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  • Wallpaper failure at the biggest level

    Posted by Martyn Heath on September 25, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    Printer used – Mutoh eco solvent

    Materail- WW300 Canvas unlaminated

    So, let me take you back to april, spring. I had a rare slow day and come late morning i decided to wallpaper my man cave, a job i had been waiting to do for almost a year so i print it all and fit it in the same day.

    Over the next 4 to 6 weeks i notice the outside edges starting to curl. I squeegee them down and hope for the best. This continues for a few months to the point now i have left it and as you can see its just got worse. Now having spent the last few months self harming i have now come to terms with having to sort this out but im really undecided on the cause of the problem.

    Initially i thought that having trimmed the drops out within 30 mins or so and fitted them straight away that this was the problem. ( I have done half a dozen jobs for customers and always leave 12hrs)

    but there are other things going on here that confuse me. The wallpaper was fitted flush to the wall edge and now you can see a 5mm gap. Its not just the edges which have problems, there are creases lumps and bubbles all over, even the overlap edges have come away.

    So now i have two other options which i am looking at –

    The paint and substrate of the wall – 5mm chipboard that was painted a few years ago with paint that has a high VOC of 30.

    And humidity- Being chipboard it does expand and shrink with the seasons. Our house goes from 10% in winter to 60% in summer.

    Also being chipboard from the 50s apparently there is some sort of smell/toxings that these older materials let off, could this be the problem.

    So there we have, i want to make sure if i redo this it never happens again. Really my next step is to do some testers.

    I find it hard to believe that trimming too soon off the printer has caused this.

    As a note, in the other end of the house we run a BnB, on one of the walls i fitted our logo as a sticker to the wall (chipboard) and it fell off the wall within days. I then made a foamex sign a taped it to the wall which also kept coming down so the only thing was fixings which did it. This is why im leaning towards paint/substrate issue.


    Martyn Heath replied 7 months, 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Jamie Wood

    September 25, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    Had the wall underneath been recently painted? You could try sticking it back down and post heating. We use Alron for this type of thing, and have even had issues with that. Post heating sorted it out for us.

    • Martyn Heath

      September 26, 2023 at 3:39 am

      No the wall was painted a few years ago

  • Graham Scanlan

    September 25, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Martyn

    Mactac is one of our best-selling wall films, mainly WW300 / WW100 it’s been on the market for around 15 years so well tried and tested. If you have a timber base of course any movement will affect any vinyl stuck to it. Paint manufacturers keep their formulas a secret therefore they don’t help vinyl manufacturers to come up with optimum adhesives. 3M recommend you do a bonding test with a small strip of vinyl before you start the job. Vinyls don’t like Matt paints, they don’t like low-VOC paints. You could prime the wall with PVA adhesive to act as a bonding layer. Please see the link for more information

    • Martyn Heath

      September 26, 2023 at 3:40 am

      Hi graham, not blaming the film, used it in the past and had no problems. The issue is elsewhere

  • RobertLambie

    September 27, 2023 at 1:09 am

    Hi Martyn

    Nothing more frustrating than when something like this happens mate.

    As you have said, it is most likely not the vinyl and is down to the wall surface. And I totally agree with you there. I am sure you already know that there are various wall materials with various types of adhesive systems on the rear. Along with different ways to promote adhesion by prepping the walls with some form of bonding chemicals.

    The way I look at anything self-adhesive vinyl is to apply it only to a smooth gloss surface or expect a short life performance from the film.
    I know many will argue, that you can use this and that and it will work great! I do not doubt it, but regardless. I want to sell my products, know they will last the test of time, install them fast and get paid. onto the next job! So, smooth gloss surface or I will sidestep the job entirely unless someone is going to pay me properly to source the correct material and install it in the time required.

    I do not say that just for walls, I mean this with any vinyl. Nothing bugs me more than to see so-called wrap tutors or well-known wrappers in the industry wrapping a paint-primed wing of a car. Not rough, but perfectly smooth sanded cataloyed damage repair. It will look good for 5 minutes, but will not last long term and certainly won’t allow optimal bonding of the best of wrapping films. The fact it has a matt finish is a reduction in the bond, right away.

