repair a small tear
How do I
A well done wallpaper installation may last 15 to 25 years or more with a
look that you simply cannot get from paint. The wallpaper and installation
is paid for once, as opposed to multiple purchases of paint and labor to
paint over the same period. Wallpaper is far easier to clean up when
compared to paint as well. Generally speaking, you can wipe up any marks or
stains from a wallpaper's acrylic or vinyl surface with a sponge. While the
same can be said of modern painted surfaces, many times this leaves a shiny
or dull spot where mark or stain used to be on a painted surface.
While few people would debate the aesthetic excellence of wallcoverings over
paint, some might be surprised to learn that, over time, vinyl wallcoverings
are also a wise economical choice. According to the latest Hite Report,
developed for The Bell Systems by Jim Hite, lifecycle analysis shows that
wallcoverings now last five times longer than paint, under normal usage
conditions. Most vinyl wallcoverings can retain their original beauty and
performance characteristics for at least 15 years, whereas a painted surface
must be cleaned more frequently to maintain its appearance, and generally
requires repainting approximately every three years.
While the initial investment is higher, choosing vinyl wallcovering over
paint can result in a savings of 30% or more over time. The following model
is based on commercial usage. In home decor, the savings can be even
greater. Our model is in United States Dollars and based on information from
the Hite Report. The model is a 384 square foot office. Assuming that the
initial cost to prime and paint is $173.00 (or $0.45 per sq. ft.), and that
the room will be repainted every 3 years, the cost of maintaining this
office over a 15 year period, with paint, will be $1,037.00, provided the
cost of material and labor does not increase over the next 15 years. Using
vinyl wallcoverings estimated at $1.69 per square foot including cost and
installation, we assume a worker will wash the walls every 5 years at a cost
of $0.33 per sq. ft., bringing the cost to $1.79 per sq. ft. over a 15 year
period to $687.00. In dollar values, the cost of maintaining paint versus
wallcoverings is $1,037.00 versus $687.00 over the same period of time. A
savings of over 35%!
Modern wallcoverings contain aesthetic appeal unmatched by painted surfaces.
Consider painted surfaces in their various states as
compared to wallpaper:
a. Flat Color: One room, one color.
b. Accent Wall: One room, one color except for one uniquely colored wall.
c. Textured Paint: Paint containing a media to give it texture.
d. Custom Paint: Mural designs using paint.
e. Faux Finishes: Custom paint designs that add pattern and depth.
While most people are familiar with these major painting techniques, many
are uninformed as to their counterparts in wallpaper. As well, few know of
the unique features that one can only obtain with wallpaper.
a. Flat Color: Though not particularly popular, there are single color
b. Accent Wall: Can be achieved by utilizing wallpaper on one wall.
c. Textured Paint: There are many varieties of textured wallpaper from plain
d. Custom Paint: Wallpaper manufacturers have a wide variety of mural
e. Faux Finishes: Most popular faux finishes have their wallpaper
f. Historic Aspect: Imagine a Victorian style house without wallpaper.
g. Digital: Computer generated designs custom printed onto wallpaper.
h. Photographic: Consider creating custom wallpaper using family photos.
i. Bridging Material: Using this special blank wallpaper, one can eliminate
the costly and messy removal and repair of an unattractive textured or
damaged wall surface.
j. Faux Surface: Applying an expanded texture wallpaper followed by paint is
a way to replicate the look of an expensive tin ceiling or intricate molding
with a greatly reduced cost.
k. Natural Surface: Discover the luxury of natural fibers on the wall such
as jute, grasscloth, or bamboo among others.
l. Fabric Walls: Cover your walls with your favorite fabric. Fabric may be
hung as it comes off the bolt or backed and coated for increased durability
as a true wallcovering.
m. Wood Surfaces: The application of wood veneer wallcovering in a variety
of species adds formality at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wood
Can I repair a small tear?
Yes, and if done properly, the repair is practically invisible. As
illustrated below, place a larger piece of wallpaper over the tear so that
it makes an exact match with the wallpaper on the wall. Use a razor knife
(with new blade) to double-cut through both layers around the tear. Remove
both layers, clean the exposed wall area and re-paste the new piece into the
area. After 15 minutes lightly seam roll the fitted edge. Note that an
irregular, wavy cut following the design in the wallpaper will make your cut
less noticeable. If there is a pattern around the damaged area, attempt as
much as possible to follow this pattern with your cuts, as this will
camouflage the repair as well.
