Wallpapering 4 - Preparing the Walls Wallpapering 4 - Preparing the Walls

Before hanging wallpaper, take the time to prep the wall with a vinyl-acrylic sizing. (It's applied like paint but dries quickly and somewhat tacky.) It assures adhesion and can allow for easier removal of the paper years later. Also, there are a few additional steps that we recommend for a professional-looking job. It is important that the walls be very clean and free of any dust or debris.


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If you are working on older walls, sealing the wall with a primer is not necessary. If the wall was painted with a flat oil-based paint, only cleaning and sizing is needed. However, shiny oil based paints require a treatment with TSP or a de-glosser for better adhesion.

If you are working with an untreated new wall or a latex paint-coated wall, apply an oil-based primer before papering. If in doubt, prime the wall. Also, spot prime any repaired areas that have fresh wallboard or spackling compound on them.

Wallpaper can be hung directly over old wallpaper, however many papers will fall off if you put a heavy wet sheet on top of them. We recommend removal. Be sure that it is in good condition and repair any rips, bubbles, or other problems. Be sure to check the seams and re-glue if needed. Apply a flat oil-based enamel undercoat to the wall and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Check to see if your new wallpaper requires a sizing. I recommend one. (With cloth-back vinyl hung over gypsum board that was never sealed, you need to apply a vinyl-to-vinyl primer before applying the new paper.)

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