Posts Tagged ‘wrinkles’

Cracks in Drywall Due to Ground/Foundation Shifting

October 12, 2018


Here are pictures of cracks and wrinkles in the drywall, and also in the wallpaper over the drywall. These are caused by the foundation of the home shifting, which is pretty common in Houston, and particularly in this Meyerland neighborhood.

Rain, and the lack of rain, as well as other factors, cause the ground to swell or shrink, and that causes the home’s foundation to move – and that causes cracks like these to appear. As weather conditions (and the conditions within the ground) change, the cracks can close up again.

I used a Stanley knife to cut out the bulged areas, and then placed mesh drywall tape over the cracks, followed by joint compound, which I sanded smooth and primed, before hanging the wallpaper. The mesh tape is supposed to flex a little, and will hopefully absorb some of the strain the next time the house shifts, so, with a little luck, the cracks will not reappear.

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Brunschwig & Fils “Bird and Thistle” in a North East Houston Powder Room

September 8, 2018


The homeowner loved this paper, and had to have it somewhere in her family’s new home in Humble, in far northwest Houston. The powder room turned out to be the perfect spot!

Originally the room was faux-finished in a heavy and rough “Tuscan” texture painted a dark reddish brown color. This classic wallpaper pattern changes the whole look, bringing an air of elegance.

The paper has a toned-down silver metallic look, with soft seafoam colored tree trunks, foliage, and birds on it. The ceiling was painted a coordinating soft murky blue, and the wallpaper coordinated beautifully with the tile.

It was quite thin. I like thin papers. The seams were practically invisible, and the paper was somewhat twisty – Sometimes that is good, because you can manipulate a strip to fit slightly off-plumb areas. But sometimes it’s not good, because warps and wrinkles can develop. In the powder room, this was not a big deal, because I never had more than three strips next to one another. But in a larger room with more strips hanging sequentially, it could be a problem.

This design is called Bird & Thistle, and is by Brunschwig & Fils, a British company and a higher-end brand. 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.

Narrow Strip Coming Out of a Corner

August 28, 2018


See that narrow 3/8″ wide strip of wallpaper sitting on my table? That is to be my first piece coming out of this corner.

When you hang wallpaper around an inside corner, you don’t wrap it around the turn, but, rather, split the piece vertically so it wraps 1/16″ around the corner. Then the strip that you cut off is hung on the next wall, butted up into the corner. This avoids twists and wrinkles and bubbled areas caused by walls and corners that are not perfectly straight or plumb.

But when the piece that is to be the first strip on the new wall is this narrow, it presents problems, because it’s very likely to not hang straight, and you can’t hang the next strip of wallpaper against a crooked edge because you will get gaps and overlaps.

Adding to the dilemma is that this narrow strip had already been pasted. I had finished for the day, and intended to hang the window wall to the left the next day. The strip was already pasted, but I couldn’t hang it because of the aforementioned issues, plus, you are supposed to hang a whole wall at a time, because all of the strips have to “meld” together – you can’t hang a wet piece against a dry piece.

My solution was to wash the paste off this narrow strip, and hang it up to dry overnight. I just had to hope that the water would not cause it to expand too much, or warp, or other.

The next day, I pasted this narrow 3/8″ wide strip, along with the strip that would be placed next to it. Then I hung them together, as if they were all one piece of wallpaper. That way, I could work them into the corner snugly, and keep the seam between them nice and tight.

When coming out of corners, it’s common for the wallpaper to go off-plumb, because the corner might be out of wack. So you can (barely) see the red line of my laser level on the left edge of the strip of wallpaper, ensuring that the new strip falls plumb.

Dining in the Meadow

August 26, 2018


Such a beautiful pattern really transformed this dining room in the Highland Village area of Houston.

The homeowner started out wanting the whole dining room papered, but the material (by Peter Fasano, called “Meadow”) is crazy expensive. So she toyed with the idea of papering just the fireplace wall. Then she decided to paper that fireplace wall, and also the mirror-image fireplace wall in the living room directly across the hallway.

But as we approached the install date, she decided that she wouldn’t be completely happy unless she had what she really wanted, which was her original vision for the room – all four walls.

