How To Prep Walls For Peel And Stick Wallpaper

How To Prep Walls For Peel And Stick Wallpaper

How To Prep Walls For Peel And Stick Wallpaper

Introduction to Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Peel and stick wallpaper, unlike traditional wallpaper, is a self-adhesive option that is easily removable and repositionable. It is an innovative solution to design dilemmas such as blank, boring walls, or renters unable to make permanent decor changes. However, as simple as the application process seems to be, to achieve excellent results, it’s critical to properly prepare the walls beforehand. In this section, we delve deep into how to ready your walls for the peel and stick wallpaper transformation.

The Basics of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

A revolution in home décor, peel and stick wallpaper is a type of wallpaper that can be simply peeled off the backing and stuck straight onto the wall. It eliminates the need for paste, glue or water that traditional wallpapers require. Making it effortless to install and equally easy to remove, it's a perfect choice for both homeowners looking to enhance their interior space and renters who wish to personalize without risking their deposit.

Preparing Walls for Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Properly preparing your walls before installation guarantees enhanced durability and the intended aesthetic appeal. It creates a clean, flat surface for the wallpaper to adhere, thus ensuring a smooth, flawless finish to your stunning new wall decor.

Cleaning the Surface

The first step is to clean the walls. This is to remove any dust, grime, or grease that may be present. These can hinder the wallpaper from sticking properly. Use a damp cloth or sponge with a mild soap to wash the walls and let them air dry.

Smoothing the Walls

Next, the walls should be smoothened. Any pre-existing bumps or imperfections can potentially ripple through the wallpaper. This can be achieved by sanding the wall lightly using medium-grit sandpaper. Remember to wipe the dust off with a damp cloth after sanding.

Priming the Walls

The last key step in preparing your walls is priming. A quality primer helps create an ideal surface for the wallpaper to stick to. It also aids in improving the longevity and performance of the wallpaper.

Checking for Wall Suitability

Another important thing to note before applying peel and stick wallpaper is to ensure the suitability of your walls. Certain textures and finishes may not be conducive for this type of wallpaper. Also, wallpapers adhere better on flat, smooth surfaces and might have difficulty sticking on textured walls or over existing wallpaper.

Understanding the Importance of Wall Preparation

Before applying peel and stick wallpaper, it's crucial to prepare your walls correctly. Having a well-prepared wall is vital in the successful application and longevity of your wallpaper.

Establishing a Smooth Surface

To maximize adhesion for peel and stick wallpaper, the wall needs to be smooth. Lumps, bumps, or texture on the wall can prevent the wallpaper from sticking as intended and may cause the wallpaper to peel prematurely.

Removing Grease and Dust

It's important to clean your walls before applying peel and stick wallpaper thoroughly. Dust, dirt, and grease can interfere with the adhesive on the wallpaper and prevent it from sticking properly or cause unsightly bubbles.

Addressing Existing Wall Damage

Any existing cracks, holes, or rough patches on your wall should be repaired before wallpaper application. Wall imperfections can compromise the wallpaper's ability to stick properly and can show through your wallpaper, affecting the overall aesthetic.

Priming the Walls

Depending on the wall's absorbency and the specific type of peel and stick wallpaper, a primer may be needed to improve the wallpaper's adherence to the wall. A primer can also help in creating an even tone for transparent wallpapers and aid in the easy removal when it's time to redecorate.

Temperature and Humidity Consideration

Ambient conditions like temperature and humidity can affect the adhesive of peel and stick wallpaper. Therefore, ensure the room's temperature and humidity are appropriate to avoid shrinkage or peeling.

Precision and Patience

Proper wall preparation takes time and precision. It's important to be patient and thorough in this stage to ensure a beautifully finished result with your wallpaper installation.

Professional Consultation

If in doubt, consult with a professional. Understanding the importance of wall preparation is the key to successful wallpaper application, and seasoned experts can give helpful advice based on the specifics of your space and chosen wallpaper.

Supplies Needed for Wall Preparation

Preparing your wall for peel and stick wallpaper involves gathering essential supplies such as cleaning materials, primers, putty knives, sandpaper, and a level.

Cleaning Supplies

The first step in prepping your wall is to ensure it is clean and free from any dirt or grime. To achieve this, you'll need some cleaning essentials. Grab a bucket of warm water and a sponge or cloth to wipe down the walls. For tougher stains, a mild detergent or dish soap can be beneficial. But remember, it's essential to let the wall dry completely before moving on to the next step.


