Stories That Teach Life Lessons

Hanging Wallcoverings


These factors should be considered before having wallpaper hung in your home. Compared to paint, the wallpaper will last longer. Color will not hold a candle to it. You can’t get that “WOW” factor with color, but this will transform your walls. When put over a suitable primer/sealer, it will last an extended period and can be readily removed. In my 27 years as a professional wallpaper hanger, I’ve heard countless horror stories about the damage when the wallpaper was applied over a poor-quality primer.

Use a decent stripping solution that can be sprayed with a good 1 1/2 gal. Pump up the garden sprayer when removing old wallpaper before installing new. Before the solution may reach the backing, the face must be stripped off (the printed surface). Be sure to use duct tape to seal off all electrical plates to keep water from damaging them. Don’t hold back while filling the sprayer, and don’t hold back when applying the paint to the wall. Warm water in the spray bottle will allow the solution to

penetrate deeper. Painters’ drop cloths or many towels might be used to protect the floor. My preferred method is to spray the wall with multiple thin coats, allowing 3 to 5 minutes between each. Get out of the way and let the answer take care of things. Once the backing paper bubbles, you can peel or scrape it off. Don’t cause any more damage to the walls than is necessary. If the walls were adequately primed and sealed, the backing should peel off without leaving any residue. If they weren’t, pray because you can ruin the wall by prying off the support.

Once the walls have been painted, a suitable primer/sealer can be used to prepare them for the new wallpaper. My two favorite groups are Zinzer 1-2-3 and Kilz Premium. Although other products on the market are effective and highly recommended for wallpaper, I have had great luck with the two I have used over the past 27 years.

However, a high-shine or oil-based surface will render these ineffective. You’ll want to utilize a substance called “Gripper” on those walls. You can get advice on this from any paint store worth its paint. Leave the primer on the walls overnight to dry.

Not everyone indeed enjoys putting up wallpaper. A lot of practice and patience is required. I’ll do my best to impart the wisdom I’ve gained over the past 27 years.

There are a few factors to consider while selecting your wallpaper. Wallpaper with a glossy sheen draws attention to the defects and blemishes it is meant to hide. Choose a wallpaper pattern that will help you hide the wall’s texture if it is textured. Alternatively, you may hire a sheet-rock contractor to come in and even out the surface. It’s easier to overlook some textures than others. Remember that the wallpaper’s appearance will be more noticeable on a dark background than on a lighter one. If the pattern match is too large, more wallpaper and fabric will be needed. There are pre-pasted wallpapers, and there aren’t. Wallpaper is available in 20 1/2-inch, 27-inch, and 36-inch wide double rolls.

You’ll need a sharp pair of scissors, a level, a measuring tape (at least 12′), single-edge or snap-off blades (Lots of these), a 6″ metal putty knife (for trimming along edges with your razor blade), some table to paste and cut your wallpaper, and a ladder (high enough to reach the ceiling without any risk of falling over; I use a 4′ ladder for 8′ and 9′ ceilings).

If I haven’t put you off, I’ll try to walk you through hanging your new wallpaper. It’s essential to read the instructions before beginning (I still do this and learn something new every time, plus it’s saved my Butt more than once).

Before hanging wallpaper, I measure its breadth and draw little pencil (NO PENS) lines on the walls to anticipate where the seams will fall. After that, I’ll go back and forth with the seam placement till I’m satisfied. Then, I’ll compile a list of the materials I’ll require. This isn’t something I’d suggest to just anyone. You should cut at least three sheets at a time, then install and glue them together. I usually trim the top and bottom selvage edges to 3″-4″ beyond the actual wall measurement.

I am the master wallpaper paster. Pre-pasted wallpaper has been pasted with a watered-down version of the wallpaper paste I often use. This increases its maneuverability and holds on the wall. Put some paste on two or three sheets, flip them over with the paste facing in so they don’t dry out, and give it three to five minutes. This allows them to unwind and grow.

(Wallpaper is typically made from wood, which swells when wet). While waiting for the wallpaper to relax, place the first sheet along the drawn line on the wall. Start at the top and carefully align it with the pencil mark, leaving a tail of about 2 inches that wraps onto the crown molding or ceiling. Match the edge up with the pencil mark as you move down the wall. Remove the bubbles and smooth the background with the smoothing tool. Wallpaper can easily be torn if you’re too rough with it. Wallpaper can be placed with a 6-foot putty knife, while the top and bottom are trimmed with a razor. Keep only one blade in use at a time. Carefully sponge off the wallpaper and let it air dry.

Congratulation, You’ve taken the first step towards wallpapering your home. If you want the pattern to look right, you should continue with the next piece and line it up with the one on the wall. Put your best foot forward by shaving, waxing, washing, and drying off with a towel. The wallpaper will be dry (in about two days); at this point, any minor bubbles under it will vanish.

Wallpapering around windows and doors requires extra caution to prevent ripping. I make a relief cut with my scissors by bringing them to the corner of the door or window and stopping on or just before the intersection. The sheet won’t need to be ripped as you maneuver it around the corner.

Don’t forget to wipe the glue off the desk every so often. Keep a supply of sponges available for cleaning the work surface, the equipment, your hands, and the completed wallpaper. Clean the ceiling, crown, baseboards, and cabinets with clean water and towel dry. Any adhesive left on the wallpaper could damage the finished surface over time (many months might pass, and then the print starts to flake off the front).

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to contact a professional for help.

Owner of Coastal Wallcovering Inc. here, Bill McBroom. For the past 27 years, I’ve made a living hanging wallpaper.
There were 17 on the East Coast and 10 in San Diego, California. My background includes work on both commercial projects (such as credit unions and federal buildings) and high-end private homes in the San Diego area. I have also done yacht wallcovering installations. I have worked numerous times where enormous canvas murals were hung on walls and ceilings.
I’m indeed a contractor, but I’m also bonded and insured in California.
If you’re interested in finding out more about me and my company, you may visit my website:

Read also: Tips For Organizing Ad Groups In Google AdWords To Boost Click-Through Rate