Now she’s crazy happy. And her husband is happy, too – he likes the wallpapered look so much that he is ready to do another room. 🙂

From my point of view, this is one of the nicest papers I’ve ever worked with. It had to be hand-trimmed to remove the unprinted selvedge, and the trim marks were spot-on. The paper took the adhesive well, and it was easy to smooth into place. It would stretch when needed, and wrinkles of excess paper could be eliminated, which helped a lot when accommodating for unplumb walls. There was minimal shrinking as it dried. It is thin and hugs the wall tightly, and was easy to turn corners.

The design is a soft black line drawing on a slightly off-white pearlized background.

From Humid Houston to the Sunny Shores of the Mediterranean

August 22, 2018


If you’re stuck in the city but long for the warm shores of an exotic land, what do you do? How about using a scenic wallpaper mural to fool the eye into believing you’re in Paradise?

I hung this on a wall in a garage in inside-the-Loop Houston near Montrose and downtown. It will be surrounded by automobiles, bicycles, lawn equipment, and all manner of “garage stuff” – but, boy – what a view! The homeowners plan to have a big party later this year, and will use the decorated garage as an extended dining area.

This is the typical, old-school, 8-panel photo mural that has been popular for decades. After the “palm trees swaying over a tropical white sand beach” scene, Mediterranean themes like this are the most popular. But these days, you can get just about anything, even custom made from your own photos, and sized to fit your wall.

Most of these murals are 12′ wide by 9′ high, but this one was 13′ 8″ wide by 8′ 3″ high. It was smaller than the wall all-around, so I placed it more or less in the center, and also balanced on the stairs to the left (not pictured).

The mural comes in eight panels, and is hung with four panels across the top, and four across the bottom. Unlike regular wallpaper, where the seams are butted, these seams are overlapped by about 1/4″. The top photo shows just four of the panels (two top and two bottom), rolled up and laid out on the floor. It’s essential to plot and double-check like this, before you grab pieces and paste them and go to stick them to the wall.

These murals are printed on a somewhat flimsy, plain paper type material. They come with special powdered cellulose paste. I’ve always used the provided paste with these murals. But since this was going in a garage and would be exposed to heat and humidity, I wanted something a bit stronger. The instructions mentioned that, alternately, a traditional pre-mixed wallpaper adhesive could be used. So I used my go-to, Sure Stick Dynamite 780 paste.

The 780 is not as liquid as the cellulose, so it wetted-out the material differently from what I was accustomed to. It is also more aggressive, so it was a bit harder to unfold the booked sheets; too much tugging could cause the delicate paper to tear.

The cellulose paste always causes bubbling. (These disappear as the mural dries. But, still, they are unsettling.) I was happy that the pre-mixed paste did not produce any bubbles, and also allowed the paper to be more stable, with fewer wrinkles and waves. The paper did expand once it got wet with the paste, as much as a full inch per panel, so even with the 1/4″ overlap at seams, it ended up being nearly 14′ wide.

This is a paper mural, and not very durable. The homeowners plan to use a sealant, or perhaps will cover it with huge sheets of Plexiglas, to protect it. How it holds up in the humidity and heat of Houston remains to be seen. They had a similar mural (different scene) up for close to 10 years. I didn’t hang it originally, but I did some touch up and repaste a few years ago. Eventually, though, it succumbed to the elements and had to be removed. This time around, I’m hoping that my use of a wallpaper primer, along with a stronger paste, will help keep the mural nice and tight to the wall for many years to come.

Badly Curling Edges on Quadrille’s “Sigourney” Wallpaper

July 18, 2018

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This “high end, designer wallpaper” by Quadrille (called Sigourney) has heavy inks that smell like moth balls. As is common with these papers, when wet with paste, the ink absorbs moisture and expands more than the paper backing, which is what causes the curing of the edges and the wrinkles (called “waffling”) which you see in the first photo.

Once the paper is on the wall, those edges can continue to curl backwards, resulting in gapped or open seams, or seams that are tight but just don’t look good. And the interior of the strip will continue to hold a few wrinkles and bubbles.

This paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand with a long straight edge and a razor blade, before the strips of paper could be pasted and hung on the wall. I found that my carefully hand-trimmed edges did not butt together nicely, not did they adhere tightly to the wall, and they left little gaps and curled seams.

My solution was to overlap the subsequent strips of wallpaper and splice them together. This gives pretty much perfect seams.

