Posts Tagged ‘water’

DON’T Write in INK On the Walls!

January 11, 2019


Today I was prepping a room in a home in Kingwood (far northeast Houston) that was damaged during the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Look at what some contractor did – he went and wrote on the wall in INK!

Most EVERY workman of any type knows that you NEVER write on walls with ink – nor crayon, Sharpie, lipstick, or other.

Reason being, that these substances will work their way through wallpaper (and paint, joint compound, and other substances, too). It may happen quickly, or it may take a few years, but these materials will show themselves eventually, as ghost-like stains on the wall.

Other things will cause staining, too, like blood, water, rust, oil, grease, food, wood sap (knot holes), and more.

Luckily, there are dependable stain blockers on the market that can be brushed on. I like oil-based KILZ Original, but shellac-based BIN is good, too. Water-based products don’t perform as well, no matter what the label or salesman says.

I like to be extra sure, so, when I can, as in this case, I will take a knife and cut around the stain, then dig into the drywall and remove the top layer, taking the ink with it. This way it is GONE, not just covered up.

Of course, the remaining exposed / torn drywall needs to be sealed, skimmed over, sanded smooth, and then prepped for paint or wallpaper.

But all that is worth it, when you can be assured that no stains will bleed through the finish coat.

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Calming Faux Grasscloth on a TV / Fireplace Accent Wall

October 16, 2018


If you’ve read this blog for long, or if you’ve read my informative page on grasscloth to the right, you know that I am not a fan of this material. So when clients want texture and an earthy, organic feel, I suggest some alternatives.

One of my favorite alternatives to real grasscloth is this textured vinyl product, called Bankun Raffia, made by Thibaut. It has none of the visible seams, shading, paneling, or color variations of the real stuff. What’s more, it is strong and durable, just about tear- and water-proof, and it is stain resistant.

The homeowner wisely chose this product to use as two panels flanking the fireplace wall (which is also the TV wall). The faux grasscloth adds warmth and texture and subtle color. It will hold up well against daily use, and it will be easy to remove when they are ready to redecorate.

Ink Spots Bleed Through Wallpaper

July 8, 2018


Well, this has been a month of issues with stains on walls! I was smoothing these textured walls with joint compound, and noticed some red splotches on the paint. I studied them, but decided they were paint, which is stable and not a problem. But a little after I had skimmed over the spots, I looked again and noticed that the red color had bled through.

Evidently it was ink, or lipstick, or child’s crayon, or some other such substance. Along with rust, blood, water, oil, mold and mildew, and a few others, these materials will bleed through paint and wallpaper. It might not happen right away, but eventually you will notice stains on the paper.

These stains can be sealed with a stain-blocker. I like oil-based KILZ Original, but the shellac-based BIN primer is good, too. Water-borne sealers may be environmentally-friendly, but I don’t trust them to work as well.

But in this case, I preferred to just get rid of the questionable areas. I took a knife and dug out the part of the wall that had the red spots. Those are the chips I am holding in my hand. Then I skim-floated over the area to smooth it, and proceeded with my wall prep and wallpaper installation.

No more red spots showed their faces. 🙂

Repairing Water Stains from Flooding During Hurricane Harvey

May 2, 2018


This home in Bellaire (Houston) received damage from flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Water stains appeared on a small area of the wallpaper just above the baseboard in this powder room. Luckily, the homeowners had saved the paper left over from the original install, so I had material to use for the repair.

Certain substances, like grease, blood, smoke, rust, ink, tobacco, and water stains will bleed through wallpaper (and also paint and other materials, too). To prevent this, the discolorations must be treated with a stain-blocking sealer. Many of these are shellac-based, such as BIN, made by Zinsser, but there are others. I prefer oil-based KILZ Original (2nd photo).

I could have just cut some wallpaper and slapped it on top of the stain. But I wanted to be sure these flood survivors wouldn’t have to look at water stains again. So I used KILZ to cover the stains (3rd photo).

The next week, I came back to do the patch. Using my self-healing craft cutting mat with angles and measurements to trim on, along with a straightedge and razor blade, I cut appliqués to paste on top of the stained paper.

It wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because the wallpaper had to be hand-trimmed (use a razor blade to trim off the unprinted selvedge edge). And pasting the paper causes it to absorb moisture and expand, which can throw off the pattern match. So I was dealing with factors relative to what the other guy did and the products he used, compared to my own techniques and products / paste.

It took two tries, but with careful trimming and a little touch-up paint, the job turned out great (last photo).

I also used paint to cover some stains at the top of the baseboard, and also re-pasted some loose areas in other parts of the room (no picture).

Wallpaper and YouTube Don’t Mix

December 31, 2017


This West University mother of young children went to YouTube for some primers on how to hang wallpaper, and then, along with hubby, spent a 3-day weekend tackling the powder room redo project. They didn’t do a horrible job (first three photos), but there were some things that must not have been covered on YouTube.

First, and probably most important, the walls should have been primed with a product designed for wallpaper.

Second, seams should be butted, not overlapped.

Third, wallpaper should not be wrapped around the door moldings, but trimmed at the base.

Fourth, I’m not sure what’s going on with the cuts at the baseboard. I think the room had seen a number of redecorating efforts, and that the baseboards took a bit of a beating in the process, leaving a surface that wasn’t smooth and wasn’t willing to hold on to wallpaper.

I stripped off their wallpaper, patched bad spots, sanded the walls, then primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealing primer that bonds together porous surfaces and that is also a good base to hold wallpaper.

The rest of the photos are of the room after I hung the new paper.

This product is a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl material. It happens to be one of my least favorite kinds of wallpaper. The homeowner chose it because she has young children and the vinyl is reputed to be more water-resistant and durable than other types of wallpaper. If she had consulted with me before she bought her paper, I would have steered her in another direction.

It’s true that the vinyl surface is resistant to water, and it’s more resistant to stains than a paper-wallpaper. But that doesn’t make the product wonderful.

The main problem is the paper backing. This stuff is not horrible, but it does have a reputation for curling a tad at the seams (do a search on my blog for previous posts). Humidity (such as in a bathroom with showering) can cause increased curling at the seams. Any water that falls on a cut edge of the paper (along backsplashes, seams under hand towels, etc.) can wick into the paper backing and cause it to expand, which will cause the seams to curl.

To reduce the potential for seam curling, I used a special pasting process (rather than following the manufacturer’s instructions). And I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the backsplash (see 4th photo – the caulk will be clear when it’s dry) to prevent splashed water from wicking up under the wallpaper.

My trim cuts along the baseboard looked better than the homeowners’, but I still felt the baseboard was compromised somehow and that wallpaper did not have a good surface to grip ahold of. So I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the baseboards, too.

This wallpaper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British manufacturer. It is a faux grasscloth, and, unlike true grasscloths, it is pretty water- and stain-resistant, and it has a pattern that can be matched. In fact, the close-up photo above shows a seam – and I’ll bet that you can’t find it! The pattern number is FD44143

Next time around, when a mom has concerns about her kids touching or splashing the wallpaper, I would suggest she consider one of the newish non-woven products. Or, better yet, a scrim-backed (woven fabric-backed) solid vinyl product, such as something from the Thibaut brand Texture Resource line, particularly Volume 4. Everything in that book is beautifully textured and realistic, and virtually indestructible. Do a search here to see my previous posts.

Mildew!

December 13, 2017


You can clearly see the mildew on the wall that was revealed when I removed the wallpaper. It shows up as the black rings / circles.

The mildew was caused by moisture trapped in the wall by both a leak in the roof or siding, and a leak from a bathroom that crept under the floor – compounded by being trapped inside the wall by a solid vinyl wallpaper that would not breathe or allow air to pass through. Another reason to avoid paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper.

Note: This issue was with mildew. Mildew is not nearly as dangerous as mold. Still, the homeowner took the contractor’s advice and had the drywall completely removed and replaced.

Similar Theme; Different Feel

July 14, 2017

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The original wallpaper in this large powder room in Hunter’s Creek Village was red and had “broken twigs” as its design. The homeowner wanted a subtle change, so went with something fairly similar, but more modern. The paper is a grasscloth, and is dark blue, with gold “broken lines” covering the surface.

The paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and a razor blade. This is a bit more difficult to do with grasscloth, which is thick and stiff, than with regular paper. In addition, the manufacturer’s trim guideline marks were off, which resulted in edges that were not straight. It took some time to figure out how to bypass that, and how to salvage the strip that got the crookedly cut edge.

