Posts Tagged ‘woodwork’

Cure Time – Paint Woodwork LONG BEFORE the Paper Goes Up

May 17, 2018


Why am I posting a picture of a can of trim paint? Because I found this in the room where I am to hang wallpaper today, along with a portable cup of wet paint and some brushes. This tells me that the homeowners were in the room last night, frantically painting all the woodwork in a large room with lots of framed openings and two walls of windows – LOTS of trim to paint.

Folks, this is not good. Woodwork should be painted carefully and slowly. First, the existing paint needs to be sanded or deglossed, and then wiped clean. I like to apply a coat of primer. Then the new paint can go up – but it should be brushed on carefully, paying attention to the direction of brush strokes and eliminating runs and drips.

But most important is that the paint needs time to dry. Not just to dry, but to cure. This can take several days.

This is important, because when I come along and put up the wallpaper, paste will get onto the woodwork. This is normal. No biggie. You just wiped it off with a damp rag.

But if the woodwork was not prepped properly, or if the paint has not had a chance to cure, it’s possible – probable – that the paint is not sticking tightly to the surface, and that wiping the paste off the woodwork will also take some of the paint along with it.

Best to plan ahead, read up on proper prep and materials, allow enough time to apply the paint properly, and then allow adequate dry / cure time.

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Crusty, Flaky Stuff on Woodwork

March 2, 2018


You’re looking at a section of crown molding. See that flakey stuff? That is the enamel paint on cracking and chipping off the woodwork. Why? When the original wallpaper was installed, some paste got on the crown molding. This is normal.

But in this case, the paperhanger didn’t wipe off all the residue (this can be hard to do, because it’s really hard to see). Over time, that paste residue ate into the paint and caused it to crackle and chip off the wood.

This can be avoided by making sure that all paste residue is completely wiped off any painted surfaces. I like to use a thin blue plastic tape on the top edge of wallpaper, which keeps paste from coming in contact with the crown molding or ceiling.

Stripping Off Old Wallpaper

February 14, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 ranch-style home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was damaged by a roof leak during Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s guys did a good job replacing drywall and painting the woodwork, but they fell short when it came to wallpaper. See first photo.

But this just gave the homeowner a chance to choose something that coordinated better with the decades-old tile that she loves (and that I love, too), and to pick a paper with more color and flair, that is more suited to her taste. See tomorrow’s post for that.

My first task was to remove the existing wallpaper. It turned out that there were two layers of paper, and, in some places, THREE layers.

In the second photo, I have removed most of the top (new) paper, which is the aqua trellis by Thibaut. I took it off by simply tearing it off the wall. Below it, you see the green savoy (small, tight, squiggly) by Waverly. Interestingly enough, I have hung this a bunch of times – in the ’90’s. 🙂

This paper was attached more tightly to the wall. To remove it, I had to first separate the top inked layer from it’s paper backing. You can see this in the second photo. Once the top layer, with it’s water-resistant acrylic surface was removed, it left behind a white paper backing. I used a sponge and bucket of hot water to soak the backing. It didn’t take long before the underlying paste reactivated, and then it was ready to let go of the wallpaper. You can see clean wall revealed in the photo, where the layers of wallpaper have come away.

In one area of the room, I got a surprise. There was a third layer of paper under the others. The top vinyl layer had been stripped of eons ago, but the tan, gritty paper backing was left on the wall. You can see this in the third photo dry (light tan) and soaked with water (dark tan). Once that tan paper backing got soaked enough with several spongings with hot water, the paste reactivated and the paper was happy to come away from the wall.

I was uncommonly lucky today, because whoever hung the original wallpaper had taken the time to prep the walls correctly. First, he skim-coated the textured walls to yield a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to. Second, he applied good quality penetrating sealer. This sealer might have been Gardz, a product that I use now, or another similar sealer, perhaps even a solvent-based (as opposed to water-based) sealer. His sealer provided a hard surface for the new paper to stick to, and also gave a surface that was resistant to all the water I was using to strip off the old wallpaper.

Check out the fourth picture to see the huge pile of wallpaper I pulled off this one small hall bathroom.

Once all the paper was off, the walls were in very good condition. There were no delaminated areas, no lifted areas, nothing that needed patching – just an amazingly intact surface.

I did a few little touch-ups to a few little areas (I wanted to clean up 60 years of grime collected along the top of the tile), and then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer, by Roman’s, their Pro 977 / Ultra Prime. It’s a white pigmented primer, and is a wonderful surface to hang wallpaper on.

