Wallcoverings FAQs

 Do I need to use lining paper?

Even though it is not always necessary to use lining paper, it is designed to be a perfect base for wallpaper and can help hide any blemishes that might show through thin wallpaper. You may consider using lining paper if your walls have multiple imperfections or repaired spots, if you are using a thin wallpaper, or when we recommend it.


How many rolls of wallpaper do I need?

First, calculate the wall area by multiplying the height of the wall by the width.

Second, calculate the area of the wall you will not be papering (i.e. windows and doors) by multiplying the height by the width of each area you will not paper.

Third, minus the unpapered area from the area of the wall. This will give you the wallpapering area.

Fourth, divide the wallpapering area by the square footage of the wallpaper you would like to purchase. This will give you the total number of rolls needed to complete your project. However, you will need to consider extra paper for the pattern repeat and extra trimmings.

To make this process easier for you, Arthouse provides a wallpaper calculator on our website click here.  Simply enter your dimensions (height & width) and our calculator will provide you with the number of rolls you will need to order for your room.


Should I size my walls?

No! We do not recommend that you size your walls, however, we do recommend that you use a good quality primer/sealer, as this is more compatible with the ready mixed 'tub' adhesive and acts as a suitable sandwich or 'key' coat on both porous and non-porous wall surfaces.


What are the benefits of lining and in particular cross lining?

Lining paper without question is the best surface you can hang a wall covering onto, as the face of it has the same fibrous texture as the back of the wall covering, therefore they are absolutely compatible. Other major benefits of lining are that it improves the finished results, covering any minor imperfections in the wall and eliminates any possibility of 'show through' from light or dark patches underneath. The lining also reduces shrink back (joins opening up).

Cross lining is recommended because if the lining paper is hung vertically there is the temptation to use the join on the lining as a 'plumb line' starting point for hanging wallpaper onto. Secondly, even if you start hanging the final wallpaper in the middle of the lining paper you may find that because the lining paper is often a wider width to the wallpaper, that as you work round the room the joins catch up with each other. In either case, you will find that if you hang one join on top of another you will have great difficulty disguising the top one.


What decorating tools do I need?

You may already have most of the tools you need, except for a few specialised tools. We recommend the following items;

  • Drop cloth.
  • Tape measure
  • A pencil
  • Putty knife or straight edge
  • Sponge and bucket of clean water
  • Smoothing tool (brush or plastic)
  • Seam roller
  • Utility knife
  • Spirit Level
  • Paste
  • Paste brush or roller.


How long should it take for my wallpaper to dry out naturally?

For wallpapers to fully dry out it could take from 2 to 7 days, dependent upon the type of wall covering and other factors, such as wall surface, adhesive and atmospheric condition, etc.


Should the design on wallpaper always come off the roll the correct way up?

The short answer is no.  Although it can obviously come off the correct way it should never be assumed to always be the case.

The idea that wallpaper comes off the roll with the top of the design going to the top of the room is an ill-conceived one, stemming back many years.  It has absolutely no official foundation and is not a recognised procedure under the European legislation on wallpaper manufacture.


What checks should I undertake when decorating?

Any faults in wallcoverings will be apparent either before hanging or during hanging. Arthouse makes every effort to ensure that our wallcoverings are perfect but variations in the production process do sometimes occur.

Before hanging check that the rolls are undamaged and that they are all the same batch number. Check the design and colour match both edge to edge and roll to roll.  Please retain all roll labels until decorating is complete and you are satisfied with the outcome.  We will need these in the event of a complaint.

The person decorating should inspect the paper after hanging 3 lengths to check for any faults or defects. The decision to continue decorating is then their responsibility. Arthouse cannot be held liable for consequential loss (e.g. decorator’s costs) in respect of defects apparent prior to hanging. No claims for more than 1 roll (3 lengths) can be allowed for defects which were visible at the time of hanging. Some faults, like shade variation, may be notified prior to hanging but are enhanced when the paper has been pasted. If a fault is found, then no more wallpaper should be hung on the wall. Please return any defective rolls and all the labels back to the retailer where the rolls were purchased. The retailer will return the labels and samples of the defect back to Arthouse. The complaint will be investigated, and the product tested, if necessary.


