We want to help you to get the great finish you are after when you have hung your wallpaper. Here is some advice you should follow during the process of preparing and then hanging your wallpaper to make sure you get the best possible finish.
To get the best result, you need to ensure that the walls are in great condition. The walls should be smooth and stable. Any problems with the walls need dealing with prior to hanging - don't just hope that the wallpaper will cover things like cracks and bumps.
When it comes to stripping existing wallpaper, there really is no best way as it all depends on what paper is currently on your walls, what adhesive was previously used, and what is underneath it. Some wallpapers will peel straight off the wall in whole sheets. Some will require being slowly removed. Don't rush the job as you could damage the walls underneath and create more work for yourself.
Rolls of paper
Wallpaper rolls will have a label with each roll containing technical information (the exception to this rule is wallpaper which is sold by the metre). You should read this label so you are aware of all matter regarding hanging and aftercare for the paper. There should be full instructions on this label about how to hang the paper, what adhesive to use, and how to make sure you get the fantastic finish you want. If you follow the instructions you shouldn't run into any problems.
When you finish the job, make sure you keep the labels and file them away when you have finished the job. Should you have any problems with the paper in the future, the label will tell the manufacturer exactly which batch of paper yours came from and help them to address any problems swiftly and efficiently. The batch number is effectively the serial number for the wallpaper which you have bought.
Batches and quantities
To make sure that your wallpaper all looks identical, it is printed in batches. A batch could be anywhere from thousands of rolls, right through to bespoke printing. To ensure continuity, you need to make sure you buy wallpaper all from the same batch for a room. Batches are there to guarantee continuity. If you buy wallpaper from different batches, where there will be very little shade variation, there is no guarantee it will be identical. When buying your paper, allow for the fact that you might require an extra roll or two (depending on how many rolls you are ordering overall). This could be to allow for measuring errors and ordering too little, for mistakes made when hanging, or for damage in the future. A rule of thumb is to order an extra couple of rolls and to think of it as an insurance policy.
Some papers are printed in such small batches they are effectively bespoke wallpapers. If you do not buy enough wallpaper at the start, you will find that you cannot get more from the identical batch should you require it.
Each roll of wallpaper has a label on it indicating from which batch the roll came.
Inspection of product
When your wallpaper arrives, make sure you inspect the sealed rolls for damage. Manufacturers inspect all rolls prior to despatch to us. We then also inspect all rolls prior to despatch to you. However, wallpaper can be fragile if not treated correctly and damage in transit can happen. You need to notify us immediately of any damage which is evident on receipt.
On very rare occasions, there can be a technical issue with a paper, such as a printing error which happened as the paper was manufactured and you can't see it from the closed roll. In the unlikely event that this happens, stop immediately and contact us for advice. Do not open any more rolls of wallpaper until we have advised you how to proceed. We can contact the manufacturer on your behalf to see what has gone wrong. The manufacturer may well wish to inspect rolls at their end from the same batch and ship brand now stock to you to replace the rolls you have when they know there are no issues. It may be that all rolls in a batch have the same issue and that the entire batch needs to be recalled. In the event that there is a technical issue and an entire batch needs inspecting or recalling, this can lead to a delay. The manufacturer may well remove all current rolls from sale making it impossible to get an immediate replacement until they are happy that the problem has been resolved.
When you contact us, make sure you have the batch number from the wallpaper which is damaged so we can pinpoint the exact stock which contains the technical problem. Once again, do not open any further rolls unless advised to do so by ourselves.
Choosing the correct wallpaper paste to use is far more complicated than you might think. Selecting the incorrect paste could lead to the wallpaper becoming damaged over time, or even starting to fall apart over time.
