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Three Golden Rules for Wallpapering Success

1) Remove all old wallcoverings.
*Remove old adhesive while you're at it.
Prime your walls with a wallcovering primer/sealer.
*Some wallcoverings like Foils, Mylars or British Pulp papers require a liner paper to be installed horizontally underneath the finish paper. Be aware of this possible additional step.
3) Hang your new wallcovering.

These are the basic steps. Additional steps are required in some scenarios. And there are exceptions to the rules. There are only about a million possible variables. Don't try to take any shortcuts & you'll be miles ahead of others & give yourself the best installation possible.


Ensure your exhaust fan is working and forcing the warm moist air outside your home. If showers create a steam cloud in your bathroom, keep the door wide open. For humid bathrooms, use a mildew proof wallpaper primer and adhesive. Zinsser® has developed a mildew proof wallpaper primer & adhesive.

Most "modern wallpapers" (paper or "non-woven" backed & vinyl coated) are a good choice for most bathrooms. Grasscloth is not. This is because if grasscloth gets wet after installation, it will stain. These are general guidelines. Remember, the wallcovering industry is constantly evolving (because of the EPA and their own desire to create newer/better products). Someday the manufacturer may develop a grasscloth, textile or fabric wallcovering they can guarantee for installation in a bathroom.

After wallpapering, apply a small bead of clear waterproof caulk above the shower stall or shower tile where it meets the wallpaper and down the side of the shower stall/tile where it meets the wallpaper to about eye level. This preventative maintenance will stop your wallpaper from curling up in these areas.


Borders with parallel tops and bottoms are usually not too difficult to install. Scalloped borders with intricate bottom edges can take up to three or four times longer to install (borders with both scalloped tops, bottoms & insides can be about one degree below impossible - I know, I've hung them). After they get wet, the bottom edge curls up almost immediately. For extremely difficult or otherwise uncooperative scalloped borders, it may be necessary to cut 3' sections off the spool and work with them individually.

*If you're hanging over a "paper" with no vinyl coating or over a painted wall, use a regular wallpaper adhesive/activator.

** If you're hanging over a vinyl coated paper, use a border adhesive. As a general rule, this is the only instance where you should use a border adhesive.

Beware of water-sensitive paint! If you're installing a border only, you will get a little adhesive and rinse water on the sidewall paint. After installing the border and wiping with a damp sponge, gravity will pull some rinse water down the painted wall. Normally, this is not a problem as the water will dry and have no effect on the appearance of your painted walls. However, if your paint is water-sensitive, this will ruin the appearance of your painted walls. You have two options: 1) Use a damp sponge to wipe off the affected painted sidewall as you install each border. This may change the sheen/appearance of your painted walls. Or 2) Repaint your walls. If you're going to this much trouble, use a water stable paint.

(Inlaying) Borders

This really should be left to the professional wallcovering installer. But if you want to try it yourself, be patient & purchase some extra material to "practice" on. And only attempt to inlay borders with a parallel top & bottom.

Install your border first whether at the ceiling height or chair rail height. (Obviously after removing any old wallpaper/glue, making necessary wall repairs & priming with a quality wallpaper primer/sealer)

Even if you carefully measure & engineer the room, mistakes & accumulated errors happen. Installing your sidewall paper first won't allow you to alter the pattern placement later when you install the border. Leave your options open and get the best look possible by tweaking your pattern placement between the bottom of your border & top of your baseboard.

If you want to use a border as a "chair rail", mark your wall with a pencil where the top & bottom of your border will be located. Physically check your wallpaper's pattern placement with a dry bolt to make sure you'll be able to balance your pattern above & below the border. Traditionally you'll want the top of your chair back to be in the middle of the chair rail (border) width. In bathrooms there are usually no chairs. So borders as "chair rails" are normally placed above tile back splashes or level with the top of back splashes. Try both heights to see what will work best with your wallpaper pattern. Don't forget to take into account the location of electrical outlets & light switches. Borders will look better if they're not chopped up by wall plates, but sometimes this is unavoidable.

