Installation Tips

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There has been a dramatic resurgence in the use of wallcovering. The knowledge U.S. Wallcovering has acquired being in business over a century (since 1905) has positioned us to be your best source for information related to all aspects of the wallcovering industry. Over the years we have had experience with many different products and encountered a variety of installation challenges which has allowed us to perfect our craft, and to help you make the best decisions for your wallpaper, wall border, or mural installation project.

Wall Currently Has
No Wallpaper

If there is not wallpaper currently on the wall, you will want to prepare the wall with a good primer. If the wall has previously been primed but it has been necessary to patch the wall in just a few areas to smooth out imperfections, you will want to prime over the patched areas. Note: If the wall is white and the patch is white it is just necessary to prime the patch, but if the wall is a different color from the patch, it is suggested that you prime the entire wall with a block-out primer in order to prevent color bleed through when you apply the wallpaper.


If the wall has a textured or stucco-type finish, as is the case in many newer homes, or the wall is not in good condition and would require more than just minimal patching, you will want to create a smooth surface to ensure the best wallpaper installation technique. The easiest way to achieve a perfectly smooth wall finish if one does not already exist, is to prime the wall, install wall liner and then prime the wall liner, creating a brand new wall.


Blank stock, non-woven wall liner is an ideal bridging material that will minimize wall repair and make troubled walls look like new again. Heavy weight liner may be used directly over primed cement block, brick, ceramic tile, heavily textured walls or v-grooved paneling. When new wallcovering is hung or paint is applied, the walls will look smooth and even. Liner is easy to hang. Using a pre-mixed, clay-based adhesive, the liner may be hung horizontally (railroading) or vertically. When the liner is hung using the double cut technique, and then primed, the seams will not show. Prior to the application of wall liner, the surface should be primed followed by wall liner and then followed by an additional coat of primer. Commercial liner is packaged in double rolls that are 27 inches wide and 24 feet in length.

Wall Test

Make 2 score-lines (don’t actually cut all the way to the wall) 12-inches apart, wet the wallpaper surface, let it sit for a few minutes and then try to peel the wallpaper layer away from the wall. One of four results will occur.

1. The wallpaper will be strip-able and whole sheets will come off.

2. The wallpaper will be peel-able and the top layer will come off in big pieces.

3. The wallpaper will come off in little pieces at a time.

4. The wallpaper does not come off easily and the dry wall turns into mush when water is applied. If this occurs stop the test, patch test area over with spackle compound and prime the wall with an oil-based or acrylic primer.

The process for dealing with conditions 1, 2 and 3 is the same with the only difference being that 3 calls for use of a special tool called a paper tiger or piranha which opens up the pores of the paper and facilitates action by the follow-up liquid.


If there is already wallpaper on the wall, it is necessary to test the condition of the underlying wall surface. It is very easy to do this.

Wallpaper Removal Technique
As easy as  1-2-3


Cover floors with drop cloths or plastic. Put liquid on the walls with a sponge or garden-sprayer. The sprayer is recommended because it covers the largest area. The liquid can be plain water or water mixed with wetting agents such as fabric softener, dishwasher liquid or white vinegar. It is recommended that a wetting agent be used to keep water moist longer and to inhibit evaporation. Apply the liquid. Five minutes later apply it again. Five minutes later apply it a third time. Let the liquid do the work for you. We are forcing you to be patient.


Apply the liquid to three strips at a time and then re-wet them several times as you develop a system for removal. Use a wide blade putty knife to remove the wallpaper.


Wash the wall thoroughly with warm water and then apply one final coat of water mixed with a little bit of Clorox to inhibit spore development.

After all the wallpaper is removed and the wall is washed you are ready to prepare it for the new wallpaper. It is not necessary to prime the wall again if it was properly primed before the first layer of wallpaper was applied. But, if you have any doubt as to the condition of the wall it is best to apply a primer coat to make future wallpaper removal go smoothly.


There are three types of primer: oil-based, acrylic and alcohol-based. If applying acrylic primer it is possible to prime the wall after two hours. If using an alcohol-based or oil-based primer it is best to allow the wall to dry 12 hours between final wash down and application of primer.

