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How to hang wallpaper

Date posted: 2 September 2013

Plenty of home owners tackle their own wallpapering rather than paying a professional to do the job. To get a good finish, however, thorough preparation is vital – and a few easy-to-find tools can make the task a lot easier.

Here's our step-by-step guide to DIY wallpapering to help you achieve the best results.

Score the old wall paper

Start by protecting your flooring with a covering of polythene dust sheets. Then score the wallpaper using a wallpaper perforator (or a craft knife) to help the water penetrate the paper's surface. Make sure that you are only scoring the wallpaper, and not the actual wall underneath.

Soak the wall (skip this stage if using a wallpaper stripper)

If you are not using a wallpaper steamer, you will need to soak the wall with hot water. Fill a bucket with the water and add a bit of washing up liquid to it. With a sponge, soak the entire wall starting from the top down. Leave it to soak for about ten minutes, then test a small area with your stripping knife to see if it's coming away easily. If not, repeat the soaking process and check it again after another ten minutes. There are also wallpaper stripping preparations available to tackle tougher wallpaper.

Strip the wall

If you're using a stripping knife, make sure you direct the knife between the paper and the wall so that it doesn't dig into the wall itself and create grooves. Clear the wallpaper away as you work because it will be quite sticky underfoot.

A steam wall paper stripper can make the job a lot easier, and is particularly handy if you are tackling a large area or very stubborn wallpaper. Although you can buy these at DIY stores, you can also hire wallpaper strippers at very reasonable prices. Start stripping from the top of the wall, holding the steam plate against the wallpaper briefly to loosen it, then scraping off the paper with a stripping knife. It should come away easily, but don't hold the plate on the wall for too long or it could damage the plaster, and be careful not to touch anywhere near the steam outlet or you could burn yourself.

Let the wall dry

Check the wall surface for any remaining debris, and allow it to dry thoroughly before you move on to the next stage.

Cut your wallpaper

Measure the length of the wall. Unwrap your new wallpaper and measure out the correct lengths for your first wall. Leave a margin of at least 10cm for trimming, or more if your wallpaper is patterned.

Paste your wallpaper

Mix the wallpaper paste and apply it to your first sheet, covering the entire area right up to the edges. Pick up the sheet by folding the pasted sides in towards each other so that the paste never comes into contact with the front of the paper. Place this sheet to one side while you paste a further two sheets, giving the paper time to absorb the wallpaper paste.

Hang your wallpaper

Position your ladder or platform in the corner of the room, and climb up so that you can start work from the top corner of the room. Leaving an overlap at the top of around 5cm, hang the first piece of wallpaper by lightly pressing on the top area, sliding the paper until it is square on the corner, and then using a brush to smooth out any air bubbles as you work down the wall. Trim any excess paper from the top and the bottom by first creasing it and then cutting it with scissors.

Repeat until the wall is covered, aiming for seamless joins

Repeat this process with the next sheet of wallpaper, making sure the first sheet and the new sheet are right next to each other to create a seamless join. Once it is applied to the wall, wipe away any excess paste from the joins.

Continue with further sheets to fill the remainder of the wall. For the corner, measure the width needed for the remaining wall and add about 2cm, cut to size, and press it into the wall -- curving it around the corner. Finally, trim off the excess paper, or paper over it when you start a new section of the wall.

When all of the walls are covered, gently wipe down all of the surfaces to get rid of any excess paste or air bubbles, then leave it to dry.


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