Inlaying the Border: Install your border first. Then install your sidewall wallpaper so it overlaps the border approximately 1". Use the edge of a 5" taping knife to gently crease the wallpaper where it meets the edge of the border. This is the line you will be cutting to. Use your taping knife as a guide & trim slowly & carefully with your Olfa knife. You will be able to feel if your taping knife is positioned correctly. This may take a few tries to develop your technique & a feel for what you're doing. There is no substitute for experience and no amount of reading instructions will make you an expert at this. You must practice until you can do it. Remove the wallpaper trimming & excess adhesive. What you end up with is a butted seam where the wallpaper meets the border. Roll & clean this seam as normal. Repeat these steps throughout the room for each sheet of wallpaper.

Bubbles: (Don't Freak Out!)

Every wallpaper is different. After installation, some vinyl coated papers will still have small bubbles even after smoothing out the wallpaper several times with a paperhanger's smoothing brush or plastic smoothing tool. Do not fret. Most wallpapers take 24-48 hrs to completely dry. During the drying process those small bubbles will dry down tight to the wall.

*Most instruction sheets will tell you not to over work the wallpaper & that small bubbles will disappear as the wallpaper dries.


Grasscloth is a very unique wallcovering. It has some acoustical properties and will absorb some sound. It is a byproduct of the rice industry. During the manufacturing process these natural blades of grass will absorb inks unevenly. This causes "shading" and what the manufacturers describe as part of the "inherent beauty of the product and not to be considered a defect". This is why I guarantee you will see the seams in grasscloth from across the street.

Since you're going to see the seams and get a "paneled effect" it is highly recommended to engineer your room to give you the best look possible. This means trying to make each wall look even as possible. For example if a wall is 13' wide, you would not want to hang full width sheets across the wall and end up with a skinny sheet next to the corner. Instead trim each sheet 31.2" wide to get a balanced look.

*Grasscloth can look great over a textured wall so long as the texture is not too heavy. (Walls are supposed to be smooth before wallpapering, but you can save a lot of money in prep work if installing grasscloth over texture.)
- For walls that are heavier texture than a true orange peel there may not be 100% contact with the wall. This is because the backing paper is not conforming exactly to the peaks and valleys of your textured wall. The stiff nature of grasscloth (or sisal) can make it impossible for the backing paper to lay in the valleys of a heavier texture.

Hoofa Doofa

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Hot Mud

Hot mud is plaster based. Allow any repairs made with hot mud to dry completely before sanding and priming. 45 minute mud is not so "hot" as 20 minute mud. A hot spot can "burn" through the acrylic in a wallpaper primer and ruin your new wallpaper. Allow 45 minute mud to dry at least 3 hrs over drywall or dry over night when repairing plaster (wait longer if necessary due to cold/damp weather). Prime with a wallpaper primer/sealer and allow to dry before hanging paper. Don't attempt to hang the same day when repairing plaster walls with hot mud.

"Saponification" is the decomposition of the medium of a paint or varnish film by alkali and moisture in a substrate e.g., new concrete or fresh plaster. Rare, but it does happen.

Inside Corners

When wallpapering, never wrap an inside corner. Why? #1: Because you must ensure the first sheet of wallpaper on each wall coming out of an inside corner is installed perfectly plumb & #2: Wrapping the inside corner will result in a rounded, sloppy looking inside corner after the wallpaper dries. When you get close to your inside corner & the next sheet of wallpaper will extend beyond the inside corner & onto the next wall...

Carefully measure from the edge of the last sheet installed to the inside corner from ceiling to baseboard. Add 1/16th" to the largest measurement. This is how much you will "Split" the next sheet. Do this on your pasting table using a paperhanger's straight edge, tape measure & new razor blade. Install the first section of the sheet you "Split" as normal. The extra 1/16th" will just barely wrap the corner. This ensures you won't see any white wall in the corner if the next sheet shrinks after installation. Now you can install the balance of the sheet on the next wall working away from the inside corner. Gently place the balance sheet on the new wall making sure the edge goes all the way into the inside corner overlapping the 1/16th" of material from the previous sheet from ceiling to baseboard.

