Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

When you walk into a room furnished with a beautiful decor, the last thing you want to see is a dent, or a scratch in a finely finished wall. Especially at eye level.

Some of these imperfections can, and often do, occur when we are mounting pictures on the wall or moving furniture. It’s unavoidable if there is a lot of work to be done, and the walls and woodwork are completed.

Let it be known: For every type of finished surface you have in the area, there is a specific method of repair that you can follow if one of those surfaces has been damaged.

Generally, two types of repairs can be made. The first method is the quick fix. It involves patchwork, with a little spackling or caulking. This method is suitable, if there is no real  time to do the repair properly, or quality work is not essential.

The second method of repairing a flaw in the wall involves cutting out the damaged portion of the wall or wood substrate, and replacing it with a new piece. To do this, one needs patience and a knowledge of patching methods where the surrounding surface is matched and blended to match the patched area. Having experience here will guarantee a detailed, and qualitative,  repair job. Remember: It should look like no repair was ever made.

EXAMPLE: Repairing a wallpaper sheet with a 4-inch long scratch.

On a wall in your dining room, there is a 4” long scratch across the surface of a sheet of wall paper. What do you do, besides look at it for days because you don’t know how to fix it? If you call a professional paper hanger, and you have some paper in reserve, he will repair it without blemish or any reminder that it was ever there. However, his time for such a specialized repair might cost you more than you bargained for.

With patience, you can do it yourself. You will need the following basic tools: two or more double-edged razor blades, a metal straight edge for trimming, a drywall or putty knife,  adhesive for attaching a new piece of wallpaper, and a wallpaper seam roller. Add a sturdy, even cutting surface – eg. a portable or old table.

The following steps are recommended to complete this repair:

   1. Remove the existing piece of wallpaper by cutting around the damaged area. Allow for a piece large enough that it can be pasted, will adhere suitably, and can be trimmed properly.

   2. Cut a replacement piece so it will align evenly, or match any pattern on the existing sheet.

   3. Apply paste to both the replacement piece and the wall area. Overlap the wallpaper piece on top of the cut out section. Make sure it is adjusted properly.

   4. Take a drywall taping knife or suitable straight edge, and smooth down the piece of wallpaper. Make certain to remove all bubbles and paste lumps.

   5. Using a straight edge and razor knife, make perpendicular cuts in the wallpaper through the area, where the overlap occurs between the existing paper and the piece you just replaced. The key:  Make sure you apply enough pressure on the razor knife to make a very “clean cut” through both layers of wall paper. No ragged, jagged, or frayed edges.

   6. Once completed, pull back the corners of the top piece of wallpaper. Remove the cut sections underneath the top layer.

   7. When all of the pieces are removed, you can begin to lay, or align, the two layers together, where the seam has been produced by your cuts with the razor knife.

   8. To complete the repair, use a drywall or putty knife to bring the seam together tightly. Then use a wallpaper seam roller to level out and draw the seam very close.

If you follow these recommended steps, your repair should be successful.  Possibly, you will have saved a few dollars for popcorn and soda at the movies.

Final note: It is important to remember that knowing how to repair a minor flaw in a wall is exceeded only by one’s ability to follow the procedures in order to guarantee, hopefully, the best results.

You can learn by making the repair yourself. If you have a professional do the repair, you will  learn virtually nothing at all. Of course, if you are a professional in a field other than painting, leave wall repair to someone else. It may your only reasonable choice.

Read: Part II: Repairing a wall damaged by a piece of furniture.

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