Painters and Decorators in London

Painters and Decorators in London

DIY Painting and Decorating

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez has held pride of place in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years. This is the Restoration of a Jesus Christ fresco by an old lady, who decided the masterpiece needed a little refurbishment.

DIY restoration

The 19th century Spanish fresco has been ruined after the old lady attempted a DIY restoration of the artwork.

For people who love art this must feel quite tragic and if it had been done with bad intentions it would be, but I don’t think this was the case. Perhaps it is still a work in progress. Absolutely hilarious.

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Painting relief wallpapers and wallcoverings


Relief wallcoverings can be painted using a brush or roller. The first coat should always be an emulsion paint but you can, if you wish, follow this up with a coat of solvent-based paint.

The exception is Lincrusta which should always be painted with a solvent-based paint or, if a wood, effect is wanted, it can be treated with ‘5 scumble, a thin oil-based covering which gives a ‘grainy’ effect.

The painting process will show up any air bubbles trapped behind the paper. As the paint dries the air bubble will probably flatten again but if this does not happen: use a razor blade to make two careful cuts diagonally across the bubble
• push more adhesive under each flap and press the paper back
• wipe off excess paste from the paper surface, allow to dry and then repaint.

Hanging relief and embossed wallpaper

If you want a change from the flat surface which ordinary wallpaper gives, you can hang a relief wallcovering with a raised, embossed pattern for a different look on walls or ceilings.

One way of covering up a poor wall or ceiling surface is to use a relief or embossed wallcovering. It must be stressed at the outset that the wall or ceiling should be in sound structural condition, but these types of wallcoverings will provide an ideal disguise for minor defects such as hairline cracks, a rough finish or slight unevenness in the surface. Even where the surface is perfect, you may simply decide that you like the look which a raised pattern can give.

Frequently, embossed or relief wallcoverings are referred to as ‘whites’ because they come only with a white finish. Most of them require overpainting (you can, of course, paint them white, if you wish) so the paper is protected against dirt, moisture and reasonable wear and tear. Painting over a wallcovering normally means that it won’t be an easy job to remove it later, so it’s usually best to hang a relief wallcovering only if you intend leaving it in place for some time. (Although a steam stripper will make removal easier.) There is a wide range of relief wallcoverings available which vary in design, thickness, depth of embossing, quality, strength, method of manufacture and price.

Woodchip wallpapers

One of the most commonly used of the ‘whites’ apart from lining paper is woodchip wallpaper. This relatively thick paper is made from soft wood-pulp with small, medium or large chips of wood added during the manufacturing process. These chips create the textured surface. Woodchips are hung in normal fashion; you paste the back with a paste suitable for medium weight papers and butt-join lengths of paper before trimming off the overlaps. The cut lengths must be allowed to soak and become supple before hanging, but be careful that you don’t oversoak them (follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to the length of soaking time) or it is more likely you will tear the paper when trimming.

Low-relief embossed papers

This range of wallpapers, which includes Anaglypta, is also made from pulped wood fibre. During manufacture two sheets of paper are bonded together with a waterresistant adhesive. Before the adhesive dries, the paper is run through shaped steel rollers, one with a raised pattern and the other with corresponding indentations, to stretch the soft paper and create the embossed effect.
The back surface of the paper has hollows and you need to take extra care when hanging these types of wallcoverings to ensure that the hollows are not squashed flat against the wall. You should use a heavyduty adhesive and allow the paper to soak (usually for 10 minutes) and become supple before hanging. Take care that the edges are well pasted.

High-relief embossed papers

The majority of good quality high-relief ‘whites’ are made in a similar manner but often using cotton linters (short cotton fibres), china clay and resins rather than pulped wood fibre to produce the ‘paper’. These ingredients give a more durable wallcovering and enable it to be given a greater depth of embossing. Supaglypta is the best known example of this type of paper.

Depending on the design, high-relief embossed papers can often require some depth of drop matching to maintain pattern repeats. Soaking times (use a heavy-duty adhesive) should therefore be kept as constant as possible so that each length stretches, before and during hanging, to the same degree.

Blown vinyls

Classed as ‘whites’ and intended to be overpainted, blown vinyls are made from, a type of vinyl bonded to a paper backing. During manufacture the vinyl is heated to make it expand, then before it cools it is passed through a machine which embosses a pattern into the surface. The result is a wallcovering with a slightly soft, spongy feel. But despite this softness, blown vinyls are strong, easy to handle and create few hanging problems. You should hang a blown vinyl wallcovering with a heavy-duty or ready-mixed paste containing a fungicide; these types of wallcovering do not require soaking.

You can then paint them like any other relief wallcovering, and they can be scrubbed clean. When you want to remove the wallcovering you pee! off the vinyl layer leaving the paper lining on the wall. This can be left in place to serve as a lining paper for the next covering, or else it can be soaked and stripped off completely.

