Wallpapering Made Simple

Get professional tips on wallpapering.
A Couple Choosing Wallpaper Samples

A Couple Choosing Wallpaper Samples

Before purchasing any wallpaper, be sure to check the symbols on the packaging to find out about the maintenance, removal, hanging, and aging of the paper.

Consider the room you are wallpapering when choosing the style. Many types of wallpaper wear differently. For example, you would probably choose a durable paper for a high traffic and volatile space such as the kitchen.

There are seven general categories of wallpapers:

  • Machine printed papers are moderately priced with a wide selection. These wallpapers come in many designs.
  • Hand-printed are more costly with varying prices. Keep in mind that most orders may take several weeks until delivery.
  • Washable wall coverings range from wipe-able to scrub-able, and grease and smoke stains can be removed without damage to the paper surface.
  • Pre-pasted papers can save a lot of time and effort since they already have an adhesive coating. Just dip the paper in water or wipe with a wet sponge, and it's ready to hang.
  • Strippable papers will remove in full strips without steaming or scraping.
  • Grass cloths and fabrics are wallpapers made from burlap, grass cloth, and other fabrics that are laminated to the paper surface. These wallpapers should be applied with linings.
  • Cushion-backed wallpapers disguise cracked plaster or imperfect wall surfaces.

Standard wallpaper is usually available in lengths of 33 feet per roll with a width of 20 1/2" to 28".

To determine how much wallpaper you need, measure around the room and then the distance from the floor to ceiling. Add 4" to the floor to ceiling measurement and multiply the two measurements. Then, divide the number by 12 for the total square feet. Be sure to measure the area of all the doors, windows and other features that won't be covered by wallpaper. Add those measurements and subtract that from the total room square footage.

If you've selected a large patterned paper, order one percent more to make up for the paper wasted to match the design.

Check the lot number on the wallpaper rolls before you leave the store because colors will vary from different lots of the same pattern.

You will get more cuts by purchasing a double roll than two single rolls of wallpaper.

Purchase the best quality that you can afford because it will be easier to hang and will last longer. If you can't afford to do an entire room, be creative and do one wall as an accent and choose a companion paper at a less expensive price to cover the remaining walls.

Techniques to strip away old wallpaper:

  • When dry stripping, use a slitter to separate the paper from the wall. Hold the slitter perpendicular to the wall and make a series of horizontal slits about 10" apart. Use the tip of the slitter to catch the corner of the paper and pull the paper to remove.
  • Another method called slitting and soaking requires scoring the paper several times with a slitter. Wet the paper with a mist of water from a spray bottle, spraying into the cuts. Wait about 10 minutes, and then pull off the paper with a wide blade knife.
  • The third option for removing paper is with a steamer. Once the paper is steamed, use a putty knife to gently separate the paper from wall. Steamers may be rented.
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