However, it is time-intensive and somewhat complicated, involving many steps and some special equipment. No photos, but in a nutshell, you trim the selvedge edges of the wallpaper in a way that allows you to match the pattern on one side, and then leaves a little more than that on the opposite side. You first pad the wall under where one seam will go with a thin strip of heavy plastic that is 3″ wide (we WIA members call it a Boggess strip, after the WIA member who invented it), to protect the wall. Then you hang one strip, allowing one edge of it to land on top of that plastic strip.

The next strip is pasted and hung, positioned so that it overlaps the previous strip along the outer edge, while making sure that the pattern matches. Next you take a straightedge (I use a wonderful one (not pictured), invented and manufactured by a WIA member, and a sharp, new razor blade, and cut through the two layers of wallpaper, paying heed to press hard enough to cut through the two layers of paper, but not so hard as to damage the plastics strip, and definitely not hard enough to score the wall. A cut into the wall could result in delamination of the layers of the wall, and irreparable curling at the seams.

Once the cutting has been done, the excess layers of wallpaper need to be pealed away, then the Boggess strip removed, and then the two sides of the wallpaper strips should be eased together and smoothed down tight, with the edges of the strips wiped clean of any residual paste.

Next, the rest of the strip of wallpaper should brushed into place on the wall. This Quadrille paper may look wrinkled and waffled on the wall, but any little wrinkles or bubbles that may remain on the wall will dry and flatten out in very little time – just a few hours.

The whole plot, cut, trim, paste, book, position, place Boggess strip, trim paper at crown molding, trim at chair rail, trim at overlapped seam, smooth seam shut, wipe seam clean of paste residue, scenario resulted in very nice seams, but took a whole lot of time and materials and focus. I probably spent 40 minutes on installation alone (not including measuring or trimming) for each strip.

While this wallpaper’s challenges could be met, and the finished room looked fantastic, I would much prefer to hang a good quality mid-price-range wallpaper, with seams trimmed at the factory, and made with regular ink printed on traditional stock, that performs nicely and with minimal time spent.

Workin’ On Ridding A Wrinkle

January 30, 2018


Even though this is a brand-new house, erected by a skilled custom builder, all of the walls, floor, and ceiling were off-plumb / unlevel. That’s not such a big deal when working with a wild abstract pattern or a typical floral. But when a geometric wallpaper pattern like this is applied to out-of-kilter walls, the resulting pattern match is going to be very visible.

In the top photo, the wall to the left is bowed. Trying to get a straight strip of wallpaper to fit into the crooked corner resulted in two very large (24″ high) wrinkles near the floor. That makes it difficult for my next strip of wallpaper to butt into the corner tightly, and to match the pattern, and still maintain its straight edge on the right side. This edge has to stay straight, because subsequent strips of wallpaper will be butted up against it.

My solution was to make some vertical “relief cuts,” following along the design motifs (top photo), from the baseboard up to the point where the wallpaper begins to torque out of shape. Because the wrinkles were so big, I had to make two vertical cuts, instead of just one, to ease the resulting pattern mis-match out over several inches, so it would be less noticeable.

When smoothed back into place, you could not see any pattern mismatch at all. (second photo)

Elephants Walk Across Twin Babies’ Nursery Wall

May 2, 2017

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Here is an accent wall in a nursery for new born twins – a boy and a girl. Instant family. 🙂 The expectant mom had seen pictures on HOUZZ and wanted to recreate the look in her babies’ room.

The top two photos show one wall, but there are two mirror-image 37″ wide walls flanking the recessed window. The wallpaper went on each wall, and the recessed walls around the window were painted metallic gold, to match the wallpaper. The walls had rounded outside corners, and the homeowner had them finished off with a piece of wood molding. I love this. See the last photo for a close up.

The homeowners had ordered their paper off the Internet before our initial consultation. If I had gotten to them first, I would have had them order more paper. As it was, we had one double roll bolt of paper to cover this 2-part wall.

Each wall section required two strips of wallpaper. With the height of their wall, and factoring in the atypically long pattern repeat of 30″, the bolt of paper would yield three strips. Not enough paper.

But I was able to make it work. Because the wall was 37″ wide and the wallpaper was 27″ wide, that first strip would cover 27″ of the wall, leaving 10″ to be covered. Since the paper was 27″ wide, if I split it in two vertically, I could get two 10″ strips from it, taking one from the right side and one from the left side.

If I positioned these four strips on the two walls precisely, I could get the job done with the amount of paper they had purchased.

