Wallpapering: Preparation before Papering

Previously papered surfaces

Strip the wall completely before repapering. Soak the paper several times with warm water or a stripping solution such as Polypeel. Apply the solution liberally, with an old distemper brush or cloth, until the paste is soft.

Scrape the paper off with a broad stripping knife, being careful not to dig it into the wall.

Score washable, painted or varnished papers with a wire brush, soak and scrape off. Finally, wash off all traces of the old paste.

Vinyls may be stripped by pulling away the vinyl face. If sound, the backing paper can be left as a base: otherwise, it can be soaked off in the normal manner.

Remove paper from plasterboard with care — the water will damage the board if it has not been sealed.

Test a small patch first and, if it comes off satisfactorily, strip the rest of the wall. However, if the board becomes soft you will have to decorate over the old paper.



New plaster

If you move into a new house with undecorated plaster walls, ask the builder how long you must wait before you can decorate.

Some plasters must be left for at least six months before decorating; others can be painted or papered almost immediately.

Fill and size all plaster surfaces before hanging paper.

New plasterboard

Seal with a primer to prevent water from softening the plaster when you come to strip the paper off. Hang lining paper as a backing for the final paper.

Emulsion-painted surfaces

Flaking emulsion must be stripped. If the surface is sound and has a matt finish, sandpaper lightly. Apply lining paper first if you are hanging heavy paper.

Oil-painted surfaces

Wall coverings can be hung over oil-painted surfaces, but the surface must be clean and, if glossy, well rubbed down to provide a key.


Size prevents a wall absorbing water from the paste too quickly, and thus gives you time to reposition the paper being hung. Size may be bought as powder and mixed with water. Follow the instructions on the packet — if the size is too strong, it could make the wall so slippery that the paper would be unmanageable when put to the wall.

Alternatively, most wall-covering adhesives may be used for sizing.

After sizing, allow the wall to dry and sand it lightly before hanging the paper.

Lining paper

This can either be painted to help disguise a badly cracked wall or used as a backing for a final layer of paper.

Hang lining paper horizontally and butt-join each sheet. Cut strips of paper to cover the length of the wall, fold the paper concertina-fashion, as with ceiling paper (p. 30), and start hanging it at the top of the wall.

Do not hang a continuous strip of paper round corners — take the paper up to a point 25 mm (1 in) round the corner, cut it off, and then butt-join the next strip.

Do not line the whole wall if only a small area is uneven. Hang lining paper over the damaged area, leave the ends hanging loose, and when the paste dries, tear them off. Sand the edges to remove any ‘step’.

22. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Preparation, Wallpapering | Tags: , | Comments Off on Wallpapering: Preparation before Papering


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