Successfully hanging vintage wallpaper in your home begins with proper wall preparation. If the walls are not properly prepared before affixing the wallpaper, the paper may have trouble sticking to the surface or may make imperfections more noticeable.
First things first, remove all switch plates, lighting elements, and any other wall fixtures that would interfere with hanging a sheet of wallpaper upon the wall.
Next, check the walls for any cracks, holes, nicks, or dents and patch them. Make sure to smooth any rough areas with sandpaper. You must make sure that the surface of the wall is clean, smooth, and free of holes. Any imperfections that remain on your walls will only be amplified once the paper is up.
After attending to the necessary repairs, you need to prime the wall. If the walls were previously painted, be sure to clean the walls before priming. Once the primer is applied and dry, you’re ready to hang the wallpaper.
For previously papered walls, it’s always recommended to remove the old wallpaper before applying the new wallpaper. It is possible to wallpaper over already existing paper, but you run the risk of the top layer pulling the bottom layers of wallpaper loose and everything coming off the wall. Even so, papering over old wallpaper sometimes happens. If you choose to do this, make sure to scrape off any loose paper, patch any holes, and sand everything smooth. When you hang wallpaper on top of old paper, make sure to stagger the seams. Do not match up the seams of the new piece with the old piece, as this will make it more likely to tear off the wall.
Removing Old Wallpaper
Removing wallpaper can be hard work, but the process is rather simple. If you soak the wallpaper enough, the water will soften the paste underneath the paper so that it can be scraped away with a broad knife. Apply generous amounts of water to the wallpaper using a large brush or an old rag; don’t be afraid to go over the walls many times with water. The more saturated the paper, the easier it will be to remove. If it seems like the paper just will not budge, try mixing a cup of paste with a gallon of water and then applying the water to the walls. The little amount of paste will slow the evaporation process, keeping the walls damp longer. Once you have scraped off all the old wallpaper, make sure to patch, sand, and clean the walls before priming. After the primer has dried, you’re ready to hang the wallpaper.