There were a lot of other challenges to this room, including crooked walls, bowed walls, 12′ high ceiling, paper that twisted when it got wet with paste, a console vanity with exposed plumbing and a lower shelf, and less paper than I asked for – I needed 11 1/2 strips, and I had 12 strips….which meant that there was no extra paper to fix an error. Every strip had to be cut and hung perfectly.

I trimmed, pasted, and hung one strip at a time. This was tedious and slow, but it allowed me to gauge what was going on with each strip and how it interacted with the other strips (previous and succeeding), crooked corners, and the conformation of the room, as I worked my way around the walls, plus it gave me time to work around more difficult areas, such as the light fixtures, the “low boy” toilet, and the console sink.

The finished room looks great, and the homeowner loves it.

Because it’s grasscloth, the family will have to be careful to not splash water onto it, because it will eventually stain the material, or cause the dyes to run.

This paper is by Kravat, and I was very pleased with the quality of the material. (But, let me say here, I was NOT pleased with the mis-marked trim guidelines.) Back to the grasscloth – the color was very uniform, and there were virtually no shading or paneling or color variations, which are problems with most other grasscloth products I have hung. Do a Search here on those terms, to learn more.

You get what you pay for. This Kravat grasscloth cost about $350 per single roll (about 22 useable square feet).

Grasscloth Wallpaper in a TV Room / Sunroom

April 22, 2017

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I hung a woven grasscloth in this TV room / sunroom in an older home in the Rice Village area of Houston when the homeowners first bought the house – back in 1992 ! The wallpaper was still in great condition – except for where shower pan in the upstairs bathroom had leaked, causing damage to the wallpaper below. The paper had suffered fading from the abundant sunlight in the room, too. Time for a change.

The homeowners considered other types of paper and patterns, but came back to the natural, earthy, textured look of grasscloth. Their new choice is more relaxed than the previous woven one, and has more color – although it’s all in the neutral / brown / tan scope.

I was pleased that there was minimal shading / paneling (color variations between strips) (see 3rd photo). The material has a lovely texture (last photo), and was reasonably easy to trim and position.

There was no brand name on the product label, but it was bought at below retail price from 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.

Trimming Grasscloth Inside a Curved Arch / Working Clean

December 19, 2016
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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here is how I trimmed the stiff, rectangular grasscloth to fit the arched top of the bookcase back. You see slits in the excess paper, which we call “relief cuts,” that allow enough ease that the paper can be tucked against the wall, and then trimmed with my razor knife.

The blue stuff is a trick I used to keep paste off the painted areas around the bookcase. This is nice because it saves having to wipe the paste off. It is also important, because with grasscloth, you can’t get any paste or water on the surface of the paper, because it will leave a stain. So even wiping paste off the woodwork with a damp cloth, which is commonly done with most wallpapers, could cause water from the cloth to get onto the grasscloth and stain the natural material.

The blue stuff is a special 2″ wide thin plastic tape, invented and sold by a colleague who is also a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). The tape has other uses, like to keep paste off the flat paint on ceilings, and when overlapping and splicing (double cutting) strips of wallpaper.

Preventing Stains by Sealing Ink with KILZ

December 8, 2016

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See that red vertical line just to the right of the paint can? The previous wallpaper installer had used a red Magic Marker to color the edges of his vinyl wallpaper. This is a good way to cover the white edges so the seams don’t show, especially with a dark paper. But it’s better to use chalk or colored pencils, because oil or ink can bleed through and will stain the new wallpaper or paint.

In this photo, the previous dark red wallpaper has been stripped off, but the red ink that was used to color the seam’s edges has soaked into the wall. The wall has been skim-floated with a light coat joint compound and then primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Yet the red ink has bled through. If wallpaper is hung over this red line, it is quite likely that, over time, the ink will work its way through the various layers and up to the surface.

The best way to prevent that is to use a stain-blocker. KILZ Original oil-based sealer and stain blocker is about the best product on the market for this. Brush it on, it dries quickly, and then you are safe to apply wallpaper, paint, or other materials.

KILZ will also block stains from oil, smoke, rust, water, ink, crayon, tobacco, and more.