Pre-finished vinyl reliefs

Another type of relief wallcovering comes with a textured or plain vinyl surface. It is prefinished so it does not require over-painting (though you can paint it if you wish), and it is bonded to a paper backing. These can be regularly wiped clean and are easily removed by peeling them off. There are also vinyl relief wallcoverings with a printed decorative embossed surface designed to give the appearance of wall tiles, wood panelling or other effects.

Lincrusta types

Lincrusta is a heavy, solid, embossed wallcovering made from a combination of oxidised linseed oil and fillers bonded to a paper backing. During manufacture the putty-like surface is embossed while still soft, and is then left for 14 days to mature and dry out. It is available in two versions – one intended to be overpainted and the other already finished. As this type of wallcovering is heavy and will easily pull away old, poorly-adhering emulsion or other paints, you should take special care in preparing the wall surfaces. They must be thoroughly clean, made good and should also be given a coat of size. To hang Lincrusta, first cut it into dropmatched lengths, allowing an extra 50mm (2in) for later trimming at the base. The top edges of each length should be cut to fit precisely. Then trim the edges of the lengths using a straight edge and a sharp knife. (Lincrusta is one of the few wallcoverings which require edge trimming). Offer each length up to its intended position and make any cutouts required for light switches or other obstacles. You should then dampen the paper backing with warm water applied with a sponge to allow the material to expand fully and make hanging easier. Leave it to soak for up to 30 minutes on a flat surface with two lengths aid back to back, then wipe off any excess water.

Brush special Lincrusta glue onto the damp backing paper; work fairly quickly and aim for even coverage. Position each length immediately after it is pasted, and use a soft cloth to press the wallcovering gently but firmly into position, working from the top downwards. Trim the bottom length with a sharp knife and you can then go ahead and hang the other lengths, butting each tightly up against the next. Because of its thickness and the nature of its surface, Lincrusta does not easily bend round corners so you will have to cut and butt join it at corners as neatly as possible. As with other types of wallcoverings, you’re unlikely to get perfect pattern matching at corners because the walls will probably be slightly out of true. It is very difficult to remove Lincrusta and you are quite likely to damage the wall behind in the process if you try to remove it, so it’s worth thinking carefully before you decide to hang this type of wallcovering. It is, however, extremely durable, so can be used where ordinary relief wallcoverings might be prone to damage-in stairwells, for example.


Although not really a relief wallcovering and certainly not a ‘white’, there is another slightly textured wallcovering worth describing which is made from an unusual material and hung in an unusual manner. This is Novamura, which is a foamed polyethylene wallcovering. It is extremely lightweight and supplied in standard-size rolls in a wide variety of designs. It is soft and warm to touch and possibly the easiest wallcovering to hang. Instead of pasting lengths cut from the roll, the paste is applied directly to the wall; the roll is unfurled down the wall onto the pasted area and then trimmed. This method eliminates the need for paste tables, mixing buckets and other paperhanging paraphernalia and takes comparatively little time. Novamura must nevertheless be treated with some care and should not be overstretched. Although it can be wiped clean it should not be scrubbed. To remove it you simply peel it away from the wall, with no soaking or pre-treatrnent required.

London Decorators and Painters

Hanging straight lengths of wallpaper

It makes sense to get all the lengths measured and cut out in advance, and pasted up in batches of twos or threes (depending on your speed of working) to give adequate soaking time for the type of paper you are hanging; check the manufacturer’s instructions on this point. Cut all the strips, including those which will be trimmed for chimney breasts, to full room dimensions plus 100mm (4in) excess for trimming.

The concertina fold
The secret of successful ceiling papering is the correct folding technique, as you paste, so that the paper can be transferred to and laid out against the ceiling surface in a smooth manner. Each fold of the concertina should be 300mm (1ft) wide approximately, apart from the first, which can be shorter. It’s worth practising folding with dry paper first.

Hanging the paper

Assemble the working platform securely at the correct height across the whole length of the room, beneath the area where the first strip is to be pasted. Before you get up there with a fold of wet, pasted paper, make sure you have the tools you will need to hand. The last-to-be-pasted section of each length is first to go on the ceiling; tease off this first section and brush it into place. Continue to unfold the concertina in sections, brushing it down as you go and checking it is straight against the guideline.

Trimming and seam rolling

When you trim, you should make sure the paper butts exactly up to covings, but allow a 5-10mm (1/4-3/8in) overlap down to the surface of the walls you intend to paper later. Except with embossed papers, you should roll the butt joints between strips with a seam roller. Light fittings or shades should always be removed, leaving just the flex hanging down. Turn the power off, to ensure safety. If a chimney breast falls parallel to the run of the paper, you will need your scissors handy to take out an approximate piece as you work along the platform.

It’s worth anticipating this before you get up there; mark a rough line on the paper at the approximate position of the chimney breast. Cut out the chimney breast piece, leaving an excess of about 15mm (5/sin) for detailed trimming when the whole strip is in place. If the strip ends at a chimney breast there are less problems. Remove any vast unwanted sections as you work and trim to fit later. External corners are dealt with by making a V-cut so that one flap of the paper can be folded down the inside alcove edge of the chimney breast (or trimmed there if you are working to a coving).