This first step may be the most important for installing wallpaper or wall murals. Neither product will adhere to dirty surfaces, old wallpaper or paint. Following are some simple steps to take to ensure your walls are prepped for not only installing, but will also assist in removal when desired. Your ultimate goal is to repair and level the surface then apply a coat of high quality acrylic sealer and primer, thereby providing a stable and strong surface for for wallcoverings to slide onto and adhere.
Following these steps to prepare you wall when removing old wallpaper:
- If your wall surface has old wallpaper it must be removed. Follow the steps in our article Removing Wallpaper.
- Next, you will need to repair any holes or uneven surfaces by following the recommendations in our tips and tricks article Repairing Walls After Removing Old Wallpaper.
Follow the below steps for walls with peeling or flaking paint, or were the paint was applied more than 8 years ago:
- Use our article called Preparing Peeling or Flaking Wall Surfaces for Paint.
Once your walls are completely repaired ad level you are prepared to apply a hi-quality acrylic primer to the surface. Here are some steps for applying the primer:
- Select your primer. We recommend a hi-quality product like Zinsser's (recently purchased by Rust-Oleum) Shieldz primer/sealer. This is a one coat product that can be tinted and also offers the addition of mild and mildew resistance. It can be purchased at nearly any hardware store and costs around $72/gallon. If this seems expensive you have to remember this is a primer and sealer that offers mold and mildew resistance. There are cheaper alternatives for around $50/gallon, however the majority are only primers and do not seal or offer mild and mildew resistance.
- Wipe the wall down with a damp rag or sponge. Be sure to rinse the rag.sponge often to ensure all dirt and dust particles are rinsed.
- Once you wall dries, we recommend waiting for 24 hours before applying primer.
- Remove all switches and receptacle wall plates.
- Tape off the wall area with a quality painters tape. We recommend Frog Tape, that again, can be purchased at nearly any hardware store and there are two different types; green for multiple surfaces and yellow for delicate. You will more than likely utilize the multi-surface tape.
- Prior to applying the primer use a putty knife to run along the tape edges to ensure it seals and adheres so you will not encounter any wicking (paint getting under edges of tape). You can read our article that covers this step in more depth in our article How to Properly Tape an Area for Painting.
- See our articles for Selecting a Proper Brush or Roller for Applying Primer or Paint.
- Once you are ready to start applying the primer read our article about How to Properly Paint a Wall.
- Once completed refer to the primer manufacturers directions for drying/curing time prior to installing your wallcovering.
- Read our article for Installing Wallpaper or Wall Murals to complete the job.