How to Paste Contemporary Wall Papers

Before You StartYour walls must be prepared to receive wall covering. Properly prepared walls are the foundation for a good job. Most walls need some prep even those in new homes. The time you spend preparing the surface will make the hanging of the wallpaper easier and will ensure more satisfactory and long lasting results.
Always check the instructions included with your wall covering for the manufacturer's recommendations.
Before beginning any surface prep, remove all nails, screws, electrical plates and any other wall fixtures. You should also remove old wall covering. Make sure the surface is free of any loose paint, mildew, grease or stains.
New walls should have a primer/sealer. This seals the wall and creates a smooth surface. The primer should be white pigmented because coloured primers could bleed through the wall covering. Follow the manufacturer's directions for drying and curing, then apply a wallpaper sizing solution (available at all home decorating stores) which makes it easier to hang and position the wallpaper. It also makes it easier to remove it later when the time comes. Allow the sizing to dry for about 30 minutes before hanging the wallpaper.
Previously papered walls should be stripped and the walls should be cleaned with a mild detergent solution or adhesive remover. Rinse with clear water and let dry. Apply a wallpaper sizing solution which makes it easier to hang and position wallpaper. It also makes it easier to remove it later. It is always best to remove old wall covering. If this is not possible, be sure that the old wall covering is tightly secured to the wall. Sand the seams, then prime with an oil-base primer and after drying to manufacturer's recommendations, apply a wallpaper sizing solution. This will make it easier to hang and position the wallpaper. It also makes removal easier.
Previously painted walls should have any rough spots scraped or sanded. Holes and cracks should be filled with spackling compound. Let dry and sand smooth.
Apply an oil-base primer to spackled areas and let dry. If your walls have glossy paint, sand with fine grit sandpaper and rinse to remove residue. Let dry and apply a wallpaper sizing that will make it easier to hang and position the wallpaper. It also makes it easier to remove.
Get ready, establish a plumb lineYou must first establish a plumb line, which is a straight vertical line. Most homes have settled, and the floors and ceilings are not always plumb. This step is very important and will ensure that you hang the strips straight. You should repeat this as you begin each new wall. There is more than one way to establish a plumb line. Here are a few suggestions: use a chalked line with a plumb bob (available at home decorating and hardware stores), or a level and a pencil.
With each of these methods you will need to start by measuring the width of your wallpaper. Choose an inconspicuous corner, preferably one behind a door (this is your starting point, and therefore also your ending point).
It is usually best to work around the room clockwise (or to the right). Measure out from the starting corner the width of your wallpaper minus ½ inch and mark the wall (at the top if you are using the plumb bob). If your room has a definite focal point, such as a fireplace, you may want to position the first strip so that a prominent section of the design is centred over the mantel. If so, hang this strip first, then work towards your inconspicuous start/stop point. Then return to the first (focal) strip and continue in the other direction, again ending at the start/stop point.
Walls are seldom exactly the same height all the way around a room, so you must take several measurements and find the maximum height. Add four inches (two for the top and two for the bottom); you'll need this extra for any unevenness and for trimming at the top and bottom of the walls.
If your wallpaper has a noticeable pattern, you may want to hold the roll of paper to the wall before cutting the first strip to determine the best placement of the major design motif.
Cutting and pasting
Almost all patterns are designed with basic repeats and matches. Be sure the second strip matches the first at the top and bottom before you cut and remember to leave some extra length at the top and bottom for trimming. When you hang the first strip, use the second strip to determine the match point and then cut the next strip. You will now be ready to hang the second strip. Continue in this way as you work around the room.
There are three basic types of wall coverings: pre-pasted, un-pasted and paste the wall. Each requires a different hanging technique.
Pre-pasted (most wallpaper is prepasted): Place a water tray half full of water (use the temperature specified in the directions) at the foot of a work surface or table. Loosely roll the wallpaper strip (that you have cut to size) with the pattern side in. Dip the strip in the water and leave for the length of time recommended in the manufacturer's instructions. Do not leave the wall covering in the water longer than suggested or the paste may wash away. When pulling the strip out of the water, check for any dry spots and wet them immediately. Lift the strip out of the water and lay it out paste side up on the table or other flat work surface. The water in the water tray should be changed often (every 2 to 4 strips) to avoid transferring paste residue to the surface of the wall covering.
Un-pasted: Lay your first strip of wall covering on your table or work surface and use a paint roller or brush to apply the recommended wallpaper paste. Apply the paste evenly and book the strip by gently folding the ends of the strip to the middle, pasted side to pasted side. Lightly press the glued sides together (don't crease).
Paste the wall: For this method, simply apply the paste to the wall before hanging each strip.
Hanging the wall coveringTime to hang your first strip! Unbook the top of the strip and place it against the marked plumb line on the wall. Make sure you have about two inches of extra paper at the top of the wall. (The extra ½ on the left edge will go into the corner and onto the adjacent wall.) To help the wallpaper wrap, you will need to slit it in the corner at the top and bottom.
Use your hands to gently smooth the top half of the wallpaper, unbook the bottom half and then use a smoothing brush or plastic smoothing tool to press the wallpaper to the wall and remove any air bubbles or excess paste. It is best to smooth from the centre to the edges in diagonal movements.
Hang the second strip. You should match the pattern at eye level first and then work up to the ceiling and down to the baseboards. Do not overlap the strips, just butt the edges. Do not over work the strip by pushing or pulling this can stretch the wall covering. Reposition by lifting it away from the wall and sliding into position.
When you move to the next wall, you will be hanging the balance of the strip. Measure this portion of the strip and make a new plumb line by measuring out from the corner, this time the same width as the strip. Make a new vertical plumb line on the wall. Here you will place the right edge of the strip against the marked plumb line and slide the left edge into the corner, overlapping the half inch that wrapped around the corner, this time overlapping is good and match the pattern as well as you can. You now are assured that the wall covering will be plumb. Continue until you have finished the room.
BordersApplying a border is simple. If you are hanging on a painted wall, you will need to follow the same prep instructions as for wall covering. If the border is to be applied over wall covering, you will need to use vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive or another recommended adhesive, even if the border is prepasted.
Start hanging the border in an inconspicuous corner, overlapping it ¼ inch into the corner on the adjacent wall. Gradually unfold the border as you smooth it into place. Rinse thoroughly so that no paste residue is left on the surface of the border. When you reach a corner, cut the border so that about ¼ inch goes onto the next wall. Start the next wall by hanging the rest of the border, overlapping the ¼ inch that went around the corner.
When you come to the end of a spool of border, match the pattern with a new spool. Overlap the borders at the pattern match and using a razor knife and a straight edge, cut through the two borders on a diagonal. Peel back both edges and remove the overlap. Smooth back into place and you will find that you have a perfect match from spool to spool.
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