Stain matching old wood trim in your Toronto home

Stain matching old wood trim in your Toronto home

Many older Toronto homes have stained and varnished trim, if I have newer trim installed can this be matched to the existing trim?

Stained and varnished trim highlights the beauty of the wood, so it’s a shame to paint over it.  Here is our process to get you the best result for matching new trim to existing trim.

Make sure your contractor/renovator uses the same species of wood

If you’re going to have new trim installed, make sure it’s the same species of wood, so there’s similar wood grain patterns between old and new trim.  Most older Toronto homes with stained wood have oak trim installed, so you’ll want the new trim to be oak as well.

A couple of things to be aware of when you’re having your new wood installed:

Carpenters will occasionally use glue, if they can’t access the area with a nail gun.  If any glue gets on the surface it will impede stain absorption, this will result in lighter spots where the stain hasn’t soaked in as much.  Even if the glue is wiped off immediately after it touches the wood it still soaks into the grain and will cause issues.

If you are having oak installed be aware that it’s an extremely hard wood.  Therefore, inspect the surface to make sure your carpenter has sunk all the nail heads beneath the surface.

Mind the gaps!  You’ll want your carpenter to get gaps as tight as possible.  We can fill small gaps with wood filler, but the wood filler will take the stain differently than the wood will.  So for the best results the less filler we have to use, the better.

Stain matches take time

In order to do a stain match we need two items:

  • a piece of the existing stained and varnished trim
  • a sample of the new wood that’s being installed

Once we have these 2 items we take them to the paint store for matching, which typically takes 3 days.  Why so long? It takes time for the stain to dry between coats, and it usually takes multiple coats of stain and varnish to match the existing trim.  Keep in mind that nothing is perfect in the world of wood staining, we are matching new wood to old and although we can get a close match, it might not be perfect.

Now the fun part!  Time to stain and varnish your wood!

wood staining, varnish, toronto house painter

When there are no other trades working in your house we can schedule to do the staining and varnishing.  Why? Other trades create dust and this can ruin the finish on the wood. When we arrive there is a process that we follow to stain and varnish your wood to get the best results:

  • We inspect the trim work and make sure there’s nothing that will cause uneven stain absorption, ie. carpenters glue, damaged wood, water stains on the wood
  • We fill all the nail holes and gaps with wood filler
  • We sand down the wood filler once it’s dry
  • The surface and surrounding areas are vacuumed – dust is the enemy of a proper wood finish
  • The wood is wiped with a tack-cloth – it’s basically a sticky cloth that wipes any residual drywall dust or sawdust off the surface
  • We apply the stain by brush
  • The stain is given some time to soak in – usually ranges from 30 sec to a few minutes
  • The excess stain is wiped off the surface
  • The stain is given time to dry overnight
  • We brush on 2 coats of varnish the next day – with a light scuff sand and tack-cloth between coats to make sure we have a smooth finish

In conclusion

It’s possible to finish new wood to match existing stained wood.  So why don’t you book a quote? We’d love to Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Dark Wallpaper Tips

Dark Wallpaper Tips

I have a dark wallpaper to install in my Toronto home.  I’ve heard that the seams can really show on dark papers, how do you prevent this from happening?

What is the issue with installing a wallpaper with a dark background colour?

The basic issue is that if some precautions are not taken the seams will look lighter than the rest of the paper.  The overall look then becomes little thin white lines at each seam and not a consistent background colour.

Keep the seams tight!

When paste is put on the back of wallpaper, some wallpaper swells a little bit, then as the paper dries it can shrink back to it’s original dimensions.  An inexperienced wallpaper installer might not account for this. In this case they might install the wallpaper at it’s most swollen state and then as it dries, it shrinks back and exposes a sliver of the wall underneath.

An experienced installer always read the instructions!  The instructions will give how long to book the wallpaper (ie. let it sit so that it has a chance to swell and contract back).  Some papers don’t swell very much at all.

This is all vital information to make sure that once the wallpaper is dry, the seams stay tight.

Paint a dark colour on the walls

Despite all efforts to keep seams tight, a good precaution is to paint the walls the same colour as the wallpaper background.  Then if seams open up a little bit, it’s not revealing white walls, but walls painted the same colour, thus hiding the seam.

