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Wall Covering Glossary


Keep this glossary handy when you're ready to start your wall covering projects

Book: once the paste on wallpaper has been activated, the paper strip should be "booked." This is done by folding the ends in to meet in the middle, pasted sides together. Fold in again and roll up, being careful not to crease the paper. Let this strip sit for 10 minutes to allow the paste to become tacky and the paper to breathe.

Dye lot: wallpaper is printed in larger batches called a run, but within each run there are designated dye lots that assure you the colors are the same from roll to roll. Each dye lot may vary slightly from another. It is important to make your entire wallpaper purchase from a single dye lot. Keep a record of the specific lot and run numbers.

European/Metric roll: this is the roll size of wallpaper that you will see most often. Rolls are bundled in bolts of two for a total of 56 square feet. (20 ½ inches wide x 33 feet long).

Liners: Lining is great for placing on textured walls or even paneling before adding wallpaper. These are available in varying weights, but heavyweight is usually recommended, along with a heavy-duty adhesive. Primer and sizing also have to be applied once the liner has dried.

Plumb line: This is a chalk line, or pencil line that is marked off from a corner. You will do this with every wall. Subtract ½-inch from the width of the wallpaper to make the measurement from the corner outward. Create a line from ceiling to floor and place a level next to it to make the sure the wall is not out of square. If, the corner is not square, use the line at its smallest width to create a straight line from floor to ceiling.

Primers and Sealers: You can now purchase these as one product and may even eliminate the need for adding a layer of sizing. However, if use an oil-based primer, then you will want to add another layer of an acrylic-based primer or sizing.

Repeating patterns: this refers to wallpapers that have a pattern than repeats itself every few inches. You will need extra paper as the pattern will have to match up exactly at the starting point for each strip where it meets the ceiling. Typically, information regarding the length of each repeat is marked on the roll to help you calculate how much you'll lose when you are measuring.

Seam roller: This tool is used to press seams together so they will not come unglued and lift up. The seam roller is applied about 15 minutes after the wallpaper was been applied to the wall. Not all wallpapers require a seam roller, particularly those with raised imprints. Light pressure only, as you never want to squeeze the paste out that is bonding edges to wall.

Sizing: you may be able to eliminate this step as there are combination primer/sealers on the market today that will do the job. Sizing is typically used over plaster, while primers and sealers are applied to new or exposed sheetrock (drywall).

Trisodium phosphate (TSP): Used to clean paneling and other types of dirty or rough walls before sizing is applied. Warning: this is a heavy-duty cleaner and care should be taken to avoid overspray on metals, ceramics, and grout as it will etch these surfaces.

This is a short list of definitions that will be helpful as you begin researching the different methods of applying wall coverings in your home.


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