Wallpaper Seams Opening – Causes and Solutions

By Mike Cupit


There is nothing more annoying than finishing the decorating in a room, then coming in the next day to see the wallpaper seams opening. As a professional decorator I have seen this problem many times. A lot of the time it is completely avoidable. In this blog I’ll take you through some of the causes and offer a solution or two. It is important to understand exactly what has happened to your beautiful wallpaper. The paper itself has shrunk slightly after you have installed it, causing the seams to open. Either that or the paste just hasn’t stuck, in which case get off the internet and just get some boarder adhesive in there.

There are two different types of paper, pulp and non-woven. The difference is you apply paste to the back of a pulp paper and allow it to soak. As you do this the paper expands and becomes easier to use.

Non-woven papers can be applied directly to a pasted wall. These do not expand and therefore will not contract if you get the decorating right.

Let’s go through the possible causes for each type of wallpaper.



Non-Woven Wallpaper

Preparation – Walls should always be lined prior to installing non-woven paper as the paper itself does not absorb the excess paste

The correct paste – You should use a cellulose based, or ready mixed paste for non-woven paper, as this type of paste tends to be a bit grippier and contain a low water content. If you use the wrong paste, you risk the paper being able to move as it dries. If in doubt, check the manufacturer’s instructions,

Stretching – As mentioned, non-woven papers do not absorb paste and expand like pulp papers do. Therefore, the only way the paper does expand is if you stretch it on application. Do not paste the paper, there is no need. Paste the wall and get your paper up. Once it is on the wall do not use excess pressure to maneuver it. If you do stretch the paper, it will contract and you will see your wallpaper seams opening as your paste dries, fact.


Pulp Wallpaper

Oversoaking – You do need to apply your paste and allow to soak so your paper expands. Only leave for the recommended soaking time. Any longer and you run the risk of your paper contracting once on the wall.

Stretching – Yes, this can happen for either type of paper. Do not over work your paper or use excess pressure to move it into place.

Paste – Normally starch based (packet mix), although I don’t think it makes loads of difference.



Not many to be honest. You could try coloring in the seams with a felt tip in a similar colour to blend. If that doesn’t work it’s just a case of ripping it all off and doing it properly, sorry.


Wallpaper Seams Opening – Causes and Solutions. Hope you found it useful, for more buff check us out on Facebook

Smith and Roger Blockade Review

Professional decorator Mike Gregory gives a full and honest review of Smith and Roger Blockade, but is it better than Zinsser BIN?

Shellac Based Primer Review – What to use?

Professional decorator Mike Gregory gives a full Shellac based primer review and compares the best three products to help you decide what to buy.

Mirka Sander and Extractor Review

Decorator Nick Jennings gives a full and honest Mirka sander and extractor review. He calls on his experience using the brand over the past 3 years.

Budget Dust Free Sanders for Decorating

Professional decorator Keith Diamond gives a full and honest breakdown of the best budget dust free sanders from his own experience.

Best Dust Free Sanders and Extractors on the Market

Professional decorators name what they think are the best dust free sanders and extractors on the market. Great information if you want to go dustless.

The Most Durable Water-based Satinwood

Professional decorator Daniel Wilson performs a test to discover the most durable water-based satinwood on the market so you know the best choice.

Toupret Filler Review – the Full Range

Professional decorators give their honest Toupret filler reviews and they cover pretty much the whole range. Well worth a look.

Decorators Review Zinsser Perma-White

What is Zinsser Perma-White, where would you use it and is it any good? We asked decorators to review the product for you.

Versace Wallpaper Review – Avoid if Possible!

Professional decorator Mike Gregory gives his full Versace Wallpaper Review after using Greek Key Black. It is safe to say he isn’t impressed!

Johnstone’s Aqua Guard Satinwood – Two Coats??

Professional decorator Joe Elwick takes a look at the new Johnstone’s Aqua Guard Satinwood. He tests it to see if he can get away with two coats.

Wallpaper Seams Opening – Causes and Solutions