The primer seals the wall and provides a smooth surface for the peel and stick wallpaper to adhere to. While it's not required for all walls, it's recommended especially if the wall has been painted with gloss or semi-gloss paint, or if it's very textured. An all-purpose primer will do the trick. Just make sure to let the primer dry fully before proceeding.

Putty Knife and Spackling Paste

A putty knife and spackling paste are crucial for filling in any holes or cracks in the wall. After applying the spackling paste with the putty knife, make sure to smooth it out as much as possible to avoid creating bumps under the wallpaper. Leave it to dry and then sand it smooth with sandpaper.


After using spatula and spackle, you'll want to sand the wall to ensure it's as smooth as possible. A fine-grit sandpaper is best for this task. Don't forget safety: when sanding, wear a mask to prevent inhaling any dust.


Last, but not least, you'll need a level. This is to ensure that the first piece of wallpaper you apply is straight. Starting off straight makes the entire application process easier and more successful.

With these supplies at your disposal, you're well-equipped to effectively prepare your walls for peel and stick wallpaper, ensuring a smooth and lasting installation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Walls

Before installing your peel and stick wallpaper, it's crucial to properly clean your walls. This preliminary process is fundamental as it helps the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper stick correctly to your walls, ensuring durability and longevity. Below is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you through this process effectively.

Materials Needed

To clean your walls effectively, you'll need the following materials:

  • Bucket
  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent or dish soap
  • Sponge or cloth
  • Towels for drying

Step 1: Protect Your Space

Start by covering the floor and any closeby furniture with drop cloths or old sheets to guard them against potential water or soap spills.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Fill your bucket with warm water. Add a few drops of the mild detergent or dish soap. Stir the solution until it forms soapy bubbles.

Step 3: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Dip the sponge or cloth in the soapy water. Squeeze out any excess water. Now, starting from the top of the wall and working down, gently scrub your walls in a circular motion. It's essential to start at the top to prevent dirty water from dripping down onto the cleaner parts of the wall.

Step 4: Rinse

Once you've scrubbed all parts of the wall, rinse your sponge or cloth with clean water. Next, wipe the walls down with the rinsed sponge or cloth to remove any soap residue.

Step 5: Dry the Walls

After rinsing, dry your walls thoroughly with clean towels. Ensure that your walls are completely dry before commencing with the wallpaper application process. Moisture left on your walls can prevent the wallpaper adhesive from sticking effectively, causing bubbling or peeling.

Additional Tips

Do not forget to clean your corners, baseboards, and trim, as these areas also require adhesive. Paying a little extra attention to these sections can yield a smoother finish for your wallpapering project.

Knowing how to clean your walls for peel and stick wallpaper is an integral part of the preparation process. By diligently following these steps, you're setting yourself up for beautiful and durable finish.

Repairing Wall Damages Before Applying Wallpaper

One of the key steps in readying your wall for a revamp with peel and stick wallpaper is repairing any damages in the surface. Blemishes, chips, nail holes, or cracks can disrupt the flawless application of wallpaper; therefore, they need to be addressed prior to application.

Detecting Wall Damages

Most wall damages are apparent to the naked eye. However, some smaller deformities might not be easily noticeable. You should examine your wall carefully under good lighting conditions to ensure that you don't miss any imperfections. Remember, even minor imperfections can become glaring once the wallpaper is applied.

Simple Tools for Spot Checking

Tools like a utility knife, a putty knife, and a drywall sanding screen are essential for rectifying wall imperfections. These tools can assist in scratch-sanding the surface and preparing it for the wallpaper.

Fixing The Wall Damages

Small holes and cracks can be filled with a premixed spackling compound using a putty knife. Apply it over the damaged area and smooth it out evenly with the rest of the wall surface. For larger damages, it may be necessary to apply a drywall patch before using the spackling compound.

Smoothing The Surfaces

Once the spackling compound has dried, you can use the drywall sanding screen to smoothen the surface. Gently sand the repaired areas until they perfectly blend with the rest of the wall. Wipe off any dust that the sanding process may have created. Your wall is then ready for the next processes of wall priming and wallpaper application.

By following these steps, you ensure a smooth and undisturbed surface for your wallpaper, resulting in a flawless and professional looking finish.

How to Prime Your Walls for Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Having clean, smooth and primed walls is critical to successfully applying peel and stick wallpaper. Priming not only helps to create a secure bond between the wall and wallpaper, but also adds longevity to the wallpaper, saving you from frustrating peeling corners or wallpaper that won't stick. Below are the necessary steps you need to follow to properly prime your walls for peel and stick wallpaper.