Hick’s Hexagon in a Houston Heights Powder Room

January 28, 2018


This large powder room (it has a shower!) in a new home in the Houston Heights originally had all-white walls (like the rest of the house). Interior designer Stacie Cokinos suggested wallpaper to warm the room and add personality. The homeowner had never used wallpaper before and was skeptical, but she tentatively agreed.

What a wonderful choice this turned out to be! The wallpaper defines the space and transforms it from timid to bold. But, because the color palette is limited, the feeling is not chaotic. The color coordinates beautifully with the dark brass wall sconces. Previously, the white woodwork blended in with the white walls. But now the dark color of the wallpaper makes the beautiful door moldings stand out.

This is a popular pattern, and I’ve hung it, or variations of it, a number of times. The design is by David Hicks and is made by Cole & Son, a British company. It’s a non-woven material, and is meant to be applied by the paste-the-wall method, but I had better results with pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works primarily on new builds, and mostly in the Heights neighborhoods. Her look is spacious, clean, and crisp, with a little fun tossed into the mix.

Painters! Have Some Respect for the Homeowner’s Property

December 10, 2017


These homeowners’ home was damaged by flood waters in Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper, drywall, and flooring in their Bunker Hill area townhome had to be ripped out and replaced.

After repairs, that means that everything in the room is new. Drywall, paint, sink, toilet, floor tiles, etc. It would be nice if people could KEEP everything looking new.

The homeowner asked me not to use the sink, because she already had to clean up messes left by the painters.

She might not have even seen these paint splatters on the floor. In the second photo, you see where the painters let their roller bang into the woodwork. These
dings” are small, but they are visible.

And they are sooo easy to prevent. All you need is a drop cloth. In addition, I like to tack an 18″ width of absorbant dropcloth fabric along the top of the baseboard, to prevent any spills or splatters from hitting the woodwork or the flooring.

It takes very little to protect a homeowner’s moldings, floor, and countertops.

Muted Pattern Adds Dimension and Warmth to an All-White Home Office

December 8, 2017


This softly-colored, small-patterned wallpaper did a lot to warm up an all-white work space, without overpowering. In fact, it is more of a backdrop for other elements in the room, than a statement-maker in itself.

The top photo shows the first strip going up. I had to do a little tweaking to get the geometric print to look straight against the un-level crown molding and the un-plumb walls of this renovated older home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The second and third photos show how the wallpaper adds just enough color and texture to the space.  See how the door and woodwork stand out, with just a little bit of color to set them off?

The wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs, one of my favorite brands. The pattern number is T-72614.   Interestingly, this design is very similar to one by Quadrille.  Quadrille is a brand that comes with a high price tag, as well as a lot of special needs as far as installation goes.  My vote is for the Thibaut!

The interior designer for the project is Stacie Cokinos. https://www.cokinosdesign.com/ She specializes in selecting and coordinating fixtures, fabrics, and finishes in new homes and in older home renovations.

Dark Bar Goes Bright

September 21, 2017

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The woodwork and cabinets throughout this home in the West University (Houston) area were originally painted a smudgy, moldering, dispiriting grey-green.  Many of the walls were a similar sad color.  The new homeowners hated the gloomy green, and had all the walls and most of the woodwork lightened up.

But the green wood stayed in the bar area.  In addition, the bar was papered with a dark moldery green stripe pattern.  There wasn’t much differentiation between the walls and the trim, and the whole room had a feeling of malaise.

Repainting the woodwork would have been costly.  So the interior designer found this lovely pearlized wallpaper that lightens the mood in the room, and also coordinates nicely with the paint color on the trim.  In addition, the large damask is a classy pattern that fits right in with the home’s lightly-traditional dĂ©cor.

This wallpaper is by Fabricut.  The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, assisted by Joni Karnowski and Danna Smith.  http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

Beautiful Over Scaled Damask in a Bedroom

December 31, 2016
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Here is an example of a current trend in wallpaper designs – a traditional motif like this damask, but blown up to be very large, and in unexpected colors. This taupe-on-taupe goes amazingly well with the builder’s choice of color on the woodwork. A damask is a traditional design, but in this over scale size, it has a bit of sass, and works nicely with the room’s “modern rustic industrial” features, like the rolling wooden barn door.

