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Step-by-step wallpapering

The following steps will depend on the wallpaper chosen for hanging. But most aspects would be the same for different types of covering.

Tools

First, make sure you have all necessary tools. They can be borrowed, of course, but it is better to have one’s own. A generic list of tools and accessories required for wallpapering is given below:

  1. First and foremost – the wallpaper and paste. We have already talked about the former, and paste will be discussed further.
  2. A putty knife and water to remove old wallpaper. It is possible to use special liquid to simplify this “uninteresting” task.
  3. Plaster and putty in case walls need levelling.
  4. Sandpaper and primer for wall preparation before applying the paste.
  5. A screwdriver for sockets, floor skirting etc.
  6. Scissors or a sharp snap-off blade or stationery knife. To facilitate cutting wallpaper edges.
  7. Levelling gauge or better still a ruler and a string with load on the end (plumb bob). To ensure the wall coverings are pasted strictly vertically.
  8. A brush. First of all, it must have long bristles and be wide. You might as well prepare two of them. The second one should be small-sized for a more convenient paste application on wallpaper edges, in the corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
  9. A soft bristle brush, rubber roller or plastic putty knife (depending on one’s liking) to smoothen the wallpaper and squeezing out excess paste and air bubbles.
  10. A wet cloth to remove excess paste from the wallpaper.
  11. Remember the ladder and good mood.

Wall preparation

With all the materials and tools ready it is time to proceed with wall preparation.

NEW AND POROUS WALLS (GYPSUM)

Apply primer designated for gypsum or paste 24 hours prior to wallpapering (this will help protect the wall and in the future strip the wallpaper without damaging the wall surface). The primer is a must!

PAINTED WALLS 

The paint should be removed. If there are cracks, they need puttying. Plaster is applied to level out the surface.

WALLPAPERED WALLS 

Remove the old wallpaper. To do this, you can use a special compound for wallpaper stripping which is diluted in warm water. Apply the solution onto the wallpaper and leave for 10 minutes to take effect, and then strip the wallpaper with the putty knife starting from the top.

Another option is to use a special steam cleaner, excluding situations when the wallpaper can be removed dry. Or simply moisten the old wallpaper with water.

Treat the walls with a special primer for damp walls. Keep to the drying term indicated on the package.

Any irregularities or cracks should be puttied up. If need be, use sandpaper to smoothen out the wall. When plaster has been used, the surface should be left to dry.

With the preparations complete, you need to prime the surface. This process is very often neglected but it is not advisable to do so. The primer is needed, first and foremost, to reduce paste absorption by the walls. This enables adjustment of wallpaper strips, i.e. to match the pattern or joints. Wallpaper paste can also be used as primer. But in this case its consistency should be thinner. By the way, the primer will protect your walls against potential growth of various fungi or bacteria.

Room preparation

All working areas (walls) should be accessible in the premises where wallpapering is to be done.

It is necessary to move to another room any large furniture, sofas, pictures, shelves, curtains – i.e. things which will interfere with the works.

For the sake of safety, turn off the electricity, remove socket and on-off switch frames, unscrew plastic skirting and door trims. These can be put back in place upon completion of the works. Wallpapering should be done in a clean room without dust or dirt. Before starting, an overall cleaning should be performed. To protect the floor from paste, spread a polyethylene film or carton.

Doors and windows need to be tightly shut – do not air the room where you have just finished papering for at least 24 hours. Wallpaper does not tolerate draughts and temperature fluctuations.

The strips can easily fall off the walls not having had enough time to dry. And the work would have to be repeated.

Paste preparation

It is not so easy since each paste type is designated for different wallpapers. Some wall coverings are heavier, some are lighter. For example, most pastes are suitable for paper-backed wallpaper. But non-woven backing is another thing – the structure is different. And vinyl wallpapers are too heavy for universal pastes.

The paste is mixed with water according to the instructions on the package. To avoid lumps, it is advisable to introduce the paste into water slowly and stirring all the time. The mix is usually left for several minutes to half an hour (please see the manufacturer’s recommendation). After that you need to mix it again.

