Wallpapers have the power to make a small room look bigger, a room that feels too big, look warmer, and change the entire style and vibe of the room. However, there’s a common misconception that installing a wallpaper is a challenging task. This misconception is false. In fact, once you finish reading this blog, you will be able to apply your wallpaper all by yourself.
In this article, we will cover a step-by-step guide to installing wallpapers, including things to avoid doing to ensure that there are no errors like air bubbles or peeling edges, how to hang wallpapers around corners and obstacles, and how to maintain your wallpapers.
Types of Wallpapers
Before we dive into the process of installing wallpapers, we will discuss different types of wallpapers based on how they are applied.
1. Pre-pasted wallpaper
Pre-pasted wallpaper doesn’t need any paste to be used. All you need is some water to act as an adhesive against the wall’s surface. Although, keep in mind that this sort of wallpaper doesn’t last as long as the others.
2. Self-adhesive wallpapers
This peel-and-paste wallpaper, also known as stick-on wallpaper, is just like stickers and comes with pre-applied glue. So all you need to do is remove the backing paper before sticking it to the wall. These are wallpapers for application directly without using any external paste.
3. Non-pasted wallpapers
This type comes as a paper roll without any glue at the back. Hence, you will need to buy the glue separately and apply it to the back of the wallpaper before pasting it onto a wall.
Types Of Wallpaper Pastes
Wallpaper adhesive powder must be mixed with water according to individual instructions and requires a specific time to soak to acquire its jelly-like consistency. You can find all the necessary information on the packaging regarding the water-to-powder ratio and soaking times. Pick a wallpaper paste or glue based on your wallpaper’s material, thickness, and future plans for the wall.
Some wallpaper manufacturers will advise you on what type of adhesive to use – if they specify a type, it is a good idea to follow their instructions. Now, let’s dive into the different pastes you can use for your wallpapers.
1. All-purpose Paste
All-purpose pastes are commonly known to contain fungicides that help prevent mold growth. These pastes can be used with any type of paper and come in powder and ready-mixed forms.
2. Ready-To-Use Paste
These are usually vinyl based and are made from a special mixture that doesn’t set in until it is exposed to air. Although expensive, these pastes seem like an easier choice as you don’t have to worry about mixing the paste in the correct consistency.
Tip- It’s more suitable for a single wall or a small room.
3. Glue Size Paste
Also known as a primer is used to prime or seal new plaster, which prevents the plaster from soaking up the adhesive and makes it easier to apply the wallpaper. Glue-Size paste is generally used when a wall is newly plastered.
4. Cold Water Paste
This is the most common type of paste. It comes in the form of starch or wheat-based powder, which is mixed with water. It’s also water-soluble, so it’s easy to remove when the time comes. Unfortunately, these have the longest drying times of all the pastes, which means more waiting. But, that also means you get more time to correct any mistakes.
5. Heavy Duty Paste
These pastes are generally used for high-grade thick paper, which has a chance of falling off the wall before the paste has dried.
Tip- These pastes make it hard to remove the wallpaper, so pick this paste based on your future wallpaper plans.
Materials Needed for Wallpaper Installation
Now that you have all the required materials and knowledge. Let’s take a look at the materials you need for wallpaper installation.
- Putty knife
- Wallpaper brush
- Measuring tape
- Wallpaper tray/table
- Clean cloth
How To Prepare Your Wall
First, you must remove any old wallpaper stuck on your walls. You can do this by using your putty knife (remember to also remove any adhesive substance left behind). Once you remove all previously applied substances, you must clean the wall thoroughly to remove all the dirt.
Since you will be using water for the wallpaper glue to work, it’s important to ensure your safety by avoiding electrocution. This can be done by taping all your outlets, turning off the electricity, and removing all nails, screws, or hooks with pliers or screwdrivers to protect yourself. Next, you want to smoothen the cracks on the wall with wall putty by applying it over any cracks or holes on the wall. Covering cracks is essential to make your wallpaper smooth and squeaky clean. When you apply your wall putty, use sandpaper to smoothen the patch into the surface.
How To Measure Your Wall
Use your level to draw a vertical line on the wall using your pencil – a level is a device that gives you a perfectly straight line and is used to ensure that your wallpaper is not at an angle. Now, use the measuring tape to measure the vertical distance of your walls from the floor to the ceiling to get the length of the wall, knowing this will help you trim the wallpaper to fit your wall perfectly. Make sure to use a steel ruler while cutting the wallpaper.
Tip- Leave an additional 5cm on the top and bottom to make up for any errors.
How To Apply A Wallpaper
Before we apply the wallpaper, here are some basic points you want to keep in mind throughout the process.