What effect can heat have when decorating?

Heat can play a significant part in the finished results when decorating – in particular with shrink back. All wallpapers need to be allowed to dry naturally in a well-ventilated room. Accelerating the drying process with excessive heat (e.g. central heating, fan heaters, etc) will cause the paper to dry out too quickly putting the paper under severe tension, causing shrink back of the joins to occur.


What paste do you recommend?

Using Paste-the-Wall wallpaper could cut your hanging time in half. Since the wallpaper does not need to soak prior to hanging, it can be hung more easily and quickly. Also, you won’t need a pasting table which can also save you some of the mess and clean up.


Why can’t I get the pattern to match?

Problems with pattern matching can be due to one of 2 things:

Overstretching the paper when hanging. Pasting the wallpaper makes it more pliable and easier to handle. However, it also makes it more susceptible to stretching when ‘brushing out’ to remove air bubbles and flattening the paper to the wall. Extra care is required to ensure that the paper isn’t stretched lengthways as this will affect the pattern match. It is highly unlikely that the paper will contract in length when drying and any attempt to manoeuvre the pattern back will result in creasing.

Manufacturing fault. The edges of all wallpapers are trimmed as part of the production process. If the rotary trimmers are not set to the right position and correct distance apart, then the position of the pattern on the edges of the paper will be affected.   


Why do you recommend a ready mix 'tub' adhesive?

Ready-mixed 'tub' adhesives contain additives, which improves the initial grab of the wallcovering on to the wall surface and improves the long-term bonding qualities of the adhesive.


Can I wallpaper on any wall?

You can wallpaper over most surfaces such as drywall, concrete, panelling, masonry, new and old plaster, and even tile or laminate. For uneven, newly repaired, or slick surfaces, you will need to apply lining paper which provides a smooth surface for the wallpaper to adhere without blemishes. The key to a successful wallpapering project is correctly preparing the walls.


How do I clean my wallpaper?

Wallpapers can be cleaned by vacuuming or dusting it with a sponge or soft cloth. When vacuuming your wallpaper, use a soft brush attachment to ensure that you do not damage the texture.

If your wallpaper is washable, you can use a sponge lightly dampened with water and a small amount of dish soap. Make sure you do not get the wallpaper too wet. It is best to have a dry cloth with you to wipe up any excess water.  Always rinse the wallpaper with a lightly dampened cloth or sponge with just water. Immediately dry the wallpaper by dabbing with a cloth/towel.

However, if your wallpaper is spongeable, you can use a sponge lightly dampened with just water. Make sure you do not get the wallpaper too wet. It is best to have a dry cloth with you to wipe up any excess water.  Immediately dry the wallpaper by dabbing with a cloth/towel.

Some textured wallpaper cannot be washed. You can test whether your wallpaper can be washed by picking an inconspicuous spot of wallpaper and applying your solution of dish soap and water to it.  If the wallpaper absorbs the water or the colours run, it is not washable. Please note that even if your wallpaper is washable do not use abrasive cleaners and always proceed with caution.


The wall covering edges won't stick down, how do I stop them keep lifting?

This type of problem is normally an adhesion issue and the most common cause is 'drying-in' of the adhesive at the edge of the paper. When wallpaper is folded adhesive side in, the only area that is exposed to the atmosphere during the soaking period is the very edge of the sheet and it is this area that starts to dry out first. It is therefore important that an adequate amount of adhesive is applied particularly to the edges. The use of a seam roller may prove beneficial in such circumstances but be careful not to damage the surface of the wallpaper.


What are the benefits of Paste the Wall wallpaper?

Using Paste-the-Wall wallpaper could cut your hanging time in half. Since the wallpaper does not need to soak prior to hanging, it can be hung more easily and quickly. Also, you won’t need a pasting table which can also save you some of the mess and clean up.


What causes bubbles on the wall after hanging?

There are generally two types of bubbles associated with hanging wallpaper which are either due to trapped air or more seriously, continued expansion.