Can I hang
wallpaper over old paneling, brick, textured walls, etc.?
Absolutely. Start with good preparation: remove all nails or other
protruding objects. For textured surfaces, "knock down" any high points. For
paneling, now is the time to ensure that the paneling is secure by adding
additional nails if needed. For slick surfaces/paneling, wash with TSP (TriSodium
Phosphate) or equivalent grease cutting cleaner.
Now, you can hang bridging material. This is a thick, blank wallpaper
designed for irregular surfaces. Once hung, this will "bridge" the grooves
in paneling or other unusual surface allowing for the ultimate application
of wallpaper or it can even be painted.
Alternate/additional advice: The application of joint compound to the
grooves of paneling is an additional precaution when using bridging
material. Some wallpaper installers use the "joint compound, then primer"
technique instead of bridging material
How do I measure ?
Special circumstances (cathedral ceilings, stairways, etc.) will need a
professional estimate. Estimates can be obtained from where you intend to
purchase your wallpaper, or if a professional will be doing the
The first thing you need is an accurate measurement of the walls that are to
be covered. Use a steel tape measure for closest estimation. Usually there
is wastage of around 15% (This may vary depending upon various factors.)
For e.g. the wall size is 9 feet x 15 feet.
This makes the total area of the wall area equivalent to 135 sq. feet.
Generally the roll size is 53 cms x 10 meters which is 57 sq. feet
Considering that there could be 15% wastage the total area covered by a roll
would be 50 sq. feet
Hence the number rolls that would be consumed would be 135 divided by 50,
which is 2.7 rolls
But it may please be noted that you may required buying 3 rolls because of
the fact that we only sell whole rolls and not in cuts.
There are two reasons to prepare your walls before installing wallcovering.
It ensures that your wallpaper will adhere correctly to the wall and it aids
future removal. As wallpaper dries, normally over a 24 to 48 hour period,
there is a significant amount of pull as the paper contracts. If the
wallpaper has not formed a good bond, it will pull away from the wall.
Additionally, when the paper is later removed, it may damage the covering of
the underlying surface. Proper preparation will ensure the best results from
The first step is to repair any defects in the wall surface. With drywall,
any dents, nail holes, etc., should be filled with drywall patching
compound. After the proper drying time for the particular compound you are
using, the repaired areas should be sanded to leave a smooth, level surface.
With plaster walls, any defects should be filled with a gypsum based filler.
As the filler dries, it draws together slightly, and after around 30 minutes
you should go over the area again with some more filler. Larger defects have
to be reinforced with joint tape. The crack should be scraped clean and
moistened with water. Fill the crack with filler and the place the joint
tape (very thin fiberglass tape) over the crack in a vertical direction.
Now, go over the tape with a thin layer of filler and then carefully smooth
the filler using the spatula. When the area is dry, you can carefully smooth
it with sandpaper.
Once your walls have been repaired, they should be cleaned of any sanding
residue, grease or obvious stains. Stains may be spot treated with stain
killing primer as necessary. Any moldy areas must be treated with a bleach
solution prior to application of any stain killing primer. Especially
difficult stains may require the use of oil-based primers. It is normally
recommended to cover these treated areas with an acrylic primer. With the
exception of primers that specifically call for sanding of any gloss finish,
you are ready for priming.
Preparation for wallpaper
Experienced wallpaper installers have used different products with
outstanding results other than those listed. These guidelines were developed
as a starting point for the do it yourself homeowner and are considered the
best guess as to what type of product will suit your needs. This information
is based on subjective, collective information from several wallcovering
professionals and may not suit your particular application. It is imperative
that you fully understand all safety precautions when dealing with these
products, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions completely. You
must also follow any instructions from the wallpaper and adhesive
manufacturer as to what type of surface preparations are needed for
On drywall (painted with latex or oil) use an acrylic primer or prep coat.
On drywall (painted with builder's flat) use a primer/sealer.
On new plaster (after the proper curing time) use size mixed with the
adhesive you plan to install the final wallcovering with to prepare the
On older plaster (painted with latex or oil) use an acrylic primer or
On any wall with suspected defects or damage use a primer/sealer.
On any wall with stains or mold issues use a stain killer primer. (mold must
be treated with a bleach solution first)
On new or repaired drywall use a primer/sealer.
On a wall surface with residual wallpaper paste use a primer/sealer.
On decorative borders applied to a painted surface refer to wall type
On old vinyl coated wallpaper, you should follow these steps. For true paper
wallcoverings, size is the only preparation needed.
