Helpful Renovation & DIY Tips
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How to Install: Wallpaper
How to Install: Wallpaper
Prep, Pattern and Paper
Decorating with wallpaper can give your home a whole new look to an entire room or on one accent wall. If this is your first DIY wallpapering project, read these tips from Kimball Building Supplies Centre for a smooth start.
To learn the basics and keep it simple, remember the three Ps of wallpapering for professional results: Prepare, Pattern and Paper.
- Before you start, gather all the protective equipment and tools you will need. (See list below)
- Move your furniture into the centre of the room and protect it and your floor with a waterproof sheet.
- Fill holes and cracks in the walls with a patching compound product.
- Clean your walls with a cleaning agent to remove grease or dirt, then rinse with clean water using a cloth.
- Make sure that your walls are free of mould and mildew.
- Applying sizing will help improve long-term bonding, will make it easier to position the wallpaper, and easier to strip in the future.
- Some experts recommend using lining paper to line the walls horizontally before wallpapering instead of plastering damaged walls.
- Don’t forget to remove light and outlet covers, and turn off the power.
- To make it easier to match patterns and reduce waste, smaller designs and stripes are good choices for first-time projects.
- Bring wallpaper samples home to see how they look in the room at different times of the day.
- Choose the best wallpaper for the room. There are different types of wallpaper to suit every room and décor preference. Easy-to-clean vinyl wallpaper is a popular choice for heavy traffic rooms or hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms.
- Advantages of prepasted vinyl wallpaper: perfect in humid rooms, scrubbable, easy to work with, less chance of tearing during hanging, and less mess than non-pasted wallpaper.
Tools & Supplies Needed
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Trough for prepasted wallpaper
- Paint roller
- Vinyl smoother
- Putty knife
- Seam roller
- Step ladder
- Straight edge
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Canvas drop cloth
Look for wallpaper that is sourced from sustainably managed forests, manufactured in small batches, printed with safe water-based paint, and/or made with recycled fibres. Some brands make wallpaper that is 100% recyclable and free of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Also check the safety of the paste on both prepasted and non-pasted wallpaper.
How much to buy?
Measure the height of your walls and the distance around the room, then note the number of windows and doors. Use your own arithmetic or an online wallpaper calculator to quickly determine how many rolls you will need. Be aware that wallpaper prices are quoted by the single roll, but it is packaged and sold in a double roll.
Buy more than you need to allow for errors, matching patterns and for repair jobs.
Check that the batch numbers are the same on each roll to ensure consistency of colour.
Now you’re ready to roll!
You want to make sure your wallpaper looks smooth on your walls, and that the seams are invisible without gaps. This may be a challenge at first, but with practice and by following a few guidelines, you can get a professional look.
Step #1: Take a good look at your room
- Position your first length of wallpaper in a focal point of the room – the wall that is most visible upon entering the room or that people will be facing when in this room.
- Make a plumb line using a spirit level to ensure the wallpaper is on a straight line between the ceiling and floor. Sometimes walls are not in line with door frames.
- After you have applied the first strip, hold up a roll of wallpaper horizontally beside the first strip and measure where each consecutive strip will be. Draw a faint pencil line where each strip will be hung.
- If the patterns do not match at the end, you can make sure they meet at an out-of-sight spot.
Step #2: Prep the Paper (Pasting and Booking)
- You will need a water trough for prepasted paper. Fill the trough with lukewarm water as directed by the wallpaper manufacturer.
- Loosely roll up the cut strip of wallpaper pasted side inside, push it down into the trough and fully cover it with water.
- Leave in the water until the paper is wet.
- Remove the paper and book it for up to five minutes.
- Place the sheet of wallpaper face down on a wallpaper table.
- Use a paint roller to apply the adhesive evenly, taking extra care to cover all edges.
Gently fold both end corners up to the middle, pasted sides together without creasing the paper at the fold, and making sure pasted edges are not exposed. Repeat this step at the other end. Now fold both sides together to prevent the paste from drying out.
Booking makes the paper easier to work with and helps to prevent shrinkage of the paper once it’s on the wall. Wait about five minutes to make sure the adhesive has settled into the paper. Wipe away excess adhesive with a sponge.
Step #3: Hang the First Strip
- Take the booked strip to the wall, climb your stepladder, slowly unfold the wallpaper and apply the top half, aligning one edge with the plumb line. Place wallpaper higher than the ceiling.
- Smooth the edges with a damp sponge, then work from the middle of the wallpaper to the edges.
- Remove any wrinkles and air pockets gently with a wallpaper smoother. Remove moisture with a sponge.
- Unfold the lower half of the wallpaper strip, making sure it is in line with the plumb line.
- Smooth it down to hang a bit longer than the baseboard.
Step #4: Trim Strip at Ceiling and Baseboard
- Trim the extra paper at the top and bottom with a sharp utility knife.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the next panels of wallpaper.
- Always check that the pattern matches, and the seams are together without overlapping.
Tips for Tackling Corners and Tricky Edges
- Inside corners are most often not straight, but with patience and a plumb line, you can get a professional look.
- Apply the wallpaper so that it overlaps the corner by about a quarter inch. Put a plumb line on the other wall corner and position the second corner panel so it overlaps the first panel’s ¼” overlap.
- Then lift the top overlap, gently cut away the bottom overlap to avoid having a noticeable ridge. Try to match the pattern as closely as possible.
- Outside corners are also papered by overlapping the corner by about ¼ inch. Make sure the overlap is not directly on the outside corner or it could peel off.
- Align the pattern precisely on outside corners.
Trim around Windows and Doors
- Always allow some overlap when papering the wall beside a window or door.
- You can trim the extra paper by cutting diagonally with scissors, then gently arrange and smooth the paper onto the wall for a close fit at the window frame, ceiling and baseboard. Finish the edges with a sharp knife.
We hope these tips from Kimball Building Supplies Centre will help your first wallpapering project succeed. And if you are short on any tools or materials, visit our store and we will be happy to help!
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