Seam and Repair Adhesives

If you have an edge or a seam that needs to be repaired, seam and repair adhesive is suited for small scale fix-ups. The best way to apply this product is to take a warm washcloth and warm up the curled seam to get elasticity and flexibility into the paper and then apply the adhesive to the seam.

Border Application on Bare Walls
or Over Wallcovering

basic process

Re-roll border so it is pattern against pattern. If the border is pre-pasted, place in a bucket of warm water and immediately start taking it out 2 feet at a time and accordion-fold it paste against paste. Let it relax for five minutes. If the border is not pre-pasted, apply a vinyl adhesive and accordion-fold the border paste against paste and let it relax for five minutes.

Border On Flat-Painted Walls

After five minutes apply directly to the wall.

Border On Semi-Gloss or Gloss Painted Walls

Instead of dipping in water, apply border over paste adhesive directly to the border with a roller, apply accordion-fold and let is rest five minutes before applying to the wall.

Border On Wallcovering

Prepare border described in the basic process above. Use vinyl over vinyl adhesive on the wall. Apply in a thin bead on the wallcovering and using your hand to rub it over the area. Wash hands and put border over adhesive. Wash off excess paste with water. If vinyl over vinyl dries, use a sponge with warm water to clean it off.

Hanging Techniques

Hanging wallcovering, whether wallpaper or borders, is really easy using the right techniques. At U.S. Wallcovering we have years of experience teaching customers simple, effective ways to hang wallcovering. Below are just a few of the tips and techniques we have passed on to students just like yourself to ensure a perfect wallpaper, border or mural installation.

Booking refers to the folding of paper (paste side to paste side) after you have applied the paste or activated pre-pasted products by submerging them in water. The actual time to be spent booking wallcovering (paper or borders) is longer than indicated on the instructions typically included in product packaging.

Use of activators is important to the success of the job.

Although use of a water box helps contain water and limit excess dripping on floor surfaces it also is more apt to dry the paper out resulting in curling edges or shrinking seams.

Always work towards the main entrance.

Corners are easy if you follow our instructions. Never seam paper at a corner; instead run paper around the corner and then paper over in coming from the other direction.

The proper way to smooth paper so that seams match and don’t shrink in the future is to work from the middle of the strip towards the preceding seam.

No walls are perfect so there is always a difference in dimensions. Make certain you measure each wall carefully to ensure no surprises.

Always start with an easy piece — one that requires a minimum of cutting or adapting. If the job is not completed in one day don’t stop just before a difficult piece. Instead, stop before an easy piece so you start with an easy piece when you return to the project.

Never start applying paper in a corner because then you will see a gap. Go around the corner by 1 inch. For example, if it is 10 inches to the corner cut an 11 inch piece.

Make certain you use a sharp blade. We recommend a snap off cutter and it is best to use a 6” putty knife as a guide for all trimming. Using a window guide you run the risk of bridging a gap at some point and not getting a true cut possibly resulting in a paper tear.

Although brushes and plastic smoothers are the most common tools used for smoothing paper to the wall surface, we recommend use of a plastic smoother for most jobs. If you use a brush and it is not clean you could damage the paper.

INSTALLation tools
and supplies

Below is a list of the some of the wallpaper installation tools & supplies you may want to consider purchasing to ensure a perfect wallpaper/border/mural installation. We have a full supply of these items in a variety of materials and at different price points, all at discounted prices. We have the right tools for all types of wallpaper and border installations whether it is pasted or unpasted, vinyl, grasscloth, foil or embossed product.

• Trays
• Roller covers
• Sizing products
• Plastic smoothers
• Snap off cutters with replacement blades
• Scissors (long & sharp)
• Levels
• Sponges
• Plum lines (we prefer creating a plum line by attaching a thread to a putty knife because of the possibility of discoloring paper with the blue dye)

• Adhesives

• Primer / sealers
• Seam adhesives and repair kits
• Vinyl over vinyl adhesives
• Border over paint adhesives
• Activators
• Drop cloths
• Brushes
• Yardsticks
• Spackle
• Putty knives and scrapers
• Seam rollers
• Knowledge & patience

Reach out To us!

If you have any questions about installing or removing wallcoverings please CONTACT US!

We will gladly arrange for a phone consultation or a one-on-one tutorial in our showroom.


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