Colour the edges of the wallpaper

Regardless of the colour of the wallpaper, the backing of the paper is generally very light,  This means that the edge of the paper is light as well. Sometimes this shows a little in the finished product, especially if the walls aren’t perfectly smooth.  A good precaution is to colour the edge of the paper with a colour similar to the background colour, It can be done with a marker or pencil crayon when the paper is rolled up tight, this ensures that the colour only gets on the edge of the paper and not on the face.

dark wallpaper, toronto wallpaper installation

In conclusion

A couple of simple steps will ensure that the seams of darker wallpaper will be nicely hidden.  If you nave a dark wallpaper that you want installed (or any wallpaper for that matter) why don’t you book a quote?  We’d be happy to Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Toronto Accent Wall Project:  Chevron Stencil

Toronto Accent Wall Project: Chevron Stencil

Are you looking for something a little different?  Maybe you’ve found a wallpaper pattern that you like, but you can’t find it in the colour that you like?

That’s what happened to this family.  Their daughter wanted a specific pattern in a specific colour, she wanted a chevron pattern in black and white.  Their interior designer tried to source a wallpaper, but nothing caught their fancy.

The solution, get a stencil and paint a chevron pattern on the wall!  With paint, the colour choices for the accent wall are now unlimited!

Here’s what we did, step by step:

Paint the base colour

toronto house painter, chevron stencil, pattern walls

We decided to use the white as the basecoat.  Darker colours usually hide better over lighter colours, rather than lighter over darker.

We used Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace which is almost a pure white.  Even using top quality paint, we need a few layers of paint to have it look nice and evenly coloured.  So we primed twice, followed by 2 coats of finish.

Once the base colour is done we needed to make sure it had enough time to fully dry, so we left it until the next day.

Prepping for the stencilling

Stencilling can be a little messy, so we taped around the perimeter of the wall, and around the window.  Basically we taped off any adjacent areas that we didn’t want our stencil colour on.

Next, we wanted to minimize bleeding around the edges of our stencil, so we took spray adhesive and sprayed the back of our stencil.  We let it dry for a few minutes, we wanted it to be slightly tacky, but not so sticky that it would take paint off the wall.

Stencilling our pattern

We used our laser level to keep everything in line.  Basically we lined it up with the bottom corner of each chevron.

We started at the top of the wall and worked our way down.  After we finished each vertical section, we moved the stencil back to the top and did the next section over, in the same manner.

With stencilling we had to use very little paint, to avoid the paint bleeding underneath.  So we used 3 coats, and took our time, so that it could dry before the next coat was applied.  In fact, we put a hair dryer on the drying paint, just to speed it up a little.

Even still, we had some bleeding paint, which we had to go back after and fix.

We had to respray the back of our stencil every 15-20 min, just to keep it tacky.

In the corners and around the window we bent the stencil and got in as far as we could.  Afterwards we finished the pattern off using some tape.

chevron, stencil painting, toronto house painter

Final touches

After we did our stencil, we let the paint dry to the touch.  Then we finished off the pattern in the corners by taping the edges.  Anywhere where the black bled under the stencil, we taped and painted a little white along the edges.

For taping we really like Frog Tape, which has virtually no bleed through along the edge.  Just remember to press firmly along the length of the tape, to stick it down!

In conclusion

This was a fun project and the client absolutely loved it.  If you’re interested in exploring doing an accent wall in your home, why don’t you schedule a quote?  We’d love to Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Do I need lining paper for my Toronto wallpaper installation?

Do I need lining paper for my Toronto wallpaper installation?

“I’ve opened up my roll of wallpaper and I see in the instructions that they recommend a lining paper, What does this mean?”.

In this post we’ll go through what lining paper is, what it does and when it should be used.

What is lining paper?

Basically, lining paper makes wallpaper more sound and durable, similar to how a primer can prepare a surface for painting.  

What is the purpose of lining paper?

Wallpaper liner, or lining paper is a blank paper which is installed before wallpaper, as a way to reinforce the wallpaper going over the top.

In walls where there are cracks or surface irregularities the liner can smooth these out and make them less noticeable.

When the lining paper is hung horizontally and the wallpaper hung vertically, the wallpaper can withstand both vertical and horizontal movements in the wall.

When should a liner be used?

