Although you might think that one wallpaper paste is much the same as the next, there are actually several different types, each with quite specific uses. Most of these types of paste come as a powder or flakes ready to be mixed with water. However, you can also by ready mixed paste.
All-Purpose Paste – This is the standard type of wallpaper paste, suitable for most normal, lightweight to medium weight paper.
Heavy-Duty Paste – Specifically designed for hanging heavy embossed paper and other heavyweight wall coverings.
Ready-Mixed Paste – Ready-mixed wallpaper paste can be used for most wall coverings, however it is designed for hanging heavyweight paper.
Stain-Free Paste – Some wallpaper (particularly delicate, lightweight paper) can be stained by normal paste. Using stain-free paste means this is much less likely to happen.
Fungicidal Paste – Fungicidal paste contains a fungicidal solution to help prevent moulds forming on the paper. Useful in badly ventilated areas, although serious causes of damp should be solved properly rather than just papered over.
Repair Adhesive – Repair adhesive is used to stick down loose edges and corners of wallpaper sheets. Can also be effective for applying decorative borders.
Although your first instinct may always be to apply the mixed paste to the wallpaper, there are actually three different methods for adhering paper to a wall. The method you choose does depend on the type of wallpaper you are using, because two of the methods require specific types of paper.
Method 1 – Paste the Wallpaper
This is traditionally the widest used method for attaching wallpaper to the wall. Paste is evenly applied to the back of a length of wallpaper and allowed to soak in slightly before the paper is carried to the wall, positioned and smoothed into place with a paperhanging brush.
When applying paste in this way, start in the centre and spread the adhesive out to the edges. Loosely folding the pasted wallpaper will help the paste to activate and make it easier to carry to the wall.
Method 2 – Paste the Wall
This method works far better when using wallpaper which is designed for it specifically, although you can use this method for non paste-to-wall wallpaper as well. Paste is mixed up in the normal way, but then applied to the wall in a strip slightly wider than the width of the paper you are using.
You can use a normal pasting brush for this. The dry wallpaper is then positioned and smoothed onto the paste strip using a paperhanging brush. This method can be easier if you find handling wet wallpaper difficult. When pasting the strip of wall, make sure you cover it evenly or air bubbles will form at the missed areas.
Method 3 – Ready-Pasted
This method requires ready-pasted wallpaper to be used. This is paper which has an even coat of a dry adhesive on the back, which is made ready for use by submerging a length of dry paper in water. You will need to buy a wallpaper trough for submerging the paper.
A strip of paper is cut to the correct length for the wall and then rolled up into a tube with the patterned side facing inwards. The tube is submerged in the trough, which should be positioned at the end of a pasting table. Holding the end of the roll, the paper should then be drawn up to and along the table, with the patterned side down. Loosely fold the paper on the table to allow the adhesive to activate, before positioning and smoothing it onto the wall.
With a bit of practice, using ready-pasted wallpaper can result in a better finish as the adhesive is very evenly applied and should help to avoid bubbles forming after it is applied to the wall.
1 – Avoid using old paste, particularly if the packet has been opened, as it will lose some of its effectiveness over time. Wallpaper paste is cheap to buy and goes a long way, so don’t scrimp.
2 – There are several types of paste available which include additional chemicals to help prevent things like mold and mildew. If the room you are papering is prone to these sorts of problems, spending the extra for specialised paste is well worth it.
3 – Tie a piece of string across the top of the pasting bucket. This can then be used both as a rest for the head of the brush (helping to keep the handle clean), and a good way to remove excess paste so that it drips back into the bucket.