In every virtually every room you will hang wallpaper, you will run into special areas that need extra -- but simple -- attention. These include electrical outlets, corners, windows and doors. See how easy it is to wallpaper these areas.

A. Tools Recommended

  1. Break-away knife and extra blades or a supply of single-edge razor blades
  2. scissors
  3. measuring tape or ruler
  4. plastic smoother (optional)
  5. pencil
  6. level
  7. ladder

B. Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is essential for a quality border installation.

The wall surface should be clean, dry, smooth, structurally sound and free of mildew, grease and other stains. Any loose paint must be removed from the wall. See paint testing below. Any wall irregularities should be corrected with either spackling, drywall compound, or other wall repair materials.

Ideally new plaster walls should age 30-60 days before painting or installing borders. If you cannot wait, then wash with a zinc sulfate solution to neutralize the lime (2-4 pounds of zinc sulfate crystals per gallon of water). Old plaster walls should have efflorescence crystals removed.

Testing paint for adhesion to the wall: Cut three small X's into the painted wall surface, then apply a piece of Scotch clear cellophane tape over the X's. Yank the tape off vigorously. Inspect for any paint on the tape; no paint flakes indicates a sound surface that you may hang self-adhesive borders over. Paint on the tape indicates that the paint adhesion to the wall surface is not adequate for hanging self-adhesive borders. The wall surface should be sanded with a course sandpaper to remove or break through the existing paint.

On new drywall, or after any of the above procedures, apply a good quality wallpaper primer. If paint is to be the decorative product used with the border, apply paint primer, then paint.

For the best performance, be sure to cure freshly painted surfaces at least 30 days before hanging self-adhesive borders. If paint is not completely cured, repositioning the border may damage it.

If applying self-adhesive borders over newly installed vinyl wallpaper, allow one week to dry completely. If the wallpaper is smooth, prime with 2 coats clear acrylic wallpaper primer and then hang self-adhesive border. If the surface is textured, it is best to remove the wallpaper and prime in the area where the border is to be positioned.

If applying over newly installed strippable wallpaper, allow 24 hours to dry completely. It is best to apply a clear acrylic wallpaper primer over the wallpaper, to prevent damage to its surface when the self-adhesive border is removed.

Note: When applying primer, be sure it is confined to the area that will be underneath the border. Even clear acrylic primers will show a difference in sheen on a wallcovered surface.

Prior to application, self-adhesive borders must be stored under temperature and humidity conditions that replicated the final installation. Extreme temperature or high humidity may inhibit performance.

C. Application 

If installing border somewhere other than at the ceiling, measure the desired height from the floor, at 4 foot intervals and mark with a light pencil mark.

Starting in a corner of the room, tack the border lightly with your fingertips in one corner only. Gently unroll about 2 feet of border, matching the edge to the pencil marks. Be careful not to stretch the border, as this may interfere with adhesion. Lightly tamp in place at the edges only.

Continue to unroll, position and tamp gently as you move along the wall surface, using care not to stretch the border.

If you are not satisfied with the placement of the border, simply remove and reposition. When border is in the desired position, smooth lightly with the edge of your hand, or with a wallcovering plastic smoother. It is best to work from the center of the strip to the edges, carefully smoothing all air bubbles. If necessary, lift border away from surface and gently smooth hand or plastic smoother as you reapply.

Once border is in the desired position and all air bubbles are removed, apply moderate pressure to the entire length of the border with a plastic smoother.

Trim using a scissors or straight edge and sharp razor knife. Be careful not to stretch or tear.

D. Removing Self-Adhesive Borders

When applied as instructed to a properly prepared surface, self-adhesive borders may be removed at any time. Slowly peel from the wall, so as not to damage the underlying surface. When removing from wallpaper, take special care in seam areas.

It is best to peel at a 180 degree angle from the wall surface. Gentle heat (like that from a hairdryer) may be applied to soften the adhesive and make removal easier.

Back to How to Hang

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