How To Wallpaper – Wallpapering Preparation

How To Choose Wallpaper – Type and Qauntity

how to hang wallpaperThe first, and often the most difficult thing in wallpapering preparation problem is choosing the paper! But before you do anything else, you must estimate the number of rolls you will need. If anything it is better to over estimate — retailers will accept back an unused roll providing it is in good condition.

  • But cost in relation to quantity is often the overriding factor when it comes to making a choice.
  • Colour, texture and pattern
  • Apart from cost, these are the main considerations. The wrong wallpaper can ruin a room; the right one can produce dramatic improvements in its appearance.
  • Colour: Very bright, cheerful colours are best for kitchens and workrooms where you are unlikely to spend time sitting back and relaxing, but where it is nice to have a lively atmosphere. Warm and soft tones are good in living rooms where they act more as a back-drop to furnishings. Similarly. Bedroom décor should be conducive to sleep.
  • If you have a small or dark room, try a light colour to make the room feel more spacious. The same principle applies for a large room — dark colours will make it look smaller.
  • Texture: Textured wallpapers have again become very popular. Some are plain and designed to be painted with emulsion, others are already tinted. They are useful for hanging on walls in poor condition as their texture often covers up imperfections.
  • Naturally textured wall hangings like hessian and cork tend to be expensive but are anyway best used in moderation — such as on a feature wall. They make a particularly effective background for house plants.
  • Pattern: Patterned papers usually have a dominant colour with one or two sympathetic colours or tones included to make up the pattern. Pick out one colour that is already in the room — the carpet. For instance — and match it with a colour in the wallpaper.
  • To give an illusion of height in a low room,use vertical stripes: to give the illusion of length to a wall, use horizontal stripes. But if the doors and walls are at all out of true, use a small dense pattern to disguise this.

Types of wallpaper

Not all papers are suitable for all rooms or surfaces. Consider the following points before making your decision.

  • Uneven surfaces: Hang a lining paper first in horizontal strips (at right angles to the wall paper). Lining paper comes in various weights but you may as well get the thicker 600 and 800 grades which are easier to hang.
  • Condensation: Where there is likely to be con-densation, such as in a bathroom or kitchen. Use vinyl or washable paper. Vinyls are made from PVC with a paper backing and can be wiped with a damp sponge. Washables are resin coated and can be scrubbed.
  • Heat-reflective papers: These are designed to cut down heat loss through the walls — and hence save energy. They may also reduce condensation. Hang as conventional papers. Painting: Hang a lining paper vertically before painting a wall. For a textured surface, there are any amount of woodchip or embos-sed papers which are designed to be painted.


estimating wallpaperThe standard dimensions of a roll of wallpaper are about 10.05m long and 530mm wide. However, some papers – particularly imported ones may vary in width or length.

To help you decide how many rolls of paper you need, most retailers have tables showing the coverage to be expected. But to use these, you need to know the height of your walls from skirt- ing to ceiling, and the distance around the walls including all the doors and windows.

  • You can work out how much you need without using a table by counting the room out in strips of wallpaper.
  • Measure the height of the wall from skirting to ceiling and add 100mm for trimming. If you have a drop pattern paper, add on half the distance of the drop. Divide this length into the length of a roll of paper. This gives you the number of strips you can get from one roll.
  • Now cut a piece of string to the width of the paper. Starting from the plumbline, go around the room counting the number of widths needed to cover the wall. Divide this number by the number of strips you can get from one roll to calculate the number of rolls required. It is best to overestimate slightly.

Other considerations for wallpaper preparation

Pastes come ready-mixed or as powders to be mixed with water.

wallpaper pasteThere are three different types: ordinary, heavy duty and fungicidal. Heavy duty pastes are used with thick or textured papers, fungicidal with vinyls and washables. It is essential to use a fungicidal paste when specified by the paper manufacturers as it prevents mould developing behind the paper.

Some vinyls and washables can sometimes be hung with an overlap. The overlap will not stick to the wallpaper underneath with ordinary paste — you need a special vinyl overlap adhesive.

Manufacturers produce wallpapers in batches so when you buy, check that each roll is from the same batch and that the shades match. A batch number is usually stamped on the wrapping.

Among the other things you need are a large. Sharp pair of scissors, and a 150mm brush to apply the paste (you need a short pile roller for thick paste or if you apply the paste to the wall). Pasting tables are quite cheap to buy and can also be hired if you have a lot of papering to do. Otherwise, use a flat board on the kitchen table, or a flush faced door placed on trestles or boxes. If your ceilings are high, make sure you have a sturdy box or low stool to act as a hop-up.

A hanging brush is essential unless you are using ready pasted or hand printed paper —for this you need a felt roller.

Before you start to paper, clear as much furniture from the room as possible. It pays to be tidy and methodical, so clean up as you go along keeping the room dust-free.

Preparing the surface for wallpapering

Time spent preparing a wall surface will be rewarded with a decent finish. No matter how good your papering technique, a poor surface must be smooth and free from dust and grease or the job will end in disaster. Only plasterboard with oil-sealed skimmed joints demands little preparation. Both new plaster and previously papered walls need plenty, and you should allow for this when you plan the job.

preparation for wallpaperingNew plaster: Leave new plaster to dry out thoroughly for at least six months before papering it. Paper it any sooner and you’ll only have to do it all again when damp starts coming through. In the meantime, fill any blemishes in the surface and rub them down with sandpaper. If you do this in stages, a layer at a time, the end result will be so much the better and more rewarding.

New plaster must also be ‘sized’ before it is papered, to provide a key for the paste and to stop the walls absorbing too much water too quickly. Commercial size is available in powder form: you mix it with water, paint it on the walls and leave it to dry. In most cases, however, a dilute solution of your wallpaper paste makes a perfectly adequate substitute. Papered surfaces: Never paper over existing wallcoverings as the paste may soften them and cause peeling later on. To strip ordinary paper, start by scoring the surface with a wire brush or nail (take care not to damage the plaster underneath). Then soak it with warm water or a proprietary stripper like Polypeel, applied with a brush or sponge.

Add a little washing-up liquid to warm water: it acts as a wetting agent and helps the water penetrate the paper, making it easier to strip.

Using a wide bladed stripping knife and starting from the bottom, scrape off the soaked paper. Again take care not to damage the plaster underneath. Afterwards, smooth any roughness left on the surface with sand-paper, wash down the wall and let it dry thoroughly before pasting.

Make sure your stripping knife is a good quality one. Cheaper knives have flimsy blades which are more likely to catch the plaster.

If your walls are papered with vinyl, you may be able to get away with just peeling off the surface layer and papering onto the paper backing left on the wall. But make sure the backing is firmly stuck before you do this: if in doubt, strip it in the,normal way.

The most efficient but expensive way of stripping wallpaper is to hire a steam stripper. Normally there is no need — water or stripper work perfectly well. But on heavier papers such as Anaglypta and wood-chip, a steam stripper is a good investment, especially if you have a lot to do.

Painted surfaces: Scrape off any flaking emulsion or gloss paint and sand the patches smooth. If sound, wash the surface down to remove any traces of greasy or oily stains —sugar soap generally gives better results than ordinary soap — then lightly score to give a key for the paper.

Leave a Comment