How to: Preparing your walls for installation

 

 

If you have been dreaming of your next interior DIY project involving wallpaper then this post is for you. You may already have your dream wallpaper in mind but, once you get the wallpaper in your hands, will you be ready? Even with the help of an installer, knowing how to prepare your walls for application is key as the installation process is the foundation for a smooth and easy application of wallpaper. As with anything done right, those who are the best prepared will have actioned certain crucial procedures roughly 30 days ahead to installation.

Come with us as we give you a step. By step action plan for how to get your walls ready for wallpaper.

STEP 1. SMOOTH OPERATOR

The first step in preparing your wall to make sure it is completely smooth. Remove any hooks, nails, or light switch plates first. This will almost always result in holes and raised regions where these items used to be. Any lumps or bumps in your wall may show through the wallpaper, affecting the appearance of the print. Fill in any holes using spackle, then sand any bumps away.  You will be left with a smooth and even canvas for your wallpaper. Don’t be concerned if light texture is left over, you only need. To be worried about those deeper textures that will cause a headache if left unresolved. Every inch of your wallpaper will be held to the wall if smoothed out ahead of installation. This will also help prevent concerns with lifting over time, as well as eliminate moisture-hiding places occurring under the surface that can contribute to mould growth. 

Keep in mind when choosing your wallpaper that the roughness of the wall can occasionally be seen through wallpaper with a white background or very light colours. Darker hues have a tendency to hide flaws. Flat walls are where your wallpaper will shine. You can prepare your walls with a technique called “Mudding”. To do this, apply a light coat of joint compound to your walls. allow it to dry, sand it smooth, and then add a primer to finish off the process. 

 

STEP 2. CLEAN IT UP

Now that your walls are smooth you need to make sure that your wall is clean. A key tip here is to make sure that this is done now and once again right before installation. There may be small dust particles on your wall after you've sanded it, which you don't want to paint or instal over. It is recommended that you use a powerful cleanser, such as sugar soap or TSP (trisodium phosphate), on your first clean up to remove grease and other debris. If your walls are already painted we recommend using a solution of hot water with a small amount of vinegar to clean your walls. Then, around 24 to 48 hours before you instal your wallpaper, you'll want wipe the surface again with a soft moist cloth.

 

STEP 3.  PAINT + PRIME

Paint can be problematic for wallpaper. In our experience wallpaper appears to work best with satin, or semi-gloss paints. Be careful if you are using a latex paint as it can cause issues with removal and tear the paper. You should also avoid applying wallpaper straight to drywall. When it comes to paste-the-wall wallpaper, the drywall might absorb a lot of the paste, leaving little for the paper. Before applying the paste, it's best to use a primer to seal the wall. This also prevents moisture from soaking into the wall, avoiding mould and fungal growth.

Primers are typically white in colour. If you're utilising a light-colored design, this is won’t affect you in the slightest. However, if you are favouring a darker toned wallpaper design it's always a good idea to paint or prime the wall in a colour that matches your wallpaper. When you have a white wall beneath your darkly coloured wallpaper, you run the risk of seeing white seams between the strips. To prevent this you can get your primer tinted in a hue that matches your wallpaper at the hardware shop.

It can take up to 30 days for some paints to fully cure before you can add wallpaper. As a result, you'll want to wait a month before putting wallpaper to a freshly painted wall. Primer, on the other hand, dries rapidly, so you'll only have to wait a day or two. 

 

STEP 4. BYE BYE, MOISTURE

So you want to put wallpaper in a bathroom? We have this idea posed to us often. Our answer is very dependant on the space itself. Are you wanting to install wallpaper in a powder room with a toilet or are you talking about a full bathroom with a bath or shower? These are critical details that will determine the outcome and longevity of your wallpaper. Wallpaper works best in rooms without moisture. We do not advise wallpaper for extreme environments where water will splash or soak the wall, however if you are considering it in a wet room you'll want to ensure the paste you select is mould and mildew resistant. After all the last thing anyone wants is mould growing in an are that you can’t treat accessibly. 

 

THE ROUND UP

  1. Make the wall as smooth as possible. Fill in any gaps and “mud” over the texture, sanding away any lumps or bumps. 
  2. Your wall NEED to be cleaned. Use sugar soap or hot water with cleaning vinegar for the greatest results. 
  3. Seal the wall with primer. (Use a satin, or semi-gloss paint if painting.) 
  4. 24 hours before installing, wipe down your wall with a moist cloth. 
  5. Install your wallpaper and turn your home into a work of art.

 

We hope that this has helped to demystify the preparation process for you. It is simple to achieve the perfect canvas if you put in the work ahead of time and this will help you to get the most bang for your buck on installation. The more measures you take ahead of time, the easier it will be for you to avoid any potential pitfalls. So, when your time comes to purchase your wallpaper and execute you interior dreams, be sure to first prepare your walls so you can enjoy them for years to come.