Guide to Hanging Wallcoverings and Preparation
Preparing the surface
As with any wallcovering, the wall must be properly prepared first. This means old wallpaper should be stripped off and the wall washed clean of any old paste and size. Cracks, holes and indentations should be filled, any crumbling, or otherwise faulty plaster should be cut and filled, and the whole area should be smoothed down and then sized with a weak coat of size.
Newly-plastered surfaces must have dried out thoroughly; cracks should be filled, ‘nibs’ of plaster smoothed down and any efflorescence rubbed off with a cloth or brush. It is wise to apply a diluted coat of alkali-resisting primer, brushed well into the plaster.
Previously-painted surfaces should be washed down to remove grease and dirt and then rubbed down with glasspaper to provide a good ‘key’; this is particularly important with a gloss-painted surface. Again, fill any cracks and holes and sand. Them down after filling.
Lining the wall
Before fixing a fabric wallcovering you should first line the wall with lining paper. The need for this is obvious with unbacked fabrics but it is equally important with other types of fabric wallcoverings since it will greatly improve the appearance of the finished result.
The lining paper should be hung horizontally (starting from the top of the wall) so there is no risk of the joins coinciding with those in the wallcovering. The edges of the paper should be butt-joined and surplus paper trimmed neatly into the corners of the room at each end. For the final length on a wall, you should trim the length roughly to size before pasting it and carry out final trimming above the skirting board when it has been brushed into place.
If you are hanging an open-weave fabric, such as furnishing hessian, it’s worth painting the lining paper in the same colours as the hessian so it won’t be conspicuous if it shows through the fabric.
Depending on the type of wallcovering, you may be cutting and pasting several lengths or one length at a time. Or you may use the paste-the-wall technique.
If the material is to be reverse hung (see Decorating Tips for Hanging Wallcoverings), mark the back of each length with an arrow to indicate which way each piece is to go.
If you are using paper-backed hessian, you can trim off the overlap at the top and bottom as you go along, but for an unbacked type you should leave theto dry to allow for shinkage before you start to trim.
Turn hessian well round external angles as you do not want a raw edge on an exposed wall area. On inside angles, cut the corner length material into two strips and butt-join them in the angle (use the overlap technique).
Looking after fabric wallcoverings
For fabric wallcoverings to look their best, they will have to be dusted every few months. Gently run the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner over the wallcovering (alternatively, you can brush it down with a soft brush). If there are any stains on the fabric, use dry-cleaning fluid to remove them (after testing the fluid on an inconspicuous area like behind a picture — to make sure it doesn’t cause discolouration). Loose seams should be pasted down again.