Jewish Journal

Blue tape, RED tape and Big Sunday wrap-up at the YMCA as The Handy Hazzan installs the final vinyl

by Cantor Harris Shore, The Handy Hazzan

June 2, 2011 | 12:09 am

The materials you'll need to install Cove molding

There’s a particular kind of tape we use to mask or protect certain areas that border those parts of a wall or ceiling that we intend to paint.  This is usually BLUE tape.  We use it because it comes up easily when no longer needed, not taking with it any existing paint from the areas it is covering.  I like blue tape.  However, the Handy Hazzan is not a big fan of RED tape.  RED tape often shows up when “X” number of people have to approve a certain proposal, payment, idea for any kind of changes, etc.  RED tape is a lot harder to pull off than blue tape.  It takes time, patience, personality, politics and more. However, without RED tape, organizations might not be able to function as well…. and some could function better with less RED tape.  That requires good efficiency,  a product of top management skills.  My bout with a certain company in Los Angeles that provides water and power to our homes ended today after six months of GLARING RED tape.  I have been all but mummified in their RED tape, all because I erroneously made an overpayment back in October of last year and wanted my credit returned to me by check as the account was closed. But that organization is “six months behind” (said the supervisor) in processing anything that they have to PAY OUT.  They still want US to PAY on time, however.  Have you ever tried to wait six months to pay your utility bill?  Well, today was a victory.  I am happy for that.  So, RED tape finally became my friend, today….as timing intersected with an understanding supervisor…. and I could have avoided it in the first place if I had been more attentive with my finances. 

RED tape can work in quicker and friendlier ways, as I gladly waited an extra week while the execs at the Mid Valley YMCA needed a bit of RED tape in order to decide what color vinyl, cove base molding they wanted to use in completing the work around the new carpet DW Interiors installed for our Big Sunday project.  They also needed to take a look at their budget, just in case mine wouldn’t cover it.  Duh duh duh dut du dah!!! In walks our final heroic donor in the personage of Fred Stifter, son of Bill Stifter who established Linoleum City in 1948. Still owned by Bill’s wife, the store has grown to a 15,000 square foot warehouse/showroom. This is the number one place in Hollywood for all your flooring needs. The company searches the world for new and interesting designs and products, staying ahead of trends in order to meet the needs of professional and residential buyers, even creating exclusive designs for its customers. Materials are available for the do-it-yourself customers – THAT’S YOU - or arrangements can be made for independent contractor installation. Red carpet for the Academy Awards, old fashioned linoleum for a retro look, home or commercial high tech resilient flooring, hardwood, laminates, sisal or sea grass—Linoleum City, Inc. has what you need.  .  Linoleum City is located at 4849 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029; telephone (323) 469-0063. 
While Fred was willing to give me a wholesale price on some black cove base, he had an abundance of a special order that he was willing to donate to the project.  The folks at the YMCA approved the seagreen freebie – a beautiful color, actually - and I personally installed it last Thursday.  Sopha Pok of the YMCA assisted.

Here’s a list of the materials and tools I used for installation; then I’ll tell you how I did it.

1. 60 feet of 6” (high) seagreen vinyl base (BTW….the 6” is usually used only in industrial settings.  The 4” can look quite nice in a residential basement or child’s playroom, where the base of the wall might take a bit of trauma. 
2. Tub of Taylor 2040 adhesive made specifically for this application
3. Grooved hand trowel no wider than 4”
4. Utility knife
5. Metal triangle
6. Piece of cardboard (to put under vinyl before cutting)
7. Clean, damp rag
8. Clean roller to apply pressure to vinyl when affixing to wall
9. Tape measure and pen or pencil
10. Painter’s plastic to protect the new carpet from adhesive


First, make your surface is clean.  That didn’t come out quite right.  Make sure the WALL surface is clean. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth should be sufficient. Wash out the rag when finished so it is ready to clean up any adhesive spots later.  Next, measure the distance on one wall and then measure the same length of vinyl base.  The short wall was only about seven feet, so we did it in one piece.  When it comes to inside or outside corners, be prepared to cut the vinyl as it is not advisable to try and wrap it around the outside or leave it uncut on the inside corner.  Cutting the molding is easy.  Using the metal triangle – or a good plastic one is fine – flush the base of the triangle with the bottom of the 6” vinyl and draw a vertical line on the vinyl at the premeasured spot.  Be sure to put that piece of cardboard underneath the vinyl before using the utility knife. Better to measure the length an inch or so long and have too long a piece (which you can trim) than to come up short after applying the entire piece to the wall.

Spread the painter’s plastic, covering the entire carpet area within at least three feet from the wall. Open the tub of adhesive.  It has a little plastic tab.  Just pull it and the whole seal should come off.  The vinyl has a rough side and a smooth side.  Place the measured vinyl on top of the painter’s plastic and near the wall to be covered. Take the hand trowel and dip it into the tub to get a generous amount on the trowel.  (Fred gave me a trowel that was too wide and recommended that I cut it with a hacksaw.  I couldn’t find mine, so I stopped by a neighborhood auto shop and asked if they could please grind about a third of it off, so it wouldn’t be too wide for the application.  They were great and now I have a little one and a medium sized one. If you do that, make sure they smooth the ground edge, or it could cut you like butter.)  Apply the adhesive lengthwise to the CORREGATED side of the vinyl, which is the side that must be facing up.  Keep the adhesive clear of the top two inches of the vinyl and about an inch from the bottom.

That way it won’t seep out onto wall or floor when it is time to put the molding on the wall. Be sure that the top edge of the vinyl – not the bullnose or beveled edge – is on your side, the other edge next to the wall.  That way you won’t have to move the vinyl once it has adhesive on it.  Wait for the adhesive to thicken for about fifteen minutes after application.  Then carefully pick up the vinyl holding it underneath with two hands palms up and start at an inside corner.  Here’s where a helper can be important.  Otherwise, you have to be the one to keep your eye all the way down the line to make sure that the adhesive side does not flip over and get all over the painter’s plastic or worse, all over the new floor covering in spots where the plastic may not be covering.  The adhesive is water based and cleans up well with water if you get to it right away.  Work slowly, pressing the adhesive side on to the wall and making sure that the bottom of the vinyl is evenly running along the floor.  As you work, take your roller and roll firmly over the vinyl to assure strong adhesion.  (The roller I found was an old artwork roller form the days when we used to do paste-ups in advertising. Those days are long gone.)  Invariably, you will get some adhesive on the finish side of the cove base.  Wipe it off immediately with that clean, damp rag.  Remember to wash out the rag clean between vinyl strips.  For the long wall, we cut two vinyl strips of about fifteen feet each.  A vinyl strip thirty feet long could be a bit unwieldy.  Take a look at the photos.  This was fun to do, and much easier than having to miter cut and prime and or paint wood molding … and much more durable.  It comes in lots of special order colors.  For special order, expect to pay about $1.70 per linear foot at Linoleum City.  They carry black in stock.  They also have several colors in stock in the 4” cove base.  If you use 4”, be sure to use a narrower adhesive applicator. 

This is something you can absolutely do.  Next week we’ll touch on Shavuot, fix a couple of things around the house and talk about the authentic history of handy hazzanim in American and Europe.  At one time, some of our greatest hazzanim worked at a trade while still remaining Shaliach Tzibur of the congregation.  Until next time…. Remember….Tikkun Olam starts at home.  You can fix it!  - HH

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CANTOR HARRIS SHORE most recently served as Hazzan for Hollywood Temple Beth El in West Hollywood, and for two years at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda...

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