Using a laser level, shine a plumb line on the edge of the balance sheet farthest away from the inside corner. Unless the corner is perfect, you will notice the edge of the wallpaper doesn't line up with the laser. Find the part of the edge you're shining the laser on that is closest to the inside corner. Center your laser plumb line on that section of the edge (Video Coming Soon that will make this very clear). Next pull the section(s) of the sheet not lining up with the laser away from the wall & reposition. Smooth & trim at ceiling & baseboard as normal. There will be some section(s) overlapping onto the first wall. Use a new razor blade & 5" taping knife as a trim guide to cut off this excess material. You must only apply enough pressure to "Single Cut" the top layer of material. If you "Double Cut" through both layers of wallpaper, then it is almost a 100% guarantee the wallpaper will shrink during the drying process & you will see your wall peeking through the inside corner. Not Good!

*Don't forget to use a clean, wet sponge to wipe off any paste from the surface of your wallpaper, ceiling, baseboard & any other cabinetry/surfaces after installing each sheet.

Instruction Sheets

Read your wallcovering instruction sheets. They usually come with every bolt or roll of wallcovering. These are the rules for hanging wallpaper. Everyone hates rules and likewise we all know there are usually exceptions to every rule. Most people don't take the time to stop at a stop sign. Do you think they will spend 1.5 - 2 hrs to lay drops, tape & mask, sand & prime/seal their walls? Do you think they will spend a day (or two) removing the old wallpaper(s) & adhesive from their walls? Probably not. And then they wonder why their wallcovering installation was so difficult or it didn't turn out as well as they hoped? Often instruction sheets are incomplete at best. But 90% of the time they will tell you this...

1) Remove all old wallcoverings.
*Remove the old adhesive while you're at it.
2) Prime your walls with a wallcovering primer/sealer.
*Some wallcoverings like Foils, Mylars or British Pulp papers require a liner paper to be installed horizontally underneath the finish paper. Be aware of this possible additional step.
3) Install your new wallcoverings.

If you remember these Three Golden Rules for Wallpapering Success and follow them, you'll be miles ahead of everyone else out there who doesn't read the instruction sheets or is deliberately trying to take short cuts.

Pin Stripes

Pin stripes work well in normal areas with regular inside corners. There will be some pattern loss in the corners but this is usually not an issue. Bay windows with their out of plumb inside corners do create an unpleasant effect when installing pin stripes. For this reason it is recommended that you do not select a pin striped pattern for bay windows or other areas with out of plumb, rounded inside/outside corners.

Take extra care when installing pin stripes. Check each bolt to see if all selvedges are trimmed equally. During installation, frequently step off your ladder and back away from the wall. Butted seams may look perfect from your vantage point 15" from the wall, but one or all seams may look terrible from across the room. This can usually be corrected by overlapping, carefully matching the pattern and double-cutting.

* Use of a laser level will be a great help. Line up the laser on the last pin stripe of the previously installed sheet of paper. After climbing on your ladder, make sure the laser hasn't "drifted" before proceeding. Overlap & install the new sheet of paper from the bolt that was incorrectly trimmed. Turn off the laser & double check that your pattern hasn't drifted by "flashing" (this means to lift the edge that overlaps and visually inspect the pattern match) before proceeding with the double cut. With pin stripes you have no room for error. Your pattern match must be perfect or the unpleasant visual effect will not be corrected.

Pre-Pasted Papers

Don't forget the Three Golden Rules for Wallpapering Sucess. If you want to use water for pre-pasted papers, do not use a water tray. They're messy and you can under soak (not fully activate the factory paste or have dry spots) or over soak the paper (gobs of paste oozing out the seams). Use a 5 gal bucket containing about 1/2 gal of tepid water. Apply the water to the back of your paper with a 9" roller. This allows you to control how wet you get the pre-pasted paper with less mess.