Air bubbles can generally be identified by their shape and will show themselves as a relatively 'round' type bubble (diameter approx 4-8 inches). These are caused when the paper is smoothed unevenly. The best way to avoid air bubbles is to gently brush the paper down the centre and then out to the edges as you work down the sheet. If bubbles are immediately identified as the wallpaper is being hung then simply lift the wallpaper from the bottom and re-brush/smooth it back down. Air bubbles will reduce slightly upon drying but will not disappear completely. Pricking them with a needle and then attempting to brush them out after they have dried will almost certainly result in creases.

Expansion bubbles or creases are caused by the continual expansion of the wallpaper. This occurs when the paper has not been left to soak for the recommended time. They normally present themselves as short elongated bubbles (approx 10/15cm long), running parallel to the length of the wallpaper and tend to look staggered across the sheet. It is highly unlikely that these type of bubbles will reduce upon drying or be removable once dry.


What causes shrink back (joints to open)?

Shrinkage occurs when the wallpaper does not adhere to the wall properly before drying. Most wallpapers expand when wet and will try to shrink back on drying if the wall adhesion is poor or the paper is over-stretched.

If the wall surface has been correctly prepared, the paper will soon adhere to the wall and should not shrink back whilst drying.

Poor wall adhesion can be caused by poor wall preparation or by too little/too weak adhesive and the wallpaper starting to dry out before the hanging commences.

Shrink back also occurs when the room temperature is too high during the drying period. We always recommend that radiators are turned off to allow the wallpaper to dry naturally. If the room temperature is too high, the rate of contraction (shrink back) will be accelerated and will exceed that rate of adhesion.


What is a free match?

Also known as a random match.

When using a free pattern match, you don’t have to worry about lining up the design at the seams. This makes free match wallpaper easy to install and great for beginners. Using a free match wallpaper, such as a texture or vertical stripes, will reduce the amount of wasted paper since you won’t have to cut away extra paper to match a design.


What is a Pattern Match?

The pattern match describes the way to join to lengths of wallpaper so that the patterns match up. The pattern match for your wallpaper is indicated on the product label. There are multiple types of pattern match, for example, straight match, free match and offset match. 


What is a Pattern Repeat?

The pattern repeat is the distance measured before the same part of the design repeats itself along the length of wallpaper. The pattern repeats can vary in size dependant on the scale of the wallpaper design. The pattern repeat is important to keep in mind when deciding how much wallpaper to order.


What is a straight match?

Also known as a horizontal match.  When using a straight pattern match, the wallpaper design begins and ends within the width of the roll. This makes it easy to see where the seams should line up. The match begins at the ceiling line ensuring that the design will match up on either side of the strip. This creates a horizontal pattern sequence.


What is an offset match?

Also known as a half-drop match.  

When using an offset pattern match, the design expands beyond the width of one roll and therefore needs to match the strips around it both horizontally and vertically. Offset designs are the most difficult to align and require you to determine which strips will go where before you begin. The offset match repeats at the ceiling line on every other strip creating a diagonal pattern sequence. Offset matches also require more wallpaper and create more waste. You would need three strips of wallpaper to repeat the vertical design.


What is the batch number and is it important?

Wallpaper is printed in batches. It is important to have the same batch number, to ensure colours match exactly.  The batch number is usually located on the wallpaper label close to the pattern number. Different batches can result in minor differences in terms of pattern, colour, sheen, and structure.  The differences might not be immediately apparent but once on the wall can be quite obvious.  Be sure to buy enough rolls for your project; don't forget the reserve roll!


What is the difference between Paste the Wall and Paste the Paper wallpaper?

The difference between these types of wallpaper is the method of applying or activating the paste before hanging the paper.

When using Paste-the-Wall wallpaper, the paste is applied directly to the wall before hanging each strip. This wallpaper is made with a special non-woven backing paper that does not expand when wet; therefore, it does not need to soak as in other application methods.

When using the Paste-the-Paper method, the paste is applied to the back of the wallpaper before hanging. This method requires soak time, which is a way to activate the paste while letting the paper rest before hanging the strip.


What wallpaper can I use in my kitchen or bathroom?

When decorating a kitchen or bathroom, you want to use a wallpaper that is moisture resistant and unaffected by exposure to humidity. Vinyl coated, or solid vinyl wallpapers are more durable and able to be washed, which is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.