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Wallpaper Buying Guide

Wallpaper Buying Guide


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Since your starting and stopping point is the only place in the room that is unlikely to match, it is important to start your job in the least visible corner of the room. A good place to start is usually in the corner that is closest to the entryway. Click here to see how to install an inside corner.

Depending on type, wallpaper can expand its width up to 1/4 inch. To avoid expansion on the wall, which can cause bubbling and wrinkles, it is necessary to "book" the paper before hanging. "Booking" means folding the paper onto itself for several minutes, “paste-to-paste,” to allow the paper to relax before applying to the wall. Book un-pasted paper immediately after applying paste; book pre-pasted paper immediately after dipping in water. This allows the paper to fully expand, relaxing its curl, and in the case of a pre-pasted paper, it allows the pre-paste to fully activate. Click here to show booking animation. Exceptions to the booking recommendation are for our ‘non-woven’ wallpapers which, because of their composition, do not expand or contract when wet.

Like most wallpapers, borders expand when they are submerged in water, and as they dry, they contract. Most likely, you were comparing a wet border with a dry border.

Primer is a protectant/sealer for your wall which prevents the paste from absorbing into porous surfaces, and allows the paste to grip on slick surfaces. Sizing provides additional grip for better adherence and more slip for ease of sliding each strip into position on the wall. Many products on the market today are a combination sealer/sizer; these one-step ‘universal’ wallcovering primers are easier to use and are formulated to work on a variety of surfaces under varying conditions. Sealing the surface is also an important procedure to allow for future removal.

Pre-pasted wallpapers are imbued with dried paste that activates when moistened. The moisture from a paste will also activate the dried paste on a pre-pasted wallpaper. So, yes, you can paste a pre-pasted paper. Just one caution: Use a thin paste to uniformly activate the dried paste. Otherwise, you could be left with some dry pockets and may negate the strippability feature of the pre-pasted paper. If you are pasting because you prefer that method of installing over the use of a water box, we suggest you also consider using a pre-paste activator. An activator is applied like a paste, but is specifically designed to properly activate the dried paste on a pre-pasted paper without having to completely submerge the wallpaper in water.

Although the ideal surface on which to hang wallpaper is a clean, primed and sized wall from which all previous wallpaper has been removed, we realize that is not always possible. While not ideal, it is sometimes possible to hang wallpaper over existing wallpaper, but if you go that route, be prepared to accept less than ideal results. To minimize potential pitfalls, take these precautions: 1. Make sure the wallpaper over which you install your new wallpaper is securely installed. The better the previous installation; the better chance of success. 2. Ensure that all of the seams over which you hang your new paper are completely flat to avoid obvious ridges that might show through. 3. Plan your first strip so that your new seams do not align with the old seams. 4. Test hang a strip and let it stay overnight to make sure the moisture from the new paper does not loosen the previous layer of wallpaper. 5. Before hanging over wallpaper, it is even more important to seal and/or size the existing wallpaper in order to create a surface that is easy to slide your paper into place and which will maintain adherence to the old wallpaper. 6. Finally, if you are installing a light colored paper over a dark or high contrast paper, use a specialty pigmented wallpaper primer to block the old pattern from coming through the new design.

If the paneling grooves are ¼ inch or less, you can use a heavy duty lining paper that is designed to bridge gaps in irregular surfaces and create a consistent base on which to install wallpaper. Our Wonder Cover lining paper is a superior grade liner that has the unique characteristic of being ‘pre-sized’ which eliminates the need to size the lining paper before installing your decorative wallpaper.

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