How To Prep For Wallpaper

How To Prep For Wallpaper

How To Prep For Wallpaper

Introduction to Wallpapering: Why Preparation is Key

Wallpaper serves as a major element of interior design, creating a remarkable visual impact that expresses personality, enhances the ambiance and sets a particular mood. However, achieving an effective wallpaper finish primarily depends on a vital step that beginners often overlook – preparation. This stage lays the groundwork for a smooth wallpaper application and superior results.

The Importance of Preparation for Wallpapering

Preparation is the critical starting point for any wallpapering project. Skipping this step may lead to an unsatisfactory finish, including visible imperfections, peeling paper, or irregular joints. Therefore, it maximizes the visual appeal, longevity, and durability of your wallpaper.

Types of Preparation

Wallpapering preparation can be broken down into three core stages: surface preparation, equipment arrangement, and measurement and cutting of wallpaper.

Surface Preparation

This involves cleaning, repairing and priming the walls. It assures the wallpaper adheres optimally while hiding underlying blemishes. Failing to properly prime and smooth your walls can result in a less than perfect finish.

Equipment Arrangement

Gather all necessary tools ahead of time to ensure you're completely equipped to handle the project. This includes items such as wallpaper paste, a paste brush, a paper hanging brush, a trimming knife, and a plumb line.

Measurement and Cutting of Wallpaper

Accurately measuring your space and cutting your wallpaper accordingly is key. This ensures you have enough wallpaper to cover your walls without unnecessary wastage, and guarantees a seamless pattern across your wall.

Investing Time in Preparation

While it can be tempting to immediately dive into the application process, investing ample time in preparation can save you valuable effort and resources in the long run. Completing the job right the first time prevents the need for expensive and time-consuming corrections down the line.

Turning to Professionals

If you're uncertain about conducting preparation yourself, it's prudent to hire professionals. They not only have the skills and experience to do the job correctly but also have knowledge on how to effectively tackle unexpected issues that could arise during the process.

Preparing for wallpaper not only sets the stage for a smoother application process but also ensures the final look is exactly what you envisioned. By understanding the significance of this step, you can achieve a professional-quality finish that complements your home décor beautifully.

Choosing the Right Tools and Materials for Wallpaper Preparation

An important step in preparing for wallpaper installation is acquiring all the necessary tools and materials. Making the right choices in this regard not only simplifies the process but also ensures that the end result is aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

Wallpaper Selection

Your choice of wallpaper is highly influenced by your personal style, room functionality, and budget. Wallpaper comes in various prints, colors, and textures. If durability is a consideration, consider using vinyl wallpapers that are easy to clean and resistant to moisture. For areas with little to no moisture exposure, traditional paper wallpapers can do the trick.

Tools for Surface Preparation

Wallpaper application becomes easier when the surfaces are smooth and clean. Tools such as sandpaper can help to smooth any rough spots on the walls. Paint scrapers or a steamer can remove old wallpaper or paint. A detergent solution and sponges can clean the walls to remove dirt and dust. Be sure to remember safety equipment such as gloves and goggles.

Wallpaper Application Tools

A variety of tools are required for wallpaper application. A good quality brush or roller is useful for applying the adhesive to the paper. A paper-hanging brush helps to smooth the paper on the wall and remove any air bubbles. Don't forget a utility knife for trimming excess wallpaper as well as a measuring tape and level for precision.

Wallpaper Adhesive

Choosing the correct adhesive is critical to successfully hang wallpaper. Check the manufacturer's instructions to know the right type of adhesive for your chosen wallpaper. Consider factors such as the paper weight, texture, and the wall surface when making this choice.

Wallpaper Lining

A wallpaper lining can help to create a smooth surface and prevent the wallpaper from creasing or tearing during application. It also aids in the removal of wallpaper in the future. The type of lining required will depend on the wall condition and the type of wallpaper selected.

Seam Roller and Trimming Tools

For a smooth finish and clean seams, a seam roller is essential. After applying the paper to the wall, run the seam roller along the edge to assure a strong bond. Also, a sharp utility knife or scissors would be required for trimming excess paper and smoothing edges.