Roll preparation

Roll preparation

Before you proceed, make sure the rolls are of the same batch as the shade or tint may differ even if the color is the same. To determine the right length of the strip, add 5-10 cm to the room height and start cutting. Make sure to unroll the wallpaper in one and the same direction when cutting. 

If the pattern does not require matching , you can cut subsequent strips from the roll. 

If the pattern needs matching  or , cut the wallpaper in a way so that neighboring strips form a single pattern. 

For patterns with shifted design  we recommend cutting 2 rolls at once to reduce wastes. After applying paste to the wallpaper you can start work. Be careful not to mix up the upper and lower parts of the wallpaper.

Offcuts may be used to paper partition walls, over-door and under-window areas etc. Remaining wallcoverings can and should be stored, just in case. But, alas, they will not help you buy precisely the same roll should you need to repaper a large section of the wall.

Keep the label!

This is a sheet of paper containing the name and technical information. You will find it under the packaging film of each wallpaper roll. The batch number on the label will enable to “hit the color shade” should you need to buy additional rolls.

Final stage

The following recommendations will help you achieve the best quality of papered surface.

  1. Any type of wallcoverings are always hung with all windows and doors shut. The room temperature should be at least 18 ºC, and the relative humidity must not exceed 70%. The restrictions of this kind also apply to walls – they need to be dry.
  2. When hanging paper-based wallpaper, apply paste to the area of wall or ceiling which is to be papered; apply paste to the wallpaper strip and leave it to soak – 5 minutes will suffice.
    When hanging wallpaper with non-woven backing, apply paste to the area of wall or ceiling which is to be papered, and attach dry wallpaper to the wall.
  3. The first strip should be hung vertically with the help of a plumb rule, laser or level. It is recommended to leave an excess length from below and from above to be able to adjust slight height deviations if necessary.
  4. Hang the next strip end-to-end, carefully matching all pattern elements. Afterwards you should smooth the strips by light vertical movements upwards and downwards with a soft brush, roller or plastic putty knife. Do not stretch the strip while hanging it. We recommend that you use a roller to fix the joints. Remove any paste stains with a damp sponge.

Hung wallpaper should dry at room temperature for two or three days, depending on wallpaper type. Draughts and heat emitted by heating devices can deform the joints.

Ceiling

The principle of cutting wallpaper for the ceiling is the same as for wall, but the papering process is somewhat more complicated. Therefore, it is recommended that this job is performed by two persons: one person hangs the beginning of the strip while the other supports the remaining part, until the whole strip is hung. Start papering the ceiling from the window, moving into the room.

Window bays

To ensure high-quality papering, leave a strip portion that is as wide as the window bay depth, with allowance. Make cuts from above and from below by window height, fold the protruding part and paste it to the side surface of the bay.

Doorways

It is recommended to paper doorways in one direction. Otherwise it would impossible to match wallpaper pattern above the door.

Corners

To paper interior and exterior corners of the room, hang the strip to overlap the previous one by 4-6cm, cutting the upper layer in the middle of the joining strip with a sharp knife. Then remove the cut strip and smooth out he wallpaper so that the joint is not visible. Apply a small amount of paste to the joint when necessary.

Radiator

Use a narrow roller with a long handle to make the process of papering behind the radiator easier. A simpler method of decorating the wall behind a radiator is painting the wall with a color corresponding to wallpaper color.

Sockets

Form a circular hole in the wallpaper strip at the intended socket location. The easiest way to do this is to make a cross-shaped cut in the sheet. Then proceed to transform it into a circle using each sector of the cross cut.

Floor molding/border

Floor molding is glued on the lower part of the wall. Afterwards you can paste wallpaper onto it end-to-end. If a border is used, the floor molding and wallpaper in the upper part should be glued end-to-end to the border.

And remember that you should not hold back on finishing the work. Do your best to complete each room in one day.

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