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What Everyone Ought To Know When Hanging Wallpaper

Posted on: February 21, 2014 by admin

Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Hanging Wallpaper

Anyone with firsthand experience will readily tell you that the process of hanging wallpaper is not as easy as it looks.

There is more to it than just slapping a couple rolls of paper of your walls and calling it a day.

It’s a detailed-oriented process that must be well thought out ahead of time.

The failure to plan ahead will result in needless losses of time and money, as every paperhanger will quickly tell you.   

Encountering a few errors is common, and is unavoidable when hanging wallpaper unless you have decades of experience in this particular trade.

Nevertheless, there are 5 major mistakes that are avoidable, all of which can greatly bog down or ruin an otherwise successful wallpapering project:

Not Knowing What Match You Are Working With

All wallpaper comes with a pattern repeat, and you need to know the difference between a straight, random, and drop match. This is one of the most common areas of expertise that confuse people who do not work in the industry for a living. There are three types of repeat patterns:

A straight match will feature a pattern in which all of the designs on the paper will match if all the adjoining strips are hung from the exact same point on the ceiling.  

A random match will feature a pattern where all of the strips will match up no matter how each adjoining strop is positioned.  

Repeat Pattern Type

A drop match pattern will feature a vertical drop between the various design elements on the paper. If the wallpaper repeat is a drop match, you should order a little more than the room requires, because some of the wallpaper will have to be wasted to achieve 100 percent symmetry.

It is good to know in advance where the seams of the wallpaper come together. If you do, you can arrange it so that they are out of sight and covered up by some piece of furniture.

Read Also:

Wallpaper Repairs Made Easy, from This Old House

Wallpaper Seam Repair, from Natural Handyman

Underestimating the Amount of Rolls Needed

When this happens, the entire project is halted. You have a wall that is only partially completed and it feels like nothing is being accomplished. It is highly frustrating to start on a project and not be able to finish because you don’t have enough material.

We get calls every day from customers in panic-mode because their installer ran out of wallpaper 3/4 into the project, and everything is on hold until the additional shipment comes in.

Most professionals recommend taking appropriate measurements using a standard rollage calculator, and then adding 30% on top of that. It is far better to have a little more than what you need, versus having a little less than you need.

You need to especially make sure you follow this advice if you’re installing a specialty pattern, like grasscloth or glass bead, because a portion of the wallpaper could easily get ruined during the installation process.

Helpful Tools:

Rollage Calculator

Border Calculator 

Hanging in Hot Weather

Hot Weather Dries Out The Glue, So Add More To Compensate

Weather needs to be accounted for when you or your installer are hanging wallpaper. Excessive high temperatures can easily dry out the pre-pasted adhesive.  

When this happens, the paper is likely to curl at the edges of the strip.

If you absolutely have to hang in very hot weather, account for it by adding additional adhesive to the back of the strips during installation.

You might also want to consider scheduling to work very early in the day or when the sun goes down, both times when the temperature is a little more moderate.

Working With a Dull Blade

A sharp blade is an absolute must when you are cutting rolls of wallpaper into workable strips. You need to be able to slice through the paper without tearing it in the process.

This especially holding true when you are paying $40+ per roll for premium patterns. It would be a pity to rip or tear some expensive wallpaper because you did not have a knife that was adequately sharpened.

Not Priming Your Walls Beforehand

Not following this step could not only compromise your current installation project but make its subsequent removal in the future more arduous than it has to be.

All of your walls need to be prepped and primed before any wallpaper is ever hung on them. This includes sanding down edges on the walls if needed.

One of the best ways to ensure a flawless room appearance, without any air bubbles or unsightly deformities creeping up later, is to shellac your walls before adding wallpaper to them.

Shellac creates a solid barrier between the walls and the paper, allowing you to paste your wallpaper on a surface that is as smooth as a clear sheet of glass.  

If you have ever needed to remove old wallpaper from a home, then you know the pain of having to remove wallpaper from a wall that was not properly primed before installation.

Priming your walls will also ensure that you’ll be able to easily remove the wallpaper five years down the road without removing the entire drywall in the process.  

Additional Recommended Reading:

Why Prime Walls Before Hanging Wallpaper, from Jim Parodi

How To Hang Wallpaper, from Taylor Rental

Before and After; Wallpaper Basics, by Design Sponge

How To Hang Wallpaper, from DIYOnline 

Preparing Walls for Wallpaper, by Don Vandervorts Home Tips 

Like many other decorating projects, practice makes perfect. Hanging wallpaper can be successfully completed by any homeowner who wants to undertake this job by themselves.

Avoid the five mistakes just mentioned, and you might find yourself having a little fun not only selecting the different wallpaper patterns out now, but actually hanging them in your house.

Plan ahead, account for additional paper you might need and do not hesitate to consult a professional if you need a little guidance along the way.