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Wallpapering: Tools, Prep and Planning (page 1 of 2)

Learn the best tools to use, the different types of wallpaper, how to cut wallpaper and where in the room to start papering.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Courtesy of DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Before applying wallpaper, all wall and wood surfaces should be prepared in the usual way. If any features need to be painted, apply the paint first; this frees you to overlap any paint onto the walls and gives you a neater result when the wallpaper is trimmed to fit.

Papering Materials and Tools

Aside from the general tools required for wallpapering, such as a tape measure, pencil and utility knife, several special items are needed. The paperhanging brush, for example, is vital for creasing paper into corners.

View photo gallery of wallpapering tools

Metal Rule (Image 1)
Used for drawing accurate guide lines, or for cutting with a utility knife.

Pasting Table (Image 2)
A long, narrow, foldaway table on which wallpaper is cut, pasted, and folded before hanging. Make sure you wipe down the surface with clean water after pasting each length.

Papering Sponge (Image 3)
For cleaning paste off equipment and removing excess paste from wallpaper. Ideally, you need more than one, and plenty of clean water.

Pasting Brush (Image 4)
A large brush to apply paste to wallpaper. The bristles help apply paste evenly.

Seam Roller (Image 5)
Used to gently press wallpaper seams to ensure good adhesion. Do not use on embossed papers.
Make sure to keep the roller clean

Wallpaper Trough (Image 1)
A long, narrow reservoir that can be filled with water and used for dipping ready-pasted paper.

Paperhanging Brush (Image 2)
Broad-handled brush with soft bristles for smoothing wallpaper.

Measuring Cup (Image 3)
Essential for accurately mixing wallpaper paste.

Paperhanging Scissors (Image 4)
Long-bladed scissors for cutting wallpaper.

Types of Wallpaper

There are many types of wallpaper available. Your choice will probably be based on design. Textured paper hides uneven surfaces. Vinyl-coated papers can be washed. Always buy rolls with the same batch number to avoid slight variations. Be aware that some papers are prone to fading in direct sunlight. Check the packaging for details on colorfastness.

View photo gallery of types of wallpaper

Standard Types of Wallpaper
Standard paper and vinyl-coated wallpapers are most commonly chosen. Both can be used in most situations, but vinyl is more hardwearing. Paste-the-paper, paste-the-wall, and prepasted types are available.

Special Wallpapers
Unusual wallpapers such as flock or those with hand-printed designs may be subject to very specific handling and hanging procedures. Be sure to follow any guidelines from the manufacturer.

Embossed Wall Panels
Wall panels are hung in much the same way as standard wallpaper. They are thick and linoleum-based and are commonly used below chair rails in historic properties. Embossed borders can be bought in a roll.

Eco-Friendly Wallpaper
There are a number of eco-friendly wallpaper options. Check labels for the FSC symbol and ensure that products are made from recycled paper. Look for non-toxic, water-based inks.

The absence of vinyl as a component of "green" wallpaper raises some durability issues, but it is possible to find papers that use a water-based glaze to produce a wipeable finish.

Types of Adhesives

There are various different types of adhesive associated with wallpapering and some types of wallpaper may require a particular adhesive. Wallpaper paste comes either ready-mixed or powdered, with the latter being mixed with water before use. Size is very diluted wallpaper paste used to prepare walls before lining paper or wallpaper is applied. Diluted with water, PVA is an alternative to size, and can be used to seal walls before wallpapering. Border adhesive is an extra-strong adhesive that ensures a good adhesion between borders and wallpaper. It is also used on overlapping wallpaper seams.

Lining Paper (Image 1)
This provides a base for wallpaper or paint. For rough walls use a thicker gauge of lining paper.

Standard Paper and Vinyl Paper (Image 2)
These two kinds of paper vary hugely in quality. Numerous patterns are available.

Woodchip Paper (Image 3)
Several grades of texture can hide most rough or pitted walls. Can be painted.

Embossed Paper (Image 4)
Disguises uneven surfaces. Hang gently to avoid flattening the relief. Vinyl-coated versions available.

Border Paper (Image 5)
Strips used to divide or frame walls and features if required.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009