An activator works better for most pre-pasted papers. Some papers curl up violently as soon as you get them wet and never seem to "relax". These papers seldom lay down obediently at the seams. If you encounter this phenomenon, Do NOT reach for the seam adhesive! Using water, thin down heavy duty clear strippable adhesive (like Roman 880) about the consistency of waffle batter. Use a roller to apply a thin layer of paste to your primed walls & allow to dry. This should make even the most stubborn pre-pasted paper lay down flat at the seams.

Most pre-pasted papers require about 5 minutes of soak time or "booking" (gently folding pasted side to pasted side, carefully aligning edges & not creasing at the folds) before hanging. This allows the paper to fully wet out, become supple and the factory paste to activate. Place your sheet of wet pre-pasted paper inside a large plastic bag to help the booking process & keep the edges from drying out while you're working. Wet only one sheet at a time. Once the booking time is up for your first sheet, wet a second sheet. Place the second sheet in the plastic bag to book while your hanging the first sheet. This allows you to control the booking time for each sheet as you work around the room & keep working.


This is an area of great confusion for most people. Let's put this to rest once and for all...
Primer comes in a paint can (and a primer isn't a sizing no matter what the can says).
Sizing (a weak glue) comes in a powder that you mix with water.

People are trying to use a centuries old paradigm to install modern wallcoverings. So despite what your mother did or how the old school installers say to do it, here's the real deal modern formula for success when prepping for wallpaper...

If your walls are brand new, prime with a wallpaper primer/sealer. Some modern wallcoverings will not stick to an oil-based primer. So be careful and read your instruction sheets. Don't use the room you're going to paper for testing paint swatches. These different colored swatches may telegraph through your new wallpaper*. Some wallpapers are quite sheer (you can see through them). If you've already swatched your walls and there's any doubt your wallcovering is even somewhat sheer, then prime those areas with a stain blocking primer/sealer before priming with a pigmented wallpaper primer/sealer to give your walls a uniform background and no surprises after you've installed your paper.

*If you're trying to decide what color to paint your walls, paint some poster boards & tape the dried samples to your walls. This can save you time & money if you change your mind & want to wallpaper the room instead.

If you really want to, you won't hurt anything by applying a sizing after the wallcovering primer/sealer has dried. However, if you encounter a paper that curls up like crazy after pasting/activating and it just won't "relax" after booking inside a plastic bag, then you'll do better to "double paste" with heavy duty clear strippable wallcovering adhesive thinned with water to about the thickness of thick waffle batter**. Double pasting means you're pasting the wall and the wallpaper. Use a roller to apply a very thin layer of thinned adhesive to the wall & allow it to dry.

**Do not thin heavy duty strippable clear wallcovering adhesives that are "thicksotropic". These new generation (they've existed for decades) of adhesives loose much of their tack if thinned with water. Mixing with a power drill & paddle will thin the viscosity of these adhesives.

If your walls have bleed through stains, then use an oil-based (alkyd) primer/sealer first. Some examples of bleed through stains are water stains, lipstick, crayon, metallic inks, some paint swatches, etc. Please wear a respirator when using oil-based primer. Most water-based primers do not stain block at all. The best stain blocker is still an oil-based primer.


Click here to see examples of common wallpaper repairs.

Roll Ends

Place your left over wallpaper roll ends back in the box/shipping bag then store in a closet or other climate controlled area where they won't get bumped or damaged. Avoid storing roll ends outside, in an attic, basement, garage, etc. If your installed wallpaper ever gets damaged, you won't have to worry about your pattern being out of stock or not being able to get the same dye lot for repairs.

Rolling Seams

This is a very misunderstood & often improperly performed wallpapering technique. Most people roll seams too hard forcing virtually all the adhesive away from the seam. This leaves only a residue of paste underneath the seams that will not be sufficient to hold the seams in place. Some papers, such as grasscloth, should not have the seams rolled. The risk of paste getting on the face of the material is too great & paste on the face of grasscloth or stringcloth will cause staining. Other papers will burnish if you use a seam roller. Still other papers are so delicate, they may tear if you roll the seams too aggressively. Read your instruction sheets.

