Everything You Need to Know About Wallpaper

For a long time, the vast majority of walls in houses in the country were dressed with wallpaper. Then, all of a sudden it became taboo. It was the absolute least cool thing you could have in your home. Well, the craze is back, but the styles have certainly been improved upon. If you are reading this then you are either moving into an old home that needs layers of wallpaper removed, or you have compared the price of truck rentals to get a good deal, so you have some decorating money left over to buy some new, trendy paper.  Here’s everything you need to know about wallpaper, from stripping to applying and flattening every bubble that may come up in between.

Stripping Wallpaper
If you have 1970s paper in your house, you might as well order pizza, grab some craft beer or wine, and have a wallpaper stripping party. There is a very high chance that you will be peeling away layers of paper for a while. Folks rarely removed the paper. They simply applied a new layer on top. Get a spray bottle, fill it with water and vinegar, and buy a wallpaper piercing tool. This tool allows moisture to get down to the glue.

After removing the wallpaper, use a mixture of warm water and tri sodium phosphate to remove any lingering glue.

If you are simply removing a border, you may only have one layer to deal with. Before you try scraping or spraying water, apply heat using a hair dryer. In some cases, this will loosen the adhesive, and you will be able to just peel it away.

Applying Wallpaper
If you compared truck rentals just so you could save a little extra money to buy wallpaper, then you will need some guidance applying it.

You always want to apply paper to walls that are in good condition. This means filling holes and sanding plaster. If there is mildew, clean the area with a solution of bleach and water.

When hanging, it is easier to apply the first strip directly next to a door or window. This will help create a straight line and give you a pattern to follow.

Most wallpaper today is pre-pasted, so you probably won’t have to deal with mixing paste. If you do, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When you cut the paper, make it at least 4 inches longer than what you need every time. This gives you a little extra to work with for correctly lining up patterns.

Tips and Tricks

  • Triple check strips for bubbles and proper alignment after hanging. A bubble may not be there one second and then all of a sudden one appears. Deal with it immediately before it has time to dry.
  • Wipe excess adhesive from the ceiling and baseboards immediately using a sponge. Rinse that sponge often.
  • Always make sure you are using a very sharp edge before trimming paper.
  • If at any time, you feel you may have come across asbestos while removing paper, you will want to have it tested. If you are not comfortable dealing with it yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.