Wallpaper Tips

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Jane Hedin - Professional paperhanger
Jane Hedin, professional paperhanger, wiping any excess adhesive off the paper.

Tips for Wallpaper Prep

Wallcoverings are back—in every style. From contemporary to traditional, the variety of offerings today are beautiful, artistic and can add visual pizzazz to your home. But before you can hang up wallpaper on an accent wall, in the nursery, or elsewhere in your home, you need to prep your walls. Here are some helpful tips:

If the room currently has old wallpaper on the walls, you have to remove it. If the old wallpaper is fabric-backed or strippable, you can carefully pull it from the walls. Start by gently pulling a corner of one strip at the baseboard until the entire section peels away. Some styles leave behind a paper backing, which needs to come off next by wetting the surface with DIF remover and scraping with a broad knife.

For non-strippable wallpaper, removers are available that soak on to the old wallcovering’s surface. Before you begin, be sure to turn off electricity to the room, cover outlets with tape, and protect the floors with drop cloths or towels. You can also rent a wallpaper steamer to remove old wallpaper. A few Hirshfield’s stores have steamers to rent, but call first and verify they have a rental steamer and that it’s not checked out.

Paper Tiger

Score the surface of the wallpaper first to help the liquid remover penetrate more quickly and then apply the remover. Once the paper is loose, you should be able to remove it with a wallpaper scraper. Any paste residue that remains needs to be washed off with DIF stripper plus a rinse with clean water. If you see signs of mildew, it needs to be removed with equal parts bleach and water, rinsed thoroughly, and allowed to dry.

Next up is removing outlet plates, vent covers, and other items that can be removed. Wash painted walls with a solution of trisodium phosphate, rinse it with clean water and allow it to dry. Repair any holes or cracks and prep the walls with an appropriate finish; if you’re painting we recommend Hirshfield’s Drywall Primer and for hanging wallpaper, Roman Pro-909.

If you have any questions, seek out your experts at Hirshfield’s—not only are they paint experts but they know all of the ins and outs of wall coverings, too. Get rid of your old paint or wallpaper and put up some new wallcoverings to add new style and flair to your home.

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

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