FAQs- Wallcoverings

1) Why are there so many different wallcoverings available? I'm almost overwhelmed by what seems like thousands of choices.
A) It's true that there are many wallcovering choices. In fact, when you include both color and pattern, there are well over 100,000 choices available at any one time! But that's to your benefit. You'll be able to find exactly the right pattern and color you need to fulfill your decorating objective. And, at a price to fit any budget. To make your selection task easier, many independent retailers have their wallcovering sample books and in-stock wallcovering organized and categorized by room, style, type of wallcovering and price. In addition, many independent retailers have well-trained, certified consultants who can guide you quickly to exactly the right wallcovering for your project.
2) Can I hang my own wallcoverings, or should I hire a professional paperhanger?
A) It depends. Most residential wallcoverings are now hung by consumers such as you. By following manufacturers' instructions, the advice of the independent retailer where you purchase your wallcoverings and the step-by-step directions, you can hang your own wallcoverings and do a professional-looking job. Wallcoverings are not difficult to hang! However, there are certain types of wallcoverings and architectural situations (elaborate stairwells, for example) where a professional definitely should be hired. Your local independent retailer can advise you as to when and if you should hire a professional and can usually give you a list of local paperhangers.
3) Can I hang wallcoverings over old paneling?
A) Yes! In fact, you can even hang over wall tile, brick, cinder block and textured walls. While there are a number of methods, the simplest is to use what is called lining paper. This is a special type of blank wallcovering stock that is hung over the paneling (or tile, etc.) to provide a smooth surface over which your regular wallcovering is then hung. Your local independent retailer usually carries lining paper and can provide complete instructions. You'll be amazed at how much brighter a paneled room will look when the old, dark paneling is covered with wallcoverings.
4) Are there special wallcoverings for different rooms and/or situations?
A) While very versatile, some types of wallcoverings are better than others in certain rooms or situations. For example, there are wallcoverings that feature such qualities as stain resistance and scrubbability. These would be excellent choices for kitchens, baths and laundry rooms. Other wallcoverings resist abrasions and are washable, making them a good choice for children's rooms. Others feature color-fastness as a characteristic. These would be naturals for rooms that receive a great deal of direct sunlight. These features and others are listed on the wallcovering's label and/or in the sample books at your retailer. Wallcoverings produced for commercial use also are classified by physical and performance characteristics. Your local independent retailer can advise you as to the type wallcovering you should use for your particular situation.
5) Are there any special preparations I should make to my walls before hanging wallcoverings?
A) Yes. In fact, proper surface preparation will make it easier for you to hang your wallcoverings and plays a very important role in assuring satisfactory results. Basic preparation steps include patching any cracks and/or nail holes, washing any greasy or dirty areas, and using a primer/sealer made to be used under wallcoverings. There are other steps that should be taken with new plaster walls, new drywall and other surfaces including paneling and tile walls. Your local independent retailer can advise you as to exactly what preparation is needed for your walls and provide the specific products and tools necessary.
6) My little boy tore a place in our new wallcovering. Can we repair it without hanging a whole new strip?
A) Yes. In fact, it's fairly easy, and if done properly, the repair is practically invisible. Make an exact match with the wallcovering on the wall. Use a razor knife to double-cut through both layers around the tear. Remove both layers, clean the exposed wall area and repaste the new outer piece into the area. After 15 minutes lightly seam roll the fitted edge. Note that an irregular, wavy cut following the design in the wallcovering will make your cut less noticeable.