Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Those of us with old, weathered outbuildings eventually reach a point where we must decide if a building is worth saving. Even though the structure might not have historic or architectural value, it may still be of use as a place to store garden equipment, keep chickens or house our collection of cars or auto parts.
Restoring an old, weathered outbuilding takes a little more work than you might expect. It may require being pulled "back into square" to reverse a noticeable racking. It may also need a new foundation, roof or cross braces for added support. But once the structural work is complete and the roof replaced, the last step of the restoration should be a coat of paint, a project that is also a little more work that you might expect.
Unpainted wood is said to have "weathered" which is usually characterized by a gray, washed-out appearance. Outbuildings that have stood for many years without paint may have areas of rot or have splintered or cracked in spots. Before weathered wood can be painted, it will require extensive prep work to ensure that the paint stays on for more than just a couple of years.
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
With old buildings such as my 130-year-old barn, water-blasting the loose paint is not a recommended practice. The high pressure of the sprayer can knock those old boards loose and infuse the bare areas of wood with water. Instead, the paint should be scraped off by hand using a paint scraping tool. Do keep in mind that old paint may contain lead, and proper precautions should be taken when removing those old fragments of paint.
As you scrape away the paint, this is the time to take note of the wood's condition. Old, weathered wood that is moist and spongy is said to suffer from "damp" or "wet" rot. Areas that are dry and crumbly are referred to as "dry rot." Both dry and damp rot are caused by microorganisms that must be removed to prevent the rot from spreading. For smaller areas of rot, cutting away the damaged section and patching it with a wood plug will do. Larger areas of damage may require replacing whole sections of lap siding, which can be milled at a custom millworks company.
Other damage to look for during the scraping process are warped or twisted planks or extensive cracks in the wood which typically occurs in desert climates. These sections of wood should also be replaced.
Step 2: Sand and Brush
Once wood has been scraped and the damaged sections replaced, it's time to grab a wire brush and sander for the next leg of the project.
Wood that has been exposed to weather will eventually break down into a matte of dense fibers that can be scraped loose with a fingernail. Before you can cover up that weathered wood with a coat of paint, those loose fibers must be removed. For larger structures, a wire brush is an easy way to knock off the remaining pieces of paint and surface fibers, while also roughing up the wood's surface for better paint adhesion. Flat surfaces such as moldings and soffits can be easily sanded with a belt sander.
While you might not want to put this degree of work into prepping your old outbuilding or barn, this is an important step that will ensure a long-lasting paint job and the future longevity of the structure.
Step 3: Apply Caulk Where Needed
Even an old outbuilding can benefit from a little caulking. Caulk prevents water from seeping behind vulnerable areas of the outbuilding and developing into rot.
We used a high-quality acrylic caulk on our barn to seal the corner joints, seams and trim pieces around doors and windows. The caulk not only protects the wood, but gives a nice clean look to the architectural details of the structure by removing shadow lines.
Step 4: Wash It Down With a Hose
Once the caulk has dried, the outbuilding can be given a good rinsing with a garden hose and scrub brush to knock off dirt, sawdust and other debris that may prevent paint from properly adhering. After washing, the building should be allowed to dry thoroughly.
For taller buildings, we discovered an RV cleaning brush extended our reach by about six feet and was a real time-saving tool for scrubbing down our two-story barn. This hollow, long-handled brush attached to a garden hose, and allowed us to rinse and scrub the barn all in one step. These brushes are available at RV centers and cost around $80.
Step 5: Apply Primer
The saying goes that a "paint job is only as good as the primer." While it may be tempting to slap some paint on the outbuilding and call it good, for a more attractive and long-lasting paint job, applying a primer base coat is an important step that should not be skipped. Primers help to block stains that can seep into your topcoat, provides a clean and uniform finish and will improve topcoat adhesion. Without a primer, the top coat is more susceptible to flaking.
Since our barn had been treated with linseed oil in the past, it was recommended that we use a high-quality, oil-based primer, applied in two separate applications at a 24-hour interval. The first application of primer was absorbed immediately into the wood, but the second application of primer did a fantastic job of covering the weathered siding. The two applications of primer were followed with two coats of high-quality exterior latex paint for a clean, smooth finish. Had the barn not been treated with linseed oil, a high-quality latex primer could have been used instead.
Painting an old, weathered building is not an easy overnight task for the do-it-yourselfer and can take several weeks to get it just right. But for an old-house person who loves the look of a historic outbuilding on their property, restoring a weathered old barn is a project most certainly worth doing.

Friday, 16 May 2014

different types of wallpaper


solid sheet vinyl:

Solid Sheet Vinyl wallpapers are printed on a 100% vinyl material and are commonly embossed to give them a luxurious textural effect. These wallpapers are quite durable and are usually scrubbable, making them easy to clean and maintain. They are also peelable which means the wallpaper will peel off the wall easily, leaving some of the backing on the wall, which can typically be removed with soap and water or in some cases a wallpaper removal solution may be necessary.