Before installing each sheet & rolling your seams allow your pasted wallpaper to book sufficiently. This allows your wallpaper to relax & become supple. Place your pasted paper inside a plastic bag while it's booking. Additionally, you must use an appropriate wallcovering adhesive applied evenly in just the right thickness. The exact amount of adhesive varies for each wallcovering. If you're getting paste oozing out the seams when you roll them, then you have applied too much adhesive.

Remember not to overwork the seams. Some papers will delaminate if the seams are over worked.


-Remove old wallpaper (including backing and glue) before painting your ceilings and woodwork.
-Paint before wallpapering.
-Wallpaper after painting. (Apply a wallpaper primer/sealer before papering.)

Seams: (Don't Freak Out!)

Seam Definition: "A line created by two pieces of material joined together."

*Nowhere in the above definition does it say the seam is, or should be "invisible". Every wallpaper is different. Some papers seam beautifully and seams are virtually undetectable. Other papers, no matter how tightly butt joined, will have seams you can see from across the street.

If you don't want to see the seams, then you don't want wallpaper... You want paint. WALLPAPERPRO cannot guarantee you will not be able to see the seams of your installed wallpaper, because there is not a wallpaper manufacturer on the planet who guarantees you will not be able to see the seams.

Seam Adhesive

Do not use traditional seam adhesives such as Roman® or Shur-Stik 66®! They create a chemical bond that makes removal a headache & you'll more than likely have wall damage during removal.

*Zinsser® manufactures a repair and seam adhesive that bonds in 10 seconds (on dry wallpaper & when not over applied). The technology is new and even though it's called seam adhesive, it doesn't create a chemical bond. It is a mechanical bond. All you have to do is get it wet and your wallpaper will come off. "Awesome!"


Old wallcoverings should be removed before installing new wallpaper. However, use discretion and old fashioned common sense. Old wallpaper that has been painted/sealed over and isn't loose, old wallcoverings installed using border or VOV adhesive, or if your walls are being destroyed as a result of stripping are a few exceptions to this rule.

The wallcovering industry is promising us that nightmare removals will someday be a thing of the past. The new "non-woven" wallpapers are guaranteed to dry strip completely! (only leaving a small layer of adhesive on the wall) The rumor mill is predicting all manufacturers will be printing on non-woven grounds (backing) about 2010.

There are MANY different kinds of wallcoverings. We will be concentrating on the two most popular: "paper backed, vinyl coated peelable/non-peelable wallpaper".

Scenario - 1
Try to Dry Strip first. You may get lucky, but be sure you're not tearing the drywall facing paper. If dry stripping doesn't work, maybe your wallpaper is...

Scenario - 2
Dry Peelable? Peelable means you can remove the vinyl coating or pattern side of your old wallpaper, leaving the smooth backing on the wall. If adhesive was used to install the old wallpaper and the backing isn't loose or bubbled, then you can leave it to act as a liner paper (improper seams must be addressed as described below). If the old wallpaper was prepasted and installed using a water tray, don't even think about trying to hang over the backing! Remove it and the old glue. This is usually very easy. Lay drop cloths on your floor/floor coverings and turn off the power to the room. You may need work lights. Leave the switch plates on for now. Dust off the base boards & mask with blue tape. Lay painter's plastic or plastic drops over your drop cloths. Carefully apply one edge of the plastic under the blue tape. Wet the backing of only one sheet of wallpaper (this is an experiment to see if the backing will come off the wall) with DIF® liquid mixed according to manufacturer's directions (just enough to make it wet - don't over do it) and let it soak for 1-5 minutes. If necessary, use a 5" taping knife to scrape off the backing, being careful to not damage the wall surface. Do not use the Paper Scraper® or Paper Tiger® as they will damage your drywall. They work much better on smooth plaster walls, but will still cause some damage. Some backings require additional soak time. Reapply DIF® liquid as needed if the backing is drying out.