1. Do not apply the paste to the entire wall at once, as it may dry and lose its adhesiveness.
2. Ensure that you place the wallpaper on the wallpaper tray/table while applying the paste so you have a raised flat surface to apply a smooth and even cover of paste to the wallpaper.
2. Use a roller to apply the paste part-by-part before sticking the wallpaper to it – a roller makes it easier to apply the paste. However, using one is not necessary, and a normal brush will do the job. Some wallpapers come with paste, so you don’t have to use adhesive on the wall. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when pasting.
3. Any excess paste that has spread onto the ceiling or anywhere it shouldn’t be must be removed with a gentle stroke of a clean wet sponge before the paste dries.
4. Make sure the wallpaper’s pattern is in the correct direction.
Now, let’s begin with the application of the wallpaper.
Take the wallpaper and place it over the adhesive on the wall (you can use a level to ensure that it is perfectly vertical), then gently use a wallpaper brush to smoothen it. If an air bubble is formed, smoothen it by stroking the brush from the middle towards the nearest edge and if there is a wrinkle on the wallpaper, gently pull it away from the wall until you reach the wrinkle and smoothen it out slowly. Next, use your knife to cut off the additional wallpaper along the top and bottom of the wall.
Tip- One clean stroke with a sharp knife will help you finish perfectly.
If you cut too much paper, don’t panic. Instead, just stick back the part you cut out and re-cut. Make sure you meet the cut line but don’t overlap. The cut will no longer be noticeable once the wallpaper has dried. If peeling edges come up, lift the area and sand down the wall. This will help to make the wall smoother. Once it’s smooth enough, add wallpaper paste to the surface, and stick the wallpaper. If peeling continues, we recommend trying another brand of wallpaper paste.
Before applying the next wallpaper to the wall, ensure that the pattern matches the wallpaper previously applied to the wall. Keep 2 cm extra at the top and bottom of the wall while avoiding overlay. Then, start matching your wallpaper pattern from the middle. You may use a seam roller to seal the seams. Let the roller sit for 5 minutes before wiping it off. Don’t press on the wallpaper too hard so as not to press the glue out from underneath.
How To Tackle Tricky Areas While Applying The Wallpaper
You will need to use two sheets of wallpaper to cover the corners. First, take one wallpaper and cover one wall of the corner while overlapping the adjacent wall by 1 or 2 cm. Then, take the second wallpaper and line it up to the edge of the wall but don’t try to push it into the corner.
Power Outlets, Switches, Windows, and Door Frames
Lay the wallpaper over them, but make sure you don’t press the strip down with a lot of force on these areas. Then, use your scissors to cut through at the center point, press the paper down, and smooth it around the edges of the socket. After the adhesive has dried and the wallpaper has been stuck properly, the shape of the outlet will be more definite. At this point, you can use your knife to cut the excess paper. The same method can be followed when applying wallpaper over a window or door frame – let the wallpaper settle in and allow a crease to form. Use the crease as a guideline to trim the wallpaper. If you’re intercepting the corner of a window or door, trim where the wallpaper meets the top of the frame and then smooth the long side all the way down to ensure a clean, proper finish. Then, trim the excess from the side crease.
Tip- You may notice a curled seam if you don’t add enough paste at the edges. To fix this, all you have to do is dampen the area with some warm water. Then, lift the wallpaper and apply more paste under it.
How to Maintain Your Wallpaper
Keep in mind that the best way to make your wallpapers last for a long time is by maintaining them. There are two kinds of wallpapers – washable and non-washable. If you have washable ones, then all you have to do is wipe them down occasionally. But, if you have the non-washable kind, there are multiple ways to maintain your wallpapers. Let’s look at some of the best ways to maintain your wallpaper.
1. Remove dust particles: Use a dry cloth from bottom to top in the direction of the vertical seams. Use a damp cloth on stains that just won’t go, but ensure you don’t scrub too hard.
2. Water is your best friend: Avoid using abrasives, solvents, or chemicals when cleaning wallpaper. In the best-case scenario, this will create an unsightly patch. But, on the other hand, it may cause a tear in your wallpaper.
Tip- Clean your wallpaper section by section to reduce the chances of double cleaning the same area and ruining the wallpaper or causing air bubbles.
If you’ve recently painted the walls that you want to wallpaper, make sure to wait a minimum of three weeks so the paint has enough time to cure fully.
We hope this guide has helped you with all your wallpaper application needs, from selecting glue to maintaining your wallpapers. You should now be able to change how your walls look as often as you like and enjoy the feel of different themes in the same house. If you wish to make changes in the interiors of your home, then let our professionals at Floma take over and make your interior dreams come true!
Written by Dhruv Bhagwatkar from Floma’s creative team. Images have the copyrights of the respective sources.