There are lots of questions about wallcoverings, and there are lots of sites out there with advice. We have done our best to provide answers to the main questions below.
It is not every question that deserves an answer. Pubilius Syrus 1BC
Some may say not every answer deserves a question. Here is the “guts” of what you need to know about wallcoverings, check it out below, if you want to know more drop us a note or give us call. We are happy to give you whatever information you need to get going on changing your walls’ lives forever. But before you start we want you to understand that, despite all the myths, despite people’s best intentions to say otherwise: wallpapering is easy, people have been sticking paper on walls for centuries with fantastic results. You can too!
Why do the experts make wallpapering seem hard?
We don’t know..wallpapering is easy if you select the right wallpaper!
Some people believe wallpapering is one of the lost arts, like Zen or Alchemy and is surrounded in the sort of secrets that make the Masons look like a chess club. They think the ancient art of wallpapering involved many special techniques to stick tricky paper to difficult walls and even more special techniques to remove it. Whatever they believe the majority of wallpapering questions go away when modern materials are used. If you find a wallpaper support site check that it is focused on Vlies, non-woven, paste the wall products. Once you discover the Vlies secret then questions that even scare the traditionalists, like the following disappear:
- How long do you need to soak the wallpaper?
- My prepasted wallpaper doesn’t stick what should I do?
- Why do seams shrink?
- What causes open seams when wallpapering and how to avoid them?
- Nor do you need the “Litmus Test for Wallcovering Durability Anyone Can Do For Themselves”.
Is wallpaper easy to apply?
YES! Wallpapering with modern wallcoverings is easy:
- Prepare the wall: prime and mark
- Prepare the wall coverings: pattern match and cut to size
- Paste the wall: simply roll it on.
- Hang the wall coverings: easier than it looks
- Admire the result:
What types of wallpaper are there?
There are 5 broad categories: choosing the right type of wallcovering is important.
Wallpaper consists of a backing material and a surface layer. The backing material could be one of four major types and the surface layer could be paper, fabric, vinyl, natural textile, or one of many other types. Often the key factor in a wallpaper decision is the aesthetic appearance of the surface layer and less importance is given to the wallpaper construction. However, there are substantial differences in each of the wallpaper construction types. At Hume Internationale we have removed these challenges by only selecting the finest quality, technically superior modern wallcovering types.
Almost all wallcoverings that are used today fall into five categories:
Fabric Backed Vinyl gets an A+ for ability: durability, scrubbability, and its ability to hide the surface imperfections of walls. Choosing a fabric-backed vinyl is your best assurance that the installation will look great in 10, 15, even 20 years in areas that get wear and tear. Removability score: 8 to 10. Material is pulled from the wall in one piece, no soaking required.
Paper Backed Vinyl is suitable for most areas. It is scrubbable and will handle general “wear and tear” almost as well as fabric-backed vinyl. Removability score: 5 to 7.Vinyl top-sheet must be pulled off and the backing must be soaked and scraped.
Vinyl Coated Paper is exactly that—a paper that is coated in some way with a vinyl mist. Manufacturers tend to print intricate multi-hued florals and deep colored backgrounds on this type of paper. This type differs in construction from the other two types. There is no backing eg; there is no sheet of vinyl laminated to a backing. Without backing, this wallcovering won’t cover up the wall’s inherent surface imperfections as well as the others can. Do yourself a favor and don’t even consider this type of material for areas that get traffic or are exposed to water or grease. Removability score: 3 to 7. Must be soaked but you can get lucky sometimes and pull the sheets dry.
Plain Paper. These are mostly British imports. They have a matt finish, there is no vinyl, and they have no protection against staining. Most require a blankstock paper liner to prevent paste staining. These papers are beautiful but delicate. Removability score: 8 to 9: It must be soaked and scraped but usually they accept removal spray quickly.
Non Woven-Vlies. Non Wovens are more durable than plain paper, more washable and “mildew resistant” since they breathe extremely well. They don’t shrink or stretch and are easy to apply using the “paste the wall” technique. They deliver all the design flexibility of wallcoverings without any of the disadvantages and simply pull off. Removability score: 8 to 10. Material has the integrity to be pulled off the wall dry. Look for the specific Vlies trademark as proof of wallcovering quality.
What is the paste the wall technique?
Nothing more than what it says.
This is a wallpapering method, where the glue is applied directly to the wall and not on the back of the wallcovering. If my child can use a glue stick in kindergarten with success, then you can use this method.
What is a repeat?
A repeat is the recurrence of a pattern on a wallcovering.
Patterns can repeat horizontally or vertically, the frequency depends on the size of the pattern and the width of the wallcovering.
What is a pattern match?
This is what you do before you put the wallcovering on the wall.
