How to Prepare Walls to Paste Wallpaper With Glue

Written by michelle skidgel
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How to Prepare Walls to Paste Wallpaper With Glue
Sandpaper helps rough up the wall's surface adequately for new glue application. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The level of work required in preparing your walls for a new wallpaper application depends upon the walls' current covering. Glossy finishes, like those present in some wallpapered or painted applications, cause difficulty in getting the new wallpaper glue to adhere. In addition to removing the old finish or sanding it to create ideal conditions, you must also make sure the walls are cleaned and sealed; otherwise, the new glue may fail, making all your hard wallpapering work useless.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic scraper
  • Clothes steamer
  • Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Hammer
  • Putty knife
  • Non-shrinking spackle
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Cleaning rags
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Primer sealer
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles

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  1. 1

    Spray a previously wallpapered wall with warm water, then allow it to soak in for a few minutes.

  2. 2

    Pull a loose edge away from the wall, or scrape the paper away with a plastic scraper.

  3. 3

    Steam stubborn wallpaper with a clothes steamer, one section at a time, and pull or scrape the wallpaper away.

  4. 4

    Wipe away any wallpaper glue residue with a warm, wet sponge. Add vinegar to the sponge to remove difficult areas of residue.

  5. 5

    Remove any nails from the walls with the claw end of a hammer.

  6. 6

    Cover nail holes evenly with a thin coat of non-shrinking spackle using a putty knife. If your wall is uneven---such as a breeze block or textured wall---cover it smoothly with the spackle. Allow the spackle to cure according to manufacturer's directions.

  7. 7

    Sand the walls with coarse sandpaper to promote adhesion.

  8. 8

    Clean the walls with a rag dipped in warm, soapy water. Remove soap residue by wiping them down once more with a clean, damp rag. If prepping new plaster, wipe it down with a vinegar-soaked rag to neutralise it. Allow the walls to dry thoroughly.

  9. 9

    Apply two coats of primer sealer over the surface of the wall with a paintbrush or roller. This will ensure that old paint, new plaster and spackle do not interfere with the adhesion of the new wallpaper glue. Allow each coat to dry before continuing.

Tips and warnings

  • If old wallpaper is particularly difficult to remove, you can sand it, wipe it down and apply new wallpaper and wallpaper glue over it.
  • Allow new plaster to cure for one to four months before prepping and wallpapering.
  • Severely uneven walls -- due to texturing or other issues -- may require professional assistance in prepping for wallpaper.
  • Wear a dust mask and goggles when sanding, as the dust can irritate nasal passages and eyes.

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