Step One: Clean the Walls

Start by removing any dirt, grime, and grease from your walls. Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean, and ensure all residues are removed, as any left behind can interfere with the adherence of the wallpaper. As a general rule, your wall needs to be as clean and smooth as possible for the best results.

Step Two: Sand the Walls

If your walls have imperfections, lumps or have texture to them you should sand them down to create a smooth surface. After sanding, make sure to clean the walls again to remove any dust caused by the sanding process.

Step Three: Apply Primer

Once the wall is clean and smooth, you can apply a coat of primer. The primer serves as an undercoat that allows the wallpaper to stick better to the wall. It prevents the wallpaper from peeling off and enhances adhesion. Always allow the primer to dry completely before applying the wallpaper.

Step Four: Let the Wall Dry

For the best results, allow your walls to dry for at least 24 hours after cleaning and priming before you begin applying your peel and stick wallpaper. This allows the primer to fully set and creates the best sticking surface for your wallpaper.

By following these guidelines, your walls will be in perfect condition for your new, stylish peel and stick wallpaper. For the best results, make sure you've thoroughly cleaned, prepped and primed your walls before application.

Tips and Tricks to Ensure a Smooth Application

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a DIY beginner, these tips will help ensure a smooth application when using peel and stick wallpaper. Following these easy guidelines will make the installation process easier and provide an exquisite result to be proud of for years to come.

Prep the Surface Properly

Begin with a clean, smooth surface. This can't be overstressed. The wall should be dust-free, grease-free, and dry. If needed, sand down any rough patches on the wall. This will ensure your peel-and-stick wallpaper will adhere correctly and smoothly.

Give the Room a Cursory View

Before you start applying the wallpaper, take some time to look around the room. Check for areas that might pose difficulty, such as switch plates or outlets. By identifying these ahead of time, you won’t be caught off guard when you get to them.

Measure Thrice, Cut Once

An age-old adage among craftsmen provides excellent advice: “Measure thrice, cut once.” Take your time to carefully measure not just your wall, but also the wallpaper panels, for perfect alignment.

Use Tools for Precision

Your toolkit should include a smoothing tool and a sharp blade for precise cuts. This will help you achieve a professional-looking finish without bubbles or wrinkles.

Align the Design

Take note of your wallpaper's pattern repeat before you start applying. You need to match the design between each strip of wallpaper to achieve a seamless finish.

Patience is the Key

Take your time. Applying wallpaper isn’t something to rush through. You’ll reap the benefits of your patience when you see a beautiful, flawlessly applied wallpaper adding charm to your room.

Don’t Fear Mistakes

One of the wonderful things about peel and stick wallpaper is that it's forgivable. If you don’t get it right the first time, you can peel it off and try again. However, try not to stick and unstick excessively as it may reduce the adhesive strength.

Follow these tips and tricks, and you'll be well on your way to masterfully installing peel and stick wallpaper like a pro. Happy decorating!

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Applying Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Every DIY project has potential challenges, and it's no different with peel and stick wallpaper. This section will guide you through common problems and solutions, ensuring your wallpaper installation goes smoothly.

Problem: The Wallpaper Won't Stick

Sometimes, you may experience issues with the wallpaper not adhering to the wall correctly. This could be due to a number of factors, including dirty walls, or walls that are too rough or uneven. To correct this, ensure your walls are clean and free of dust or grime, and consider using a primer or sanding the walls smooth if necessary.

Problem: Bubbles or Wrinkles After Application

Bubbles or wrinkles in the wallpaper can be frustrating, but are usually easy to fix. Try smoothing them out with a wallpaper smoothing tool or a credit card. If they persist, you may need to peel back the paper to the point of the bubble and apply it again, ensuring you smooth it down firmly.

Problem: The Paper Isn't Lining up Correctly

If your wallpaper isn't aligning properly on the wall, you might have an issue with your initial placement or cutting. Try peeling the paper back and reapplying it, checking the alignment against your markings. If the paper is cut incorrectly, you may need to trim it to fit.

Problem: The Wallpaper is Damaging the Wall

Peel and stick wallpaper is designed to be easily removable without damaging walls. If you have issues with damage, your wall might not be properly prepped. Make sure your wall is clean, dry, and in good repair before applying wallpaper.

Additional Tips

Remember, patience is key when applying peel and stick wallpaper. Don't rush and always ensure your wall is properly prepared. If you're having a lot of trouble, you might find it helpful to practice on a small section of wall first. With careful prep and application, you'll soon have a beautifully wallpapered space.