Before Wallpapering


Materials and tools you'll need

  • Wallpaper (Here’s help on how to measure your walls)
  • Paste. We suggest a good quality starch-based, ready-mixed paste.  The amount needed is approximately 3 litres of mixed paste per 25 metre roll. (This equates to 12.5m2 or 5 x 2.4 metre drops of wallpaper)
  • Roller and tray - to hold the paste
  • Paste brush - for hard to reach places
  • Spirit level or plumb line - to ensure the wallpaper is straight
  • Soft cloth or sponge - for cleaning walls and skirting
  • Smoothing brush or plastic smoother
  • Greylead pencil - not pen or marker
  • Steel ruler - to make a straight clean cut across the top and bottom
  • Stanley knife
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Bucket of water
  • Dust sheet or floor protection
  • Ladder

Prepare the walls

Preparing the walls properly will make sure the wallpaper sticks and doesn’t peel or pull away after hanging. And also helps prevent the wallpaper damaging the wall if it’s removed.  If you hang wallpaper on walls that haven’t been properly prepared, the wallpaper may be bumpy, the edges might not line up, and the walls probably will suck all the moisture out of the wallpaper and paste. This will mean the paper shrinks and you’ll end up with gaps between hung lengths. Not great!

Different surfaces for hanging

Wallpaper can be applied to a lot of different surfaces, which each may require a slightly different approach, please check beforehand what surface you’re working with. We’ve listed a range of  specific surfaces and the recommended approach here. Each method assumes a standard paper backed wallcovering will be used.

Remove existing wallpaper

Most wallpapers have a protective waterproof coating that makes them washable, but it can make the removal process more involved.  

To break down the coating, scratch the surface with a wire brush or decorator’s tool to soften the adhesive beneath and make it a little easier to remove. Following the scouring process, apply a steam stripper to the wall. Once the paper is soaked, scrape it off with a stripping knife. Finally, wash down the entire wall with clean water.

If you’re removing vinyl wallcoverings, these are made up of a backing sheet with a PVC layer laid over the top. This top layer can be peeled off (start from the bottom). The exposed backing layer can then easily be removed by wetting and scraping it - it will either come off in a complete length or in large sections.


Clean and repair the walls

It’s essential that the walls are clean, even, dry and smooth. This means removing old wallpaper, flaking paint, dust, dirt, grease, oil and all stains (you know, things like blood, sweat and tears).

Any moldy areas must be treated with a mold remediation solution prior to applying any stain-killing primer. For especially difficult stains you might need an oil-based primer. If this is the case, it’s best to then cover these treated areas with an acrylic primer (see removing oil above - it’s all coming full circle).

All cracks, holes and irregularities should be filled. And scrape powdery or flaky areas and smooth down rough surfaces with sandpaper.  

Once all of your cleaning and repairs are complete, make sure to give it plenty of time to dry and seal properly.

Size, prime and line the walls

If you want to go the extra mile, see our instructions to size, prime and line your walls.