Wallpaper Installation Questions

What is the best starting point in a room to begin my wallpaper installation?

Since your starting and stopping point is the only place in the room that is unlikely to match, it is important to start your job in the least visible corner of the room. A good place to start is usually in the corner that is closest to the entryway.

What do the instructions mean when they talk about booking the paper?

Depending on type, wallpaper can expand its width up to 1/4 inch. To avoid expansion on the wall, which can cause bubbling and wrinkles, it is necessary to “book” the paper before hanging. “Booking” means folding the paper onto itself for several minutes, paste-to-paste, to allow the paper to relax before applying to the wall. Book un-pasted paper immediately after applying paste; book pre-pasted paper immediately after dipping in water. This allows the paper to fully expand, relaxing its curl, and in the case of a pre-pasted paper, it allows the pre-paste to fully activate.

Why is the width of my border shorter than the piece I just hung?

Like most wallpapers, borders expand when they are submerged in water, and as they dry, they contract. Most likely, you were comparing a wet border with a dry border.

What is the difference between primer and sizing? Why do I need to use it?

Primer is a protectant/sealer for your wall which prevents the paste from absorbing into porous surfaces, and allows the paste to grip on slick surfaces. Sizing provides additional grip for better adherence and more slip for ease of sliding each strip into position on the wall. Many products on the market today are a combination sealer/sizer; these one-step universal wallcovering primers are easier to use and are formulated to work on a variety of surfaces under varying conditions. Sealing the surface is also an important procedure to allow for future removal.

Can I apply paste to pre-pasted wallpaper?

Pre-pasted wallpapers are imbued with dried paste that activates when moistened. The moisture from a paste will also activate the dried paste on a pre-pasted wallpaper. So, yes, you can paste a pre-pasted paper. Just one caution: Use a thin paste to uniformly activate the dried paste. Otherwise, you could be left with some dry pockets and may negate the strippability feature of the pre-pasted paper. If you are pasting because you prefer that method of installing over the use of a water box, we suggest you also consider using a pre-paste activator. An activator is applied like a paste, but is specifically designed to properly activate the dried paste on a pre-pasted paper without having to completely submerge the wallpaper in water.

Can I hang wallpaper over existing wallpaper?

Although the ideal surface on which to hang wallpaper is a clean, primed and sized wall from which all previous wallpaper has been removed, we realize that is not always possible. While not ideal, it is sometimes possible to hang wallpaper over existing wallpaper, but if you go that route, be prepared to accept less than ideal results. To minimize potential pitfalls, take these precautions:

  • 1. Make sure the wallpaper over which you install your new wallpaper is securely installed. The better the previous installation; the better chance of success.
  • 2. Ensure that all of the seams over which you hang your new paper are completely flat to avoid obvious ridges that might show through.
  • 3. Plan your first strip so that your new seams do not align with the old seams.
  • 4. Test hang a strip and let it stay overnight to make sure the moisture from the new paper does not loosen the previous layer of wallpaper.
  • 5. Before hanging over wallpaper, it is even more important to seal and/or size the existing wallpaper in order to create a surface that is easy to slide your paper into place and which will maintain adherence to the old wallpaper.
  • 6. Finally, if you are installing a light colored paper over a dark or high contrast paper, use a specialty pigmented wallpaper primer to block the old pattern from coming through the new design.

What does the match and pattern repeat affect? Do I need to measure differently?

The pattern match and repeat affect the hanging method, the waste amount and the total amount of paper needed for a job. Generally speaking, the larger the repeat, the greater the chance for waste, but a drop match of the same repeat would have less waste than a straight match.

What is the ‘run number’ that is noted on my wallpaper label?

Each time a specific color design or wallpaper pattern is run by our presses, it is given a run number or lot number. Although most people never need to know the lot number, if you run short of wallpaper to complete your job, it is best to order your wallpaper from the same run number for the best color match. If for some reason, the wallpaper is no longer available in your run number, you can use any of our press runs to finish the job. But for optimal results, keep the unmatched run on a single wall, trying not to hang two long strips of two different runs together, because although our color matchers are some of the best in the world, it is impossible to achieve an exact match from one run to another.

Why do wallpapers come in varying widths? Will I get more paper on a wider roll?

J Crawford Design Studio primarily sells wallcovering on four roll sizes: 20 1/2 inches wide by 33 feet long, 27 inches wide by 27 feet long, 27 1/2 inches wide by 35 1/5 feet long, and 36 inches by 24 feet long. The roll size is determined by the printing process used to create the paper. There is slightly more material on some of the wider rolls.

Why are some papers prepasted and others unpasted? Which is better?

There is really no quality difference between pre-pasted papers and un-pasted papers. All of our products are of superior grade material. The main difference comes down to installation preference. Most of our papers are pre-pasted for the convenience of the do-it-yourself homeowner. Our designer papers are often un-pasted because they are more typically installed by professional paper hangers who have a preference for pasting the papers.