Wallpaper Protectors and Maintenance Tools

After successfully hanging the wallpaper, maintain its look and extend its lifespan with proper maintenance tools. Wallpaper protector sprays create a transparent layer that prevents dirt and stains, while a soft cloth or sponge is perfect for regular cleaning.

Understanding the Different Types of Wallpaper

There is a wide range of wallpapers available to choose from, each offering unique benefits according to your home's requirements. Let's delve into understanding the different types of wallpapers.

Traditional Wallpaper

Traditional wallpaper is the most common type of wallpaper and is often made from paper or vinyl. It comes in a variety of colors and designs, making it a flexible choice for decorating any room. However, it may not be the best option for high humidity areas such as bathrooms or kitchens, as it can peel off over time due to moisture exposure.

Vinyl Wallpaper

Vinyl wallpaper is durable and easy to clean, making it a popular choice for high-traffic areas. It's made from a vinyl coating on a paper or fabric backing, providing resistance to moisture and stains.

Flocked Wallpaper

Flocked wallpaper has a patterned, velvety texture that adds an element of luxury to any room. This type of wallpaper is best used in low-traffic areas, as it can attract dust and is more challenging to clean.

Embossed Wallpaper

Embossed wallpaper is characterized by its raised, textured design. It's perfect for hiding wall imperfections due to its thick material. It can also be painted over, giving homeowners the flexibility to change its look without replacing the entire wallpaper.

Non-Woven Wallpaper

Non-woven wallpaper is a type of wallpaper made from a blend of natural and synthetic fibers, making it breathable and resistant to mold and mildew. It's easy to install and remove, making it a great choice for those who enjoy frequent decoration changes.

Murals and Custom Wallpaper

Murals and custom wallpapers are a trend that allow for personalization in any space. From a scenic landscape to a repeating pattern, you have the ability to create a unique design that showcases your personality.

Fabric Wallpaper

Fabric wallpaper contributes an appealing texture and luxury feel to a room. However, it requires a more careful installation process and may not react well to moisture or accidental spillages.

Understanding the application and removal process

Aside from understanding the types of wallpapers, people must also learn about their application and removal process. Some wallpapers are strippable, making them easy to remove without leaving any residue, whereas others may require a more complex process of removal, which could include the use of chemicals or professional assistance.

Steps to Cleaning and Priming Your Walls

Properly preparing your walls is crucial in executing a hassle-free wallpaper application project. This involves cleaning and priming your walls which can be done following these recommended steps:

Cleaning Your Walls

Dirty, greasy walls can spell disaster for your wallpapering project. It is therefore vital to begin by ensuring your walls are sparkling clean.

  1. Remove Dust: Use a flat broom or a dusting brush to sweep away any dust or cobwebs from your walls. Don't forget to reach high up where dust tends to accumulate.

  2. Wash The Wall: Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of gentle dish soap. Using a soft cloth or sponge, clean your walls from top to bottom. Pay special attention to areas near stovetops and sinks as these often collect grease and grime.

  3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the wall with clean warm water. Again, work from top to bottom over the entire wall. Allow the wall to dry completely, ideally overnight, before proceeding to the next step.

Priming Your Walls

Priming is a necessary step to ensure that the wallpaper adheres well to the wall. Here are the steps to priming your walls:

  1. Selecting a Primer: Choose a primer that is suitable for the type of wallpaper you are working with. Consider investing in a high-quality primer as it can make a significant difference in the result of the project.

  2. Apply the Primer: Use a roller to apply the primer. Start from the top and work your way down the wall, ensuring full coverage. Allow ample time for the primer to dry before applying wallpaper.

Preparation, including effective cleaning and priming, sets the foundation for a successful wallpaper application. Don't rush these steps, as a thorough job can save you time and frustration down the line.


Remember to allow your walls to dry completely after cleaning before applying primer. Also, don't skip these steps even if your wall looks relatively clean and in good condition. Imperfections can show up under wallpaper, and stains may bleed through, meaning extra work later on.