The room was meant to be a home office, but this young family is using it for “Grandma’s room.” Grandma visits weekly, and the homeowner wanted her room to be inviting and spa-like. Accent colors will be a murky turquoise, with bits of lighter turquoise, which are superb spa colors.

The paper was bought from Walls Republic, and is a non-woven material and was installed with the paste-the-wall method. The house is in the far eastern edge of the Houston Heights.

Stripping Wallpaper – Unprimed Drywall: The Underlying Surface Makes A Difference

January 23, 2016

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When stripping off old wallpaper, you never know what you will be getting into. Some people say, “It all came off so easily!” And others will spend days on one room, damage their Sheetrock, and endanger their marriage. 🙂

Several factors come into play, some being: the surface below the wallpaper, the type of wallpaper, the technique used by the person attempting to remove the wallpaper – and his patience level. 🙂

And it’s helpful to understand the process of how homes are put together.

Shot in a corner, under a window, and above a toilet with the cover removed, this photo illustrates the first factor. First of all, the previous installer did not prime the Sheetrock before hanging the paper, and that is a big no-no. A primer will make installation of the new wallpaper easier, help it cling to the wall better, and will protect the wall from damage when the paper is removed later.

But you are not just looking at unprimed drywall.

Above the toilet tank, the grey area is drywall. There are some darker grey areas where the drywall has absorbed water used in the removal process. Wallpaper will stick to bare drywall like its life was staked on it, and, depending on the type of wallpaper and the paste used, can be the Devil to get off. If you are lucky, the wallpaper will release from the drywall easily. But more likely, the wallpaper will stick tight, and will take careful persuasion from a stiff putty knife to scrape it off the wall. It’s very easy and common during this process to tear the top layer of the drywall, and that is very bad, because the inner layer will bubble when new wallpaper or latex paint is put on top of it, and you will also see a visible dent or bump or ridges under the new surface.

To the left of the toilet, in the corner, the white area is joint compound (“mud”). Joint compound is a smoothing agent (like plaster) and has many uses, the main one being to smooth over seams in sheets of drywall. But it is also used to cover nails or screws, patch holes, or to smooth out uneven or textured areas. When it has not been sealed or primed, it is dry and porous and thirsty, and will suck the paste right off the wallpaper. Meaning, that wallpaper will “kind of” adhere to this surface, but will release very easily. Sometimes, all it takes is a little water to reactivate the paste and then the wallpaper will come off easily and cleanly. Other times, the wallpaper will never really stick well at all, and will kind of hover over the mudded areas, and can sometimes even cause a bubble in the wallpaper.

At the top of the photo, under the window molding, you are looking at another white area. This is paint – overspray from when the painters sprayed enamel onto the woodwork. The good thing about paint is that it protects the drywall and will prevent tears when removing the wallpaper. Also, the wallpaper sticks to paint much better than it sticks to joint compound, but not as aggressively as it sticks to bare drywall. So, usually, all you need to do to remove the old wallpaper is soak the backing sufficiently and then use a stiff putty knife to scrape the backing away from the paint. If you are careful, there will be no damage to the drywall. The bad thing about enamel or any gloss-finish paint, is that, contrary to what I just said, wallpaper will not stick to it, because it is glossy and slick – kind of like Colorforms, so it will “kind of” stick, but when stressed by torque or humidity or other factors, can curl at the seams, or even give way entirely.

Bottom line: When hanging wallpaper, always use the proper primer. It will save you a lot of grief down the road.

Brown Stuff on Woodwork

December 8, 2015

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See that brown craggily line, running vertically up the door molding? That is residue from wallpaper paste, left by the previous installer – in 1994 !!

It’s common for paste to get onto ceilings and woodwork, but you’re supposed to wipe it off. Sometimes it’s hard to see, though. Or sometimes you think you’ve removed all the residue, but some hides from you and remains behind. And over time, the residue can darken and flake. That was the case in this home.

What gets me is, this brown cracked flaky stuff had stayed here, easy to see, for twenty years. That’s a shame, because all it took to remove it, after, yes, 20 years, was to wipe the woodwork with a damp rag.

We are lucky that the homeowners had not painted the woodwork in all this time, because putting paint over this paste residue would must surely cause the new paint to crackle and flake.

Note to self: Always wash, prime, and wipe off dust, from moldings or ceilings or other surfaces, before painting.

(I didn’t get pictures, but there was also crackly paint at the ceiling, caused by paste residue eating into the ceiling paint, which will cause bubbling, lifting, and cracking)