Most frequent questions and answers
There are many techniques for removing all the different types of wallpaper materials. With fabric-based vinyl wallpaper, the job is usually very easy to pull from the wall while it is dry. However when someone has put up wallpaper on an unprimed wall, you are going to have problems. For paperbacked vinyl, you pull the vinyl off the wall, soak the paper left behind with water and then scrape it off.
Remove with hot soapy water, a sharp scraper and allow time to let the water work and soften the old paste. A steamer is not necessary, use a water sprayer instead. Sometimes white vinegar helps to speed up the job.
There are many different types of wall coverings and wall types so there is no single answer to this question. However, generally most wallpaper dries overnight. With older buildings that could have multiple coats of glossy paint on the walls, the drying process can actually take weeks. It’s important to remember that while wallpaper is wet it rips more easily, so take care when putting furniture and wall hangings back in place.
Years ago, new wallpaper was routinely hung over old. But with most wallpapers today having a vinyl coating or are sheet vinyl it tends to create a vapour barrier, which may result in mildew forming between the two layers. Also, a lot of wall coverings now are not completely opaque, so underlying patterns may show through or even bubble. The best, although fiddly option, is to remove the old paper.
The answer is both yes and no. If the material is a sheet vinyl like fabric backed wall covering or paper backed sheet vinyl, you can paint it because the paint will adhere to the vinyl sheet. But materials that need soaking will become fused to the wall and so are not so receptive to painting over.
Today’s wallpapers are so thin that professional paperhangers need to prepare and smooth the wall as if they were preparing to paint. Fabric-backed vinyl is the best material type for covering up rough walls or cracked walls, especially if the fabric-backed material is embossed and matte finish. If the walls are really bad there are different types of liner papers that can underlay and pad the wall.
The most common cause of wallpaper bubbling is not leaving it long enough to ‘soak’. Wallpaper must have several minutes or longer to soak up the water in the paste and expand. Different types of wallpaper adhesives can also affect the time it takes for the paper to soak up the water in the paste.