Why Wallpaper
Can I repair a small tear
How do I measure
Wallpaper Preparation


Why Wallpaper?
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%!

Aesthetic Appeal
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 wallpapers available.
b. Accent Wall: Can be achieved by utilizing wallpaper on one wall.
c. Textured Paint: There are many varieties of textured wallpaper from plain to ornate.
d. Custom Paint: Wallpaper manufacturers have a wide variety of mural wallpaper.
e. Faux Finishes: Most popular faux finishes have their wallpaper counterparts.
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 paneling.

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 installation.

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 (approximately)
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.

Wallpaper Preparation

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 your wallcovering.

Surface repair
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 effective bonding.
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 surface.
On older plaster (painted with latex or oil) use an acrylic primer or primer/sealer.
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 mentioned above.
On old vinyl coated wallpaper, you should follow these steps. For true paper wallcoverings, size is the only preparation needed.

Wall types
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 Types
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



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