How To Hang Wallpaper
Everything you need to know to be able to hang wallpaper yourself. This is a rewarding home project.
Hanging your own wallpaper is not that difficult, as long as you are willing to commit some time to it. An essential thing to remember when you are hanging wallpaper (or any home improvement task) is that the time spent in preparation is at least as important as the time spent doing the job. Most mistakes made when you are wallpapering are the result of skipping steps in preparation of your job.
The first thing you will need to do is estimate the amount of wallpaper you will need. Multiply the perimeter of the room by the height of the walls to arrive at the total square footage. Divide this by 30. The average single roll contains 35 to 36 square feet, and there will be some loss due to trim and pattern matching waste. Some pattern matching and shrinkage require more rolls (consult with your supplier). This new number is your number of rolls if you had no openings. Subtract 1/2 roll for each normal size door or window opening. This number covers your final needs. Purchase all rolls at one time to avoid variation in color or pattern.
Clean the wall thoroughly using TSP, a commercial cleaner available at most hardware stores. You should then apply sizing to the wall and allow to dry. It is very important to allow proper drying time in all of these steps if you want a professional look to your project. In some cases, it may be necessary to prime the walls before wallpapering, for example, if the wall is painted with a high gloss finish. If you are in doubt, go ahead and apply primer.
Now you are ready to apply the wallpaper. Start in the least obvious corner of the room. The reason for this is that as you work around the room, when you get back to your starting point you will probably have some mismatch with your pattern. Hold the wallpaper up to the wall to determine how much you will need, leaving two inches at the top and the bottom. Cut the paper with a sharp utility knife. Fold the paper so that the glued side of the paper faces out and immerse the paper into your tray of water. Leave it in the water for the recommended time. This is very important, follow the manufacturer's directions exactly. Remove the wallpaper and let it set for the time specified, folded loosely, pasted side to pasted side. This is called "booking" and is important as it allows the glue to cure before placing it onto the wall. Use either a plumb line or a level to find a straight line and mark it on the wall. A common mistake is to start your wallpaper in the corner, assuming that your walls are straight. This can lead to problems later with your pattern. Once you have your first sheet on the wall, hanging straight, use a wallpaper brush and brush from the inside out, and from top to bottom. You want to make certain that the wallpaper is perfectly smooth now. After you have finished several strips, you can go back and trim your excess from the top and bottom, or you can wait and do it once the entire room is completed. Be certain that you use a very sharp utility knife or razor, as dullness will increase the likelihood of ripping the paper.
Going around windows, doors and other obstacles requires a certain amount of patience, just take your time and remember to match the pattern on each piece before you glue it up. Taking your time and exercising patience is really the most important thing to do when you are hanging wallpaper, but by doing it yourself, you save money and get it done on your schedule.