Non-Woven wallpapers are an advanced technically improved wallpaper material that was introduced to the market over eight years ago and is fast becoming the preferred substrate for wallpaper. Made of a fibrous material, non-woven wallpapers are easier to install and even easier to remove! They will dry-strip from the wall, usually leaving the wall smooth and abrasion free. Many Non-Wovens are vinyl free making them an environmentally friendly wallpaper option. 


Easy-Walls is an environmentally friendly wallpaper substrate. It is vinyl free, with no PVC or VOC and is printed with water based inks. Wallpaper made with this eco-chic material is pre-pasted and easy to install and easy to remove without harsh chemicals, making wallpaper d├ęcor projects a pleasure! The revolutionary Easy-Walls wallpapers are also washable and breathable, inhibiting mold and mildew. 


Grasscloth wallpapers are hand crafted and unique; made of natural and exotic materials harvested throughout Asia. Grasscloth's create a natural and highly textural look on walls that is understated and timeless. Most grasscloth wallpapers are made of 100% natural materials making them environmentally friendly. It is recommended that stains on grasscloth wallpaper be attended to with clean water a damp white cloth/sponge. Professional cleaning may be necessary. 


Wallpapers printed on paper are not as common as in previous years, but are still present in the marketplace. Paper wallpapers are environmentally friendly and showcase flat inks and designs very nicely, but due to the delicate nature of paper, these wallpapers have proven to tear easily during the removal process. 

acrylic coated/vinyl coated paper:

Acrylic Coated/Vinyl Coated wallpapers are printed on paper and treated with a coating for durability and washability/scrubbability. These wallpapers are easily maintained and are unaffected by long tern exposure to humidity making them ideal for kitchens and baths. 

expanded vinyl:

Expanded Vinyl wallpapers are printed with a special ink that expands with heat giving them a raised surface effect known as "blown" creating a soft but dimensionally textured wallpaper. Most "Paintable" wallpapers are examples of an expanded vinyl wallpaper, but also is common printing technique used to create faux effects like bricks, woods and stones. 

heavy-weight vinyl:

Heavy-weight Vinyl wallpapers are deeply embossed using a thick vinyl material. These wallpapers offer a very luxurious look and feel and are commonly used in Italian wallpaper manufacturing. 

fabric-backed vinyl:

Fabric-Backed Vinyl wallpapers have a fabric backing which makes them highly durable. Because of their ability to be bumped and scratched without being damaged, these are most commonly used for commercial jobs where high levels of durability are a must. 

molded linoleum:

Molded Linoleum wallpapers are used primarily in the Lincrusta Collection. Lincrusta wallpapers are a highly durable and dimensional wallcovering that replicates the feeling of custom molding or paneling which can be top-coated with any paint or stain for desired effects. 



Prepasted wallpapers have a cured adhesive applied to the backing, which is activated with water. These wallpapers must be booked before hanging, for detailed hanging instructions for prepasted wallpaper see our How to Hang Prepasted Wallpaper guide. 


Unpasted wallpapers have no paste applied to the backing so paste will be needed. Unless specifically mentioned in the instructions that come with the wallpaper, these can be hung with standard wallpaper pastes available at your nearest paint and wallpaper store. We recommend hanging these using the paste-the-wall method, but you should check the instructions to see if the manufacturer recommends pasting the backing, in which case you will need to book the wallpaper. For detailed instructions about hanging unpasted wallpaper, see our How to Hang Wallpaper guide. 


straight match:

Wallpapers with a straight match have a pattern that is can be continued across the width of the wallpaper. This means that the pattern continues across the seam and matched to the same point of the pattern on the next strip. 

drop match:

Wallpaper patterns with a drop match do not repeat across the width from strip to strip. The next strip will need to be dropped either a quarter or half the repeat on the next strip to match the pattern from strip to strip. If you need to drop half of the repeat it is called a Half Drop and if you need to drop a quarter of the repeat it is a quarter drop. 

random match (aka free match):

Wallpaper with a random match have no design repeat, this means that is does not matter where you match the next strip of wallpaper, it will always continue the design. Textures, grasscloths, and stripes are all examples of patterns with a random match. 


The design repeat of a wallpaper tells you how many inches the pattern is vertically, until it repeats itself again. Patterns with no repeats (like textures) will have little waste, but larger designs (with repeats above 21") may require more wallpaper because there is more waste because you need to match the pattern from strip to strip and can lose up to the pattern repeat on each strip to match them properly. 


This is the width of the wallpaper (or the border), the most common width is 20.5", but there are also many wallpapers that are 21", 27" and 36". 20.5" and 21" wallpapers are usually 33' long per bolt (or 16.5' per single roll), 27" wallpapers are usually 27' long per bolt (or 13.5' per single roll), and 36" wallpapers (usually grasscloths) are 24' per bolt (or 12' per single roll). 