Techniques for Removing Old Wallpaper

Before placing beautiful new wallpaper on your wall, it's important to completely remove any existing old wallpaper. This task might seem tedious, but with a few tips and tricks, you can achieve a clean and smooth surface ready for wallpaper application. Here are several effective techniques for removing old wallpaper.


Start by protecting your flooring by laying down old newspapers or drop cloths. Tap into place some plastic tarp over any furniture which can't be moved out of the room. These preparations prevent water or stripping solution from damaging your interiors during the wallpaper removal process.

Peeling by Hand

The first technique is peeling by hand. Try to lift the edges of the wallpaper using a putty knife. If it comes off easily, continue removing the rest using your hands. However, if it resists, you'll have to use one or more of the approaches outlined below.

Steam Removal

Steam is a useful ally for stripping hard-to-peel wallpaper. The steam softens the adhesive, allowing the wallpaper to be peeled off. You can rent a wallpaper steamer or invest in one if you frequently redecorate. Always use care when using this device as the steam can burn.

Soaking with Water or Wallpaper remover

An alternative to steam is soaking the wallpaper in warm water mixed with a wallpaper-stripping solution or fabric softener. For this, you will need a sponge or a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the wallpaper and allow it to sit for a few minutes to soften the adhesive. After soaking, strip off the loose wallpaper with a putty knife.

Important Note

Always test these techniques on a small, hidden patch of wall first. This ensures that they do not damage your wall or paint. Furthermore, always wear gloves and protect your eyes with goggles to prevent any harm caused by the stripper solution or the steam.

Cleaning the Wall

After removing all wallpaper, ensure you thoroughly clean the wall to rid it of any remaining adhesive. You can do this using a sponge and a soapy solution. Once clean, allow the wall to dry completely before applying your new wallpaper.

By following these techniques, old wallpaper removal can be a manageable task, readying your wall for a fresh new look.

Measuring and Cutting: Preparing Your Wallpaper

Before applying your wallpaper, it's important you measure and prepare it correctly to ensure the best final result. Improper measurements or cuts can lead to misaligned patterns, wasted material, and an overall unsatisfactory result.

Step 1: Wall Measurement

Begin by measuring the height and width of the wall(s) that you plan to apply the wallpaper to. It's always advisable to measure twice to guarantee accuracy. After measuring, calculate the total surface area by multiplying the height and width together. This will give you a rough estimation of the amount of wallpaper you will need, it's always better to overestimate to compensate for any errors.

Step 2: Factoring in the Wallpaper Pattern

If your wallpaper has a large, repeating pattern, you'll need to account for it in your measurements. This is to ensure that the design matches up consistently on the wall. To achieve this, identify the pattern repeat length on the wallpaper roll, then make sure your cuts allow for this length to repeat correctly.

Step 3: Preparing for Cut

Before getting started with your wallpaper roll, it’s important to flatten it out. Lay the roll flat and give it time to relax before cutting it. This will make it easier to handle and measure correctly. Also, when measuring, do not stretch the wallpaper, measure it as it naturally lays.

Step 4: Making the Cut

After flattening and measuring the wallpaper, you're ready to cut. Using a straight edge and a utility knife, slice through the paper with one smooth, even stroke. Be extremely precise in this step; straight cuts are essential for smooth, seamless seams where your wallpaper strips will join on the wall.

Step 5: Final Check Before Applying

Once you have cut your wallpaper strips, double-check your measurements. Ensure your cut strips have not only the correct width and height to match your wall, but also that the patterns align perfectly when the strips are laid side by side. If any adjustments are needed, make them now before starting the application process.

Step 6: Organizing Your Wallpaper

Finally, organize your cut wallpaper strips in the order they will be applied to the wall. This will help you keep track of the pattern progression and ensure smooth operation during the application process.

Step 7: Ready for Application

After you've measured, cut, and sorted your wallpaper strips, you're officially ready to start the application process. With your wallpaper well-prepared, you're set for a successful wallpapering project.

Final Thoughts on Wallpaper Preparation

Proper wallpaper preparation is crucial for a successful wallpapering project. Paying attention to detail, double-checking measurements, and taking the time to prepare appropriately will not only make the process smoother but also result in a more professional and satisfying end result.

