Q1. How do we remove existing wallpaper from the wall?
Robbie Neal says: The majority of wallpapers have, to some degree or other, a form of moisture protection on the face of them. This could be either PVC vinyl, emulsion paint, lacquer or a clay coating.
Therefore, merely sloshing water over the surface of the paper is not going to make it magically fall off. The key to successful removal is in the water, but in a much subtler way, that the water has to penetrate the coating of the paper and get to the adhesive to soften and re-activate. In most cases the use of a steamer will be of enormous benefit, as it will penetrate the wall covering, therefore allowing it to peel off in large pieces.
Q2. What are the benefits of cross-lining my walls before papering?
Robbie Neal says :It is recommended that you cross-line horizontally, to avoid the vertical joins in your lining paper matching up with the vertical joins in your chosen wallpaper. You will find that if you hang a join on top of another join it will be difficult to disguise the top one.
Lining paper is the very best surface to hang your wall covering onto, as the surface of the lining paper has the same texture as the back of the wallpaper, therefore creating a compatible bond. Lining paper should not be treated in any way after it is hung, as this will re-seal the surface, taking away from its purpose.
It also provides a perfectly uniform finish for the wallpaper to be hung onto and covers minor imperfections, such as small cracks in the plaster. Also, in the main, wallpapers are very slightly translucent, and it therefore removes the slight possibility of any marks or unevenly painted surfaces such as light or dark patches, below from showing through. There are different grades of lining paper available, the thicker quality being suitable for more uneven surfaces.
There is a belief that lining paper only needs to be used on high quality wallpapers. Whilst lining paper is certainly to be recommended for these papers, it is even more important that it is used on thinner wallpapers, as these are less likely to cover imperfections.
Lining paper should not be treated in any way after it is hung, as this will re-seal the surface, taking away from its purpose. Try our Eco-friendly lining paper from Erfurt for a very professional finish. There are different grades of lining paper, 1000 grade is a good heavy weight general purpose paper; 1200 grade is slightly heavier for cracked and colour marked surfaces, and if you feel something a little heavier still is needed, then 1400 grade is the one.
Q3. What is ‘edge to edge’ colour shading and how is it caused?
Robbie Neal says: Edge to edge colour shading is a term given to wallpaper that gives the appearance of one side of the paper being darker than the other, when hung, creating a striped effect on the papered wall. Edge to edge shading is almost exclusively due to a fault of manufacture. The only exception being is when a paper is intended to be, as indicated, ‘reverse hung’ by the manufacturer, and the decorator has not adhered to the instruction to do so.
If the decorator does not adhere to the instruction for the paper to be ‘reverse hung’ , in all cases, edge to edge shading will usually be visible within hanging 3-4 drops of the wallpaper and therefore papering should be stopped immediately and the manufacturer’s instructions consulted. In the case of a fault, a piece of the paper should be returned for testing.
Q4: What do I do if I am unsure about how many rolls of wallpaper I need?
Robbie Neal says: Due to Robinson & Neal being unable to refund 1 or 2 rolls, we advise, firstly that you use our online calculator to give you a guide of how many rolls you will need to do the room. Then, if you are still unsure, and think you may need an extra roll, please phone our customer service line 0800 1522 722 and ask us to reserve a roll for you free of charge.
Q5: What is mould or fungal growth and what causes it?
Robbie Neal says: Mould or fungal growth is caused by fungal spores in the atmosphere. Fungal spores are not visible until they come into contact with moisture, eg. wallpaper paste when they may then show as dark grey, blue or even yellow patches under the wallpaper. Mould will continue to develop if the underlying walls have a damp problem, or in kitchens and bathrooms where there is a high level of condensation. Before wallpapering a room, it is important to establish whether there is a damp problem, and that it is cured before wallpaper is hung. Wallpaper itself, is highly unlikely to be the cause of mould growth, as wallpaper substrate is sterilised before manufacture. There is no solution for treating wallpaper damaged by mould, other than to strip it off and treat the whole area with a fungicidal wash.
Robbie Neal says: Fungicidal wash is a treatment which is applied to the walls to kill any fungal spores in preparation for hanging any kind of wall covering to prevent damage. It may be used in any area that has had a moisture problem, eg. kitchens and bathrooms, but also in any area of the house prior to decoration. Please read the manufacturer’s instructions before application.
Q7: Understanding “Soak times” for wallpaper
Robbie Neal says: The “soak time” is the amount of time it takes for the wallpaper to fully expand to its maximum width once the paste is applied. The time it will take is normally indicated on the manufacturer’s label, as a time eg. 4-5 minutes. This is not applicable to non-woven “paste the wall” wallpapers.
During this time the wallpaper can expand anywhere between 4-7 mm and the time taken is governed by how easily the paper can extract the moisture from the wallpaper paste. Ready mixed pastes are thicker and will therefore take longer to extract moisture than a flake or powder paste mix.
The expansion of the wallpaper only happens across it’s width and not down the length. It is always better to leave the wallpaper to soak for longer than necessary than under estimate the time.
Q8: How do I remove paste from the paper face without damaging the printed surface?
Robbie Neal says: If adhesive is left on the face of the wallpaper it is unsightly. The most successful way to remove the adhesive from the face is to use a fairly wet cloth or sponge, not a damp one. The idea is not to rub off the glue, which will potentially lead to the removal of the print surface, but to “dilute” the adhesive and lift it off the surface of the paper. All inks are designed to be water resistant, but they cannot cope with being rubbed or abraded.
It is important to note here, that if the paste has been allowed to dry onto an uncoated wallpaper, that is one that is described in the manufacturer’s instructions, as “spongeable”, then DO NOT remove it!
If the wallpaper is described as “washable”, then a solution of mild detergent and water on a soft sponge or cloth may be used. Make sure to dab the glue off and not to rub. This must only be done at the decorator’s own risk.
On vinyl wallpaper, the adhesive is easily removable with a detergent solution and soft cloth or sponge.