**From Scenario-2 forward, we are using some type/variation of wet method (DIF® liquid + our warm rinse water). No one can stop the laws of gravity (well, some can, but that's another subject not applicable to 99.9% of us here on earth) and gravity will be pulling that liquid stripper down toward the baseboards (made of wood) & flooring (often hardwood or carpeting). You have made every effort to protect your floors/floor covering, but the fact is you will only be able to stop about 90-95% of all liquids from reaching the floor/floor coverings You must be very careful not to pull the plastic/blue tape from the top of the baseboards with your feet, rinse bucket, ladder, etc. (also keep pets out - I've had large dogs come in & destroy all my prep work by trouncing about & pulling the plastic/tape from the baseboards). If the plastic/tape is pulled away after applying DIF® liquid to the wallpaper/backing, the tape will not stick to the baseboard until it's completely dry. So work very carefully. This is also why you should work in sections (don't spray down the entire room with DIF® liquid). Should a little liquid get onto the floor/floor covering, you must be able to pull up the plastic quickly as possible (AFTER you've completed removal of each section) & towel dry any wet spots.

Scenario - 3
Wet Peelable? If your old wallpaper isn't dry peelable, maybe it's wet peelable. (You should have already laid drop cloths & tape/plastic as described above in scenario - 2) Test a small area first. Sometimes a vinyl coated paper that refuses to dry peel will become very peelable or at least semi-peelable after wetting. Try it! Success? I hope so. If not, then you'll have to perforate the vinyl coating so your wallpaper stripper can do it's job. Don't use a scoring tool as this will cause unnecessary damage to dry wall. Use 80 grit sand paper to perforate vinyl coated wallcoverings & proceed to the next scenario...

Scenario - 4
Wet Stripping: (You should have already laid drop cloths & tape/plastic as described above in scenario - 2) Apply DIF® liquid to only one sheet of paper at first (just enough to make it wet - don't over do it). Soak time is usually 20-30 minutes, but make sure the paper isn't drying out. If it is, then re-wet it. Check to see if the old glue is starting to soften? If your walls were primed with water-sensitive paint, this is usually the time frame in which it will become evident ie, you'll notice the paint film bubbling, chunks of paint, or the drywall facing paper coming off with your old wallpaper. It may not be advisable to continue the removal. Some wallpapers require extended soak times like 45-90 minutes and re-wetting if the paper dries out. Just be sure you're keeping an eye on how much soaking the paint film can handle. This is the reason for only attempting to remove one sheet of wallpaper initially. If removal of the first sheet is successful, then continue the removal process for the entire room. If removal of the first sheet was unsuccessful due to excessive wall damage or the old wallpaper being installed with a non-strippable adhesive, then proceed to scenario #6.

Scenario - 5
"This 'peelable' wallpaper defies all logic! The vinyl coating is so thick it's impregnable! (that's why wet method isn't working) Yet the vinyl doesn't have enough structural integrity to pull off from the backing! (unable to peel, coming off in tiny pieces about the size of a thumbtack) What's going on?!?"
Welcome to the dangerous world of the wallpaper shaver...

This is going to take some time. You can't rush shaving the vinyl off to get at the backing paper. It's very easy to gouge into the drywall. This doesn't mean the wallpaper shouldn't be stripped. Just be careful and deliberate in your shaving to minimize the gouging and danger of injuring yourself. Be very careful not to damage the woodwork. Remember you're working with a 4" wide razor blade. Only shave one sheet or section initially because you want to make sure the backing can be stripped successfully. If successful, continue shaving the entire room. After shaving off the vinyl, use wet method as above to remove the backing.

Scenario - 6
Admitting Defeat and Hanging Over the Old Wallpaper
: Everyone wants to hang over old wallpaper arbitrarily. This "short cut" mentality is often due to not planning enough time in the schedule for removal & priming, using obsolete hanging instructions that encourage hanging multiple layers, or budget concerns. You should have worked your way through all previous scenarios before attempting this.

If your old wallpaper is not a "paper" wallpaper, then you will not be simply hanging directly over the old layer. You must prime over it first. Primer takes longer to dry over old wallpaper. Under optimum conditions drying time is usually 3 hours over a vinyl coated paper. Once the primer is dry remember the manufacturer's instructions: Walls must be smooth, dry and structurally sound. Check your primed-over paper for any rough spots, protrusions, seam overlaps/gaps, etc. Generally it is a myth that wallpaper will hide a multitude of sins. Keep this mind. Sand or spackle any areas needing attention to prevent them from telegraphing through your new wallpaper.