On all wallcoverings, except some textures and murals, there are pattern matches or pattern repeats. This is the vertical distance between one point on a pattern design to the identical point vertically. This pattern repeat is an integral part of the design. A random match is one in which the pattern matches no matter how adjoining strips are positioned. Stripes are a good example. A straight-across match is one in which the design elements match on adjoining strips. A drop match is one in which there is a vertical drop between the matching design elements. With straight-across matches, every hung strip is the same as the ceiling line. With drop matches, the number of strips hung before a strip is repeated is dependent on the type of drop match. Patterns with a significant drop match (24 inches or greater) will require additional wallpaper to be ordered.
Can you really DIY?
If you choose Vlies non woven wallcoverings, can roll glue on a wall and cut paper then you can hang wallpaper. The point where it all gets too hard is when it gets big. Imagine hanging wallpaper in a two story hallway. If you really feel comfortable manipulating a 3 metre length of wallpaper on a ladder 2 metres off the ground you should become a professional paperhanger. Otherwise call in the professionals for a jobs like this.
Do you really need to prepare the wall? When should you prime walls before wallpapering?
Two great questions with only one answer: YES!
Here’s something to consider: Wallpaper doesn’t stick to your wall, it sticks to the paint on your wall. Wallcovering primers, particularly wall protecting primers are specialty products designed specifically to prevent wallpaper paste from softening the paint on your wall and making the wallpaper become a part of your wall. By preventing this infiltration and isolating the paste right at the surface of your wall, you are ensuring that there will be no damage to the wall surface when it comes time to remove the paper.
Most people aren’t in the habit of reading the instruction sheet that comes in modern wallpaper rolls. Almost every manufacturer spells out in black and white that in order to hang their product properly the wall must first be primed with a “good quality primer.” If you happen to have any complaint about the wallcovering product later on, it will always come back to the question: “Did you prime the wall with a good quality primer?” That in itself should be a good enough reason to answer the question about whether you should prime or not. But there are better reasons to prime than manufacturers simply saying, “We told you so.”
- For new walls, apply a high-quality primer/sealer (white is best) which will give the wallcovering an even surface for better adhesion. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for drying/curing time. Apply a wallpaper sizing which makes hanging and positioning easier, let dry, and hang your new wallcovering!
- For previously papered walls, remove all the old wallcovering and clean the walls with a mild detergent solution or adhesive remover. Rinse with clear water and allow the surface to dry. Apply a wallpaper sizing. If it is not possible to remove the old wallpaper, make sure the old wallpaper is secure and stable, sand the seams, then prime with an oil-base primer to completely seal the surface and then apply sizing to the walls before applying your new wallcovering.
- For previously painted walls, scrape or sand any rough spots, fill holes and cracks. Let dry, sand smooth, and apply an oil-base primer to the repaired sections. Let dry according to the primers directions. If your walls have glossy paint, go over them with fine sandpaper for better adhesion. Rinse walls with a damp sponge and allow them to dry. Apply wallpaper sizing (for improved positioning and adhesion) and let dry before hanging wallpaper.
What is size?
Before you go there, it’s not how big the wall is.
Size is a paste solution that is used not so much to prepare the wall, but to provide ease of slip for pattern matching and added adhesion for the final installation of wallcovering. It usually comes in the form of a white powder that is mixed with water or is simply a thinned down version of the adhesive that is used in the installation of the wallcovering.
How do I install the stuff?
Simply with little effort, this is a great question because it means you want to get going.
Wallpapering with modern wallcoverings is easy:
- Prepare the wall: prime and mark
- Prepare the wall coverings: pattern match and cut to size
- Paste the wall: simply roll it on.
- Hang the wall coverings: easier than you imagine
- Admire the result:
What glue is needed for which wallcovering?
We have all the pastes, there are only two types needed for our stuff.
For non-woven wallcoverings use a non-woven wallpaper paste. The advantages of this pastes are:
- It “stands” on the wall along time, this means it gives you time to hang the paper
- Very little spatter
- With the appropriate primer, it ensures the wallcovering is strippable
For vinyl and relief wallcoverings – special paste
- The dispersion element in the adhesive enables the paper under peelable wallcoverings to bond firmly with the substrate and to serve as lining paper when papering later.
What kind of surface is ideal for wallpapering?
Here the basic rule is: The surface must be dry, solid, clean, smooth and absorbing.
Can I hang wallpaper over old brick, textured walls, etc.?
Yes, and we have products that have done it.
Prepare the wall well: remove all nails or other protruding objects, for textured surfaces “knock down” any high points and use one of the many different liner papers on the market today which can handle rough walls, stucco walls, or walls that have been coated with “knockdown” finishes. These liners range down from heavy duty wall resurfacing types to lighter weights for slightly rough walls. Test a small section first; make sure you allow the paper to dry. We have two outstanding products for this work: Patent Decor and CRAKGON®.
