Five Wallpapering Mistakes to Avoid

Ripped wallpaperWhether you’ve just moved into your new home or you’re simply refreshing the walls of your home office, you’ll want your wallpaper to finish off your room perfectly. Before you jump straight in, we’ll guide you through the top five fails to avoid when wallpapering.

1. Not preparing the walls

Wall preparationKnowing how to prepare walls for wallpaper is essential to ensure a perfect finish. Firstly, make sure there are no existing cracks, damp or mould. If you don’t prepare a wall correctly, the edge of the paper can lift and allow moisture and mould to form. To avoid this, remove hooks and nails and fill holes. Sand down the walls with Liberty Green fine-grit sandpaper to ensure your wall is as smooth and even as possible so it can fully adhere to the wall.

If you don’t have the luxury of having flat walls, it’s best to avoid wallpaper with light colours as it’s more likely to show any pointy edges from the wall’s texture. Therefore, it’s best to skim plaster the wall and sand any bumps and grooves with a fine-grit sandpaper for textured walls. After sanding, make sure to remove any dust particles and clean the wall with sugar soap, so there is a smoother surface.

2. Not ordering enough rolls

RollsNot buying enough wallpaper rolls is one common mistake. DIYers often ask, ‘how much wallpaper do I need?’ Carefully measure your room to calculate how many rolls you will need. Don’t be tempted to skimp and think you won’t need a large number of rolls if there are windows and doors. 

It’s always best to have too much, so you don’t end up with not enough to finish the job, especially if you’ve made a mistake. If you need an additional roll later, it may have a different batch number and slight colour variation.

3. Papering over existing wallpaper or paint

Ripped wallpaperMany people consider ‘can you wallpaper over wallpaper’ to save time and effort. One common mistake is not checking the state of the previous layer of wallpaper for any lumps and bumps or damp patches, which can lead to mould. Only consider hanging over existing wallpaper if you only have one previous layer of non-vinyl wallpaper in excellent condition, with no bumps, so can it provide a smooth surface.

Also, papering a light colour over a dark or patterned wallpaper is a big no-no! Using textured wallpaper will be better at covering anything underneath. If you decide to paint a light base over existing wallpaper, be prepared; it can make it difficult to remove the paper in the future. If you’re wallpapering over existing emulsion paint, you’ll need to sand the wall lightly to have a rough surface so the paste can stick.

4. Using paste incorrectly

It’s essential to know how to paste the wallpaper on walls correctly. If you don’t clean the walls thoroughly beforehand or the paste is too diluted, the paste may not have soaked into the paper for too long and will result in unsightly blisters forming. Therefore, make sure to clean any grease and check the walls aren’t damp before you start.

Using the correct type of wallpaper adhesive can prevent future issues. For example, use a heavy-duty paste for thick or heavy wallpaper to ensure it sticks properly. Avoid using old paste already open as it may have lost its adhesiveness. 

Wallpaper pasteWhere you apply the paste on the wall or paper is critical, so check the label first as this can lead to irreversible damage to the paper. Apply the paste evenly using a paint roller, as a too thick or too thin application can cause blisters and may result in corner overlaps coming up and not staying stuck down. 

For paste that you need to apply to the paper, leave it for the full soak time. If you hang the wallpaper too early, this can cause creases and expansion bubbles which are difficult to remove once dry.

When using bathroom wallpaper, it’s best to use a mildew inhibiting paste and ensure there is a lot of ventilation. If your walls are likely to be soaked with water and there is minimal ventilation in the room, then wallpaper won’t be suitable.

If you accidentally get any paste on the front of the wallpaper, gently wipe it away immediately with a damp sponge and water. When looking into how to dispose of wallpaper paste, follow local recycling guidelines at your local waste disposal.

5. Getting the hang of the technique

Hanging wallpaperWhen it comes to hanging the wallpaper, gently smooth it down with a paper smoother as it’s applied to prevent air bubbles. One common issue is not hanging it straight, affecting the other strips. To fix this, carefully take off the strip and reapply it without stretching it. 

The basics to check are matching the pattern and that it’s the correct way up. Let the wallpaper dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. Avoid putting the heating on during the drying stage, as this can shrink the wallpaper.

Now you know how to prepare the walls to prevent mould forming and create a high-quality finish; you can get started on your project! For further information, get in touch or read our Reference Chart to find the correct grit for sanding as part of your wall preparation.