This is the square footage that you will get from a single roll of the wallpaper (or spool of border). This is simply a calculation of the width (above) times the single roll lengths (above). Sidewalls are usually priced in single roll increments, but must be purchased as double rolls or bolts since this is how they are packaged. So to get the bolt (or double roll) coverage simply multiply this number by 2.
When calculating the amount needed for a job see our Wallpaper Calculator page, or use this square footage to determine how many single rolls you need. Be sure to deduct for doors and windows and add more if you have a large design repeat. 



Scrubbable wallpapers can be scrubbed with a sponge, scrubbale wallpaper have a higher level of durability than washable wallpapers. You can use a soap or mild detergent on scrubbable wallpaper. 


Washable wallpapers can be lightly cleaned with a sponge or a damp cloth. You should take care when cleaning washable wallpapers, but if you are gentle, they should clean easily. 

wipe with a damp cloth

These wallpapers should be washed gently with great care, they are more fragile than others and you should be careful cleaning. 



Strippable wallpapers can be dry stripped from the wall without leaving any backing behind. These are the most removable papers in the market and usually are printed on a Non-Woven substrate. 


Peelable wallpapers will peel off the wall, leaving some of the backing behind. The backing can be often removed with soap and water, but sometimes a wallpaper removal solution may be necessary.

how to hang wall murals


wallpaper removal
  1. Please refer to the instructions that came with your mural as different murals have different installation methods. In general, installing murals is similar to installing wallpaper. Before you begin, make sure that the wall space that the mural will cover is smooth and has been primed. The wall should be free of dirt, and oil, and any holes or bumps should be filled or sanded smooth. Our murals are not for outdoor use, and should be installed in a room with an average temperature between 18° and 20° Celsius or 60° -70° Fahrenheit.

  2. Arrange the pieces of the mural in front of the wall where they will be installed in the proper order. Make sure that colors match up evenly at the seams before pasting the mural. If the mural is smaller than the total wall space, mark out the dimensions lightly in pencil on the wall using a level and tape measure to create a straight center line and make sure that the area is level.

  3. If the mural is unpasted, we recommend installing it using the paste-the-wall method. If you choose to apply the paste to the panels themselves, be sure to "book" each panel, letting it rest for the amount of time recommended by the adhesive, so that the paste can activate and the panel can expand and contract before applying it to the wall. This will ensure a firm bond and prevent your seams from separating. If your mural is pre-pasted, "book" each panel after wetting it to activate the glue.

  4. Depending on the size of the wall and the type of mural being installed, decide where it would be easiest for you to begin installing your mural panels. It may work best for you to begin installing the panels from the bottom left corner. Or, it may make the most sense to start from one of the center panels and work your way out. Some murals will come with recommendations on which panel is the easiest to start with. Install the first panel, being careful to ensure that it is straight with your plumb line as a guide. Use a smoothing tool to firmly adhere the mural panel to the wall, sweeping your tool across the strip from the center outwards and working out all air bubbles. Apply additional strips in the same method, matching up the pattern at the seam and carefully smoothing out all bubbles as you go. Properly "booked" panels should not shrink when they dry, but be sure to smooth the seams together as you go to be sure that they will not separate.

  5. If the mural is larger than the wall space, cut along the corners or edges of the wall using a sharp knife and a straight-edge as a guide. Make long cuts, without lifting the blade.

wallpaper over wooden panels


Considering wallpaper to cover wood paneling? Perk up dark and outdated paneled walls with a fresh wallpaper cover up. Another popular option to cover wood paneled walls is Paintable wallpapers! Choose from a wonderful variety of styles and designs from period designs like pressed tin to textures and modern motifs. Even better, Paintable wallpapers may be left unpainted for a clean white look or can be painted with any paint color of your choosing.
  1. If the grooves in your paneling are 1/4 inch deep or more, hide them by filling them with caulk. Wipe away the overflow of caulk by running a putty knife along the groove.

  2. Once caulk is dry, prime the paneling with a stain-blocking latex primer. Let dry completely. Coat walls with an acrylic-emulsion sizing or one recommended by the liner manufacturer. Sizing creates a rough surface to help the liner adhere.

  3. A heavy-duty wallpaper liner, available where wallpaper is sold, is the secret to the project’s success. Hang the liner horizontally. This ensures that the seams of the liner and the decorative wallpaper won’t align.

  4. Hang wallpaper vertically over the liner according to manufactures instructions. See our how-to-hang wallpaper section for more detailed instructions.

  5. If you are using paintable wallpaper, be sure to wait until the paper is completely dry. We recommend painting over paintable wallpaper with 2 coats of latex paint.