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Prep Walls With Shellac Before Hanging Wallpaper

Posted on: August 29, 2013 by admin

Prep Your Walls Before You Hang Wallpaper

Image Source: Small Notebook

One of the primary reasons why certain people avoid wallpaper is because of the nightmarish removal process (see here) they believe they will have to endure years into the future.  

Everyone seems to have horror stories when it comes to removing old wallpaper, be it for themselves or someone else.

Typically, this process involves you not only ripping down the wallpaper, piece by piece, but ripping down entire sections of your wall that you will have to plaster back together when you're finished (click here to see how). 

Fortunately, it does not have to be difficult job if the correct installation steps are taken in the beginning.

Any experienced paperhanger will gladly explain to you that if the walls are properly prepped to begin with, then subsequent removal of the wallcoverings being hung up will be a piece of cake.

The secret to properly prepping walls is using shellac. If you coat the walls with a shellac-based primer then not only will your wallpaper easily glide onto your walls but later it will peel right off, without much effort.

Historically, shellac was made from the resin of a lac bug (hence the name) found in Thailand, however, most shellac primers are now synthetically produced to cut down on its manufacturing costs. 

Example of Shellac Based Primer

There are several types of wallpaper primers on the market but we recommend shellac because it possesses great insulation properties and seals out moisture.

It creates good smooth barrier between the wallpaper and the actual wall. This means that the paste on the back of the paper will not soak into and bond with the actual wall itself.  

Prepping your walls with shellac will add at least 20-30 minutes to the job, depending on how big the room is, but you will find that it's well worth the additional time. The outside of your walls will be as smooth as glass allowing your wallpaper to glide right over it, and later down the road, the stripes of paper will peel right off with the tug of your hand.

You can usually find shellac-based primers at any home improvement store including Home Depot, Lowe's or Sherwin-Williams.  If you are hiring a wallpaper installer to hang your paper then we suggest you ask him to use shellac as well.