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Preparing to Wallpaper, Proper Preparation for Wallcoverings in Your Home

Preparation is essential to getting the best wallpaper finish and for future removal.

Wallpaper is a quick and easy way to add a lot of visual interest to your room and if applied properly to a pre-treated wall, it can be removed fairly easily and changed as you see fit.


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Create a Smooth Surface for Wallpapering

The real key to getting a good wallpaper effect that will look great while you’re using it and will be removable in the future is properly treating the wall (or object) beneath the paper.

The first step is creating a smooth clean surface, meaning everything needs to come off of the walls, including nails, switchplates, and curtain fixtures. Then fill in any holes and cracks with putty and finish with a sanding so the surface is uniform.

Sizing Before Wallpapering

If your walls are brand new and are bare drywall, give them a good coat of primer and a wallpaper base coat before you begin. Ask your local paint store if they have paint that’s designed to be applied beneath wallpaper.

In the past this was called sizing a wall and actually was a bit more complicated, but now you can simply buy a primer/sealer that’s designed for this purpose.

If your wall is not pre-treated then the wallpaper can adhere too solidly and when you attempt to remove it you are stuck with a very difficult and tedious process of removing wallpaper or you remove part of the drywall beneath it and end up with an expensive mess.

If you’re not beginning with drywall you may still wish to size your walls to make the wallpapering process smoother. But at the very least you’ll want to wash your walls with a mild detergent and warm water. Let them dry thoroughly before you begin wallpapering.

Dealing With Texture

If you’re going to be wallpapering a wall with a texture you will have a bit more work at hand. Heavy textures, like skip trowel and orange peel, are almost impossible to wallpaper over without smoothing out the wall.

If you do have one of these coats you can try to scrape the texture off, but you’ll most likely spend a lot of time sanding and smoothing with a thin coat of drywall compound.

If you have a sand texture this will also require some sanding, but it’s much easier to do than the heavier textures. If you sand your walls at all, be sure to wash them thoroughly to remove all dust before you begin applying your wallcovering.

Finally, prepare the rest of the room by removing or covering furniture and the floors and setting up the supplies you’ll need. It’s best to dive right in when you begin wallpapering and not quit until you’re finished.

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