3 Step Guide To Preparing Walls For Wallpaper
1. Ensure The Wall Is Smooth
- The first, and probably most important step in preparing a wall for wallpaper is to ensure that the wall is smooth. If the surface of the wall is bumpy, uneven, or rough, this can cause small rips and tears in the wallpaper once it is hung. It will also make the hanging process more difficult.
- Remove any removable fixtures, such as hooks, nails, and artwork, and screw off the light switch plates. Fill in any holes using a sealant or spackle and sand any bumps. This will help ensure that the wall is smooth.
- A smooth surface will enable every inch of the wallpaper to firmly stick to the wall, if the surface is uneven the glue or paste will have a more difficult job, leading to wallpaper starting to fall off or become loose.
- If the entire wall is uneven you can use a technique called mudding to create a smooth surface. Mudding is when a skim coat of joint compound is applied to the wall. Once the compound has dried, take sandpaper and sand any bumps.
- If there is a texture to the walls, for example, concrete walls, you should get a darker colored wallpaper as this will hide the texture, whereas a light-colored wallpaper would have the texture showing through.
2. Clean The Wall
- Once you have achieved a smooth surface the next step is to clean the wall. Dust particles may be on the wall and these affect the wallpaper application. Clean the wall first with a sugar soap to remove any grease and dirt, or if the wall is painted use hot water and vinegar solution.
- The day or two days before hanging the wallpaper give the wall one final clean using a damp cloth. This will ensure the walls are free from any build-ups and that the surface is ready for the paste.
3. Beware Of The Paint
- Painted walls can cause problems when hanging wallpaper. Walls painted using satin, semi-gloss, or eggshell paint provide the best surface for wallpaper. Latex paints tear when wallpaper is removed, needing to be touched up in the end. Latex paints also can reject the adhesive of peel and stick wallpaper, which can cause the wallpaper to fall off the wall.
- Painting a wall a similar color to the wallpaper you are applying will help to prevent any cracks from showing. Perfect applications are difficult to do and so this is a great way of covering your own possible mistakes.
- Allow the paint to dry and settle for at least 30 days before applying wallpaper. If priming a wall you can hang the wallpaper after a couple of days as primer dries considerably faster than paint.
- Drywall is known to soak up wallpaper paste so a primer is the best solution. Apply a primer to prevent this soakage and also to act as a way of preventing mold or mildew growth under the wallpaper.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample in a decorating store. This is a great way of seeing what a wallpaper could look like in your home and on the walls in a particular space. Lighting and wall texture will affect how the wallpaper appears, so make sure to try a sample first!
- Depending on the room you are hanging the wallpaper in, you need to consider what type of glue you need. If the space has very moist air, or if it is a room with a shower or bath in it, then choosing a paste or glue that has mold and mildew preventing ingredients would be best suited. This will prevent any mold or mildew from growing under the wallpaper.
- Make sure you measure the walls and always leave extra space for mistakes. Wallpaper can be cut to size using a blade or to fit around installed fixtures, such as light switches. Once you have measured the space accurately it is worthwhile buying at least half a wall's worth of excess wallpaper. That way if you need to touch up the wall after several years you will already have the wallpaper, rather than going to buy it and finding it is discontinued, which would mean replacing the entire wall!
- Ask a friend or family member for help when you do go to hang the wallpaper. Having an extra set of hands will help the hanging process to run smoothly and you will get the job done much quicker.
- Adding wallpaper to one wall is a great way of creating an accent wall in the space which can make a space look and seem larger. If you are unsure about wallpapering the entire room, start by creating an accent wall and work from there. This way if you change your mind you only need to remove one wall of wallpaper rather than stripping each wall in the space.
- Strippable paste is another great trick as it will prevent too much damage to the walls underneath when the wallpaper is being removed. Even if you don’t believe you will ever remove the wallpaper it’s a nice act for the next possible occupants of the space.