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Wall Coverings: Basic Tips for Beginners


Here are a few tips beginners should know about wall coverings

Wallpaper rolls come in dye lots, which are part of a bigger run. Color variations can occur within runs, but should not within dye lots. It is important to purchase enough paper to finish the job from a single dye lot. Matching numbers will be printed on each bolt. Always inspect each roll - at least the first two feet - for imperfections. Plan to purchase extra rolls - just in case.

If possible, choose a paper that is made with removable backing. You will still have to coat the back side with paste, but if the paper wrinkles, you can just peel it back and reposition it.

Preparation is the all-important precursor to any wallpaper or paint project. Make sure walls are clean and that all flawed areas are repaired with patching or putty. If you have used any type of compound, make sure to follow manufacturer's recommended drying times. If you have uneven spots that cannot be repaired, shop for wallpapers that are designed to hide inconsistencies.

Measure, re-measure, and do it again. It's much better to spend extra time on the front end confirming that your plumb lines are straight than to discover the line is off after you have attached the fourth panel.

Pick a room that does not have any elaborate cutouts or large coverage areas. Experts recommend a hallway.

You do not have to wallpaper every wall in a room. If you are not ready to tackle papering around windows and doorways, choose one wall and cover it. Give the remaining walls a fresh coat of paint in a complementary color. You can even add a third color to trim and baseboards.

Not all walls are square. There are ways to compensate, so don't worry.

Choose papers that have random patterns, rather than those that are repeating, if you want to save on wallpaper costs. A paper with repeating patterns will tell you the length of each repetition and you will have to match those up with each cut, thereby losing some in the process.

Before you start, cut a small strip of wallpaper off the end and practice pasting, booking (if required), and mounting on a scrap piece of plywood.

Avoid wallpaper that tears easily, such as foil.

The experts at your local wall covering store will be happy to offer additional tips and techniques and you'll find plenty of step-by-step information on-line and in magazines and books.

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