plain water, a sponge, and a stiff, 3″ putty knife. I know some folks are fond of their additives. But I don’t think they speed the process at all. Plus, I don’t want any residual chemicals left on the wall.
Oh, and don’t forget the dropcloths!

Another Calm and Quiet Bathroom

January 29, 2022
Textured walls have been skim-floated and sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, primed, and are ready for wallpaper.
For the master bathroom, the homeowner again chose a symmetrical, fanciful, woodland themed design in muted tones of cream on tan.
The overall look is balanced and calm.
I added the paper towel cushions to the cabinet handles on the left, to prevent them from slamming into and marring the new wallpaper.
Close-up shows the unique light texture of raised ink on this material.
The manufacturer is Schumacher, pattern name is Chenoceau. Usually I don’t like this brand, but this paper was actually pretty nice to work with. It does not have a protective coating, so the homeowner will need to be careful with splashes of water and toiletries to prevent staining, and to not let damp towels hang against the wallpaper.

Calm Forest Frolic

January 27, 2022
Before shot of sink room in hall bathroom in a home in the Energy Corridor / Briar Forest area of west Houston.
Symmetrical flora and frolicking fauna are a popular design concept in wallpaper. Just about everything in this home is white or cream or tan, so the homeowner’s choice of this muted color palette fits in perfectly and lends a serene feel to the space.
Close up. The seam at far right is still wet, and will be less obvious once it dries.
The pattern is called Design Woodland and is by Crown Wallcoverings, a British company. True to its roots, the material is what we call a pulp, which is basically wood pulp and ink … thick, stiff, turns mushy when wet with paste, tears easily, and no protective coating on the surface so my client will have to be careful to avoid splashing toiletries or cleaning agents onto the wallpaper. Even water will stain it over time.

Stripping Wallpaper

December 7, 2021
The contractor removed the wallpaper at the top and right side. Here I have begun pulling off the top layer of paper, to the left of center in the photo.

This shows how wallpaper can be stripped off a wall simply and without damage to the underlying surface. The keys are 1.) water and 2.) patience. Oh, and proper wall prep by the original installer.

First and foremost, don’t start yanking and trying to force the paper off the wall dry.

What you do is use a putty knife to lift an edge of the paper and gently pull off the top, inked layer. It should separate and leave the backing on the wall. In this photo, that’s the white paper. Kinda hard to see, because the wall is also white.

Once the top layer is off, you use a sponge dipped in a bucket of water to soak that backing layer. The idea is to reactivate the paste. Once the paste has wetted a bit, it will loosen and you can then gently pull it off the wall.

In most cases, it will strip off the wall easily, as you see in the photo.

It helps immensely if the wall has been properly primed before the paper went up. In this case, the original installer’s (me!) primer (Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977) held up to the stress of tugging the paper off the wall, and also prevented the water from penetrating through to the original surface.

For more detailed instructions and tips, click the link on the right.

Dry Strippable Wallpaper

November 7, 2021
Usually when you strip wallpaper, it comes off in two pieces. The top, inked layer peels off first – leaving the backing on the wall. Then you use water to soak the backing and reactivate the paste. See my how-to page to the right. But today I got lucky, because this paper stripped off easily and without needing any water. And – bonus – no damage to the wall at all!
This paper is decades old, but I believe it is an early version of the non-woven papers becoming more and more popular today. In this photo, you can see the top, decorative layer separating from the backing. The fibers showing in that backing, and the fact that I had a hard time tearing it, lead me to believe that it has the polyester fiber content that non-woven wallpapers do. This ability to strip off the wall easily and in one piece is one of the key selling points for this non-woven material. I particularly like this very thin version, because it is pliable and hugs the wall tightly.

Paste Stains on Wallpaper and Woodwork

November 6, 2021
This wallpaper has been up for nearly 30 years. Over time, ” shadows ” of wallpaper paste have begun to show.
The stains are most common at the seams. During installation, it’s typical for paste to ooze out at the seams, and for the installer to wipe the paste off with a damp sponge or cloth. If he doesn’t get it all, then, over time, the paste can manifest, as you see here. There are also darker blotches to the right of the seam.
Paste caught in the lightly textured surface, and probably spread around by the installer’s wiping.
Seam opening up, probably due to humidity and / or improper wall prep.
Stains showing over a window. I don’t believe the room looked like this when the installation was completed years ago. I believe that time and humidity and other factors caused the paste to darken and show itself on the surface. I also have a hunch that clay-based paste was used. I don’t like that stuff, particularly for this reason.
One sad thing is that this room didn’t have to look like this. Note this section “before.”
Here is the same section “after.” All I did was wipe with clean water and a sponge and the stains came off easily.
Here are stains from paste that was not completely wiped off the woodwork.
Here is the same woodwork after I wiped for just a half a minute with a damp cloth.

I hate that the homeowner lived for 30 years with gradually worsening staining like this. I guess that if someone had gotten industrious, he could have taken a bucket of clean water (refreshed frequently) and a rag, and spent an afternoon washing down the walls and woodwork, and a few spots on the ceiling.

Even better would be if the original installer had ” worked clean ” – meaning, working carefully so as not to get any paste on the surface of the paper in the first place. And being more fastidious in removing any paste that did get onto the wallpaper or woodwork.

Weird Bubbles Develop on Wall

January 21, 2021

This wall had a slight texture that needed to be skim-floated and then sanded smooth. After I applied the smoothing compound (drywall joint compound), a half hour or so later, these tiny blister bubbles appeared. This is off-gassing. But from what is a mystery.

The only clue is that this area is around where the hand towel was positioned next to the sink. So this area would have received a lot of splashing of water and also soap and other toiletries.

My guess is that some of these substances stuck to the wall. And for whatever reason, when they were covered by the joint compound, they released air / gas, which caused these bubbles.

I’ve seen this before. But this time, some of the bubbles were large enough that they did not sand down smooth and even with the wall surface. So I had to do a light touch-up skim-coat on top.

Once I got the wall smoothed, I wasn’t too concerned. I don’t believe that anything causing these tiny blisters would be something that would bleed through and stain the wallpaper.

Some substances do stain wallpaper, though. For more on that, do a Search here.