An in-depth buying guide for wallpapering tools and supplies, covering primers, plus tools for cutting, layout, removal, pasting, smoothing, and more.
Following are the tools and supplies you will need to have on hand to wallpaper a room:
You will need a razor or utility knife to cut the paper. Buy plenty of blades because dull ones will create tears. Also have on hand a metal straightedge and large utility shears or scissors.
You’ll need a measuring tape and, depending on your project, a plumb bob or a long carpenter’s level for aligning vertical lines. A short level is handy for use in small spaces and to check the straightness of the paper as you work.
To remove existing wallpaper, depending on its type, you’ll need a broad knife, a sanding block (or scarifying tool), and a tool for helping release the old wallpaper—either a steamer, a canister-style garden sprayer (available for rent), or a sponge. Enzyme-based gel wallpaper remover goes on with a roller; it is the least messy alternative.
For pasting, use a short-napped paint roller with a paint tray, or a pasting brush with a bucket. A whisk works well for mixing dry paste. For pre-pasted paper, you’ll need only a water tray.
For smoothing, work with a wallpaper smoother, a rag, a sponge, or a high-quality smoothing brush. Whichever tool you choose, it should allow you to apply pressure evenly yet feel whether the wallpaper is smooth or uneven.
With textured or embossed paper, always use a smoothing brush. After the paper has dried for about 15 minutes, smooth with a smoother or sponge; using a seam roller (on conventional wallpapers only) helps flatten seams and make them unnoticeable.
Primers & Sizing
Primers and sizing are formulated to facilitate the application and adherence of wallpaper to a wall.
Priming for Wallpaper
In most cases, wallpaper adheres more easily if primer sealer is applied to the wall. This compound keeps the wall surface from absorbing moisture from the adhesive and also protects the wall from damage if the covering is later removed. Walls painted with a high-quality flat alkyd paint may not need a primer.
Choose a primer sealer designed as a wallpaper undercoat. Apply it with a roller at least 24 hours before hanging the wallpaper to allow it to dry thoroughly. When you’re hanging a light-colored paper over existing wallpaper or a colored wall, use pigmented primer sealer matched to the paper’s background color.
A liquid coating designed to make wallpaper apply and adhere better and go on more easily, sizing is thought unnecessary in most cases due to advanced technology in primer sealers. You may want to consider sizing if you’re hanging a porous or heavy paper, if the wall is textured or alkyd painted, if the paper isn’t sticking well, or if the wallpaper manufacturer specifically recommends it.
Apply sizing with a roller or brush. It dries quickly, so you can begin hanging the wallpaper immediately unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.