DIY Home Improvement: How To Apply Wallpaper

Before You Start

Wallpaper application is not that hard, but it requires some specific preparation just like painting does. The job is made harder if you have to remove old wallpaper. Before you start, switch off the electricity and unscrew electrical plates. Tape over anything else. Buy a good quality wallpaper removal product and apply it with a sponge or garden-sprayer. Some wallpaper may be waterproof and so the substance won’t be able to penetrate, so go over the surface lightly with a perforating tool. The paste softener should work in about 15 minutes, and then you can start scraping.

You May Not Need To Remove the Old Wallpaper

If the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly attached to the wall, you may not need to remove it. In this case, paint over the surface. Use paint that is about the same shade as the background of the new wallpaper. All cracks and bumps need to be patched and sanded before you start. So – clean, patch, sand and prime using wallpaper primer which prevents paste and waste from being absorbed by the wall.

If You Are Removing the Old Wallpaper

Or if you are removing the original wallpaper, spray or sponge on two coats of remover and then pull off strips of paper in small or large sections, using a plastic and not metal putty knife as an aid. Then wash, putty, sand and prime the wall with special primer. It should be oil-based, since water will be used for the wallpaper paste.

Of course you will have measured the room so you know how much wallpaper you need. Now remove any head or base boards and cut the wallpaper into appropriate strips. Using a level and a pencil, mark the position of each strip lightly. Make sure you cut it so that the pattern matches up.

Two Types of Wallpaper

There are two types of wallpaper. One you must wet with water to activate the paste, the other you just pull a backing strip off gradually. For both sorts, start at the top of the wall, making sure you get it level. When doing subsequent strips, match, but don’t overlap the edges. For the wet one, lay each strip on the floor after wetting with the paste side up and wait for the paper to expand before hanging it.

Once each strip is up, smooth it gently with a damp sponge to get out any air-bubbles. A razor knife will come in handy to trim the edges. Some wallpaper must have the glue mixed and applied separately. It should be laid as above; making sure that the glue is spread as evenly as possible and has set slightly before you lift it up. Two people working together is helpful.

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