Common Wallpaper Prep Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Getting the best results from wallpaper installation involves meticulous preparation. However, it's easy to make mistakes, especially for beginners, and even experienced individuals. Here are seven of the most common mistakes made during wallpaper preparation, and how to avoid them.

1. Not Preparing the Wall Surface Properly

A clean, smooth wall surface is a must for a perfect wallpaper installation. Imperfections such as cracks, peeling paint, or dust can affect the adhesive and create bubbles or peeling sections on the wallpaper. Prior to installation, patch holes, and sand rough areas. After that, make sure to clean the wall with a slightly damp sponge to remove any dust.

2. Not Measuring Correctly

Incorrect measurements can lead to wallpaper waste or shortage. Always double-check your measurements and include an additional 15-20% to cover the unexpected.

3. Not Considering the Repeat Pattern

Each wallpaper has a pattern that repeats itself. Failing to consider this pattern can result in mismatched wallpaper strips, making the end-result look jagged and distracting. Always align the pattern when cutting your strips and plan accordingly during the measuring process.

4. Using the Wrong Adhesive

Not every adhesive is suitable for all types of wallpaper. Using improper adhesive can either damage your wallpaper or fail to hold it effectively. Be sure to use the recommended adhesive to ensure a long-lasting result.

5. Overlooking Wall Priming

Skipping the priming step can result in the adhesive soaking into the wall, which makes the wallpaper harder to remove in the future. Apply a wall primer to seal the wall's surface.

6. Applying Wallpaper to a Wet Wall

Never put wallpaper on a wet wall as it can breed mold, warp the wallpaper, and weaken the adhesive. Always ensure the wall is completely dry before beginning the installation.

7. Rushing the Dry Time

Though the adhesive may feel dry to the touch, it doesn't mean it's completely cured. Rushing the dry time can lead to peeling corners and sagging. Always give the wallpaper the recommended time to fully dry for a flawless finish.

The key to successful wallpaper preparation is thoroughness. Taking the time to prep correctly can save you from costly mistakes and ensure a smooth, professional-looking finish.

The Importance of Patience: Allowing Sufficient Time for Each Step

When preparing to wallpaper, patience is not only a virtue, but an absolute necessity. The process requires a thoughtful and unhurried approach, with attention to detail at every step. Rushing can lead to unappealing results and can actually waste more time correcting errors than if each task was carefully completed the first time.

Understanding the Process

Before you begin wallpapering, it is important to understand each step in the process. You will need to remove the old wallpaper if there is any, clean and smooth the walls, use a primer, apply adhesive, cut and hang the wallpaper, and finally smooth it out and trim the edges.

Removing Old Wallpaper

If you're replacing old wallpaper, the first task is to properly remove it. This often requires a combination of water, steam and scraping. It's not a job to be rushed, as any residue left behind can affect the adherence of the new paper and can cause unsightly bubbles or ridges.

Cleaning and Smoothing Walls

Even if there's no old wallpaper to remove, walls still need to be thoroughly cleaned and any imperfections should be addressed. This could involve patching holes or cracks, sanding any rough areas, or removing any dirt or grease. These preparations will make the adhesive process more efficient and successful.

Priming the Walls

After your walls are clean and smooth, it's time to apply primer. This step is key because it ensures that the wallpaper adheres properly to the wall, and makes future removal considerably easier. A first-rate primer job takes time and patience, but pays off in the end.

Applying Adhesive and Hanging Wallpaper

When it's time to apply the adhesive and hang your paper, patience is key. The adhesive needs time to become tacky before the paper is applied. Once the paper is on the wall, it should then be smoothed out, taking care to remove all bubbles and wrinkles. Racing through this process will only result in a messy and unattractive end result.

Trimming and Final Touches

Once the wallpaper is in place, it will need to be trimmed and secured. This stage requires a steady hand and an eye for detail – not something that should be rushed. Finally, the wallpaper needs to be wiped down and any excess adhesive needs to be removed. Giving yourself sufficient time on this stage will result in a professional look.

Overall, patience in every step of the wallpapering process is crucial for achieving a professional and smooth finish. So, take your time, enjoy the process and be proud of your masterpiece once it's complete.