This information can clarify and help answer some questions about installing wallpaper.
Wallpaper, with its variety of patterns, colors and finishes, is a popular alternative to painting a room.
There are ten basic types of wallpaper from which to choose:
- Printed wallpaper is the general category of manufactured wallpaper with printed patterns.
- Unbacked fabric is one of the most difficult styles because you have to work carefully to smooth out the fabric as you apply it to the wall.
- Relief has a raised texture that you can feel.
- Solid vinyl is the most durable and waterproof and is ideal for humid areas.
- Vinyl coated is the most common type of wallpaper, made of paper but with a protective coat of vinyl that makes it ideal (and scrubbable) for kitchens, bathrooms or wherever kids or pets might brush against a wall. Vinyl coated wallpaper is usually strippable, which makes it easy to pull off a wall and re-paper with a new pattern.
- Flocked is the type of wallpaper (usually ornate and considered "old fashioned") which includes a raised felt pattern that contrasts with the background color.
- Foil (some people call it by the brand name "Mylar") can be difficult to work with because it shows imperfections in the wall surface and because it can get wrinkled easily. But the silver, reflective surface and the patterns on many foil wallpapers can be strikingly contemporary.
- Cork-faced wallpapers are thicker because they have a surface of cork. They make for a cozy, dark and woodsy effect, greatfor family rooms or offices.
- Grass cloth/burlap wall coverings are exotic because they evoke the faraway cultures of Asia, but they can be surprisingly easy to work with because they stay stiff while pasting on the wall. They shouldn't be used in high-traffic areas or where there's high humidity, however, because they may not wear as well as other types and can stain.
- Paper-backed fabric shows the high-quality look of a fabric wall covering but can be installed with the ease of a vinyl-coated paper. The backing adds a stiffness that both hides defects in the wall and makes it easier to manage the fabric.
You might consider pasting a liner over your wall before applying the wall covering of your choice. The liner will hide many imperfections in the wall and make it easier to remove the covering in the future for a new look.
It's important to remember that if you choose a wallpaper pattern that repeats, you'll have to order more than you would for a random pattern, a vertical pattern (like stripes) or a solid color. Why? Because you'll have to shift each strip of the wallpaper to match the patterns at the edges. The larger the pattern, the more potential for wasted paper.
There are several ways to remove wallpaper, whether you do it yourself or a service professional. The least expensive, though not the most effective, way is to use concentrated wallpaper remover solution. Mix it with warm water and apply it liberally with a sponge or a garden sprayer after scoring the surface lightly with a razor blade. The solution will seep under the top layer and soften the paste, making it possible to scrape off the paper.
Other ways include a steam remover which softens the paste below the surface, and electric heated scrapers. It's a messy job but one that must be done if you're putting up new wall covering.
Older wallpaper is the hardest to remove, for several reasons: It's had years to harden and bond to the wall; the original paste may have been designed to be permanent (modern wallpaper paste is designed to be easier to remove), and the paper itself may have been applied directly to the wall (modern vinyl-coated wallpaper is strippable the top layer will readily pull away from the paper backing).
How much do you need?
An average double roll of wallpaper covers about 56 square feet, but the area you can cover will vary according to the brand and type of wall covering and the pattern of the design.
Preparation is the key to making the wallpaper installation as smooth and easy as possible. You can help the service professional and yourself by removing any switch or outlet covers in advance. As the wall covering is rolled out over the wall, it's a simple matter to cut over the holes and fold the wallpaper under before re-attaching the covers.
Wallpaper and other types of wall covering can hide defects better than paint. Almost any type of wall covering works well over small holes (like nail holes), cracks or textured walls (heavier texture may require a first layer of liner paper). But keep in mind that some types of wallpaper aren't as good at hiding faults. Foil in particular can reveal ridges and textures you never knew were there, so pay careful attention to preparing the wall.
-- Tips courtesy of Service Magic