Drywall: Also known as sheetrock, wallboard, or gypboard. Drywall is formed
by sandwiching a core of wet plaster between two sheets of heavy paper. When
the core sets and is dried, the sandwich becomes a strong, rigid,
fire-resistant building material. Fire-resistant because in its natural
state, gypsum contains water, and when exposed to heat or flame, this water
is released as steam, retarding heat transfer. Drywall is simply cut, butted
together, nailed to the wall studs, and all seam areas and nail holes are
finished with joint compound creating a smooth uniform appearance.
Plaster walls: Before 1900, lime-based plaster was used. It was mixed with
animal hair and sand to give it stability and strength. After 1900, a
gypsum-based plaster was used. A three-coat system was used in either case.
First a scratch coat, which was pressed into the lath to form the plaster
"keys" to hold it in place. Lath boards are the series of boards nailed to
the wall frame spaced 1/4" apart. This spacing allows the scratch coat to
mushroom between the gaps and anchor the plaster in place. This is followed
by what is known as the brown coat, which is the first step in creating a
level surface. The finish coat is toweled under pressure until the surface
is mirror smooth. Lath boards are usually wood, though they can be metal in
commercial applications due to increased fire resistance. Buttonboard
plaster came into use in the 1950s. Buttonboard is a 3/4" thick material
similar to drywall with numerous holes in it to serve the same purpose as
the spaces between the lath boards. Only two coats of plaster are applied to
buttonboard. The last type of plaster is "blueboard" plaster. This is
drywall with a blue facing paper. The drywall is installed as normal and
then one skim coat of plaster is applied to the entire surface.
How to tell the difference: The easiest way is to remove an electrical
outlet cover, if the wall is more than 5/8" thick, it is plaster. Most
modern houses are drywall though there are exceptions.
Primer: Most primers are applied to make the substrate more uniform for
acceptance of the finish coat. They also improve the adhesion of the
topcoat. Not all primers will allow the wallpaper to slide easily on them
during the installation process. They also will improve the removability of
wallpaper and decrease the chances of wall damage. These can be either water
based (acrylic) or oil based. All paint companies manufacture primers.
Primer/Sealers: Also known as DRC, drywall repair clears. Can provide
the best insurance on a good installation. It is a special penetrating
primer that is designed to penetrate the wall surface and seal up any
problem areas due to wall damage or any situation where wall surface
anomalies are suspected. These products are available in several mixtures to
address specific needs. A colored (pigmented) acrylic primer/sealer is the
most common because it can be used on all surfaces. It's water based, easy
to clean and the coloring helps prevent any discolorations from showing
through the paper. These products protect the underlying drywall, provide a
good surface for adhesion, and increase the slip of wallpaper. Examples of
primer/sealers are Scotch Paint's Draw-Tite, Zinsser's Gardz, Roman's Liquid
Drywall, and Sherwin Williams' PrepRite Drywall Conditioner.
Prep Coat: Acrylic primer that normally, when dry, leaves a tacky surface.
This surface allows wallcoverings to easily adhere to the surface. Sometimes
referred to as a primer/size. Examples of prep coats are Roman's R-35,
Zinsser's Z-54, California Paint's Prep 'n Size, Golden Harvest's BITE,
Muralo's Adhesium, Duron's Tack Prep, and Benjamin Moore's Wall-Grip.
Stain Killer Primers: Should be used for walls with problematic stains such
as grease, recurring mold, etc. They prevent these types of stains from
bleeding through the wallpaper. This product would be used to spot-treat
these areas or as a total primer base. These primers are also excellent for
covering brightly painted surfaces that may otherwise bleed through the
final wallcovering. Most stain killer formulas contain anti-microbal agents
to prevent future growth of any type of mold; however, existing mold must be
removed using a 3:1 water to bleach solution prior to application of the
primer. All paint companies manufacture stain killing primers.
Size: In the case of plaster walls, it will prevent too much paste from
being absorbed into the wall. It's use on drywall applications is not so
much to prepare the wall, but to provide added adhesion for the final
installation of wallcovering. It usually comes in the form of a white powder
that is mixed with water according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Another form of size is to coat the walls with a thinned down version of the
adhesive that ultimately be used in the installation of the wallcovering.
Many wallpaper manufacturers specifically request it's usage on any wall
type though it is traditionally associated with plaster walls. All wallpaper
adhesive companies manufacture size