Wallpaper is an excellent and convenient way to put a decorative touch to your home. Over time, however, wallpaper can age and become less appealing. If your wallpaper is old and starting to yellow or crack, it might be time to replace the wallpaper. While the wallpapering process isn’t difficult, you must be very careful.
Before you remove the old wallpaper, you need to figure out what kind of wall you’re dealing with. If your house is more than 50 years old, you probably are working with plaster walls. When removing wallpaper on these walls, you can use lots of water without damaging the wall. But if your house is less than 50 years old, you are probably working with drywall. Drywall is different because it has a paper surface and too much water could damage the wall.
Now, begin to remove the old wallpaper. If you are removing newer wallpaper that is “dry strippable,” you can easily pry the wallpaper off the wall with a putty knife. To test if the wallpaper is dry strippable, start at a corner and try to pry the paper up without using any water. If it peels off easily, then your wallpaper is dry strippable and you can continue to slowly pry off all the wallpaper.
If the wallpaper is not dry strippable, you need to first use a wallpaper scorer to score the walls. Then, soak a sponge in warm water and rub it all over the walls. This will help to loosen the glue that holds the wallpaper in place. You may have to go over sections of the wall that are particularly dry. Now, use your pry bar to begin removing strips of wallpaper. Whenever you encounter difficulties, rewet your sponge and apply more water to the stubborn area of the wall.
When you have removed all of the old wallpaper, let the walls dry. Before you hang the new wallpaper, you need to make sure the walls are completely smooth. Be on the lookout for any leftover glue or nails that may be stuck on the wall. If you notice any cracks, you should fill in the spaces with a joint compound. After you’ve finished your repairs, use a sander to smooth over the wall. Then, paint the walls with a primer. This will help your wallpaper glue stick to the walls. When you’re done, let the primer dry completely before wallpapering.
Before you hang the wallpaper, you need to mix the wallpaper paste. All wallpaper pastes are different, so you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some wallpaper pastes arrive premixed, so you might not have to do anything. When you’re ready to begin wallpapering, it’s a good idea to start near a corner or a doorway. This way, breaks in the wallpaper pattern will be less noticeable. Cut a strip of wallpaper that is four inches longer than the height of the wall to the base. Draw a straight line on the wall using a carpenter’s level to ensure your line is straight. Before you hang your first strip of wallpaper, you might want to cut your second strip in advance.
Follow your glue manufacturer’s instructions to apply glue to your first strip of wallpaper. Now, slowly and carefully place the first strip of wallpaper on the wall. Use your straight line to help align the wallpaper correctly. Be sure the wallpaper strip is in perfect alignment, and then gently press the wallpaper to the wall. Go over the wallpaper several times to smooth out any bumps. Now, simply continue this process until you’re done. Pay close attention to your wallpaper pattern to be sure you align the strips correctly. Once you have finished wallpapering, trim the excess wallpaper from along the floor.