Preparing a Room for Wallpapering Preparing a Room for Wallpapering

You can dramatically change a room's appearance in at least two way - by painting it or installing wallpaper. Many people shy away from wallpapering because they think installing wallpaper is  complicated or difficult. In reality, installing your own wallpaper is a job most DIY'ers can confidently take on, as long as they are willing to take time to prepare the room properly plus measuring and cutting accurately. Here's how to prepare a room for wallpapering.

Preparing to Wallpaper

  • Start by clearing everything you can out of the room. You want to make sure your walls are clean and prepped so you will need to get everything off the walls and the furniture out of the way so you will have room to work.
  • After clearing the room, turn off the power to the room and remove the covers from the electrical outlets and switches.
  • Use Spackle to repair any dents in the wall and once it's dry, sand all the walls with a relatively smooth sandpaper (120 to 150 grit) to open the pores in the paint.
  • Ensuring your walls are clean is vital for wallpapering so after sanding, wash the walls with warm water and a mild detergent or TSP (tri sodium phosphate). Besides making sure your walls are clean, this step will remove any residual dust from the sanding..

Sizing the walls

  • After washing the walls, allow them to dry thoroughly and then apply sizing to the walls using a paint roller just as if your were applying paint.
  • Sizing the walls is an important part of preparing to wallpaper that many people think they can skip, and they shouldn't. Sizing (or wallpaper primer sealer as it's often called today) stops the adhesives on the wallpaper from soaking into the paper surface of drywall, so the wallpaper is easier to remove in the future.
  • Wallpaper sizing also slows down the drying time of the wallpaper adhesive, allowing the person hanging the wallpaper a little extra “open” time to adjust the paper's position on the wall during installation.

Create a plumb line

  • Ensuring your wallpaper is hanging straight is the key to a professional looking job and since your walls probably aren't straight or plumb you need to create a plumb line to serve as a  guide.
  • Start in the corner of your “least noticeable wall” (likely to one side of the doorway) and measure out the width of your wallpaper roll MINUS 1/2”.
  • Use a level or hang a string weighted on one end from this mark and draw a vertical line down your entire wall. This is your plumb line that will act as a guide to aligning the first two strips of wallpaper you install. Just line up subsequent strips on the same wall with the previous edge.
  • You will need to create a new plumb line for each wall as you work your way around the room to ensure your wallpaper is always perfectly straight.

Murray Anderson is a veteran freelancer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.

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