Much like our primer example, sometimes lining paper is necessary and sometimes it’s an unnecessary step.  The first place to look is in the installation instructions; a wallpaper manufacturer will generally say in the installation instructions whether or not a liner is recommended.

Here are  a few general rules that a manufacturer will use when deciding to recommend a liner:

  • Thinner papers sometimes require a liner, because they are less effective at hiding surface irregularities than a thicker paper.  In other words, any little bump on the surface underneath shows through the paper as a bump.
  • Metallic papers sometimes require a liner for the same reasons.  Any little bumps show through the glossiness of the paper, whereas a matte paper would hide those imperfections better.

Can I still use a liner even if the manufacturer has not explicitly recommended one?

Of course, we can install a liner under most wallpapers no problem!  There’s no downside to installing lining paper, except for the extra cost.

Here’s an instance where you might consider using a lining paper, regardless of what the instructions say:

If your walls have a lot of cracks, which is typical of some older Toronto homes.  We see this usually in old plaster walls where there is some movement in the plaster.  These cracks will generally come back if a lining paper is not used. As we discussed, a lining paper can flex with movement in the walls and keep that movement from damaging the wallpaper above.

In conclusion

If you want a wallpaper installer that will ensure that your paper is properly installed according to the manufacturer’s directions, why don’t you book a quote?  We’d be happy to Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Wallpapered Walls and Flat Screen TV’s – Which do you install first?

Wallpapered Walls and Flat Screen TV’s – Which do you install first?

Many people like to have wallpaper installed on the same wall as their TV is mounted, which is a great look for your Toronto home.  But this begs the question, should you have the wallpaper installed first, or the TV mounted to the wall first?

To answer this question we have guest blogger Gordon Cameron from TEC.works taking us through the process of installing a TV wall mount on a wall that will be wallpapered.  We don’t want any extra holes put in our wallpapered wall for fishing wires, so here is Gordon’s fool-proof method for ensuring a properly positioned TV that keeps all wallpaper intact:

Getting exactly the right position for a flat panel TV installation requires some planning up front.
  • Is the screen the right viewing height from your favourite chair?
  • How many other people join you for movie night, and where will they be sitting?
  • What about a sound bar?  Sound bars typically work best mounted below the screen, but this could push the screen height up if there is a mantle.
  • How are all the wires for the HDMI inputs, power and possibly an optical cable run from AV components to the TV?  How will they be concealed?
You can get answers to some of these questions with a measuring tape, or even a masking tape outline on the wall.  But there is no substitute for actually lifting the TV into the approximate position to get a feel for how it will fit with the room.  Each of these tape outlines or temporary lifts is an opportunity to scuff up a beautiful wallpaper job.  Here is what I’d recommend to get the TV installed where you want it, without damaging the wallpaper:
  1. Determine the desired location for the TV, and then decide what sort of wall mount makes most sense.  TV wall mounts can be mounted flat against the wall, tilt out a few degrees from the top, or even swivel and tilt.  It all depends on your room and seating.
  2. Mark the studs, install the desired wall mount and then hang the TV
  3. Run all the cabling.  Often there are several HDMI cables, power and possibly optical cables, and they all need to be concealed.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the installation, remove the cabling and the TV
  5. Loosen bolts or screws and lags and remove the wall mount
  6. Have CAM Painters work their magic with the wallpaper installation
  7. Install wall mount again into existing holes or lags
  8. Install and level the TV
  9. Rerun and conceal all the cabling
  10. Order pizza and enjoy the movie!

Thanks Gordon for the great advice!  Here’s a little information about TEC.works:

At TEC.works, we help solve technology headaches for consumers and small businesses.  That might mean reviewing consumer bills for cell phones, Internet, TV packages, or home phones and finding less expensive options that are a better fit for your needs.  It might mean installing a home theatre system, or a presentation screen in a retail outlet. It might mean troubleshooting WiFi signal strength in a dead spot at your home or business.  We’ll find the right technology products or services for you, and then manage them professionally.  Because you’ve got better things to do with your time.

READ MORE:  Choosing wallpaper for your Toronto home

So if you’re planning on having a TV and wallpaper on the same wall, why don’t you book a quote?  With both us and TEC.works it will be a seamless process!  Transform your home with lasting beauty!