Posts Tagged ‘window’

Mildew on Wall Indicates Moisture Problem – Somewhere

October 9, 2018


I have just stripped off a solid vinyl wallcovering that had been up for at least 10 years, possibly twice that. The entire wall was covered with mildew. The mildew was present just on the exterior wall; not any of the walls that connected to interior areas of the home.

Mildew breeds when there is moisture. This indicates that there may be a leak in the home’s siding, or a leak in a window on an upper floor allowing water to get inside the wall and into the drywall. Another possibility is that plumbing inside the wall could have sprung a leak, and also caused the drywall to become wet.

Because the wallcovering was solid vinyl, it trapped the moisture between the wall and the wallpaper, and that allowed mildew to grow between the two surfaces. I’m rather surprised that the mildew didn’t penetrate through the wallpaper and show on the surface. The drywall didn’t appear to be soggy or rotted or compromised.

Another reason why I don’t like solid vinyl wallpapers.

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Keeping Wallpaper Lined Up Around a Window

August 28, 2018


Coming around a window can be tricky, because wallpaper likes to twist out of shape, windows can be off-plumb and / or not square, and other reasons, so it’s possible that the pattern can match above but not under the window, or the edges above and below the windows might not line up. Or everything can start going off-plumb.

In the first photo, you can (barely) see the vertical line of my laser level, which is helping me keep the left edges of the wallpaper strip lined up as the paper hangs over and then under the window. Next I hung the shorter strips above and under the window. I kept them “open” (did not trim the tops and bottoms), so I could “tweak” them if necessary.

In the second photo, I have positioned the next strip, again using my laser level to create a straight, plumb line on the left edge. This will ensure that subsequent strips will also hang plumb. I let this new strip hang a bit below the pattern match of the previous strip, so I could accommodate any rise or fall in the pattern; the section under the window was longer, so this is the area I wanted the best pattern match. By leaving the paper loose, I was able to match the pattern at the under the window, then pull the paper up to meet the strip over the window.

Sure enough, the pattern match was off a bit above the window. In addition, the strip on the top reached about 1/2″ further to the left than the strip under the window. This meant I was going to have a pattern mis-match, as well as an overlapped seam. But because I had not yet trimmed the top or bottom of that strip above the window, I was able to manipulate this strip to avoid these issues.

I took this strip and cut it vertically along a flower stem. The right half I aligned with the pattern match on the right. The left half was moved down to match the pattern on the full-length strip on the left, while also butting it up against this strip. This meant that I had a slight pattern mis-match in the middle of the cut strip, as well as an overlap.

All this was OK with me. The busy pattern easily disguised the slight pattern mis-match, as well as that 1/2″ overlap. In addition, it was way up high, over the window.

Standing back, you cannot notice any pattern mismatch or overlap. But what you do see is that the pattern runs perfectly across the top of the wall, and the subsequent strips are all and plumb and nicely butted together.

Over-Zealous Installer Scored into the Wall

August 16, 2017

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Windows without trim molding like these have surfaces inside the opening that need to be covered with wallpaper. They are always a little tricky, because you need to paper both the top and the sides, but the strip of wallpaper will fold over to cover only one of these surfaces. So you need to come up with paper to cover the other surface.

The previous installer chose to splice in the additional paper he needed, which is what we call a double cut, and it’s a fine way to get these windows papered. He lapped a new piece of paper over the existing piece and then cut through both layers, removed excess, and had a perfect splice.

The problem is that he pressed so hard that he cut not just through the two layers of paper, but down into the wall – quite deeply, in fact. Then, as the paper dries and gets taught, and years go by, and especially in this case where the exterior wall had a leak and water damaged the drywall all around the window, the layers of drywall split apart a bit, and that’s why you see these gaps and curled edges.

When I double cut, I put a strip of polystyrene plastic under the area to be cut, to prevent the razor blade from digging into the wall.

This type of damage is difficult to fix, because the integrity of the wall itself has been compromised. Even if you repair the surface, the underlying layers may come apart again and create another crack on the surface.

What I did was to use repair tape to bridge over the cut areas, and then joint compound to float over and smooth the area. This way, if the wall should move or try to open up again, hopefully the tape will prevent any gap from showing.

Geometric Wallpaper Patterns – Accommodating UnPlumb Walls and Windows, and UnLevel Ceilings and Floors

February 24, 2017
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When entering this 2-room bathroom suite, the first thing you see is the window on the far wall. Because the window is the focal point, I chose to center the wallpaper’s pattern on it. As you can see in the first two photos, the geometric pattern is perfectly balanced on either side of the window.

But since walls and windows and ceilings and floors and etc., are never perfectly plumb or level, you can plot the pattern to be nice and straight in one place, but then you can plan on it going crooked in other areas of the room.

So it becomes a game of priorities… Do I keep the pattern plumb/level, or do I keep the pattern match intact?

Look at the photo of the wallpaper against the ceiling line, and you will see the pattern dropping down as it moves to the left. That doesn’t look great – but it’s not really all that noticeable or offensive.

Now look at the photo of the corner. The pattern matches perfectly. To get the pattern to match, I had to hang the paper to the left of the corner off-plumb, and that’s what threw the pattern at the ceiling line off-level and caused it to drop down as it moved to the left (mentioned above).

Mis-matched wallpaper patterns are eye-jarring, even in corners. I think it’s better to have the design match in the corners, then to worry about how it is moving along the ceiling line, or how it’s meeting up against other walls in other corners.

This wallpaper is by Waverly, which is made by York, and is in the Sure Strip line, a product that I particularly like. 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.

Bad Walls – Water Damage, Mildew

April 9, 2016
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This is what happens when a window leaks and allows water to run into the wall – for years. The Sheetrock has disintegrated, mildew is growing, the surface has become uneven, and there is the potential for stains from water and mildew and rust, plus the potential for delamination of surfaces, because nothing will stick to that powdery mildew.