The rule is simple – you should always buy the wallpaper paste made by the manufacturer of the wallpaper. If no paste is available from them, you can use any other wheat/starch-based, ready-mixed tub adhesive. You should never use flaked mix-your-own paste (unless this is expressly directed by the manufacturer). This is not just a technicality. If you use the incorrect wallpaper paste, it may well be too acidic. This can lead to things such as the surface of metallic papers being stripped off, damage to the flocking on flock papers, or what look like damp patches on regular paper. This could happen immediately and be visible as soon as the paper is dry, it might happen over a year or so as the acid slowly attacks the base of the paper. It might also be that you have a wallpaper which is heavier than regular wallpaper (for example if it has beads on it). In this case, the recommended paste may well be heavy duty to make sure it holds the wallpaper up.
Using the manufacturer's own paste is your guarantee that the paste will not attack the wallpaper you are using and will keep it on the walls looking great once it has been hung. If you use an incompatible paste and have technical issues, the manufacturer may well refuse to help you on the grounds of the fact you have not followed their advice about how to hang the paper.
It should tell you on the wallpaper label what the correct type of paste to use is. If you are in any doubts, do not just guess but contact us instead and we can advise you on what product you should be using.
Most manufacturers recommend the use of wheat/starch-based, ready-mixed tub adhesives.
Types of paper
Paste-the-wall wallpapers and paste-the-paper wallpapers are NOT the same thing. Paste-the-paper wallcoverings are designed to expand when they are wet. This is why you leave them for a period of time prior to hanging to allow for the paper to expand. As it dries on the wall, the paper dries out and shrinks back to the wall. This is different from paste-the-wall wallcoverings (sometimes called non-woven wallcoverings) which are made from a paper which does not expand. This is why there is no need to leave the paper to soak up the paste and instead the paper can be hung straight up onto the wall.
As the final wallpaper dries, it will stick firm and taught to the wall. Any small imperfections in the bare wall could be magnified through the final wallpaper. Lining paper is used to give the wallpaper a good smooth surface to adhere to as it dries.
There are different types of lining paper you can buy. You MUST use the same type of lining paper to match the wallpaper you buy (for information about the difference between paste-the-wall and paste-the-paper wallpapers, see the section above). If you buy paste-the-wall wallpaper, you must buy paste-the-wall lining paper. For paste-the-paper wallpaper, you must use paste-the-paper lining paper. The two types of paper work in very different ways with regards to how the expand and contract when wet, and how they behave as they dry. If you use incompatible lining paper and wallpaper, you might end up problems such as gaps opening up in the final paper, or bubbles and ripples.
Some wallpapers require something called 'reverse hanging'. What this means is that every other piece of paper is turned upside down when it is hung. If you do not do this, you can end up with an effect on the wall where it looks like there are joins, or even as if the wallpaper is badly printed and faulty. There is an indication on the paper to help, so you know which way the roll is calling up for when you need to hang the down pieces. Make sure when you change rolls that you carry on the reverse hanging and don't by accident hang two pieces running in the same direction.
Reverse hung paper has each drop of paper hanging in an alternate direction. This is very common on textured wallpaper, and if directed is essential to ensure a perfect finish and avoid visible shade differences.
When you buy flock wallpaper, it is perfectly normal for there to be loose flock in the box. This is due to the very nature of the product and also due to the manufacturing process. It does not mean that the wallpaper is faulty.
For flock wallpaper, it is essential that you follow the manufacturer's hanging instructions included with the rolls with regards to the type of paste to use. If you use an incompatible paste, it can attack the adhesive used to stick the flock to the paper and lead to the paper going bald. This might happen straight away, this might happen over a period of time well after the paper has been hung.
Quality of tools
It might sound obvious, but you need to make sure you have good quality tools for the job. For example, if you buy the cheapest scissors you may well find they don't cut the wallpaper very well when it is wet and lead to it tearing, or the edge of the paper being sucked between the blades and the surface of the paper being stripped off. You might only use wallpaper scissors on rare occasions, but this is no reason to just buy the cheapest ones you can find on the basis of the fact you won't use them that often. Good quality tools will lead to a good quality final finish.