Defects in Wallpaper

Problem: Wallpaper loosens at edges, becomes ripped, or creates bubbles.

Background: Even newer wall coverings, though much improved, can become damaged. Blisters in wallpaper can be fixed by lancing the wall paper with a razor blade or a craft knife to let the air out, then putting glue behind the loose paper and smoothening it with a wet sponge. Loose edges can simply be reglued with wallpaper adhesive. Rips and tears, however, require more work but can be repaired if the damaged area is not too large and you have extra wallpaper.

What to do: With ripped or torn wallpaper, you can often create an almost invisible patch. Find a section of extra wallpaper larger than the damaged area, and tape it over the damaged area, matching the pat tern. Using a razor blade, craft knife, or utility knife, cut straight lines (in the shape of a square, rectangle, tri angle) through both the new patch paper and the wallpaper on the wall. Next remove the top patch paper, as well as the paper on the wall, within the cut area. Coat the back of the patch with wallpaper adhesive, and fit it into the hole. Smoothen and wipe the patch with a damp sponge.

Special advice: If a bubble is next to an edge, you may be able to get rid of it by lifting the edge with a knife. Another way to flatten bubbles is to inject glue behind the bubbled paper with a needle-type injector which resembles a hypodermic needle. If wallpaper that isn’t washable be comes smudged, check a local wall paper store for special wallpaper dough or gum erasers to clean it with.

Helpful hint: Often extra leftover wallpaper, after a few years, will look newer and brighter than wall paper on the wall. To age patch material (so it will match), keep it exposed to similar conditions in an out-of-the-way place.

Defects in Wallboard

Problem: Nails pop out of wall board, or unsightly cracks develop.

Background: Poor materials or original construction technique, changes in temperature, and other problems can cause nail pops or cracks. Cracks often occur in newly constructed homes as the home settles. Some cracks can be annoyingly persistent; however, first try to fix them using the tips below. If that doesn’t work, check with sup pliers for special products such as fiberglass tape designed for hard- to-fix cracks. For tips on handling holes in gypsum board walls or ceilings.

What to do: To fix popped nail heads, first reinforce the area with additional fasteners (nails or screws), driving them about 1 inch to 1½ inches above and below the popped heads. Push the wallboard toward the stud or rafter as you drive the nail in. If using nails, drive slightly into the surface to form a dimple that holds new patching material. Let patching dry overnight and reapply if shrinkage occurs. When patch is completely dry, sand lightly and finish.
To fix narrow cracks, use a stiff brush or screwdriver to remove loose material from the crack. Bend the point of a can opener or similar object into a hook and use it to en large and undercut the crack opening so it will provide a secure hold for the patching compound. (Dampen edges of crack when using patching compound mixed with water.) Fill deep cracks almost to the surface with compound. Let dry, then add another thin coat. Smoothen it on each side by feathering it about 2 inches. Let it dry and sand it smooth.

Special advice: Deep, wide cracks stay patched longer when reinforced with joint tape. Use perforated drywall tape and patching com pound. Sand 6 inches on each side of the crack and work the patching material down into the crack. Then center the tape over the crack, pressing it down with a wide drywall knife. Cover the tape with a coat of the material, smoothing it well beyond the tape edges by feathering. Let the patch dry overnight, then apply an other coat extending 1 inch to 1½ inches beyond the edges of last coat. Smooth, let dry, and lightly sand.

Helpful hint: To make the patch’s edges even with the surface of the wallboard, use feathering strokes when applying patching compound. Make small, successive overlapping X-like strokes across the area, working from the top of the patch to the bottom. Start and end each stroke on an area of clean wall outside of the patch area.