What is a “double seam” cut?
Paper hanger techie stuff that makes the walls look great.
Wallcovering lengths are glued with a 5cm overlapping seam, and then cut through both layers with a sharp cutter knife. After removing the excess strips, a very clean, tightly butted seam is achieved.
How do I get bubbles out of my wallpaper once it’s hung?
You don’t, they go away by themselves.
Step 1 – don’t panic! Bubbles may appear when a wallcovering is applied to the wall.
Step 2 – wait! Normally, bubbles settle out of a paper within a couple of hours after it dries on the wall.
Can I remove wallpaper with a propane torch?
That’s a scary question.
How do you remove wallpaper?
Peel it off.
Let’s be clear removing the wallcovering means ripping it off the wall. What could be simpler? Sometimes the job is very easy, as it usually is with fabric backed vinyl or Vlies non woven. However there are instances where wallpaper has been applied to an unprimed wall and even the most seasoned wallpaper remover will start cursing. Generally speaking, fabric-backed wallcovering and non-woven wallcovering gets pulled easily from the wall while it is dry. With paperbacked vinyl, the vinyl part pulls off the wall and the paper backing is soaked with water and scraped. All other materials like paper, lightly vinylized paper, grasscloth, and other natural fibres must be soaked and then scraped.
Can old wallpaper jobs just be pasted over?
No, you can never just paste, or paint for that matter, over anything.
The removal of old wallcoverings is necessary before any new application. So get into it, remove the old wallcovering, clean the walls with a mild detergent solution or adhesive remover, rinse with clear water and allow the surface to dry then apply a wallpaper sizing.
However, if it is not possible to remove the old wallpaper, you still have to make sure the old wallpaper is secure and stable, sand the seams, then prime with an oil-base primer to completely seal the surface and then apply sizing to the walls before applying your new wallcovering.
Is wallpaper easy to remove?
Wallpaper removal is easy if properly installed with a primer.
Poor installations without priming the wall will create problems for any removal. But any installation that primes the wall first and uses modern wallcoverings like Vlies or Fabic Backed vinyl will simply peel off, leaving the wall undamaged, ready for the next wallcovering application.
How do I remove wallpaper paste from the wall?
Wash and scrape.
Wallpaper paste is removed with hot sudsy water, a scraper, and time to let the water work and soften the old paste. Starch is the main ingredient of all wallpaper pastes and it softens after a soak time of from 15 to 30 minutes. Sometimes white vinegar helps to speed up the job. Some people think that you should use sandpaper to remove the paste but that really doesn’t do the job. Washing the wall squeaky clean is still the best way to go.
How do I remove wallpaper paste that is on the wallpaper surface?
The best way to deal with wallpaper paste on a wallcovering is not to put it there in the first place after that wipe the sheet with a damp sponge. You should ensure you wipe down the wallpaper sheets several times with a damp sponge during the hanging process anyway.
Why not just paint the walls, paint has so many options?
Paint gives you it’s heart but wallcoverings give you their soul.
Paint has come a long way, the industry has extended painting possibilities in many different directions. Modern wallcoverings take this revolution further, some even combine with paint for outstanding effects. Wallcoverings continue to deliver:
- Feature Walls in brilliant contemporary designs
- Textured papers that combine with paint in any form or colour
- Designer wall murals
- Digital imagery
- Textiles including Fabrics and Natural fibres
- Traditional Victorian home restorations
Wallcoverings also extend wall functionality. Consider the following specialized applications:
- Whiteboard: Wallcoverings that allow the use of special dry erase markers for presentations or notes. Though predominately used in commercial settings, this would also suit a child’s room or play area.
- Magnetic: Wallcoverings that allow the use of magnetic appliqués for presentations. Though predominately used in commercial settings, this again would work well in a child’s room or recreational zone.
- Electromagnetic shielding: Wallcoverings used in commercial applications to reduce the amount of electromagnetic interference associated with many industrial applications such as computer rooms.
- Scented: Wallcoverings with fibres that naturally give off a soothing fragrance such as lavender or jasmine.
- Deodorizing: Wallcoverings infused with charcoal particles which act as a natural deodorizer.
- Acoustic: Though traditionally associated with commercial applications, these are more commonly utilized in homes with expensive surround sound systems or home theaters. These wallcoverings are specifically engineered to absorb sound energy.
- Glow in the dark: Create a funky black light environment with fluorescent wallpaper.
- Metallic or organic: Imagine the impact of real copper or mica flakes.
Paint is fantastic, but can it do all that?