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Do You Need To Prime Walls Before Wallpapering?

Posted on: June 06, 2018

With any home improvement project, doing the job right is a job well done. Although it may take longer than you intend due to unexpected, but inevitable snags along the way, following the proper steps in completing the job produces beautiful work you can be proud of. This is no more relevant than in the case of wallpapering. 

Although throwing the paper up right away may be tempting, it may not end up giving you the long lasting results and quality you would expect.  Whether hanging wallpaper yourself or relying on a professional, every step should be followed to ensure your paper is properly installed. One of the most important of these steps is priming.

By priming your walls with either an acrylic, alkyd, or PVA primer, depending on the surface type, will ensure your wallpaper adheres properly to the surface without damaging the wall.

Protecting The Wall

Primer creates a barrier between the wall and the paper so that the adhesive doesn’t overly bond with the wall material. An example of this is wallpapering directly onto unprimed drywall. The gypsum material in the drywall overly bonds with the adhesive in the wallpaper, which makes wallpaper incredibly difficult to remove without damaging the wall.

Blocking Color

Priming also blocks color from showing through the new wallpaper. This is especially true if you’re hanging wallpaper on brightly colored walls. The last thing you’d want is to hang your beautiful new wallpaper, only to notice that bright green hue from the previous homeowner’s wall color is showing right through.

The Issue Of Latex

You may be inclined towards putting up wallpaper directly on latex paint covered walls, especially since the most popular wallpaper primer is latex based anyway. But, there’s a big difference between latex paint and latex based wallpaper primer.

Latex paint is often porous, allowing the wall to breathe. When the wallpaper adhesive comes into contact with latex paint, there is a real chance the integrity of the paint will degrade, becoming soft, mushy, or rubbery. There’s also a chance the adhesive can pass right through the latex paint, damaging the drywall underneath.

How To Prime Your Walls

The very first thing you’ll need to do before applying primer is ensuring the wall is as smooth as it can be. This means removing any nails or other protrusions, and filling uneven spots, cracks, and holes with putty. Then sand your repairs down so that it’s even with the rest of the wall.

The next step to take before applying primer is giving your walls a good wash. This is simply achieved with a good multi-purpose cleaner, a bucket of warm water, and a sponge. Once the wall has been washed and has dried completely, you can apply your primer.

If you have questions about which primer to use after reading the installation instructions that came with the paper, contact your wallpaper consultant. Although acrylic based primer is used often, there may be some specific surfaces that are best suited for alkyd or PVA primers.

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