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How to Prep Walls for Wallpaper

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Prepping walls for wallpaper is an essential step to ensure a smooth and long-lasting application. Follow these steps to prepare your walls properly:

1. **Clean the Walls:** Remove any dirt, dust, or grease from the walls. Use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to clean the surface. Pay special attention to areas near stoves, sinks, and other high-traffic spots.

2. **Repair Wall Imperfections:** Fill in any holes, cracks, or dents on the wall's surface using spackling compound or filler. Once the compound is dry, sand the repaired areas until they are smooth and level with the rest of the wall.

3. **Remove Old Wallpaper:** If there is existing wallpaper on the walls, remove it completely. Use a wallpaper scraper or steamer to loosen the old wallpaper, making it easier to peel off. Be patient and careful not to damage the underlying wall surface.

4. **Strip Old Adhesive:** After removing the old wallpaper, there may be residual adhesive left on the wall. Use a wallpaper adhesive remover or a mixture of water and vinegar to strip off any remaining adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

5. **Wash Off Residue:** Thoroughly wash the walls with clean water to remove any traces of cleaning agents or adhesive remover. Allow the walls to dry completely before proceeding.

6. **Check for Moisture Issues:** Ensure there are no moisture problems on the walls, as wallpaper won't adhere well to damp surfaces. If you suspect any moisture issues, address them before applying the wallpaper.

7. **Prime the Walls:** Applying a wallpaper primer is a crucial step to help the wallpaper stick evenly and prevent the adhesive from being absorbed into the wall. Follow the primer manufacturer's instructions and allow it to dry completely before wallpaper installation.

8. **Measure and Cut Wallpaper:** Measure your walls to determine the amount of wallpaper needed. Cut the wallpaper into appropriate lengths, leaving a few extra inches at the top and bottom to accommodate variations in ceiling and floor levels.

9. **Arrange and Align Patterns:** If your wallpaper has a pattern, ensure that you align the patterns correctly before applying the adhesive. This will prevent mismatched seams and ensure a professional look.

10. **Apply Wallpaper Adhesive:** Depending on the type of wallpaper you have (pre-pasted or unpasted), follow the manufacturer's instructions for preparing and applying the wallpaper adhesive. Generally, you'll either apply adhesive directly to the back of the wallpaper or activate pre-pasted wallpaper with water.

11. **Hang the Wallpaper:** Carefully hang the wallpaper on the wall, starting from the top and working your way down. Use a wallpaper smoothing brush or a plastic wallpaper smoother to eliminate air bubbles and creases as you go.

12. **Trim Excess Wallpaper:** Once the wallpaper is in place, use a sharp utility knife or wallpaper scissors to trim off excess material at the ceiling and baseboards.

13. **Match Seams:** Ensure that the seams match up perfectly, and use a seam roller to press them down firmly.

14. **Let It Dry:** Allow the wallpaper to dry completely before adding any furniture or decorations back to the room.

By following these steps, you can create a smooth and beautiful wallpapered surface that enhances the overall aesthetic of your space.


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