Should you use a water based wallpaper primer/sealer or an oil-based (alkyd) primer/sealer? Remember that most modern wallcoverings will not adhere to an oil-based primer/sealer. Read your instruction sheets and follow the alkyd primer/sealer with a water based wallcovering primer/sealer if necessary. Refer to the Priming/Sizing section above. Wear a respirator with serviceable filters when using alkyd primers!

Textured Walls

Textured walls can be sanded if they haven't been sealed. This practice is O.K. in a new construction environment, but you may want to reconsider extensive sanding very carefully before creating a dust cloud in a home.

Textured walls will make your new wallpaper look equally bumpy. Some people actually like this effect.  If you're one of these people, Great! You can save a lot of money that others will spend on additional prep work. If you don't want your new wallpaper to look bumpy, you still have an option that will save money... It is possible to camouflage the bumpiness of a textured wall if you select a wallpaper that has all three of the following characteristics:

1) No white (or black) backgrounds. White backgrounds show every defect in the wall.
2) Peelable (or non-woven).   These two wallpapers are thicker than non-peelables. Peelables usually have a beige backing and non-woven backing looks more synthetic.
3) Texture in the vinyl coating. Smooth vinyl coatings won't help and a true "paper" has no vinyl coating at all.

Remember, you must have all three characteristics in your new wallpaper or it will look equally bumpy as the textured wall. If you can't find a wallpaper with all three characteristics, then you will need to invest in additional prep work to eliminate a bumpy finished look. First, let's define how bumpy your textured walls really are? 0 = smooth glass. 10 = stucco!

If your walls are a true "Orange Peel", that's about a 1-2. Unless you're installing a Foil or other shiny wallcovering, it really doesn't warrant the investment. If your walls are about a 3-4, then a cross liner will soften the textured effect, but not eliminate it or make your walls perfectly smooth. Install your cross liner horizontally & allow it to dry overnight. Your finish paper may be installed the following day.

If your walls are a 5 or higher, you need to skim coat your textured walls. This requires a minimum of two coats of joint compound aka: "mud", plus light sanding, plus a top coating of primer/sealer. GARDZ drywall repair primer/sealer is highly recommended before & after skim coating (mfg by Zinsser & now called All Prime Water Based Clear). After the skim coat is dry, priming will soften the joint compound. Make sure Gardz is dry/hard before wallpapering. For an average bedroom skim coating your textured walls will add about 2 days (or more) to your project. In other words instead of a 1.5 day prime/install, the entire project may take about 3.5 days. A good ballpark estimate is to add 140% to a prime & hang installation price.

You may want to hire a Skim Coat Specialist to smooth out the textured walls prior to WALLPAPERPRO being scheduled to install your new wallpaper. Nino Ayala of NCG Construction, LLC Lic #20212 Cell 971.269.7177 is Highly recommended. He knows to prime the wall with GARDZ prior to skim coating to ensure the skim coat will NOT delaminate from the wall after your new wallpaper is installed.

Wallpaper Stores

Please support your local wallpaper retailer. These stores have experienced and friendly staff who will help you find the pattern you're looking for. They've invested thousands of dollars in sample books which you can check out and browse at your leisure. But please don't shop for your new wallpaper with a retailer's sample book in one hand and an 800 number in the other. Remember this... If you don't support your local wallpaper retailer, would you be upset if they went out of business leaving you no place to go where you could see and touch an actual sample of a wallpaper you're interested in? Also the sample books are coded. If you write down the pattern # of a beautiful floral wallpaper and order it from an 800 number, you may get wallpaper with pink elephants instead. Another benefit of doing business with your neighborhood store is they can recommend a local installer with a good reputation for doing quality work!

Water Trays

Water trays are messy and should be avoided. Brush or roll an activator on the back of prepasted wallpapers. This will make it much easier to work with each sheet of wallpaper and provide better adhesion.

If you've already purchased a water tray, don't despair. They make great flower pots.


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