Zinsser Gardz before hanging wallpaper

Updated Feb 14, 2024 | Posted Mar 7, 2020 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 6 comments

Sometimes you should use Zinsser Gardz before hanging wallpaper. People get mixed up and think Gardz is a substitute for normal size or primer, and it is in a way. But Gardz does so much more!

Picture this scenario; you strip a room ready to re-wallpaper. You now need those walls as smooth and clean as possible, however no matter how much you sand them, you keep getting little grains of dirt coming off the wall. These might show through your finish paper. The answer is to apply a coat of Zinsser Gardz! Just a quick coat, allow to dry and then sand again. Your surface will be as smooth as a baby’s backside and as stable as a nun in rehab!!

Sometimes this method is the only way to get a good finish with your wallpaper.

Available online by clicking here.

prepping a wall ready to apply wallpaper

Key Benefits of Using Zinsser Gardz


There are other benefits too. As well as being a water-based stabiliser, Zinsser Gardz is a breathable alkaline primer. Meaning it has the capability of neutralising any alkali from say, lime plaster. Let’s just say it locks any nasties into the plaster and gives the perfect base for you to hang your wallpaper. Another advantage is when you come to strip your paper again further down the line, there is less chance of you damaging your walls. The paper will come off easier and your walls will be in better nick. Future decorating projects should be a lot easier. You can also use Zinsser Gardz to seal plasterboard if your walls are only jointed.

Gardz is easy and quick to apply, gives an even drying rate for your paste across the whole wall and gives you slip when applying your finish paper.


The Drawbacks of Using Zinsser Gardz


If you want to use Zinsser Gardz when wallpapering, you need to be aware of a couple of things. The drying rate of your paste will be decreased because the moisture has nowhere to escape. The other issue is a biggie, adhesion of paper to wall is also affected. You need to use a stronger paste, or do what I do and throw a cup of PVA in with it. It is probably best to avoid starch based paste as it contains a lot of water. You souldn’t have any issues if you use something like Beeline Ready Mixed.

pva and paste

Should you use Zinsser Gardz?


If it is an old house and the walls are in bad nick you should crack on and use it. If not, then there is no point in using Zinsser Gardz before hanging wallpaper. If you want more info click here


Where to Buy Zinsser Gardz


You can buy Zinsser Gardz from loads of different outlets including Crown, Dulux and Johnstone’s Decorating Centres, as well as of other different trade outlets. You can also pick it up online by clicking here.

Zinsser Gardz before hanging wallpaper – When to use it – by Mike Cupit

Updated Feb 14, 2024 | Posted Mar 7, 2020 | 6 comments


  1. Adam

    I’ve got an old 20’s house, and the plaster is ok (previously papered). I was preparing to use Gardz then fibreliner on top (pasted with power adhesive).

    Do you think there will be adhesion problems or will the paste be strong enough?

    Perhaps I should skip the Gardz and just size with a watered down mix of adhesive?

    • Mike Cupit

      I’d say, if you’re going to use gardz (which will have its benefits), then you should go with a grippier paste with less water content than flake. Especially with fiberline because it won’t absorb any excess moisture like pulp paper does. Personally, I’d use the gardz, then use beeline redtop. That would avoid any problems

  2. Adam

    Thanks for the quick reply Mike, really helpful.

    As I’ve already got some power adhesive left over from my brothers house, I think I might try a small sample patch to see if sizing + power adhesive works well, if not I’ll try Gardz + beeline Red top.

    I gather from your article Gardz is good where the plaster is quite loose, which it isn’t really here, it’s just old and got plenty of filler and the like!

    Does that seem sensible?

    Thanks again,

  3. Jackie Carruthers

    Hello, would I still need to use PVA with Halls Beeline – vinyl wallcovering adhesive yellow top paste?
    Many thanks.

    • Mike Cupit

      You should be ok. Maybe prime the gardz with a thin coat of paste and allow it to dry before you paper

  4. Jackie

    Thanks Mike, really helpful.


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