Hanging a Pre-Pasted Wallpaper

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Pre-pasted wallpapers can be vinyl, paper, or non-woven. This particular wallpaper is comprised of a layer of solid vinyl bonded to a yellowy-brown paper backing, and is pre-pasted. This means that a thin layer of dry paste has been embedded onto the back, so all you have to do is dip it in water to activate the paste.

Most of my friends snicker at this method, believing it to be amateur and DIY-ish. I, however, really like most pre-pasted wallpapers, and find them much quicker to hang, and sometimes I can even get away with rolling the paper out on the floor, instead of lugging in my big, loppy pasting table.

In the photo, you see my green trough filled with water, sitting on towels, on top of plastic. A strip of wallpaper has been cut to the appropriate length, rolled up, and has been inserted into the water. As the strip is unrolled, the backing is exposed to the water, activating the paste. Near the bottom of the photo, part of the wet wallpaper has been loosely folded onto itself, pasted-side-to-pasted side. This is called booking. Way to the left of the photo is a strip that has been completely pasted and booked, and is now sitting for a few minutes before being taken to the wall.

This waiting period is an important step, because it allows all the paste to become activated equally, it allows all the paper backing to absorb water and expand to a uniform width, excess water can run off, bubbling on the wall is minimized, it makes the wet, sticky, slippery material much easier to handle, as well as other benefits.

When working with pre-pasted papers, I usually run a little bit of paste around the corners, baseboards, and ceiling line, and roll a very light coat of paste onto the wall, particularly where the seams will hit, to augment the manufacturer’s paste already on the back of the paper.

Once the booked strip has sat for the right length of time, it is taken to the wall, the top portion is unbooked, positioned, smoothed, trimmed, and then ditto with the lower portion.

I find the whole process much faster than when you have to paste each strip on the table, and everything else about the installation (adhesion, workability, slip, expansion/shrinking, strength, etc.) is about the same as with hand-pasted papers.

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