All About Wallpapering – Preparing Your Wall
How can you make a small room feel more spacious, a large unmanageable room feel cozy, or even the most drab and lifeless room feel alive with depth and color? Aside from knocking down walls and raising the roof, try hanging some wallpaper. Wallpaper can do wonders to spice up the appearance of virtually any space in your home.
Types of Wallpapers
Furthermore, wallpaper comes in as many different patterns, materials, and finishes as there are tastes. Whereas any paper can be applied over any wall in the home, there are area-specific papers. For example, vinyl paper should be used in rooms where there is a tremendous amount of moisture like the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Vinyl papers are the most moisture resistant and make for easy clean up.
Other types of paper to chose from are fabrics, foils, flocks, grasscloth, and thin veneers or cork or natural wood. Paper can be coordinated with fabric for furnishings or window coverings. It can also be coordinated with paint and flooring to really “pull together” all of the decorating elements of a room.
Should you Install the Wallpaper Yourself?
Although installing wallpaper is something that is frequently left for the professional, it can be a great way for a do-it-yourselfer to spend a rainy weekend. And once you’ve been bitten by the wallpapering bug chances are you’ll be spending all of your free time in the wallpaper store searching for new and interesting ways to dress up the walls (and maybe even the ceilings) of your home.
Before attempting to install wallpaper for the first time, consider taking a class. Many stores that sell wallpaper also offer wallpaper installation classes or are familiar with programs in the community that offer instruction. In addition, there is a plethora of excellent books and videos on how to install wallpaper that no serious do-it-yourselfer should be without.
Preparing your Wall for Wallpapering
As with painting, preparation accounts for the better part of the job. For this reason, great care should be taken to ensure that the walls in question are smooth and clean prior to installing the wallpaper. If the wall is currently papered, the paper should be removed for better adhesion and a superior finished product.
If the wall has a smooth glossy finish, it should be washed with a solution of TSP, lightly sanded with 120 grit sandpaper, and painted with a coat of an oil-base primer/sealer. Unpainted plaster or wallboard, or latex-coated surfaces should be painted with an oil-base primer/sealer as well. The oil-base primer will seal the walls and minimize the amount of moisture absorbed by the wallboard from the paste.
Prior to sealing the walls, all cracks, nail holes and other imperfections should be repaired with an interior vinyl spackling compound. Small cracks should be opened up with a putty knife and brushed clean before applying the spackle. Large cracks should be repaired using a fiberglass mesh joint tape and joint compound. Once dry, all repairs should be lightly sanded.
Walls with a textured finish should be lightly sanded with 80 grit paper and a sanding block. Then, a thin coat of drywall joint compound should be applied over the entire surface of the wall. This process is called “floating the wall out” and will fill in all of the unevenness in the wall.
After the drywall compound has dried, the wall should be lightly sanded again–this time with 100 grit paper. One or more additional coats of drywall compound is frequently required for walls with a medium to rough texture. Once the final coat has been sanded, the surface should be vacuumed to remove any dust and then sealed with an oil-base primer/sealer.
Another way to deal with an imperfect wall is by installing a lining paper. Lining paper simply serves as a foundation for the new paper. It will level out the wall and conceal any blemishes. As a matter of fact, lining paper is recommended for certain wallpapers like foil and silk, for example.