Wallpaper Glossary of Terms and their meaning

New to the wallpaper lingo? Don’t worry. We’ll break down for you common wallpaper terms and their meanings below.

BOLT: A double roll of wallpaper

BOOKING: The term refers to the process of folding wet, pasted wallpaper, back-to-back, and paste-to-paste, accordion style, then allowing it to sit for several minutes. Booking allows the paper to expand and relax before being applied to the wall, making the paper easier to maneuver on the wall and minimizing the risk of air bubbles and exposed seams.

BORDER SPOOL: A wallpaper strip, usually narrower than a sidewall, installed horizontally in a room, to define, separate and accent areas of decoration. A coordinating border is often used to provide a finished edge where the sidewall meets the ceiling. It can also be used at chair rail height to separate one coordinating wallpaper from another, or as an architectural detail to create decorative panels in a room. By itself, on a painted wall, a border can be an inexpensive way to personalize a room or create a theme. Borders can refresh what’s already there or create a new look in little time. A border is packaged in a single spool of standardized length.

BORDER SPOOL SIZE: Widths of borders will vary but the length of a border spool is usually 15 Feet.

DIE LOT NUMBER: Also referred to as Run number, is the sequential number assigned to a specific production run of wallpaper, guaranteeing uniformity of color match throughout that production run. Although most people never need to know the lot number, if you run short of wallpaper to complete the job, it is best to get the same run number for an exact color match.

DOUBLE ROLL: The standard size of wallpaper, also referred to as a bolt. Wallpaper is often be priced in single rolls and packaged in double rolls.

MATCH TYPE: The pattern match and repeat refer to the wallpaper design. Most automated presses print wallpapers using an imprinted cylinder that repeats the design, creating both a vertical and horizontal pattern repeat. The horizontal repeat is created to match from strip to strip, and the vertical repeat allows for a design to print on the reel in endless repetition. Here are examples of various types of matches – straight, drop, and random.

MURAL: An artistic or photographic rendering of a large scale single motif, intended to cover a full wall or large portion of a wall. The entire mural pictorial is usually composed of separate wallpaper strips, hung in proper sequence, which then combine to create the full image.

Murals are a great way to create a dramatic feature wall and are usually available in two different sizes – a full wall size or a smaller size to be used above a chair rail. Artistic motifs range from serious subject matter and classic art to whimsical themes and fun designs.

PRE-PASTED WALLPAPER: Pre-pasted papers have dried paste imbedded on the back surface and are activated when moistened by submersion in a water trough or by contact with a pre-paste activator.

SIZER: Wallcovering preparation that provides additional grip for better adherence. Often used in combination with a wallcovering primer, today many products on the market combine the primer and sizer together. These one-step ‘universal’ wallcovering primers are easier to use and are formulated to work on a variety of surfaces under varying conditions. Sealing the surface is also an important procedure to allow for future removal.

UN-PASTED WALLPAPER: Unpasted papers require that a proper wallcovering adhesive be applied to the back of each strip prior to installing on the wall surface.

WALLCOVERING PRIMER: Chemical coating that protects and seals the wall in preparation for the installation of wallcoverings. Primers will seal out porous surfaces to prevent paste from absorbing into the wall, promoting better ‘slip’ during installation and better ‘grip’ afterwards.

WALLPAPER SIDEWALL: The term, sidewall, refers to a roll of wallpaper as distinguished from other wallpaper materials like borders or medallions. It can be defined as any repeatable wallcovering pattern that is intended to be hung vertically, strip by strip, in order to fully cover a wall. A wallpaper sidewall may use a ‘single roll’ size as a standard for pricing. This unit standard began as a way to simplify the pricing of nonstandard packaging of double, triple and quadruple size bolts. Today, almost all wallpaper sidewalls are packaged in double roll bolts and an effort is being made to make this double roll bolt as the new standard for pricing. However, just as many places still use the single roll standard as use the double roll standard. So make sure you know which standard you are purchasing in order to correctly calculate proper pricing and determine how many rolls you will need.

  • STRAIGHT MATCH: When a pattern match is straight, the design moves straight across from one wallpaper strip to the next. When hung, every strip will be the same at the ceiling line (the same part of the pattern in the first and following strips will be the same distance from the ceiling).
  • DROP MATCH: When a pattern match is drop, the design runs diagonally from the ceiling (it does not run in a straight line across the wall). The design is staggered so only every other strip is identical at the ceiling line.
  • RANDOM MATCH: When a pattern match is random the wallpaper does not have to be matched at the seams. No matter how you position the wallpaper next to the previous strip, the pattern looks well. Typical examples of a random match are textures, grass cloths, and simple stripes. Note: as a general rule, every other strip should be reverse hung to reduce the possibility of shading.