How to Prepare Walls for Wallpaper

Preparations are the key to get the perfect result when wallpapering, it might sound boring and seem to require a lot of time, but there are no shortcuts if you want a good result. And that is what we all want, right? The rule is that the wall should be smooth, clean, dry and sound. There is a lot of ways of doing this, but here are our best tips.

Step by Step Guide

Clearing the workspace is best to start with, to give yourself the best conditions possible. Move large furniture to the center of the room, remove everything that is on the wall you intend to wallpaper, and also prepare all the tools necessary. If you have to remove old wallpaper, you will find a guide about that here.

Step 1

Cover the floor with cardboard or plastic dust sheet.

Step 2

Remove nails and screws.

Step 3

Switch off the main power in the room and remove the socket/switch covers.

Step 4

Spackle any holes or rough areas.

Step 5

Sand and smooth the surface.

Step 6

Use a triangular scraper for large holes and scratch until you reach solid surface. Spackle and cover the hole with fiberglass tape and spackle again. Let it dry before sanding.

Step 7

Wash painted surfaces with a damp sponge.

Step 8

Paint the wall before wallpapering if there are too significant color differences.

How to Handle Different Surfaces

Painted Surface

Wash with dish soap and water, or similar, and rinse with water. Remove any loose paint. If there are large holes, fill them and let dry before sanding the surface until it is smooth.

Concrete and Plastered Surfaces

Spackle any holes or rough areas and joints. Plaster the whole wall and when the spackle is dry, sand, smooth and seal the wall with primer to insure a successful result. This means that you paste the wall with glue and let it dry before you start to wallpapering.

Plasterboard, Chipboard and Wood Fiber Boards

Spackle any nail and screw holes. The joints should be filled with spackle and jointing tape. Sand and smooth out and seal the wall with primer/sealer. Chipboards should be painted with alkyd primer/sealer before wallpapering, to ensure that the joints don't move.

Previously Wallpapered Surface

All loose wallpaper should be removed. Some wallpapers are peelable, which means that the first layer can be removed. If the first layer isn’t peelable, you need to plaster the whole wall and sand.

Painted Fiberglass Fabric

Wash the surface with dish soap and water or similar and rinse with water. Plastering the whole wall and let the spackle dry. Sand, smooth and seal the wall with primer/sealer.

Textile/fabric Wallpaper Like Seaweed/grasscloth or Similar

Remove all material from the wall, if it is too hard, use a wallpaper stripper. Spackle and seal the wall with primer/sealer.

Recommended Tools

  • Work light
  • Dust sheet
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Towel
  • Sandpaper
  • Triangle scraper
  • Sponge and water bucket
  • Blade knife
  • Paint and roller
  • Dust mask