Wallpaper Secrets Your Momma Never Taught You

Choosing wallpaper and hanging it on your own is quite the chore for any homeowner.  Here are the top tips for saving your sanity:

  • Wallpaper with larger patterns is more difficult to hang as it is harder to match up the pattern when putting up the next roll. 
  • The size of the pattern and the area to the next pattern is called the drop.  Larger wallpapers have a 9-11 inch drop and smaller patterns tend to stay in the 2-3 inch range.
  • Larger patterns can make a room look smaller, save them for a large room.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can hang wallpaper over bricks, paneling and even old wallpaper if necessary.  You need to use a thick, blank wallpaper called a bridging material, as it bridges the irregular surfaces to make a smoother surface.  It can be used for painting really messed up walls as well.
  • You can even hang wallpaper over tile by sanding the tile and rinsing with TSP for a thorough cleaning.  You apply a priming or prep coat, such as Prep ‘n Size by California Paint, Wall-Grip by Benjamin Moore, or Tack Prep by Duron.  Then you hang the bridging material.  Don’t you wish you had known this BEFORE you started knocking out that tile wall?
  • For damaged plaster walls, there is a product known as plaster in a roll, it not only covers plaster, but tile, paneling and more.  It’s a one step wall covering installed just like wallpaper – it’s basically the bridging material and wall covering in one roll.  It’s made by a company called Flexi-wall Systems.
  • High traffic areas such as foyers, hallways and staircases do better with a textured or patterned wallpaper.  Plainer, smoother papers will show every little mark, and if they are damaged and need a small repair, will show the repair more than a patterned or textured paper.
  • You can paint over wallpaper.  It’s best not to, and you should make a good, honest attempt to strip the paper.  If you tried to do it and couldn’t, and you’re not just taking the easy way out, go ahead and paint away.
  • If you’re going to paint over wallpaper, don’t tell anyone, they’ll try to talk you out of it.  The key to doing it and no one noticing is proper prepping.  Any loose paper from the ugly stripping attempt needs to come off, joint compound needs to be used for seams, damaged areas and nail holes.  Then sand completely for a smooth surface.  Make sure you use a primer and sealing product on the whole wall before wallpapering.  Sherwin Williams Prep-Rite Drywall Conditioner or Roman’s Liquid Drywall are two products that could be used.