The job was much more complicated than this, though. I won’t go into all the details or all the math, but things to factor in were the 30″ pattern repeat juxtaposed against the exact height of the walls, the 3″ additional paper needed at the top of the two center strips to accommodate the crown molding (see photo), the numbers the manufacturer stamped in ink on the back of the paper which would bleed through the paper which necessitated that a certain amount of paper had to be discarded, the secondary pattern – which is the diagonal movement and the rhythm of the pattern that you see from a distance (see photo), coupled with the fact that all those elephants looked alike – but were not. If one line of elephants got mispositioned – placed too high or too low – that secondary pattern’s rhythm would be thrown off.

Before I took the job, I did some calculating at home, to be sure they had enough paper. I figured that we could squeak by.

At the site, before I cut any paper, I plotted, measured, calculated – and repeated – to be sure everything was correct. I placed strips side-by-side on the floor (see photo, and thankfully this room had a lot of open floor space to do this), to be sure the pattern match was spot-on. As you can see, everything worked out perfectly.

This paper had to be hand-trimmed (see tomorrow’s post), which took additional time, concentration, and equipment. In addition, the walls were far from straight / plumb, so the wallpaper didn’t want to butt up against the new molding, nor did it meet up with the painter’s finish line under the windows. Luckily it was printed on a very malleable substrate, and I was able to twist it into position. That created wrinkles, but it was forgiving paper, and I was able to work out those wrinkles. I’m glad there were only 1 1/2 strips per wall, because the paper would not have cooperated so generously for multiple strips.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Elephant Walk” and is by Jill Malek, and was bought on-line. It comes in a small scale (pictured) and a larger scale. I hung a very similar giraffe pattern by the same company last year, also in a baby’s room. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/wavy-giraffes-jolly-up-a-babys-nursery/

Grasscloth Wallpaper in an Entry in West Houston

April 28, 2017

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This nubby-textured grasscloth really warmed up the space in this entry in an early ’60’s home in the Briar Park neighborhood of west Houston. The floor was Saltillo tile (rustic Mexican look), and furniture in adjoining rooms was in the “weathered chic” style. The natural color and rough texture of this grasscloth on the upper portion of the entry walls really pulls the look together.

The first photo shows a close-up of the texture and color. The next photo shows two strips and a seam slightly to the right of the middle of the photo (crummy dark picture, as usual 😦 ). I was very pleased that this paper did not have much of the shading and paneling (color variations) that are inherent to most grasscloth products.

HOWEVER – There really were many color variations in this product. But I had had the homeowners buy enough paper to do the room, plus one extra double roll bolt. This extra bolt provided enough paper that I could cut around the worst of the color variances, so that the paper that went up on the walls was fairly uniform in color.

The third photo shows some of these color variations. Those are not wrinkles in the paper – what you are seeing are three different colors, or shades of colors, running across the paper in wide stripes. Had I hung strips like this, it would have resulted in noticeable (and, to me, eye-jarring) horizontal stripes of different colors in the paper.

In addition to these color differences, some of the strips had areas that were riddled with dark threads and knots. A few of these here and there are O.K. But when one strips has very few dark knots, and the one next to it has 30 of them, it is disturbing to the eye.

Luckily, we had enough paper that I could cut around and discard much of the discolored paper.

The finished room looked better and more homogeneous in color than I had expected it to.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Peel & Stick “Temporary” Wallpaper – Horrible Stuff

November 23, 2016

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Boy, oh boy, did I hate seeing this featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Interior designer and television star Genevieve Gorder has many fans, and so does BH&G magazine! When people read something in print, they tend to believe it. I hope that people do NOT read this article and make a mad dash to buy this new product… peel & stick, so-called “temporary” wallpaper.

In my experience, it’s horrible. You know how difficult it is to put Contact paper on a surface without getting wrinkles or bubbles. But Contact paper is only about 18″ wide, and only as long as your shelf. Imagine trying to manipulate that Contact paper in a wider strip, and one that reaches from floor to ceiling! And if you try to pull it up to reposition it or smooth out a wrinkle, it will pull the paint off the wall below, creating an uneven surface and leaving paint on the back of the paper, so you have areas that now will not stick to the wall.

And the claim of “temporary” is misleading, too. In my experience, the stuff bonds tightly to the wall, and gets tighter over time. Removing it is likely to cause damage to the paint and even the underlying drywall.

I won’t hang peel & stick, and many of my friends won’t, either.

When shopping, please do your research before making a final decision.