    OK, so your wall being a chipboard sheeting material is pretty much the cause for the failure.
    I can see a decent-sized radiator in the room. And you have also mentioned the big changes that can occur with regard to room temperature. If behind the wood is a cold stone wall or a cavity where air moisture can get in. The sheet will expand and contract with the room temperature, “minimal” but still.
    The vinyl will also do the same, the difference being the vinyl will tighten up over time, whereas the sheet will continue to move. What is happening here is a bit like a Snake shedding its skin!
    The tell-tale signs of this are not so much the vinyl curling off the wall around the perimeter, but the loose wavy sections in the middle.
    To make matters worse, the rough micro-texture surface reduces the bond much more. Now throw in a matt emulsion paint or similar, and the vinyl really doesn’t have a chance to properly bond, never mind long term.

    Alternative material
    Use an alternative vinyl with a high-grip adhesive, yes. This would be an option. But will it fix the surface, no. Will it last the test of time, It is anyone’s guess. I think it will certainly bond much better, but long term. 🤔
    the issue is the wall. sand it, give it a couple of coats of gloss paint and install new prints. yes, that would work also. however, It will be labour-intensive, with several days of paint and proper drying time and a complete reprint and installation.

    Personally, I would probably sheet the wall with a couple of sheets of Composite, or Hoarding board if wanting to save a bit. then fit the vinyl directly to that.

    Cheap, quick, temporary fix 😆😅
    If you really do not want the agro of fixing this properly and looking for a quick short-term fix!
    Take some Tesa Tape or Oracal banner hemming tape. It’s a thin clear strong bonding tape.

    Curl the vinyl back at the edge and apply it down one side “of the wall”.
    now using a thick felt squeegee (double up two felt strips) and smooth the vinyl out towards the tape.
    You will only get one hit at this and it will be stuck, so be sure to do it right.
    once you have the vinyl bonded to the tape, do the opposite edge of the section of vinyl you are working on. before doing so, draw a pen line down the edge so you can see where you’re applying your tape. then repeat, squeegee the vinyl out towards the tape till you pass over it and it will stick.
    what you are doing is taking out the slack from the vinyl and bonding it using the tape.
    Now do the same at the top and bottom of each section/drop of the vinyl.
    Once you are complete, heat around the perimeter rubbing firmly with the felt squeegee to build the bond better.

    This isn’t going to be perfect, but it will give you a quick fix and tidy the wall up for only a few pounds for the tape and 30 minutes of your time. The outcome of this will be greatly determined by the shrinkage or tension in the vinyl, which I can already see around the photos.

    How do I know this can work? 🤔
    An NHS doctor’s practice had failing wall prints (done by someone else) and called us to come in and quote to redo the walls properly.
    They just wanted a repeat of what was already there and told me they would get the artwork files sent to us within a week or so.
    In the meantime, could I “temporarily fix” the vinyl curling from the walls? I did what I said above, and it looked pretty good. (it was not as bad as yours Martyn)
    a couple of weeks passed and still no artwork, long story short, we chased them up and they ended up asking if we could just bill them for the repair work. And they would just keep it the way I had repaired it. bastards! 🤨🤣🤣

    • Martyn Heath

      September 27, 2023 at 7:16 am

      Thanks rob. Yes the room is well heated, a constant 18c really. The wall is actually an internal wall with heated rooms behind. So i think we are all in agreement that me cutting the prints too soon is not the cause 😅.

      You metioned some good options to solve this but for once i think i am going to accept defeat. Strip it all off and continue with the red painted wall. I’m far from happy with this option as it takes a lot away from the room but i think cladding the wall in dibond is the only option and an option which i cant be arsed to do. Too many things to cut around for my liking and to get it butt perfect is unlikely.

      I guess if i was going to have another go, stripping off, PVA the wall and go again would be my next step but i dont believe this is 100% as we still have the board and movement issue.

      Maybe i will cover the wall in more memorabilia so theres not much wall left to see 🤔

      I suppose its another lesson to be learnt. I agree with the matte finish and gloss is going to add so much more of a surface but i rarely see a gloss wall. I have applied to plasterboard and rendered brick and had no problems in the past but now i know to walk away from chipboard!

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