Top Ten Wallpapering Tips for Experts

Updated May 24, 2024 | Posted Jul 3, 2019 | Professional insight, Miscellaneous | 0 comments

I have been a professional decorator for most of my working life (over two decades now). I thought I’d sit down and write a simple blog outlining my top 10 wallpapering tips for experts. Most of these are tongue-in-cheek, but there’s some good advice mixed in too. I hope you either find it funny or helpful.  


Gaurdz has its place

Zinsser Gardz is a viscous material used as a sealer / primer for bare plaster prior to wallpapering. I went through a stage of using this all the time to be honest, but most of the time it’s pointless. It has its perks, if you’re working over really old plaster which is all crumbly and grainy, then yeah. Give it a coat of Gardz and it will stabilise the surface for you, ready for you to apply your wallpaper.

The downside is your glue won’t stick. Good luck.


Don’t pick your nose

It’s not an issue for me because I have a smaller than average nose, but I can imagine the lesser spotted large snouted decorator likes to have a good pick every now and again. The only thing worse than having a load of paste up there is deep heat. I think the moral of the story is just wash your hands before you pick your nose if you’re either wallpapering or applying heat rub.


Caulk up

Why not, caulk is cheap enough. If you’re wallpapering a feature wall just caulk around the skirts and each edge. Make sure you keep the angle of your caulk bead flush with the skirt so when you cut the paper you can keep a nice sharp line. If you’re doing a full room, then get a nice big bead down each of the internal corners too. It helps when you’re cutting the paper with a knife. Your blade can pass further through the paper and into the caulk, meaning less chance of ripping the paper


Get yourself a paste machine

I use a Beeline paste machine and I absolutely abuse it!! No literally, it had mushrooms growing in it this morning!! I use it, throw it in a bin bag, then leave it for weeks on end. I don’t think I’ve ever cleaned the bugger in the 5 years I’ve had it.

Anyway, back to my point about the paste machine. I don’t use it for anything other than lining paper, but it’s brilliant!! it saves so much time, never any misses and the paste is distributed evenly.


Cut and paste more than one length at a time

Cut up a full roll of paper at a time, always have a drop soaking while you’re hanging another. I can’t be bothered trying to explain any more about the process. I’d need a Go-Pro or something and I can’t afford one because I’m slow at wallpapering and can’t price jobs correctly.


Don’t overwork your paper

Seriously though, cut it, paste it, throw it at the wall, trim it if you must, then get on with your next bit. You’re only going to make things worse for yourself if you start messing about and touching wet wallpaper more than you need. You end up stretching the paper, resulting in seams opening up, or marking the wrong side of the wallpaper. If a section looks naff just put the couch back before the client gets home.


Don’t lick your paper !!

You know, you sling your drop of wallpaper, give it a wipe and your seems look wet. Unfortunately, you don’t know whether it’s water which will dry out, or paste which needs cleaning. The obvious thing to do would be to lick all the way up the seam to see if you can taste the paste. Don’t do it, you get a sore throat if you do. There’s a lot of fungicide in paste.


Don’t get your hopes up

I always enjoy papering for the first couple of hours… let’s face it though, a full day of it is painful!! Take loads of breaks, get your head straight and if your concentration starts to sway, crack on with something else. Better still, get someone else to do it if you can. If you feel yourself getting stressed, nip out to the pub for a bit. Alcahol makes everything better.


Stay safe out there kids

Napoleon Bonaparte was one hell of a tough bloke!! He lost two wars and lived through both, only to be killed by wallpaper! It’s a true(ish) story, look it up on google and you can view the evidence here. If it can finish the short tough French bloke, then it’ll make mince meat of you, so don’t ever underestimate your sworn enemy.


Papering a window reveal

Swear while you’re doing it. I still wouldn’t call it therapeutic, but it will make it slightly more bearable. Take your time, concentrate, but try not to think about it too much. Try and get the wallpaper on as quickly as you can. You should always try and be a perfectionist. Remember, the bit you’re working on is hidden behind a curtain anyway.


And they are my top ten wallpapering tips for experts. There’s loads more usless information on the Decorators Forum UK.. However if you’ve made it to the end of this without falling asleep you should have a look at out Facebook page, that’ll definitely make you nod off!

Updated May 24, 2024 | Posted Jul 3, 2019 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


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