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Hang Wallpaper – Preparation.

Skill Level: Beginner


Wallpapering, like many DIY projects we undertake ourselves, is one that we become more proficient at, over the course of time; and with experience. Wallpapering is a multi – faceted job; and it is essential that you get off on the right foot, from the start, if you are going to complete the job satisfactorily. The key to hanging wallpaper successfully is preparation, planning, and using the right tools.

It’s no use trying to cut corners (excuse the pun!); although wallpaper is a “covering” many faults will still be visible when the paper is dry, forever an irritation and an eyesore. With wallpapering, it feels like 3/4 of the job is preparation; with the paperhanging bit, the easiest and quickest other 1/4.

The first thing we must get right is the preparation!

The first thing we must get right is the preparation! This will be time well spent. Wallpaper may be hung over painted walls without problems, providing the surface is sound, dry, and is not flaky or damp. Have a good look round the walls; fill in, holes, cracks and any other surface blemishes that will show through the paper when it is dry.

Plaster and Filler.

Large holes and other damage may need to be repaired with plaster. There is a difference between plaster and filler; filling small imperfections with filler using a knife is quick and simple; simply squash the filler in, leave slightly proud; then sand down flush and flat when dry. Where there are bigger holes or chunks of plaster missing or loose, you’ll need to repair these areas with a bit more care and attention, using something a bit stronger. Plaster is not designed to be rubbed down like fillers. It needs to be applied using a trowel, smoothing flush and flat by hand-trowel. The edges of the damaged plaster will be very dry, and unless you seal these edges first with a PVA/water solution, the water within the plaster mix will be too quickly absorbed by the existing plaster, it will be sucked out, preventing a uniform, slow drying and bonding between materials. In other words the plaster patch will become loose and fragile. The sealing solution must be allowed to dry properly before applying the new plaster, usually 24 hours. Repeat this dampening of the area again, just prior to plastering. There’s no need to wait for drying out with this application.

Flexible Filler.

Over time, cracks can appear around doorframes, caused by natural movement and use. Skirting boards also move over time and can become detached from walls, check also those fitted on staircases. Movement will re-occur, so fill in with a flexible sealer, applied by gun.

Mould and Fungus.

Mould or fungus infection of walls can be treated with a simple fungicidal wash. More importantly, find out the cause! The most common cause for this condition is moisture resulting from poor ventilation. When stripping old wallpaper from walls infected, try and ensure you do not transfer the fungal spores from the walls and old paper to the new wall covering, or surfaces that it will come into contact with.

Dampness and the Stabilisation of Walls.

So now we have our wall all nicely filled and patched up. The surfaces have been sanded or trowelled flush and smooth. What now? Well, If the rest of the wall (s) are painted, then chances are it has over time accumulated a layer/film of grease or grime. It’s a good idea at this point to give the wall a good sponge down using a solution of sugar soap and clean water, and allow to dry overnight. Where there are signs of staining, perhaps from previous dampness, then this should be treat with a damp sealant or oil based primer solution. Where damp is still evident and active, sealing will not cure the problem! In this case you should seek the advice of a professional

Sizing Walls.

To promote slide - ability of the wall covering, and uniform drying of the paper, apply a wash of wall size prior to paperhanging, this also helps prevent uneven shrinkage of the paper at seam lines.
A wall that is properly prepared and stabilised will be easier to work with, and will result in a much better finished product.

Tools you will need:
Polycell Multi Purpose Polyfilla Powder - 1.8Kg
Polycell Multi Purpose Polyfilla Powder - 1.8Kg

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